First Issued: By the New York City Branch of the Communist Party of the United States of America (Marxist-Leninist) in February, 1970
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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How should we judge whether a youth is a revolutionary? How can we tell? There can only be one criterion, namely, whether or not he is willing to integrate himself with the broad masses of workers and peasants and does so in practice. If he is willing to do so and actually does so, he in a revolutionary; otherwise he is a non-revolutionary or a counterrevolutionary. If today he integrates himself with the masses of workers and peasants, then today he is a revolutionary; if tomorrow he ceases to do so or turns around to oppress the common people, then he becomes a non-revolutionary or a counter-revolutionary.
The young people are the most active and vital force in society. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking. This is especially so in the era of socialism.
The world is yours, as well as ours, but in the final analysis, it is yours. You young people, full of vigour and vitality, are in the bloom of life, like the sun at eight or nine in the morning. Our hope is placed on you. The world belongs to you.
“The profound events which had resulted in the split in the Socialist Party and the organization of the Communist Party naturally had its repercussions among the Socialist young people. The S.P., in April 1913, after several years of preliminary work of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, had constituted the Young People’s Socialist League. The Y.P.S.L. in 1916 consisted of 150 clubs and 4,000 members. It published the YOUNG SOCIALIST and carried out educational and social work. During the war the organization, leftward-inclined, held many anti-war meetings and made much agitation against conscription. The treacherous attitude of the Social-Democratic leaders of the Second International, toward the Russian Revolution and the war, produced profound repercussions in the Y,P.S.L., as in other sections of the American Socialist movement. At the Y.P.S.L.’s first national convention, held in May 1919, this left spirit in the organization found expression. The convention passed resolutions condemning the Second International and supporting the Third International, In December 1919, after the Socialist Party had split in September, the Y.P.S.L. held a special convention, in response to left-wing demands. It thus set itself up as an Independent organization, declaring for the Young Socialist International, which was then in the process of transforming itself into the Young Communist International. When the Palmer raids against the labor and Communist movement took place, the Independent Y.P.S.L. disintegrated itself as a national organization, although some of its sections remained in existence, Wm. P. Kruse, the head of the Y.P.S.L., joined the Workers Party at its formation in December 1921, and many former Y.P.S.L. members also took part in forming the Young Communist League. The Y.C.L. came into existence, at a convention in April 1922, in ’underground conditions.’” – History of the Communist Party of the United States by William Z. Foster, Int. Pub. 1952, pages 183-187.
The formation of the Young Communist League in April 1922, under the leadership of the party of the proletariat in the U.S., carried forward the struggles of proletarian youth under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, the science of proletarian revolution. As the U.S. section of the Young Communist International, the Y.C.L. was the primary force responsible for the high political and ideological consciousness and struggles of a number of successive generations. The Y.C.L. brought tens of thousands of class-conscious young fighters into the tanks of the Communist Party, and initiated many important broad fronts of struggle with other young workers, students, and others.
However, the Y.C.L. was not free from the same process that undermined, and eventually liquidated the Communist Party itself in revisionism. When the Browderite revisionists liquidated the CP.U.S.A. in 1944 into the “Communist Political Association”, they also liquidated the Young Communist League in the U.S. into the bourgeois liberal “American Youth for Democracy.” This was a severe setback for the proletarian youth and student movement in the U.S., a setback which has yet to be surmounted and corrected by the rebuilding of genuine Communist leadership of youth in the United States. The revisionists proceeded to further liquidate and betray, pulling a dwindling number of youth and students behind them into a series of bourgeois-liberal groups, culminating in the present “Du Bois Clubs”. The revisionist betrayals have allowed for the full influence of various reactionary tendencies and ideas upon youth and students, especially proletarian youth and youth of national minorities.
Various trotskyite, social-democratic, pacifist, and other reactionary “youth” groups have spawned in the vacuum left by the betrayals of the U.S. revisionists. However, the recent upsurge of class struggle and national struggle internationally and nationally, including the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the Peoples Republic of China, the victories of the People’s War in Vietnam, the rapid spread of violent uprisings and strikes in the United States itself, have propelled many thousands of youth to a new outlook, a revolutionary outlook, in opposition to revisionism as well as imperialism, and eager and willing to engage in resolute struggle against U.S. imperialism in its homeland. This important development lays the basis for the rebuilding of the correct Communist leadership of youth in the U.S.A. and thus, the carrying forward of the struggles of proletarian youth in the U.S. to the historic task of Proletarian Revolution, proletarian youth being a vanguard section of the working-class as a whole.The main objective basis for the rebuilding of the genuine Communist leadership of youth in the U,S. is the world-wide crisis of the entire capitalist-imperialist system. This is the era when imperialism, revisionism, and all reaction is heading for total collapse, and Communism is advancing to world-wide victory. The Peoples Wars in the countryside of the world, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, guide the progress of the world revolution as a whole. The Class Wars in the cities of the world, the United States, Europe, and the revisionist countries, are rising in strength and depth, and are bound to merge with the Peoples Wars, to oppose the imperialist wars of aggression, with Revolutionary Wars of Liberation: Peoples Wars and Class Wars. U.S. youth and students, especially proletarian youth, are being inevitably drawn into the main current of this world-wide struggle, into violent conflict with the ruling-class and their lackeys. Young black and Latin American and other national minority youth, Weatherman, young GIs, young workers in the factories who lead the rank-and-file forces, and the mass student struggles have opened the way in the 1960’s for millions more in the 1970’s. Communist leadership, Marxist-Leninist leadership, proletarian revolutionary leadership based on Mao Tsetung Thought, is essential to the principled unity and further success of all these struggles, and the basic task ahead: the destruction of U.S. imperialism and the building of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat in the United States of America.
The main subjective factor entering into this development, the main thing which ensures the correct development of the struggles of youth and students, and the rebuilding of the genuine Communist leadership of youth, is the rebuilding of the Communist Party itself. The party of the proletariat in the U.S.A. was reconstituted in Los Angeles, California, September 4-5, 1965 at the Founding Conference of the Communist Party of the United States of America (Marxist-Leninist). The CP.U.S.A. (M-L) is the party of the proletariat and the vanguard of the working class of the U.S.A.. The CP.U.S.A. (M.-L.) stands in opposition to the U.S. revisionists (the so-called “Communist” Party), the trotskyites (SUP, YSA. Spartacists, Workers World, Workers League, etc.), the conciliators of revisionism (Progressive Labor, Ad Hoc Committee, etc.) and all other expressions of imperialism and imperialist ideology in the ranks of the working-class. The C.P.U.S.A.(M.-L.) does not engage in any joint action with the above tendencies or any other expression of imperialism or revisionism. The firm and principled politics and General Program of the C.P.U.S.A.(M.-L.) and its activity lay the basis for the carrying forward of the class struggle of the proletariat in the U.S. to its historic tasks. The leadership of the CP.U.S.A. (M.-L.) insures the rebuilding of the Communist leadership of youth in the U.S.A. along correct lines.
The building of the Red Guards Movement is the first step taken by the genuine Communist forces in the United States to reconstitute the political leadership of proletarian youth in the United States. The success of the Red Guards Movement is ensured by the existence and active leadership of the reconstituted Marxist-Leninist party, with whose leadership it shall move forward to Proletarian Revolution.
YOUTH AND STUDENTS UNITE UNDER THE RED BANNER OF MAO TSETUNG THOUGHT!
REBUILD THE GENUINE COMMUNIST LEADERSHIP OF PROLETARIAN YOUTH!
ORGANIZE THE RED GUARDS MOVEMENT!