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Joseph Carter

Youth Notes

(March 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 5, 1 March 1931, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Young Vanguard, the voice of the Left Opposition youth, is henceforth going to appear as a regular monthly section of the Militant. Through these columns we will endeavor to speak to the youth leaguers, as well as to the general working youth, on the problems and tasks of the young workers and their vanguard, the Communist youth; to rally them around the banner of the Communist League of America (Opposition). The need for an organ which would be the “collective organizer” of the working youth, by reflecting their every day life and struggles: by disseminating elementary Marxist education; through articles on fundamental Communist youth tasks and policies, is exceptionally acute today when the potentialities far outstrip the actualities.

To this end, to help the communist youth movement to create such an organ – we make our beginning with a section in the Militant. Readers of these lines should send in contributions. Youth leaguers, young workers, students write!

* * *

On February 5, in Philadelphia, Pa., two members of the Young Communist League, Tess Ryder and Anna Lynn were tried and convicted of sedition. The offense consisted in distributing leaflets for a Liebknecht anti-war meeting to the Philadelphia National Guardsmen. The indictment however is much more serious: It aims at the illegalization of the Young Communist League and through it of all workers organizations. It reads: “Anna Lynn did unlawfully become a member of an assembly, society, or group, called the Young Communist League of Philadelphia, Pa., of which the policies and purposes are seditious.”

Why now, more than ever since the 1919–20 Palmer raids, is the offensive of the bosses intensified, especially against the Communists? Why the taking away of second class mailing privileges from the Young Worker, Vida Obrero, Revolutionary Age and the Young Comrade? Why the attempts to outlaw the Communist movement? The party and league officials answer in unison: Because we are a mass movement; as a war maneuver against the Soviet Union. The first reason has only one weakness – it is untrue. The party still has not gotten completely out of its swaddling clothes. The League is insignificant. The second reason given, while containing some truth, does not however hit the basic point. The attack on the workers’ press, the attempt to illegalize the Communist movement is an organic and inseparable part of the general offensive of the capitalist class against the workers. The bosses, who are trying to get out of the present crises at the expense of the workers – which means lowering of wages, worsening of conditions of labor, greater speed-up, mass unemployment – understand that the workers will make desperate efforts to resist. From this they conclude that a vigorous offensive against the working class, especially the Communist, organizations is on the order of the day. In a word, the possibilities for the growth and expansion of the party and league, due to the deep-growing discontent of the workers exist and all means are and will be taken to crush these organizations, that is, so as to be able more ruthlessly, and unchallenged to exploit the workers. This explains the attack on the League, on the Young Worker, etc.

The workers should answer this challenge with a broad united front. The party and league can lead such a movement only with correct strategy and tactics. The League, especially, is now accorded an opportunity to get out of its sectarian isolation, to make contact with the mass of youth workers, in a word, to become a mass Communist youth league. At present, the calling of youth united front conferences for the defense of the Young Worker, for the defense of comrades Ryder and Lynn should be taken as a first step.

Hear! Hear!

The Young Worker of February 16, informs us: “Comrade Minerich, who is now in the Pittsburg district, writes us something which we want to call to the attention of the whole League. A notice appeared sometime ago in this column about two new units in East Ohio. Comrade Minerich, going thru this section, found that the two ‘new units’ were merely hopes; they didn’t exist. We warn the comrades that we will expose every exaggerated report sent into the National Office.” (Pg. 6.) Hear, hear! comrade. We’ll do our bit to enforce this warning!

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