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Julius Falk

Youth and Student Corner

Autopsy Report

(14 March 1949)

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 11, 14 March 1949, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Do you remember what happened when anyone called the former American Youth for Democracy (AYD) a Communist Party front organization? All the abuse in the Stalinist slander lexicon was heaped on whoever dared suggest this. The most righteous indignation coming from the members of the Communist Party inside – and on top of – AYD.

If in 1945 you merely suspected that this organization’s support of military conscription was motivated by Russian foreign policy, you were obviously a “red-baiter” and a “reactionary.” If a year later you hinted that AYD was now against conscription because Russia’s foreign policy had changed, you were sure of being branded a “war-monger.”

Last month, in this column, we described the dissolution of this self- styled “broad youth organization.” At that time we did not have a copy of the referendum posing the question of dissolution before its membership (though this was decided long before any member voted on it). Now we have a copy. In the February 18 issue of the Daily Worker the referendum’s text is given in full. Here are some excerpts:

“To endorse the objective of helping to found a Marxist youth organization: to dissolve national organizations of AYD ...

“They are cooperating locally with youth and student clubs of the Communist Party and with a number of individual college and community Marxist societies. They are prepared to contribute effectively in the coming few months towards the building of a new national organization that will lead young people in the spirit and devotion to the working class, and democratic heritage of our country and goal of socialism.”

Now that the AYD is no more, nationally, and is very little more than the CP members on campus locally, the mask is abruptly and unconscionably torn off. The Stalinists evidently figured that with their “broad youth organization” flat on its back, they might as well get as much direct help as possible for the Communist Party from the few feebly thrashing local limbs of AYD. Thus, all pretense had to be done away with and local clubs are to help “found a Marxist youth organization” and cooperate locally with “youth and student clubs of the Communist Party.” If you look up the resolution on the youth question passed by the Communist Party at its last national convention, you will find that its new perspective is to “found a Marxist youth organization”!!!

In some ways it is difficult to understand why the Stalinists should openly reveal their control of a front organization, even if that revelation comes through a post-mortem, for the story of Stalinist control of the AYD will surely reach the ears of those who have been sucked into other fronts. We will do our bit on this score. It seems doubly foolish from the CP point of view considering the fact that AYD was one of the most controversial of its offsprings, with charges and denials of CP control running through the American press since AYD’s inception in 1943. Perhaps the only explanation is a cynical and bureaucratic indifference towards its past denials of sponsoring the AYD and dictating its policy now that it is defunct and of no use; and an equally cynical conviction that no matter what they do, they will be able to keep on convincing “innocents” that to call a Stalinist stooge organization by its real name is “red-baiting,” “reactionary” and “war-mongering.”

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