First Published: The Worker, for Hawaii, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 1978.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.
On November 19 and 20 a new organization was born in the small university town of Champaign, Illinois–the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade, the youth group of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. More than 600 young men and women plus several dozen observers registered and took part in the convention, despite the fact that it had been postponed and moved several times after authorities had banned it from the Kent State campus and Ohio generally.
They came from the neighborhoods of more than fifteen cities and from almost 70 campuses from New England to Hawaii. Most had been members of the Revolutionary Student Brigade or of one of the local Youth in Action and other youth groups. Others had recently come forward and been working with these organizations in such battles as Kent State and the Wall Street demonstrations for jobs for youth last summer. For some, advance organizing for the convention itself had been the first contact. But over the weekend something new and greater than the sum of its parts was created–a national communist organization with its roots in the most important struggles of youth and students today.
The convention heard speeches from people who had been active in great organizations and battles of the past, like the Young Communist League of the 1930s, SDS and the anti-Vietnam War and student upsurge of the late 1960s, and the civil rights and Black liberation movements. It heard “testimonials” delivered by fighters from different battles around the country–Kent and Wall Street; the battle around the International Hotel in San Francisco; Hawaii, the “island paradise,” where the capitalist system operates just like on the mainland; the anti-Klan battle in Ohio; California students who seized buildings last spring in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa; and a leader of the Iranian Students Association, fresh from their historic demonstration in Washington, D.C.
The convention was organized around the slogan, “The future is ours, if we dare to take it!” This slogan pointed to two of the important questions which were answered by the convention and which the parents of many young people will be asking as well–why have a special organization for youth and why should it be a communist organization?
Youth today face particular problems as they enter society, related to but not the same as those their folks face. Some even get a lot of attention in the media, like a phenomenal unemployment rate and the laughable pay rates at what jobs do exist, a decaying educational system, widespread drug and alcohol abuse, and so on. All these contribute to an even broader contradiction, the fact that the imperialist system cannot offer young people a life with a purpose. All it holds for the great majority is a life of slaving to make some capitalist rich–if they’re lucky enough to find and hold a job– or for a more fortunate and smaller group some meaningless white collar job, perhaps as a paper pusher or a professional, who is needed to keep the whole system running.
This contradiction runs smack up against the characteristics of youth: their boldness, their innovativeness, their hatred of hypocrisy, their desire to change the world. Just as the issues faced by youth call for special forms of organization to fight around them, so, too, do these qualities. The Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade will help channel this rebellious spirit and mobilize youth to fight back against the attacks coming down on them and against the ruling class which launches those attacks.
But this in itself is not enough. There is only one way that such an organization can provide young people with an opportunity to fight for the bright future they aspire to build. This is by being an organization which openly proclaims that it is not only fighting the wealthy parasites who sit atop this country but fighting to overthrow them and replace their decadent rule with socialism, the rule of the working class, where the laboring millions struggle together to transform all of society. In short, a communist organization.
Similarly, as a communist organization, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade will stand with the working class, aiding them and learning from them in their struggles against the ruling class and its system. Youth alone cannot bring about revolution, as the powerful upsurge of the late ’60s showed, but young people are an invaluable source of energy, strength and daring for the most revolutionary force in society, the working class.
With the close of its convention, the newly formed Brigade has big tasks in front of it, organizing among students and young people on the campuses and neighborhoods of this country. At the convention, preliminary plans were laid for such campaigns as the fight for jobs for youth, against the Bakke suit which seeks to destroy minority enrollment programs in the schools, and in support of the fight for freedom in southern Africa.
In the coming years, the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade will play an increasingly vital and active role in the struggle of the American people. The best sons and daughters of the working class, joined by youth from other sections of the people, will stand side by side with their parents in the great battles to come.