Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Workers’ Viewpoint

Revolutionary Youth League Founded!

WVO Unites Communist Youth to Build Communist Leadership of R.Y.L.

First Published: Workers Viewpoint, Vol. 2, No. 4, May 1977.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On the weekend of February 21, 1977, one hundred college students, high school students and young workers came together in Chicago for a youth conference initiated and organized under the leadership of the Workers Viewpoint Organization. The purpose of this conference is to unite genuine communists from all four corners of the country who are organizing revolutionary youths into a single nation-wide organization. The character of the conference was for Marxist-Leninists to unite around the specific tasks ahead for youth organizing in this period. This was the main character of the conference though it included many revolutionary minded youth who follows the leadership of communists to exchange their views on how best to organize the working class youth for proletarian revolution. As a result of the conference, the Revolutionary Youth league was founded, a revolutionary communist-led and organized mass youth organization that inherits the rich history and tradition of the revolutionary youth movement in the U.S.

Revolutionary Youth Movement: A History of Struggle & Self Sacrifice

The history of the revolutionary youth movement is full of chapters showing the self-sacrifice and determination of the youth in class struggle: In the 1960’s and early 1970’s, revolutionary young workers and students in the United States played a vital role in pushing the struggle of the working class and oppressed people forward. Afro American youth in particular rose up in revolutionary struggle against national oppression in Harlem, Watts, Detroit, Southside of Chicago etc. – in all, over 27 cities. Hundreds of thousands of youth rose up in response to the sit-in tactic used by Afro-American students in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1st, 1960. Groups such as the Black Panther Party and Young Lords Party were organizational manifestations of the vigorous youth movement and were able to mobilize thousands of youth into revolutionary struggle defending our communities against repression and fighting for our democratic rights.

Thousands of youth supported our brothers and sisters in Indochina in massive demonstrations, sit-ins, building takeovers etc. against US imperialist aggression abroad. Thousands of young soldiers helped to disintegrate the imperialist war efforts by refusing to fight. They staged mutinies aboard US navy ships and fragged army officers who tried to make them fight.

On the campuses, sit-ins, strikes, building takeovers spread from campus to campus all across the country as demands for open admissions, for free tuition, ethnic studies programs all challenged the monopoly capitalist control of education. These spontaneous movements – the national movement coupled with the student movement – were mighty torrents that shook the very foundation of bourgeois rule.

In these heroic years of struggle, many young workers and students were cold bloodily assassinated by the state. The hands of the ruling class are stained, with the blood of our revolutionary youth from Kent State, Jackson State, the Freedom Riders in the South; with the blood of our revolutionary fighters Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, George Jackson. Their lives must be avenged as we take up the banner for socialist revolution and continue to fight to realize the genuine aspirations of the oppressed masses.

Through these struggles we learned that although revolutionary youth can at times play a vanguard role we cannot take up the banner for socialist revolution by ourselves but must follow the leadership of the working class as they resolutely take up the banner and lead us into battle! We learned the protracted nature of the struggle and the necessity for tight organization and unity in thinking in our life long struggle. Most importantly, we learned the need for a scientific theory to guide our revolutionary practice – the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.

Using Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to sum-up the experiences of the revolutionary youth movement and the experiences of other movements and organizations, the youth movement has become fused with the communist movement. The founding members of the Revolutionary Youth League took a clear stand on following the leadership of the working class manifested in following the leadership of Workers Viewpoint Organization (WVO). The Revolutionary Youth League came out clearly for communist leadership and demonstrated the necessity for revolutionary youth to constantly raise their party spirit and always follow the leadership of the vanguard Party of the working class.

Unite the Best Sons & Daughters of the Working Class to the RYL

The conference united together many of the best fighters, the best elements from the past and present revolutionary youth movement who have persisted and been tempered through the struggles, who have continued the struggle through all the setbacks and progress of many different struggles, continually searching for the correct path to light the way forward in our struggle for socialism. Many of those at the conference were involved in the Black Liberation Movement and having seen the necessity for organization, were members of other mass youth organizations such as the February First Movement (FFM – a mass anti-imperialist Afro American student organization). Others came through the anti-war, student movement and had been members of Revolutionary Student Brigade (RSB – a mass anti-imperialist organization). Still others were involved in different other national movements, in struggles in the communities and in the factories and had formed small circles to try to provide leadership to the struggles. But organizations like FFM and RSB, though playing a progressive role for a short period of time, degenerated due to incorrect line and leadership guiding the work. The small circles suffered from lack of scope and broad orientation to give leadership in a planned, systematic way to the revolutionary youth movement nationwide.

