Why do we need a brochure about the communist youth movement? Is the youth movement relevant anymore? And why do we need texts by Lenin and Liebknecht – isn’t that just left-wing nostalgia?
We, as members of the independent communist youth organization REVOLUTION, are firmly convinced that these texts have not become less important in the last 60-100 years. They put the question of the youth movement and the revolutionary youth organization on the agenda.
Of course today there is no strong revolutionary youth movement in sight: the “socialist” parties have more or less completely broken from Marxism and have wholeheartedly turned to “democratic socialism” – really: social neoliberalism.
And their youth organizations have followed. No one expects anything revolutionary to emerge from the British Labour Youth or the German Jusos. But as the economic crisis deepens, so grows the need for a mass revolutionary party of the working class and also for an organization of the revolutionary youth. The potential for such proceses of organization is growing – we must recognize and use this potential.
In the summit sieges of the anticapitalist movement, in the youth protests in France and Chile we witness that young people are forcing their way onto the political stage to express their discontentedness, their will for change. They need their own organization.
For REVOLUTION we did not need this brochure to begin a discussion about the independence of the youth organization. REVOLUTION was founded by the League for the Fifth International (LFI) as a politically independent youth organization, in accordance with the views of Lenin and Trotsky.
Although we are formally independent from it, the LFI works as a faction in REVOLUTION. This means that LFI members have to submit to the decisions of the LFI leadership in regards to the best policies for REVOLUTION. Since LFI members make up a majority at the conferences and in the leading bodies in Revo, since the LFI makes decisions regarding Revo which are obligatory for all LFI members, our organization internationally is anything but independent.
In the mean time the theory of the independence of a youth organization seems to have disappeared as well: the term “independent” is now reduced to “only organizational” or even “structural”.
Just a year ago the LFI said: “Any attempt to limit the political and organizational independence of the youth serves only the interests of reformism and reaction.” But confronted with us, a truly independent youth organization, a new theory was announced: “Political independence means only independence from Marxism”. The conclusion was clear: REVOLUTION should, despite all positions of both organizations, be subordinate to the small propaganda groups of the LFI.
That was enough for us “Indys” (i.e. non-LFI-members) to oppose this behaviour of tutelage with forceful protest. We founded our own tendency, “Independent REVOLUTION”, iRevo for short, and demanded that the LFI dissolve its faction.
We were unfortunately not surprised to be denounced as “unbolshevik” or “passive”. Therefore we want to counterpose the “Leninist” practice of the LFI to the real thoughts of Lenin. We have decided to publish the texts in full, even if they don’t deal exclusively with the question of the youth movement. Such original texts should be available to all young revolutionaries, not just to party functionaries with private libraries, who can quote an appropriate passage for whatever point they want to make.
The discovery that a closed party faction within the youth movement is destructive was not made by iRevo. The “big ones” of the communist movement also recognized this and fought for the complete independence of the youth. That’s why there is not one single historical example (more precisely: not one example beyond the Maoist K-groups) of a communist organization working as a faction within a youth organization that sympathizes with it.
This brochure should prsent the foundations on which REVOLUTION (and iRevo) was built – also for those comrades who seem to have forgotten them!
Perhaps this brochure will help them to realize that the slogan of the absolute political independence for the youth (and also for REVOLUTION) is today, like in the times of the revolutionary Comintern, “objectively revolutionary”. But this brochure is not just for Revo and the LFI. It should offer all interested parties, all active young people the chance to learn about the communist youth movement, to draw the conclusions from it and contribute to building up a new, revolutionary youth international!
Jalava, for the iRevo Coordination