First Published: The Young Communist, February 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The new year brought together over 200 revolutionary minded youth to attend the Second National Communist Youth Organization conference held here on December 31st, Jan 1, 1977. The young people at the conference represented young workers, students, different oppressed nationalities as well as both men and women. The conference itself pointed to the strong role that youth are increasingly playing the revolutionary movement. This was especially shown in the participation and enthusiasm of all the delegates.
At the conference, Roy Smith, chairman of the CYO, summed up in his opening speech, the main lessons gained by the organization in its first year’s work and outlined the tasks facing the CYO in its next year of revolutionary struggle. “We in the CYO have learned that the youth of this country, after 46 years of being deprived of a communist youth organization, are actively looking for revolutionary leadership. It is our historic duty to build a strong CYO to organize them. This past year, the CYO has taken up the struggle of Jobs for Youth and to free Gary Tyler. Through these campaigns, the CYO has grown, it has become a national organization, and is flourishing all around the country. New CYO chapters are now being built in the Black Belt South, homeland of the Afro-American nation. In this upcoming year, we must continue to be an organization that is wholly in the service of the working class. We must intensify our work among the youth to win them to Marxism-Leninism and to follow the leadership of a new communist party of which the youth will constitute a great and mighty reserve.”
The conference received speeches of solidarity from Marxist-Leninist organizations representing the Organizing Committee for a new Marxist-Leninist party. The youth demonstrated their enthusiasm for the growing trend of Marxist-Leninist unity with resounding chants of “Build the party!” and “On to the Party!” Chairman of the October League, Michael Klonsky, spoke to the young people on the relationship between the new communist party that is being built and the CYO. He stated that, “The party and the CYO must develop the closest and warmest fraternal relations on the basis of our common ideology, Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse Tung Thought. To the party, the youth organization of communists is a mighty reserve and a training school for young communists to fill the ranks of the party and become successors in the great communist tradition of our class.”
The conference also received many other comradely greetings and messages of solidarity. Guests such as Mary Smith from the National Fightback Organization, the Peoples’ Defense Coalition, Ronnie Long Defense Committee, etc. gave inspiration to the conference and CYO delegates pledged to continue the struggle for the freedom of Gary Tyler and Ronnie Long. From his prison cell Gary Tyler sent a message, supporting the CYO and its second national conference.
The spirit of proletarian internationalism was strong and a high point of the conference. A member of the Canadian Communist League received a stormy ovation as she spoke to the conference in her native tongue, French. On behalf of the working class and oppressed nationalities of Canada, she talked of the friendship and solidarity between working people of Canada and the U.S.
She presented the CYO with a gift and extended full support to the organization in its efforts to build the revolutionary youth movement.
Internationalist greetings were also received from activists from Mexico, the Red Youth Organization of Norway, and the Communist Federation of Germany. At the conference, the CYO took a strong stand denouncing the two superpowers as the main enemies of the worlds’ peoples and pledged support for the socialist revolution in countries throughout the world. Particular support was given to the struggle of the Azanian people in South Africa and in other Third World countries. The CYO also gave firm support to the Chinese people and Chairman Hua Kuo Feng in their struggle against the “gang of four.”
The conference held workshops which did Marxist-Leninist education on a variety of topics such as the current international situation, organizing students, the struggle of women for full equality, the struggle of youth for jobs, and developing proletarian culture. In the workshop on party-building, conference delegates learned about the relationship between the new communist party and the CYO and united around the CYO being a mass organization of advanced youth in the service of the working class and its vanguard party. Another workshop discussed the role of the CYO’s newsletter, “The Young Communist.” Members rallied around building the newsletter as the national organ of the CYO. The conference welcomed the news that the newsletter will be coming out on a regular monthly basis.
Discussion was also held around the proposed program of the CYO. Although the program was not fully adopted, the discussions laid the basis for deepening the CYO’s understanding and continuing to develop the program in the next year.
One of the highlights of the conference was the election of the CYO’s national leadership. Roy Smith, chairman, and Marja Wessels, vice-chair, were re-elected and a new National Steering Committee was chosen. The leadership which was elected was chosen from those who had emerged and been strengthened thru the struggles of building the CYO. It is the task of this new leadership to organize the next year’s mass campaigns, study of Marxism-Leninism, and debates around the CYO program.
The conference illustrated the enthusiasm and eagerness that young people have for revolution and socialism. The CYO in the next year will continue to build itself in the heat of class struggle and go wherever youth are struggling against imperialism in order to rally them around the CYO, raising their understanding of Marxism-Leninism and involvement in the struggle for socialism and socialist revolution! As the conference drew to a close, delegates from around the country pledged to redouble their efforts in building the CYO and in making 1977 a year of revolutionary success!