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Julius Falk

Youth Corner ...

The Politics of the AYD

(6 January 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 1, 6 January 1947, p. 7.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

During the war, the Stalinists, who were super-patriots in America, tried to show their good faith with American capitalism by “dissolving” themselves. However, this was a Kremlin-sponsored farce which no one took seriously. All the Stalinists did was to change their name from Communist Party to Communist Political Association. The reactionary political content and activity of American Stalinism was not changed.

Just as the Stalinist Party thought it necessary to continue functioning under an assumed name, so did the Young Communist League reconstitute itself in new garb. Instead of the radical-sounding Young Communist League they now bear the respectable title of American Youth for Democracy.

Despite its superficially progressive appeal, and by virtue of its complete control by the Stalinists, the AYD’s political program is basically reactionary. Using almost the identical cliches as the Daily Worker, the AYD calls upon American youth to support and place their faith in “unity of the Big Three.” They do not see or do not want to see the inherently reactionary content and nature of British and American capitalism.

It should go without saying that there isn’t a word of criticism against rapacious Russian imperialism in any AYD publication. Not even a suggestion of a complaint against such typical Nazi-like acts as importing slave labor from conquered countries, leveling the industries of over-run lands (Manchuria), or the exclusion of the oppressed European Jews. The AYD has nothing but admiration for the political prison that Russia is today.

Not only the politics but the internal life of the AYD bears an odious resemblance to the tactics of its CP mentors. Serious differences of opinion are not only discouraged, but prohibited in bulletins and at meetings.

In the proceedings of the second national convention of the AYD an hysterical resolution on Trotskyism was passed which read as if it had been lifted from the proceedings of the Moscow frame-up trials. There is the same verbiage and methodology in this resolution that characterized the Russian witch-hunt. All left-wing critics of the reactionary AYD-Stalinist line are lumped together under the all-inclusive title “Trotskyites” and abused as “stool pigeons, disrupters, red-baiters.”

A number “of these wrecking individuals,” the AYD resolution informs us, were expelled by AYD clubs in California, Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere. No doubt these junior Vyshinskys would have liked to report the Trotskyists shot instead of expelled. Among the reasons for their expulsion given in the resolution is the fact that “Trotskyists actively opposed the Second World War as a reactionary war” and “sabotaged labor’s wartime no-strike pledge.”

On count 1, we plead guilty. The Workers Party and its youth section, the Socialist Youth League, regarded it as their elementary socialist duty to expose and fight against the imperialist character of the Second World War. Revolutionary socialists everywhere worked ceaselessly with their limited forces to indicate to the working class that the real aims of the war were completely alien to their needs.

On count 2, the Trotskyists will just as readily sign a confession. Precisely because as revolutionists they maintained their socialist perspective during the war, they were opposed to the union movement surrendering its most powerful weapon – the right to strike.

Actually, these two AYD charges against left-wing and socialist critics are a confession of its own reactionary politics.

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Last updated: 27 November 2020