Youth Movement Moves to Higher Plane

With these young fighters of the working class gather at the conference and with the formation of the RYL under the correct communist leadership of Workers Viewpoint Organization, the revolutionary youth movement took a qualitative leap forward and turned the corner from spontaneous, isolated struggle to careful consciously organized and disciplined leadership with a central line guiding all our struggles nationwide. No longer will struggles jump off on one campus or one community and we have no experience in how to lead it forward. Now we can learn the lessons from each struggle systematically and apply it nation-wide, learn from the successes as well as the failures and co-ordinate our activities on a nationwide scale. The lessons learned through combating the bourgeoisies’ attempt to split the working class with forced busing plans in Boston, can be applied to bourgeois counter revolutionary tactics in other parts of the country; the lessons on organizing the unorganized, on organizing the unemployed in one area can be generalized to other areas. This is the power of correct line and tight organization.

Revolutionary Youth! Only Two Roads!

The conference and the formation of the RYL was timely during this period as the youth are crying out for leadership. This dying capitalism is in one of its deepest political and economic crisis and has thrown millions of young workers and college graduates into a permanent state of unemployment – unemployment from now; ’til death! Particularly over 50% of the Afro American youth are unemployed. Those who have jobs are forced to work overtime and speed ups, draining the life away from the workers for the profits of these blood sucking capitalists. In the high schools, teachers are being laid off and the classes becoming more and more crowded. In the colleges, the ruling class is snatching back our hard won demands for an education. Police are stepping up their attacks particularly on working class and oppressed nationalities youth for so called “youth gang violence”. Millions of youth are being prepared to be used as cannon fodder in another imperialist war between the 2 greedy, profit hungry super-powers (United States & Soviet Union). These dogs offer no future for the youth except decadence, wage slavery, national oppression and death. Each day youth around the world see more clearly that the only future we have is with the working class and to follow the leadership of the working class to socialist revolution. This is the essence of their genuine aspiration and struggles.

The monopoly capitalists are aware of this and tries to divert our struggle. They divert us with forced busing to make us fight each other rather than demand quality education. They promote ideological refuse such as “Roots”. They promote pornography, drugs, dope etc., anything in short to keep us from coming to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought. But no matter how hard they try, the two roads forward is becoming clearer clearer – the road of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought towards socialist revolution or the road of the bourgeoisie – wage slavery, national oppression, decadence, decay and death.

With the 2 roads becoming clear, it is necessary and timely for revolutionary youth to gather from all parts of the country to lead the youth down the correct path. The conference and RYL clearly declares – THE ROAD IS MARXISM AND SOCIALIST REVOLUTION!

With this declaration, the conference established the basis to unite and win revolutionary youth to the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung Thought to make socialist revolution through establishing the RYL. These young fighters for the working class took up their responsibilities to ensure the successful founding of the RYL with revolutionary spirit and optimism.

Comrades prepared for the conference by studying different documents on the youth question prepared by WVO. We studied the role of youth under the leadership of the Bolshevik Party through the writings of Lenin. We studied the youth movement in socialist China and writings of Chairman Mao on how youth correctly serves the people. How to build the RYL, what should its Principles of Unity be, how to provide leadership to the youth movement etc. were questions constantly on our minds and discussions and struggles around them took place at every chance we had. The trip to Chicago itself was used to struggle out these questions and to raise the revolutionary spirit.

To bring out the revolutionary tradition and stand youth have taken with the working class, many of us did all we could to contribute our share to the conference. Some comrades, wrote revolutionary songs dedicated to the conference others painted a mural that reflected our bright future of socialism. Many revolutionary banners were presented with slogans such as “Revolutionary youth will always follow the leadership of the working class and its Party – the WVO”, “Build the Communist Leadership of the Revolutionary Youth Movement,” and “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought is the Science of the Working Class.”

