The Truth About NATLFED

Campus Recruitment

Campuses provide a fertile ground for cadre recruitment.  Some campuses such as State University of Stony Brook (SUSB) in Suffolk County have been used for years to recruit cadres to the Organization.  Others have yielded positive results every few years.  High schools and colleges both offer cadre recruitment potential.

High schools are usually associated with productive support groups such as Citizens for Migrant Workers.  Serious minded students are interested in volunteer participation that can help bolster their transcript as prospective colleges consider their applications.  Such students are movers and shakers, usually able to generate interest with activities such as canned food drives, car washes, etc.  While these students may lack education in certain areas, they possess energy and enthusiasm.  A fair number of teenagers have been recruited into the Party as full-time cadres.

It is of note that the Party does have an age requirement before a person can be considered viable for Party violation.  In the early formative years of the organization, it did have to contend with accusations and/or complaints of luring away young persons from families to become full-time organizers.  There are legality issues when a fourteen year old runs away to join the revolution.  A person must be eighteen years of age before he/she can be considered for Party recruitment.  However, in certain situations, the Central Committee can vote to approve a waiver.  After three years of participation including doing a summer internship at the law firm in the city, regular attendance at the National Labor College sessions, etc. I was granted a waiver and allowed to join at age sixteen.

College campuses can also generate productive support groups.  Some progressive campuses have proved fertile cadre recruiting grounds for local associations for years.  Students are still deciding what they want to do with their lives.  Campuses have often encouraged progressive thinking.  While students are not reassembling VW’s in the dean’s office, there are some colleges where students are protesting the war, supreme court decisions, current legislation or other topics of interest.

The first thing you want to do is get your foot in the door.  Most people know someone who is in school.  Ask your contact speak with school officials about organizing a food drive.  This proves more effective than a cadre going to the campus, being seen as an outsider (in this day and age, many schools are mindful of basic security protocols).

If your contact is a student, it is an opportunity to increase their participation with just a little bit of effort.  College students are scrambling between classes.  Sometimes they can still take fliers and post them on bulletin boards.  Or, they can arrange with their instructors for an organizer to come and speak with the class.

A faculty staff member is also a good chance to establish a presence on a campus.  Many schools require a faculty adviser to sponsor any activity or group.  They can also allow organizers to come in and speak with their classes about the plights of farm workers.

You can either target a specific campus or you can happen upon a target of opportunity to get onto a campus.

Speaking in front of classes allows you to sign up volunteers as well as solicit ideas for projects the class may be interested in organizing.  Food drives are the most common, something many people can get behind.  Admission to a school basketball could include bringing in a canned food item for the farm workers.  In warm weather, many students enjoy running a car wash.  Yes, some businesses don’t mind the young girls jumping around in their bikinis to attract car wash customers (gee, I wonder why).

Sometimes the students come up with ideas that are particular to their class or group interests.  A theater group may consider a play production and donating the proceeds.  The home economics teacher (do they still have those?) may get permission for the students to work on a quilting project.  A Spanish class may consider a field trip to a migrant farm labor camp where translators are needed.  College campuses offer additional opportunities, such as pre-med students helping with medical benefit sessions.

Sometimes the primary contact is only willing to do so much.  If that is the case, let them do that much.  You’re looking for the movers and shakers, the ones with political interest or who could potentially become politically interested.  The popular cheerleaders or the members of a football team tend to know lots of people.  You are culling the herd.  It is a numbers game.  There’s just no polite way to say it.  You are culling the herd.

Ideally, you want to formalize a support group for sustainability.  An established campus group and become a cadre mill of recruitment.  It is a way to get people in the door such that you can start working with them, inviting them to educational classes, exposing them to membership conditions with participation on canvasses, expanding their commitment to include other activities the organization is conducting.

Even without a formalized support group, you can still regularly recruit cadres from campuses.  Students are in transitional periods, still discovering who they want to be and what they want to do with their lives.  For some, it makes sense to choose a life of revolutionary purpose.  If activity on a campus slows down or stops (a burn out period, maybe even a deliberate withdrawal in the face of negative rumors), it can usually be activated again at a later point in time.

During the heyday of the organizational expansion period, hundreds of cadres were recruited while as students.  AFAS, the Association of Federal Aid Students based in Ohio, was used to recruit a large number of students.  In the absence of a local mutual benefit association, it did not endure.  As recruits moved on, it eventually lost steam.

If you volunteer at a mutual benefits association, it is likely that at least one of the full-time cadres is a college drop out, someone who decided to join the revolution full-time as a career choice.  Other groups also use the fertile campus grounds for recruitment.

Students were the main target of recruitment campaigns but not exclusively.  Again, during the heyday, the Organization recruited many professors, particularly in the sociology fields.  Francie in Suffolk, Barry in Boston, George and Suzanne in New Brunswick, Chris D of the National Foundation of Alternative Resources, Chris A of the National Labor College, Mark L of COSHAD — these were just a handful of the professors recruited through targeted campus recruitment campaigns.

If done correctly, very little is needed to inspire a campus campaign or to keep it going.  It can generate the resources to keep itself going, getting donated printing, recruiting persons through minimal tactics such as food drives, drawing them closer to the mutual benefits association.  Some campuses even offer work study programs through the MBA because it does come across as a good thing helping poor people.

If you read some of the recent web links, you will find colleges that still offer work study programs, persons who list their activities to bolster resumes, campus activities including food drives.  If something negative happens (rumors of the revolutionary agenda, accusations of saying one thing and doing another, maybe even accusations of encouraging students to quit school) the MBA would simply have to wait a period of time and then try again.  Faculties and students change.

It can be a loose assemblage or a formal support group.  It can conduct a lot of tactics or simply be a good cadre recruitment mill.  The Organization has a history of organizing on campuses and is unlikely to stop using those campuses.

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