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Joseph Carter

Comintern Prepares Dissolution of Y.C.L.;
To Change It into Innocuous Organization

Used as Bait to Lure Yipsels intoSocial-Patriotic Organic Unity

(9 November 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 46, 9 November 1935, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Young Communist International has decided to dissolve itself! Such is the meaning of the report of the Sixth Congress of the Y.C.I. recently held in Moscow given by Gil Green, national secretary of the Young Communist League of the United States and member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern.

The Daily Worker (Nov. 2, 1935) informs us:

“Asked what new developments in the life of the Young Communist League would result from the Sixth Congress, Comrade Green stated:

“‘In the first place, the Congress established a new policy which proposes the reconstruction of the present Y.C.L. into a non-party mass organization which while clearly supporting a socialist goal will not take a position on how socialism is to be concretely accomplished, thus opening the way for organic unity with the Young People’s Socialist League in all countries.’”

Capitulation to Right Wing

Reconstruction? Organizationally, it means a fusion of the Y.C.L. and its innumerable youth clubs with the Y.P.S.L. and the countless liberal and semi-radical youth organizations which favor “a new social order” but are “vague” on how it can “be concretely accomplished.” In a word, the conversion of the American Youth Congress into a membership organization – an “American Youth League”!

Politically, it signifies capitulation to the right centrist wing of social democracy, an explicit disavowal of the conception of a revolutionary youth movement established by the early congresses of the Comintern and Y.C.I. and an admission of failure and bankruptcy.

However, this “new policy” – as all organizational lines – results from basic political conceptions. In this case the politics underlying the new course were adopted by the Seventh Congress of the Comintern. In all essentials the decisions of the congress are identical with the position of the right centrists of the Second International, Theodor Dan of the Russian Menshevik party, Otto Bauer of the Austrian Social Democratic Party, Jean Zyromski and Amedeo Dunois of the French Socialist Party. (Compare their theses on Socialism and the War DangerSocialist Call, Oct. 12, 1935 – with the decisions of the Seventh Congress. It is worth noting that the October issue of the Communist, official organ of the American C.P., reprints these theses.)

Social Patriotic Organic Unity

Given this basic agreement between the social-patriots, is it not logical that the same congress should decide in favor of “organic unity”? And now, in order to hasten this process, the Y.C.I. proposes organic unity with the Young Socialist International; and prepares itself by “reconstruction”: abandonment in theory what it long ago deserted in practice, the revolutionary road to socialism.

What will this new organization offer as the solution of imperialist war. of Fascism, of capitalism? Not the revolutionary struggle for socialism, but a medley of pacifist and social-patriotic claptrap!

This at a time when large sections of the Young Socialist International are taking the road of revolutionary Marxism! As they move to the left, away from reformism and social-patriotism, the Stalinists openly accept basic social democratic conceptions and offer organic unity on a program which omits the quintessential of Marxism: the road to socialism.

In France they have prepared the road for organic unity by directing the expulsion of the revolutionary Socialists of the Seine district who fought against social-patriotism. (Two leaders of the Y.C.I. were sent to France with that as their mission!)

Young Socialists Move Left

In Belgium, among the Young Socialist Guard, they failed to make any impression. The leader of the Revolutionary Socialist Action group, which is very influential in the organization of young Socialists, has recently through its secretary, Walter Dauge, openly pledged solidarity with the expelled French youth in their struggle against social-patriotism.

In the United States the Young People’s Socialist League, particularly on the question of war, is far to the left, that is, closer to revolutionary Marxism, than the Young Communist League. At the American Youth Congress held early this year in Detroit, the Y.P.S.L. together with the Spartacus Youth League fought against the Stalinist youth (Y.C.L. and N.S.L.) in favor of a resolution opposing the United States government in any war that it may undertake. (The Stalinists were against this resolution because of its meaning in case of a military alliance between the United States and the Soviet Union!)

Far more striking Is the manifesto issued by the national office of the Y.P.S.L. for International Socialist Youth Week, October 1 to 7 (Socialist Call, Sept. 21, 1935) The manifesto scores pacifism, the social-patriotism of the Communist International and, what is of special significance, the “social patriotism wherever it exists in the Socialist movement.” Though not a clear statement of revolutionary, it marks a great stride forward in that direction.

Manifesto of Yipsels

To quote the salient points:

“Pacifists who hold out the prospect of peace through arbitration or disarmament confuse and weaken the fight of the working class against war. Only the struggle of the workers of each country against their own war-making capitalist class can delay the impending conflict. Only the conquest of power by the working masses, and the destruction of capitalism can bring permanent peace to the world.

“At this most critical time, when a brief period for the mobilization of the labor movement against all capitalist war yet remains, we witness the spectacle of the Communist International bidding its seventh congress and adopting a position identical with that of the social-patriots of 1914. To support ‘democratic’ governments against fascist governments, to refuse to take part in the revolutionary struggle against those imperialists who happen to be allied with the Soviet Union, to speak of ‘progressive’ wars fought by the capitalist governments in this day of imperialism is to desert even the pretense of being a revolutionary movement.

“We oppose all imperialist war. We agree with the St. Louis Proclamation of the Socialist Party in 1917 that the only war that justifies the workers taking up arms is to free the working class from the chains of capitalism.

“Our task is to educate the entire membership of the League to understand the Socialist position on war and to train them to better carry on our anti-war activity. As part of such education and training must be a merciless criticism of pacifism and social-patriotism wherever it exists in the Socialist movement.”

This is new language for the young Socialists. The Y.P.S.L. however, has never defined what it means by “conquest of power.” A major task in the education of the young Socialists is precisely in the significance and form of the revolutionary road to socialism. On the question of war, it is essential that simultaneous with the clarifications of the general problems which it poses, the immediate practical issues be understood and coped with. These include the support of colonial and semi-colonial peoples in their war against imperialism (as in the case of Ethiopia today), the question of sanctions, “neutrality,” and what constitutes a platform for the united front against war. In practice this will lead to a closer collaboration of the Y.P.S.L. and the S.Y.L.

The new course of the Young Communist League will, not be welcomed by the militant young Socialists: except as another proof of Stalinist bankruptcy!

How will it he met by the members of the Y.C.L. who were never consulted prior to the adoption of the policy and are now presented with an accomplished fact – and asked “to discuss”? In so far as they have trained at all it has been the barracks training of soldiers receiving orders from above. Most of the young workers who enter the Y.C.L. to participate in the revolutionary labor movement reply to these orders by, after a few months stay, leaving the Y.C.L. Others remain “faithful” soldiers. Still others raise questions or dissent from the order and are expelled, usually for “Trotskyism.”

However, the abrupt turn of the Young Communist International will undoubtedly awaken many of the young Stalinists out of their uncritical position. They will be compelled to re-evaluate the program they formerly accepted and be more receptive to revolutionary Marxism, the program of the Workers Party and the Spartacus Youth League.

The growing desire among the youth for revolutionary unity which is being distorted by the Young Communist International must be utilized for the genuine revolutionary movement. The turn to the right of the Y.C.I. as well as the turn to the left of the Y.P.S.L. present the Spartacus Youth League with exceptionally favorable conditions for presenting its program of revolutionary Marxism as the basis for the regroupment and unity of the militant youth in the struggle against imperialist war, Fascism and capitalism and for working class emancipation.

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