The Heatwave Communist-Anarchist Federation is not a group where you simply pay your dues and subscribe to a newspaper. We don't rely on dues or papers to measure how successful we are as an organization. If you work for a living, that means that the state takes a bit of your income and promises to give it back when you retire, trade unions take a little bit more so that you can say you've got union protection and what you don't spend on the conquest of bread and housing you get to keep for yourself and do with it what you like. If you like Heatwave, and you want to get involved, it seems unreasonable to say "you must hand over your money or you don't belong!"
This doesn't mean we've devised a way in which an organization can function free of charge, we're militants, not magicians. If you want to get involved, than you should contribute money voluntarily, meaning that you can decide for yourself what you want to put in the community chest. Some organizations expect you to pay monthly/annually dues, screw that! If you're working at your job and you've got a lot of responsibilities, keeping track of dues is just another burden. The purpose of Heatwave is to be in service to the working people of the world; speaking out on issues relevant to our lives and trying to create a society where working people of all backgrounds are free, equal and united; we don't aim to be in control of working people.
Money isn't everything! What about skills? What about resourcefulness? A good activist group does lots of things--passing out fliers, attending demonstrations, putting up posters, researching issues--a large majority of these things require time and commitment, not money. If an activist doesn't have any money to give, but has free access to a photocopier and a fax machine, isn't he/she just as valuable as the activist that donates money to print up leaflets? A communist-anarchist society depends on the practice of "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs," why have this idea only on paper? Why not practice it now to see if it works efficiently?
For all these reasons, Heatwave depends, not on dues or newspapers or bank robberies or purse snatchings or shaking down old ladies, but on collectives. A collective is the type of organization that is the most democratic and where the members are the most equal. Basically, a collective is a group of individuals that talk to each other face-to-face and try and reach a common goal based on what each member will contribute. In a collective, each member should contribute to discussion and action, this depends on a person like you that has ideas and desires and wants to see if others want them as well. The most important contribution you can give to a collective is being yourself--don't let anyone judge you and don't judge anyone else, you to yours and me to mine, what most of us agree on we should act on. Be tolerant of others so that they will be tolerant of you in return and always try and reach a common understanding.
What do collectives within Heatwave owe to the federation as a whole? The purpose of Heatwave is to provide an organization with very minimal standards so that each member may benefit as best they can from the group. Can a mechanic in Toronto tell a farmer in Indiana how to grow his prize-winning tomatoes? Can that farmer tell the mechanic the best way to change the spark plugs on his Model T? Each Heatwave chapter is independent and works at its own device--whereas other groups would expect you to start a chapter and follow a certain course of action, we do not. We recognize that only the people in that chapter can decide what is right for their community. However, all members should be anarchists or libertarian communists (or interested in one of these) so that the basic politics and goals of the group stay intact.
With all of this in mind, here are some tips to setting up a good collective within the Heatwave Communist-Anarchist Federation. If you have trouble getting others interested, two things to do would be to revise your literature so that it sounds less intellectual yet still fairly smart and also to talk with people in your area about issues and try and find ways in which the ideals that consist of communist-anarchism might provide potential solutions.
Once you have established the collective, you can work on projects to maintain interest in the collective. These are goals that require extensive planning and resourcefulness and are definitely worth the effort if they go as planned. A good example is broadcasting a public-access cable show, or a weekly program on community radio--but they require lots of scripting and someone that will stay calm on the air as well as appear friendly. Obviously, what can be done is, again, limited only by your imagination. If you choose to do something though, make lots of plans for every detail so that if anything fails you've got at least a few back up plans. Basically, use some common sense and try and decide what will work best for your community.
What is very important, though, is that the group takes action. Action defines the existence of the collective, people want a group that gets results. Everyone promises results, but the ones that deliver will be the ones that have the most support. What this also means is that you have to know what problems people face. Talking with people openly is a good way to understand these problems, as well as finding good solutions and new tactics. In a poll that one Heatwave collective conducted, nearly seventy percent said they would support an anarchist movement that got effectively solved problems that they faced, so we know the score.
In conclusion, Heatwave's aim is to be both a voice of unity within the anarchist movement and a step forward so that the average people at least have an idea what anarchy is all about. We don't measure our success by how many papers we sell, instead we consider success to be an active part of the movement to abolish capitalist control and state authority and put in their place a new society. The society we hope to create will be based on systematic mutual aid, freedom with responsibility and a newer, more fulfilling everyday life. To reach these goals, however, requires that we educate ourselves and others about our ideals, organize ourselves more efficiently to provide a dual power to capitalism and government (while retaining personal freedom for all participants) and to agitate the existing society in hopes of creating the free society.
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