From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 24 (Whole No. 83), 19 September 1931, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The Draft Thesis on the Youth Question attempts to state in concise terms the position of the youth under capitalism, the need of a Communist youth league, its attitude toward other youth organizations and finally the tasks of the Left Opposition youth. We essayed to include only that which is essential.
The scantiness of the discussion on the youth is one of the none too few signs that there is not enough interest in this field of our work. Among the youth comrades there are many who have never been in the Y.C.L. or carried on activity among young workers; others are too absorbed in the general Opposition activity. The adult comrades also do not appear to understand the importance of youth work.
From this follows the necessity of making the young comrades “youth conscious”; proving to the adult comrades that youth work is essential and can be done. Towards this end, the Draft Thesis proposes: the issuance of an internal youth bulletin, the publication of the Young Vanguard as a semi-monthly section of the weekly Militant on the one hand, and the selection  of a National Youth Committee of five, the election of at least one comrade in each branch to be in charge of youth work, the organization of a fraction in the Y.C.L., and the organization wherever possible of a youth club. If this work is successful we will be in a position to issue a separate youth paper by the next conference.
The aim of our youth is “the organization, education and consolidation of a revolutionary, capable, and advanced Communist youth cadre”. In the immediate sense this means the -winning of the Communist youth for the Left Opposition. Through participation in the work and affairs of the Y.C.L., through classes on fundamentals of the Communist youth movement, Communism, Marxism, etc., by spreading the Militant, and our literature we can attract the young Communists. At the same time through open-air meetings, independent work in factories where our young comrades are, and by improving the Young Vanguard, making it more of an educational page we can win young workers who have never gone through the Y.C.L. for Communism. If these activities bear fruit we can be assured of a youth club in at least several of the cities which have functioning branches. In New York, immediately following the Conference it is planned to take steps for the organization of a youth club.
The success of this work depends on first, the participation of all of the youth comrades and second, a clear idea of Communist youth work and our aims and tasks. The Thesis endeavors to answer these questions. An important thought expressed in it is that:
“Limited experience with Communist youth work requires that youth tactics, demands, slogans and special oragniza-tional forms should be put forward not as dogmas or finished products which have universal validity but rather with a view of testing them in practise, examining the results, and (hereby laying the ground for more effective tactics, slogans, etc.”
This, in my opinion, would be ever before us when discussing youth methods and means of work.
The old slogan of the Young Communist International “Clarity and Action’’ should be revived. The educational and cultural character of the youth emphasized in the thesis. We should not forget that “Communist training and education requires the intimate linking up of the theoretical with the practical, the studygroup with the field of the class struggle”. It falls upon us to carry out as much of this work as our forces will permit.
Comrade Bord (Shortcomings in the Youth Thesis, Militant, 8-22-31) takes us to task for a number of omissions and commissions in the thesis. I will briefly touch on the points raised.
1. In the printed version this word was “section.”
Last updated: 24.3.2013