Communist Party of Great Britain
Source: Speeches & Documents of the Sixth (Manchester) Conference of the Communist Party of Great Britain, May 17-19, 1924
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: David Tate
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
The intense exploitation of the working class youth, due to the development of production and the physical and mental immaturity of the young workers, gives rise to the need for the advocacy of special economic demands on their behalf, and for the creation of a young Communist political organisation to guard their interests and lead the revolutionary struggle of the young workers against capitalism. We, therefore, note with pleasure the consolidation and growth of the Young Communist League, realising that the development of a strong young Communist movement means the strengthening of the revolutionary forces in this country, as well as providing a constant stream of trained recruits may be drawn into the Party.
In particular we note that the pioneer work of the League in the formation of shop nuclei and its efforts to popularise this form of organisation as laid down by the Third Congress of the Communist International. Further, the steps taken by the E.C. of the League to build up a strong Communist children’s movement receives our keen approval and we are confident that still greater progress will be made in the near future.
Up to the moment anti-militarist work has not received the attention that this vital issue deserves, and we charge both the E.C. of the Party and the E.C. of the League to take immediate action in this field of work.
The importance of the work of the Young Communist League is still insufficiently understood in this country and there have been in the past instances of friction between Party members and the League by reason of misunderstandings on both sides. These difficulties must be overcome by a spirit of wholehearted co-operation; and it is essential that all Party members should acquaint themselves with the work of the League and have its progress at heart, while League members should appreciate the special responsibilities falling on adult members of the Party.
The fury of the capitalist offensive has been especially directed against the young workers. They suffer doubly from wage reductions, unemployment and long hours. The young workers are being used as a lever to bring down the wages of the adult workers and they have on many occasions been used as blacklegs against adult strikers. The exploitation of the young workers increases unemployment amongst the adult workers. The efforts of the Young Communist League to arouse the young workers must receive our full support, otherwise the workers’ struggle as a whole will suffer. We welcome the efforts of the Y.C.L. to lead the young workers in the class struggle and pledge ourselves to assist it in the struggle for the improvement of the economic conditions of the young workers and the fight for the realisation of a united front between the young and adult workers.
In order to co-ordinate the activities of the League and Party, the following steps must be taken:
1. The League must closely participate in the political life of the Party; this will develop the political energies of the Y.C.L. and provide a sound basis for the Communist youth movement. The League is politically subordinated to the Party and any suggestion of autonomy must be strenuously combated.
2. The Party must assist the League organisationally. The younger members of the Party must be induced to work in the League and endeavours made to form organisations of the Y C.L. where Party locals exist. Especially must we co-operate in developing the League nuclei in workshops and Trade Unions.
All members of the Y.C.L. who have attained the age of 21 years and who have been members of the Y.C.L. for at least one year, must join the C.P. All members of the C.P., under the age of 21 must be members of the Y.C.L., and those between 21 and 23 should regard it as an obligation to do so.
Mutual representation shall obtain between all committees of the two organisations on the principle of one reciprocal delegate with full voice and vote. League representatives to L.P.C.’s and higher Party bodies must be members of the Party.
The League is organisationally autonomous.
3. The Party organ must devote space to the activities of the youth movement by publishing youth supplements and youth columns. The conditions and activities of the young workers must be given publicity.
4. Anti-militarist activity is a special, field of youth activity, but it can only be carried on effectively with the full co-operation and support of the Party membership. A joint anti-militarist committee at the centre, between the League and Party, is the first step in this direction.
5. The poisoning of the children’s minds in the capitalist schools must be countered by increasing the number of Communist Children’s Sections. The work in the Children’s Section is directed by the E.C. of the Y.C.L. and the local management committee consists of League and Party representatives. Party members must regularly participate in the local management committees and seek to increase the circulation of the children’s paper. In particular, Party women should be active in the Communist Children’s Sections.