To add to the significance of the conference, comrades from the Iranian Student Association read a message of solidarity and actively participated in the conference. At all times, ISA took a principled and firm stand in clarifying and deepening different questions at the conference. This proletarian internationalist stand by ISA was a model for all comrades to follow, and throughout the conference, the militant unity of the Iranian and American people was further deepened as we struggle against our common enemy.

RYL’s Principles of Unity

The discussion around the Principles of Unity for the RYL centered on the necessity to win over and train revolutionary youth under one nation-wide organization, in order to provide the necessary leadership for day to day struggles. The Principle of Unity of the RYL is not the same as for the conference and does not include socialism. There are some disagreements over this question. The basis for the prevailing line is that at present, the state of fusion between the communist movement and the spontaneous struggles of the working class youth is such that most revolutionary young workers are not communists already. The purpose of the RYL is to train and teach the revolutionary young worker to become a communist through the organizational discipline, the leadership in leading day to day struggles and the study of the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. To demand the Principle of Unity at this point be socialism without a better, more systematic and through investigation into the actual state of fusion itself would exclude many revolutionary youth who are fighting the bourgeoisie and who are willing to follow the lead of communists but do not yet believe in scientific socialism or do not know through lack of contact. The question over whether socialism should be a Principles of Unity will be further deepened through the further summing up of concrete practice with working class youth and youth of different nationalities and taking into account the uneven development of fusion. Youth will be won over and trained to become communists through the course of our fight together against the U.S. bourgeoisie. Revolutionary youth should strive towards the 5 criterias of communists:

1. Study Marxism and criticize revisionism; 2. Work for the interest of the vast majority 3. Being able to unite with the great majority including those who have wrongly opposed you in the past but is seriously correcting their mistakes but special vigilance on careerists, conspirators and double-dealers; 4. Consult with the masses when matters arise; 5. Bold in making criticism and self-criticism. This is the goal of RYL, to develop and train communists. However, to achieve the goal and the basis of the unity of the revolutionary mass organization are connected but are different. It is for this reason that the Principles of Unity does not include socialism but the purpose of communists organizing the revolutionary youth is for socialism. Through vigorous discussion on these questions, the following set of Principles of Unity were adopted:

1. RYL should be a mass multi-national fighting organization that gives leadership to the struggles of working, oppressed nationality, and minority youth and students.
2. Fight in the interests of working class and oppressed youth as a component part of the struggle of working and oppressed people of the world.
3. The RYL accepts the leadership of the working class as represented by its vanguard Party, the WVO. The RYL will develop its tasks based on the leadership of the WVO.
4. Members of the RYL must study the truths of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought to deepen our understanding of the ideological and political lines of the Party of the working class, as represented by the WVO, in order to guide our revolutionary practice.
5. Support struggles of oppressed nations, countries, and peoples of the world against imperialism, old and new colonialism, hegemonism, Zionism, racism and all reaction. Oppose both superpowers.
6. Fight for the right of self-determination for the Afro-American nation in the Black Belt South. Fight for equality of all oppressed nationalities and national minorities!
7. Oppose imperialist arms expansion and the danger of a new world war. Fight against the danger of fascism. Fight militarization, police brutality and other forms of repression. Expose fascist culture; firmly uphold proletarian internationalism.

Due to the lack of time for thorough discussion during the conference, some POU resolutions were not able to be adopted although general unity with them was expressed. These include:

1. Take up the special demands of working women in the fight against the main enemy of monopoly capitalism.
2. Expose Soviet Social-Imperialism as the main danger to the people of the world and the main source of war in the world today.
3. The R.Y.L. adopts democratic centralism as its organizational principle: the individual is subordinate to the organization; the minority is subordinate to the majority; the lower level is subordinate to the higher level; the entire organization is subordinate to the National Steering Committee.

The conference itself was characterized by sharp, comradely struggle. Through these struggles on how to build the RYL and how to lead the revolutionary youth movement, as well as through summing up our revolutionary practice, our strengths and weaknesses were further drawn out. Through recognizing the strengths that we have built through our revolutionary practice in the past and the weaknesses and baggage (old forces of habit) that we have carried along, we can discard that baggage, rectify our weaknesses and move forward ever more vigorously.

