First Published: The Call, Vol. 5, No. 23, October 11, 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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The Communist Youth Organization (CYO) is in the process of building for its Second National Convention which is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 27-28.
Forums have been scheduled in several cities, along with pre-convention conferences and meetings in order to help prepare CYO activists and sympathizers for the work of the convention. The organization is going through a period of study and consolidation leading up to this important national meeting.
The most important questions to be dealt with at the convention include: 1) the relationship between the CYO and the party, 2) the road to winning the advanced youth to Marxism-Leninism, and 3) organizing the masses of youth against imperialism and the two superpowers.
The convention will mark one full year since the founding of the CYO. Since that time, the organization has steadily grown and played an active and leading role in many key struggles of the masses. At the CYO’s National Steering Committee meeting, which laid plans for the Convention, Marja Wessels, CYO national vice-chairperson, summed up the development of the CYO and outlined its tasks.
“The CYO,” she explained, “is a mass organization of advanced youth.” She said that the CYO “equips socialist-minded youth with a scientific understanding of Marxism-Leninism while at the same time carries out mass work among the broad sectors of young people to bring them into the struggle for socialism and raise their understanding of it.”
Wessels explained her views on the relationship of the party to the CYO, saying that the party is “the vanguard organization of the working class made up of the most advanced class fighters.” She pointed out that, “the party must be the political leader of the CYO, for even though CYO has its own organization, policy and leadership, it will not be independent of the working class and working-class politics which are embodied in the new Marxist-Leninist party.”
To deepen the organization’s understanding of this question, the CYO has begun a study campaign on party building as well as the international situation, the national question, and the economic crisis and the fightback.
Wessels described this study campaign as part of the organization’s emphasis on consolidation as the main weakness of the CYO at this time, adding that, “without political consolidation, expansion of the CYO becomes meaningless.” She stressed the need for the CYO to train a core of leaders who are capable of teaching Marxism-Leninism to thousands of youth in the course of struggle.
“When we talk about consolidation,” said Wessels, “we do not mean we’re only looking inward.” Instead, she explained that CYO members were continuing their mass work, especially around the nationwide “Jobs For Youth” campaign. In Detroit, the CYO is active in organizing young workers against Mayor Coleman Young’s proposed wage slash for young workers as well as the increased use of police terror and repression against minority youth. In Boston, the CYO has been heavily involved in the struggle against school segregation and in defense of minority youth against attacks by ROAR and other racist gangs. New chapters of the CYO have recently been formed in Tampa and New Orleans.
CYO Chairman Roy Smith spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming convention, saying, “It will further push forward the struggle for Marxism-Leninism and for the CYO to be the leading force in the U.S. youth movement.” He added: “Simultaneously, as a new communist party is being built, we are providing the youth with a communist youth organization for the first time in 25 years, an organization that will have a Marxist-Leninist program to lead the struggle forward against imperialism and revisionism.”
Smith encouraged all those revolutionary young people who were interested in attending the convention or working with the CYO to contact the organization at: CYO, Box 5698, Chicago, Ill. 60680.