Leon Trotsky

Platform of the Joint Opposition


Chapter 8
The League of
Communist Youth

THE wrong political line and the organizational repression have been carried over with full force, and often indeed with increased force, into the League of Communist Youth. The international education of the young workers is being more and more pushed into the background. All critical thinking is being suppressed and persecuted. For positions of leadership in the Communist youth organization, the party apparatus demands first of all “obedience”, and readiness to bait the Opposition. The proletarian part of the lower organizations, the fundamentally healthy part, is deprived of all life by this regime. Here, even more than in the party, the mistaken policy pursued at the top opens the road for petty. bourgeois influences.

Of late years the League of Communist Youth has grown rapidly in membership, but at the cost of a deterioration in its social composition. From the time of the Thirteenth Congress of the party, the proletarian nucleus within this organization has fallen from 40.1 per cent to 34.4 per cent, and the organization of young workers employed in industry from 49.8 per cent to 47 per cent. The political activity of the young workers is also diminishing.

In these circumstances it was an exceedingly crude mistake, capable only of widening the separation between the League and the mass of working-class youth, to adopt that series of recent decisions which worsened still further, and in violation of the resolutions of the Fourteenth Congress, the situation of the young worker (cutting down the regulations protecting apprentices, the special wage-scale for apprentices, restriction of the number of apprentices in industrial schools – and here also belongs the attempt to introduce unpaid apprenticeship).

The League of Communist Youth in the country is more and more losing its proletarian and poor peasant support. Its cultural and economic work in the country has for its main object the development of individual farms. The relative weight of the poor is systematically falling everywhere – in the general composition of the rural branches, in the active membership, in the nucleus composed of party members. Along with the continual diminishing of the influx of young town workers, the League is filling up in the countryside with middle and well-off peasant youth.

As in the town, so also in the country the tendency of the petty-bourgeois elements to get hold of the leadership of the League is growing. The group of clerical workers and “miscellaneous” is playing a more and more considerable role, especially in the rural organizations.

Thirty-six per cent of all our new party members come from the ranks of the League of Communist Youth. [1] However, within the party nucleus of the League from one-fourth to one-third are non-proletarian. In the party nuclei of the rural youth organizations, the middle peasants are rapidly gaining at the expense of the farm-hands and the poor peasants. (20 per cent were middle peasants in 1925, 32.5 per cent in 1927.) Thus the League of Communist Youth is being transformed into one of the sources for the dilution of the party with petty-bourgeois elements. In order to prevent the further weakening of the dominant role of the proletarian nucleus and its relegation to the background by newcomers from the intelligentsia, clerical workers, and well-off strata in the countryside, inevitably entailing a petty-bourgeois degeneration of the League, the following measures are necessary:

(1) To put an immediate stop to the gradual annulment of our revolutionary conquests in the sphere of the labour and education of the young proletarian – to revoke all those recent measures which worsen the conditions of his work. That is one of the principal premises for the struggle against morbid tendencies in the League of Communist Youth (drunkenness, hooliganism, etc.).

(2) In proportion to the growth of the general well-being of the working class, to elevate, systematically and resolutely, the material and cultural level of the young workers by means of higher wages, broadening of the network of industrial schools and trade courses, etc.

(3) To carry out the decision of previous party and Communist Youth congresses, as to the enrolment in the League of 100 per cent of the young town workers and rural proletarians in the course of the next few years.

(4) To intensify the work of attracting into the League the poor peasant youth.

(5) To attract into the League the economically weak middle peasants, and of the rest of the middle peasants only who have been tested in social work, and especially in the work of struggling against the kulak.

(6) To increase the League’s defence of the interests of the poor, directing its work towards the creation of a new rural society, not along the path of individual enrichment, but along the path of co-operation and the collectivization of agriculture.

(7) To improve the social composition of the party nucleus, permitting recruitment during the next two years only from workers, farm-hands, and poor peasants.

(8) To make the leadership of the organs of the Communist youth proletarian, systematically and resolutely advancing the farm-hands and the poor into positions of leadership. To ordain that in the great proletarian centres, the regional committees and district committees of the League, and the bureaus of these committees, should consist in an overwhelming majority of workers in the factories, and that the latter should be really drawn into the task of leadership.

(9) To wage a serious struggle against bureaucratism in the League. To cut down decisively the paid officialdom, reducing it to the absolutely necessary minimum. To accomplish at least a half, and in industrial centres three-quarters, of the work of the League through the unpaid efforts of its members, to attract more and more of the rank-and-file members of the League into this work.

(10) The cultural and educational work of the League should be closely bound up with an active daily participation in the general political life of the party, the soviets, the trade unions and the co-operatives.

(11) Put an end to the rubber-stamp regime, the deadening regime of orders from above, the lying and ignorant regime of cribs and “institutions” for Opposition-baiting. Introduce in its place the serious study of Marxism and Leninism, upon the basis of live discussion, comradely exchange of opinions, and a real, not a sham, acquisition of knowledge.

(12) Introduce, in deeds and not words, a democratic regime. Do away with persecution and expulsion of those who hold independent opinions about party questions and League questions. Adhere strictly to the periods provided in the constitution for calling district, Uyezd, regional, etc., conferences and congresses.


1. Pravda, July 14,1927.

Chapter VII    |    Platform of the Opposition Index    |    Chapter IX

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Last updated on: 26.1.2007