From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 22, 5 September 1931, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
Amidst the fires and flames of World War, at a time when international socialism had collapsed, the national socialist parties had (with few brilliant exceptions) turned social-imperialist, the socialist youth assembled at Berne, Switzerland, unfurled the banner of proletarian internationalism. It was there, in April 1915, that the first Sunday of every September was set aside for the mobilization of the working youth against capitalist militarism and war.
The kindled sparks served as torches to light up the path towards proletarian revolution. The socialist youth, actively aided by the Bolsheviks, inspired by Lenin, Liebknecht, and Luxemburg, courageously led the struggle against opportunism and social patriotism. Hand in hand with the revolutionary socialists of the social democratic parties it forged ahead, organized Left wings, held demonstrations, defended the principles of revolutionary Marxism.
The victorious October gave unprecedented impetus to this development. In November 1919, in Berlin, a few months after the Comintern had been formed, amidst tumult and uncertainty, victories and defeats, the Young Communist International was born. Continuing the best traditions of the Socialist Youth International, it made International Youth Day a living expression of its anti-militarist work. The traditions of I.Y.D. were enrichened, made more glorious, enshrined in the heart of every young revolutionist. Growing thousands of youth rallied to the call of the Y.C.I. against militarism, armaments, war. The fight against militarism was intimately connected with the struggle against wage slavery, with the winning of the youth for Communism. The Y.C.I. was becoming the acknowledged leader of the international proletarian youth.
Today more than ever since the last war, the need for systematic anti-militarist work exists. The present worldwide economic crisis compels the imperialist powers to intensify their search for new markets. The increased armaments, the numerous peace conferences, the wide spread militarization of the youth, the offensive of the capitalist governments against the Communists, the divers campaign against the Soviet Union are a few of the outstanding signs of the day.
Are the Leagues prepared to play the same role that the socialist youth did in the last war? Can they mobilize the youth for the defense of the Soviet Union? Will they be able to carry on a revolutionary struggle against their own capitalist class?
The absence of systematic and effective anti-militarist activity, and the virtual sterility of the Leagues caused by the revisionist theories, false strategy and tactics and bureaucratic regime predominating in the International Communist movement, spell a serious danger. Just as in 1915, the revolutionary socialist youth, who were in the forefront in the struggle against militarism, led the fight against opportunism in the revolutionary ranks, so today the Communist youth should rally around the Left Opposition in its struggle for revolutionary Marxism, against opportunism, for the regeneration of the Communist movement.
We should greet the seventeenth International Youth Day – resolved to emulate the young comrades who came before us; to carry on their work until final victory.
Last updated: 24.3.2013