In my day, I had a Utopian view of groups. I had fuzzy dreams about people coming together for the common good and pooling their talents. After several mixed experiences with groups, this view has become more nuanced and mistrusting of group efforts. While I respect the ideal of working together, I've seen so many groups get bogged down in the process at the expense of doing any actual work. New evidence suggests that groups may be more of a hindrance than a help. Furry Girl, sex worker and activist hits the nail on the head when she says:
The whole point of me starting SWAAY this way is so I don't have to get bogged down in process, meetings, infighting, and consensus. I want to work with people who are responsible, knowledgeable, and also don't want to waste time bullshitting around with "being a part of a group."
A vast amount of effort gets wasted within many political groups because people can't even agree on the most basic stuff like the group's goals and strategy, and participants lack the common sense to just form multiple projects that better suit their needs. It's one thing to be able to network with people who are different from you and come together on larger campaigns and coalitions, but it's another to try and constantly force square pegs into round holes - at the expense of anyone actually getting useful things accomplished. In my experience, too much of any group's energy gets spent on squabbling over who's in charge - whether that squabbling takes the form of deciding who's on the board/steering committee in a democratic group, or the majority regularly trying to appease the sole irritating obstructionist (and power-wielder) in a consensus-based group.
Aahhh "the sole irritating obstructionist" I know you well. Left leaning groups seem particularly unwilling to say "no, get out because you suck" to people whose sole purpose is to make the work of the group impossible but use the right language to justify their nonsense.
My theory about the group fail is that while we have tons of training on how to pursue individualist goals and throw each other under a bus to get what we want, we have no training on how to work as a collective. So we bumble our way through and each group that attempts to be non-hierarchal has to re-create the wheel, learning as they go along.
Understandably, many people chose to just bypass this and do stuff alone collaborating when it makes sense - lone wolfing it. In my experience, the most talented and effective people are not pack animals and while they may flirt with various groups, they shine alone.