Young Vanguard, The Militant, Vol. III No. 9, 1 March 1930, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
The long awaited Revolutionary Youth, organ of the youth members of the Lovestone group has finally graced us with its maiden debut. Expressing intentions of becoming the fighting organ of the American youth movement, the beacon light for the training of young Communists, and the herald of all that is “revolutionary” “Leninist,” etc. it actually typifies in the main the characteristics of the whole composition of the Lovestone group. It goes without saying that Revolutionary Youth embodies none of these forms; on the contrary, it exhibits the worse features that have become attached to the body of the Communist movement.
The problems of the American League have not grown up today. The decline, both organizationally and politically, of the Y.C.L., its cynicism, high politics, lack of vital activity, and all the retarding conditions of the Communist Youth League, are not the product alone of the present leadership. While it is true that the present regime of Harvey, Green, Rijack, has only accentuated these conditions, basically they have been part of the League from the period of the Lovestone-Zam leadership.
The present leadership despite its strict adherence to the “leftward” swing in the Comintern, actually carries over all the features of the former opportunistic and bureaucratic leadership. The heritage of the Harvey-Green-Rijack (Steuben) leadership from the former Lovestone-Zam clique was a non-appearing Young Worker, a pitifully small membership, a League that was apathetic to its tasks, that was virtually non-existent as a factor in the revolutionary movement. This inheritance found fitting executors in the present regime, who while differing in their political affiliations, are for all practical purposes alike in their concepts of the needs of the League, and the methods of building a mass youth movement. Not only has the present leadership failed to better substantially the state of affairs left by the former ruling group, but it is responsible for the further decline and disintegration of the League.
Revolutionary Youth offers no solution for these conditions. Upon the heads of the Rubinsteins, Silvis, Luryes, Zams, Herbergs, as well as the present Harveys, Rijacks and Greens, lie the shortcomings of the League. The attempts of the Lovestone youth section to cry for democracy, discussion, mass work, organization, etc. can only draw crocodile tears from the members of the Communist Opposition. Only a year ago we were faced with the same bureaucratic expulsions, lack of opportunity of discussion and sluggings from the same group that finds it expedient today to discover that the principles of Communist organization are mercilessly looted by the present Stalinist adventurers.
It is apparent from the situation that exists in the League (which cannot be and is not separate and apart from the general conditions prevalent in the Party, and for that matter in the Comintern and Y.C.I.) that the problems of building a mass youth movement are far greater and deeper than the personalities in the leadership. Revolutionary Youth clarifies nothing. It actually brings on greater confusion.
What is necessary at this juncture is a revaluation of the principles that accompanied the organization of the Y.C.I. Clarification is sorely needed on the following questions: What is and what should be the character of the Communist youth leagues? What shall be the attitude towards the question of “vanguardism”? What shall be the attitude on the question of “independence”? What are the main problems and the immediate tasks of the Youth? What is the attitude of the youth movement on the burning questions of principle between the Centrist leadership and the Leninist Opposition?
A discussion of these questions and the arrival at their proper decisions will fundamentally alter the course of disintegration of the youth Leagues. A correct solution would spell death to the sophistication, high politics, cynicism and opportunist adventurism that today pervades the youth movement. To these and other questions, subsequent issues of the Militant will devote itself.
Last updated: 1.9.2012