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Posted by Romain on

A multitude of « mouvements citoyen » emerged recently in France. Most of them share a common feature, they want to be horizontal. They want an organization without leaders or emblematic figures. They consciously reject this idea of a person having more responsibility than another. This ideal, however, confronts to a harsh reality, and in practise senior members have more power than new members.

Two churches an old and a new one. Image credit Romain Cazé CC-BY

This declination of the « first come, first served » idea invades these organization. Many reasons justify this empowerment of seniority. Seniors know better how the organization work, they know better the different members. This, however, unconsciously close the door for new members. The most senior member « deserve » to rule because they were here before.

I experienced this prevalence of seniority at many occasions. When one presents an idea that can displease many, then seniority an argument often used against it. This unconscious (or conscious) opposition stems from the idea that only certain people are fit to rule. Why pick randomly when you have people that were there weeks before. I say weeks not months nor years because weeks suffice to assert the legitimacy of a ruler. Even in groups that want to profoundly change the system can be conservative.

Thank you for reading! If you have any experience facing a senior please share in the section below.