Non-Hierarchical Revolution: Grassroots Politics in the First Palestinian Intifada

Jack McGinn

This article seeks to outline the non-hierarchical characteristics of the first intifada, using as examples the decentralised healthcare networks, labour unions, and women’s movements which were formed in the years preceding the uprising and provided a structure and backbone to the resistance. Such a focus on three distinct, but interdependent, forces behind the intifada is informed by a belief that each operated primarily on a deliberately horizontal basis of organising, thus highlighting the common motivation that activists felt towards a model of democratised resistance. The article concludes with a discussion of the town of Beit Sahour, where pre-existing networks of solidarity helped to produce a resilient campaign of tax resistance, coordinated by popular committees.

Jack McGinn is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics Department of Sociology and the Communications Coordinator at the LSE Middle East Centre. He received his MSc in Arab World Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and subsequently worked in Jordan and Palestine as a translator and editor. His doctoral research at LSE focuses on decentralised anti-hierarchical organising in the Syrian revolution.