The strength of the comrades at the conference was their profound respect for theory to guide our work. The theoretical sharpness of the comrades was reflected in the high level of discussion that occurred. The resolute stand with the working class and tight discipline that comrades exhibited throughout the conference showed that they are: the best sons and daughters of the working class. The weakness was shown by a tendency towards intellectualism – of discussing concepts divorced from concrete situation and concrete implication in practice. This is a particular weakness of comrades coming from a student background which we must combat through the course of our work. Another manifestation of this intellectualism is “constituency polities” deviation. This deviation would have the RYL develop a full position on all issues, to take up all struggles at the same time without taking into account the concrete situation, leading us to jump back and forth from one struggle to another – raising generalities on each struggle and that we support it. What we must grasp is the key issue that will move everything forward and through the concrete struggle and summing it up, we will gain a deeper grasp of the particularities and develop a line on the struggle that will be much richer and deeper. This intellectualism is an incorrect method of thinking that affect our methods of work.

Train Professional Revolutionaries

Through the unity established with the Principles of Unity and in following the leadership of the working class, comrades grasped the necessity to correctly train ourselves internally within RYL as well as push out externally to win over and train new waves of revolutionary youth that will come to the fore. How we carry out this internal training and externally winning and training the youth is the question of our method of leadership to the youth movement and our method of work within RYL.

The conference discussed the necessity to develop the three great styles of work of:

1. Linking theory with practice;
2. Apply mass line;
3. Do criticism and self-criticism.

These are the fine traditions that we must foster and develop among the youth. Internally within the RYL, the relation between leadership and membership, in linking general calls with concrete guidance, in having democracy in order to serve centralism and the importance of sum-ups and carrying out criticism and self-criticism to rectify our weaknesses and strengthen internal unity. Through these correct styles of work our organization will be further developed and strengthened. These lessons were summed up through the negative experiences of other organizations that comrades had experience in like the RSB and FFM. These organizations by belittling theory and not linking it to practice; by bureaucratic centralism and ultra-democratic styles of work and using justification, and mutation of positions instead of serious criticism and self-criticism showed their incorrect styles of work.

In pushing out externally, we must also link our general lines with concrete analysis of concrete conditions to help lead the work forward. To lead the youth movement as a whole forward, we must apply mass line – to know what is on the hearts and minds of the youth and their fears, questions and aspirations and address those concerns concretely. Through the application of mass line, we can detect emerging trends and developing tendencies among the youth movement as a whole and in leading the mass struggle forward through propaganda and agitation and patient one on one work to sum-up our struggles, many revolutionary youth will join the ranks of the RYL to further deepen and enrich and lead the revolutionary youth movement forward.

Carry On the Revolutionary Tradition of Malcolm X

As a result of the conference and the formation of the RYL, the RYL passed a resolution to build for May Day – International Workers Day to celebrate the working class holiday with the working class and its Party; to bring back our rich tradition of struggle. Through this campaign, the RYL will foster and deepen ties with the masses and build up the influence of the RYL and WVO in the youth movement. The RYL also plans to come out with a regular newspaper and a journal summing up the history of the youth movement, the program of the RYL and what the RYL stands for and represents. The newspaper will be an essential weapon of class struggle, providing answers to questions on the minds of revolutionary youth, raising their ideological, political level so that they can gain the socialist world outlook and follow the leadership of the working class, and its Party.

On the last day of the conference, the RYL commemorated the anniversary of the death of Malcolm X. All comrades reflected on the deep revolutionary-spirit of Malcolm X and vowed to carry forth the struggle Malcolm gave his life for. The RYL carries on the best tradition of struggle and self sacrifice of the youth and is the inheritor and defender of the revolutionary tradition of Malcolm X. Through the formation of, the RYL under the leadership of the working class and its Party, we will carry on our revolutionary practice with renewed strength and determination. All other organizations, without the science of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, without the vanguard of the working class giving it direction, will inevitably degenerate, unable to lead the revolutionary struggle of the youth.

The RYL calls on all revolutionary youth to march forward with us on the road of socialist revolution, behind the banner of the Party of the working class That is the only road and the RYL is the only youth organization that could provide the leadership to tap the revolutionary sentiment of the youth in a protracted struggle to overthrow the bourgeoisie!