The Truth About NATLFED

Invest Yourself

Lately, I have been thinking about the catalogue of volunteer opportunities that the Party managed to take over as it assumed control of CVSA.  There are several articles and blogs about that take over, so I will leave it to readers to do that research.

I am more interested in discussing the why. 

CVSA had legitimacy, established in 1946 and producing its volunteer opportunities’ catalogue annually.  Circulation was not limited to within the continental United States.  Persons who utilize the catalogue are often progressive-minded, wanting to do good acts, sometimes as a way of giving back to communities or even just to feel good.  Most are college students.

It was not the only group that the Party managed to take over but it was certainly the most profitable.  I do not mean profits as in dollars and cents, but rather, cadre recruitment.

Cadres were recruited through several means.

If you look at a copy of the catalogue, more than half the organizations are affiliated with the Party.  Anything that says service workers, farm workers, temporary workers, etc. is 99 44/100% likely to be affiliated under the NATLFED umbrella.  College students interested in work-study programs sometimes chose a local affiliate.  I remember one young man who came from Africa and worked out of the National Office after his recruitment.  Part of the incentive to work with an affiliate includes housing if needed.

I liken that process to a crap shoot.  You never know if you are going to get a lot of recruits through it but what the hell.

The group had an established mailing list primarily of public libraries, colleges and universities, some church organizations.  Libraries have a way of keeping things on shelves, especially in the reference section where the periodicals and catalogues are maintained.  I do not know what the current circulation is but it used to be in the thousands back in the 1980s.

The real recruitment, the guaranteed process, involves the catalogue publications’ process.  Volunteers do the typesetting, design and layout, even the printing.  Also, there is the need to do phone calls to get the donated paper, ink and other supplies to publish the catalogue.

I do not remember when publishing the catalogue moved from the Long Island Alternative Press to Women’s Press Collective.  There was collaboration between the two affiliates in the early days but after many local issues the production was moved entirely to the metropolitan arena.

There was, for several years, another group that tried wresting back control of the group.  I do not remember who they were but remember that they were referred to as the Rump group.  I asked Mary why they were referred to as that and she said it was because Oldie said they were a bunch of asses.  They used to publish a rival catalogue, also called Invest Yourself, but ran into some problems because they were not the official group.  I do not know if they continue to publish a rival catalogue.

If your local library does not have a copy, that is okay.  I am not interested in suggesting anyone add to the coffers by purchasing a copy directly from the group.  There are some old copies floating around the web at various used book purchasing locations.

I believe this merits a mention.


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