Who We Are
The Organization for a Free Society envisions and fights for a world characterized by solidarity, equity, self-management, diversity and ecological balance. We recognize that the systems of oppression we face – from capitalism and authoritarianism, to patriarchy and white supremacy – mutually define and reproduce one another. We understand that in order to undo these systems of oppression, we need to build a real movement for social liberation able to build, take, redefine, and decentralize power in society. We aim to transform the governing values and institutions in all areas of social life in order to create a participatory, democratic, and egalitarian society.
We contribute to the building of alternative institutions that challenge and undermine exploitation and domination, and instead embody in the present the values of the future. We participate in grassroots struggles to resist oppression and win tangible gains that improve our lives. We believe in raising consciousness and awareness through education and experience, and in our writing, discussion, educational forums, and movement participation we prioritize the development of holistic analysis, radical vision, and coherent strategy. We consider it essential to live and organize as close to our vision as possible and to transform ourselves as part of the struggle for a free society.
Ultimately, all of our work is within the context of building a movement – led by those most marginalized and oppressed groups in society – to create the culture and institutions of a free society while fighting to win the space for them to flourish. We believe another world is possible, and we are sure we can win it together.
Our Role in the Movement
OFS members are deeply involved in a variety of different grassroots struggles – from labor to students, from housing to alternative institution-building. We believe our priority is to add our weight to those movements very simple, but also to help connect the different struggles and infuse them with holistic analysis, radical vision, and coherent strategy. We carry out public education and discussion forums in order to engage with our partners in the movement on history and theory of struggle, the world we want, and where to go from here. We publish writing, speak at events, and create other types of political media and art, in order to strengthen the movement and engage in discussion in diverse ways. OFS has relationships with individuals and groups far beyond the organization itself.
Inside the Organization
Internally, we use the organization as a space to educate ourselves and one another and develop our own understandings, as well as the political tendency we think is needed in order to truly win. We strategize together on how to move forward, and lend one another our support in the various different struggles in which we are engaged. We pay dues, and have regular meetings. We practice participatory democracy to the best of our abilities inside the organization, where members contribute what they can, take what they need, and impact decisions to the degree they are affected by them. We have an elected executive that carries out political and administrative tasks on behalf of the rest of the organization, and that body is reviewed by the organization frequently.
Currently, the Organization of a Free Society has branches in New York and Southeast Michigan, with individual members in other cities around the United States as well. We are constantly in dialogue with potential members, and we aim to grow, but we are patient. We know it will take years to build the kind of organization we dream of, decades to build the kind of movement needed to really win, generations to win the world we dream of. Our priority is building the movement, and OFS is only one tool for that. This is something we remind people who seek to join our organization.
Members of OFS are all involved in grassroots struggle of some sort, agree with the organization’s points of unity, pay dues, and participate in the life of the organization to the extent they are able. Individuals are admitted for a 3-month trial membership that allows them to judge whether the organization is right for it, and gives other members the chance to make sure the relationship is healthy and sustainable. Trial members are provided formal processes for checking in and reviewing the organization as well as receiving constructive criticism and congratulations from other members. We are serious and patient about how we open our doors, so that we can be flexible, non-dogmatic and compassionate inside the organization. We want to make sure our members have a basis of political unity and trust, so that we can actually provide healthy structures for debate and dissent internally. We encourage people interested in OFS and its politics to spend time with us, spend time in the movement, and grow alongside us all together.