To have affinity means to have knowledge of the other, to know how they think on social issues and how they think they can intervene in the social clash. This deepening of knowledge between comrades is an aspect that is often neglected, impeding effective action.
Having chosen the path of direct action, of unmediated attack against power, and having chosen to act where one is now, the question of how to organize these actions arises. Practically, the desire to see one's own struggle against the social order become a social struggle shows itself in the desire to act with others. For the types of actions most consistent with an anarchist insurrectional perspective--small actions that can be easily imitated and improved upon, using unsophisticated means that are available to anyone--the affinity group provides an effective method of organizing.
Let's be clear from the beginning, an affinity group is not a permanent organization that one joins. It is a method for organizing an action based on affinity between those taking part in the action. So the essential first step is the development of relationships of affinity. Affinity is not a matter of feeling good around each other. For the purpose of an insurrectional practise, affinity develops through the process of getting to know each other as comrades on an ever deepening level--that is coming to understand how the other understands the struggle against this society and how they feel they can intervene in it. Through discussion, such questions can be clarified, strengths and weaknesses made evident and possibilities for shared actions revealed.
It is when the possible projects of action become evident that certain of those who have been developing affinity come together as a group with the specific purpose of carrying out a particular action. When this project is completed, the particular group disbands as such, but the relations of affinity continue.
In the course of carrying out actions together, affinity will deepen and strong bonds may grow between those involved. This is to be expected, since as anarchists we do not see our activity as separated from our lives, but rather as an expression of the way we view and choose to live life. Thus we put the whole of our being into these actions. Our passion for freedom and intensity of life goes into our projects, so how could it not affect the relationships of affinity we choose to develop?
But what is essential about the affinity group is that it is a method for organizing small actions of the sort necessary for attacking the many facets of power that we confront everyday, which avoids developing a cumbersome formal organization and allows for the fluidity necessary for the development of an intelligent anarchist analysis and practice.