Young Communist League
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About the YCL
The Young Communist League (YCL) can trace its roots back to 1921, when it was set up as the youth wing of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) which came into being a year earlier in 1920. The YCL is a member of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY).
The YCL seeks a revolutionary transformation of society, an end to poverty, unemployment, exploitation and oppression and therefore and end to capitalism. Communists want a society that can guarantee full equality. We do not believe that oppression based in gender, racial stereotyping or sexual orientation will end the moment capitalism is overthrown, but we do believe that capitalism uses and perpetuates this oppression and so they cannot be solved within the constraints of capitalism. We seek to establish a socialist society based on common ownership and democratic control, drawing on the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin among others, and the experiences of socialist countries since 1917.
Communists operate by working in a broad movement to build the widest possible coalition behind progressive policies. We carry out our work in communities, trade unions, our workplaces and universities as well as broad based peace and solidarity groups.
Throughout its history the YCL has played an important role in working class struggles and has always supported the cause of the toiling masses against the rich bosses, and continues to fight for socialism in Britain.
What we stand for
The YCL aims to build support among young people for the Communist Party’s programme, Britain’s Road to Socialism and to increase young people’s involvement in politics. The YCL is organisationally autonomous and decides its own activities and priorities.
Policies are formulated by a congress which must be held at least once every two years, and are carried out by an elected Executive committee. The League also fights to defend and strengthen democratic rights. It rejects unfair discrimination on the basis of race, age, sexuality or religious or other belief. It calls for the abolition of the monarchy the House of Lords and regards the European Union as an undemocratic and reactionary institution which serves the interests of big business rather than those of Europe’s working people.
CENTRALISED and UNITED
Democratically taken decisions are binding across the organisation, although local organisations decide how best to implement them in their own areas.
PART OF A MASS MOVEMENT
The YCL never puts its own interests as an organisation above those of the movement as a whole and it seeks to build the widest possible coalition behind progressive policies. The Morning Star, Britain’s only socialist daily newspaper, plays a vital role in strengthening the left and the League works actively to support the paper and raise its circulation. The League also recognises the importance of trade unions as the broadest mass organisations of the working class and fights all anti-trade union laws.
It works to abolish capitalism and establish a socialist society based on common ownership and democratic control, drawing on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and others as well as on the experience of socialist countries since 1917. In the context of this struggle it seeks to defend and strengthen public services, the welfare state and the NHS. It believes that everyone has the right to free and inclusive secular education including nursery care, schools, universities, community colleges and adult education centres. The struggle for socialism must go hand in hand with the struggle to protect the natural environment, which is being wilfully damaged by corporations and capitalist governments in their drive for short term profit.
It is a member organisation of the World Federation of Democratic Youth, which represents millions of progressive young people in around 100 countries. It campaigns in solidarity with sister Young Communist organisations around the world and defends existing socialist countries. It backs the right to self determination and opposes any attempt by the imperialist states such as Britain, the US and the European Union to impose their will on the peoples of the world or to exploit or to exploit the world’s resources for capitalist profit. It calls for immediate nuclear disarmament.
It aims not to mend capitalism, but to end it. This does not necessarily mean that the League calls for an armed uprising in modern Britain at present, although we defend the right of the oppressed to take up arms for their liberation.
It means realising that only a fundamental shift in power from the capitalists to the working people can guarantee democratic rights and social progress. Socialist revolution in Britain can and should be achieved by peaceful means, through a combination of massive work and struggle out with parliament combined with elections. The League publicises it activities, its theory and its revolutionary perspective on the day to day struggle through its magazine Challenge, which also provides a channel for debate within the organisation and wider movement.