At the New Hampshire Socialist Coalition, we all pitch in together to ensure the success of our larger group projects – but we also encourage each individual member and smaller working groups to pursue activities that best align with their skills, passions, and even ideology. In fact, we actively provide an organizational mechanism to make it easy for everyone.
We do not generally operate via command or fiat, and though we are extremely serious about our work, mission, and the abolition of capitalism, we do not wish to make our lives and our collective struggle more difficult than they already are by fostering an unpleasant atmosphere at any of our meetings and events, or by permitting ourselves to treat one another with hostility, impatience, or unkindness along the way. We believe political work in general, and socialism itself in particular, must come accompanied with a smile.
Accordingly, we operate at all times under a vigilant awareness and understanding of the individual human needs, limitations, challenges, and sources of stress that exist for every one of us all the time. It’s not just that we’re all human, because on top of all that, we too are the victims of the exploitation, alienation, and injustices large and small inherent to capitalism. Many of us want to believe ourselves immune to fatigue, despair, burnout, and related ailments, but nobody is. That’s why there’s never any shame or feeling bad for hitting the skids and finding oneself unable to complete a task or make an event. All we need from one another is the commitment to communicate our struggles and shortfalls with one another so that others with greater capacity can pick up the slack if necessary. By banning all guilt and hostility from these inevitable situations, we aim to make this communication process painless and routine. Never feel bad.
Who’s in charge here?
Funny you should ask. Though we explicitly do not reject all forms of organizational hierarchy, and though we are explicitly not proponents of consensus-based decision making, we do not (at this time) possess a formal leadership body, nor have we established any permanent titles or offices or ranks.
That said, we do anticipate that as we grow in size, capability, and also complexity, the need will arise to identify designated and elected roles for administrative responsibility. (Of course, these future roles will be structured in such a way as to confer no privilege, status, or favor to those who hold them. These roles will be undertaken as a service to the organization as a whole and will in practice gain those elected little more than a larger task list and a smaller pool of free time.) Thus far, however, we have had no difficulty coming to agreement on priorities, while necessary tasks are communicated to the group and accomplished by volunteers with the capacity to do so.
Even upon the adoption of formal administrative constructs, it is our hope to retain the spirit of our present participation-based model. As our organization is oriented around concrete action, it is sensible for those actively engaged (and ultimately seasoned) in a particular lane of work to assume a level of de facto responsibility over it. This sort of participation-based stewardship ensures all are supported in the work they do and none are appointed to take charge of matters with which they have had no involvement.
A Two-Category Model for Coalition Activity
In the near future, we aim to establish a long-term, multi-year strategic roadmap for organizational and operational growth and the advance of the NHSC mission, across all three of our established main objectives. To execute on this roadmap as a group while still remaining true to our commitment to individual and factional initiative, we apply a peculiar two-category system to every proposed activity.
This category encompasses all projects, programs, and one-off events that have the support (and require the participation) of all able members of the group. Major Initiatives are considered official New Hampshire Socialist Coalition activities and should possess a direct and identifiable connection to one or more of the organization’s main objectives.
In some cases, certain permanent internal processes can be considered Major Initiatives; for example, one of our established routine tasks involves regular, often individually assigned, contact between members of our organization and members of as many organizations in the region as possible. That’s not something anybody should ever be pulling an all-nighter to work on, but because it does require the participation of everyone in the group in order to be successful, and because it’s tied directly to our commitment to foster inter-organizational relations, it falls into this category.
This category, accordingly, represents all of the other activities conducted by NHSC and/or its members with official NHSC approval. This means if there’s a socialist activity you are interested in pursuing, even if you’re the only one interested in doing so, you’re able to do so with the endorsement of the Coalition, report your progress in official meetings, and rely on some measure of assistance and guidance from the group.
In other instances, Minor Initiatives will simply be common sub-tasks that carry a group-wide concern but do not require the participation of the full group. For example, if the group identifies a need for media production, a small group of individuals who are inclined toward these efforts will assume the responsibility as a Minor Initiative.
In rare cases, it is not inconceivable that a member may announce their intention to pursue a Minor Initiative that runs counter to socialist principles and/or the mission and scope of the NHSC. If the group as a whole is in agreement with this assessment, the proposed Minor Initiative may be formally rejected by the NHSC. In the event of a formal rejection, the individual in question is of course free to pursue the desired action independently without any sort of reprisal (we don’t really do reprisals), but they may not represent themselves as acting on behalf of the Coalition or the action as approved by it.