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Newsletter (in English)


Startbox-iThesesUnder capitalism, young people are subject to special forms of oppression. We get bad jobs with low wages, we suffer under the arbitrary rule of parents and teachers, are impeded in the development of our sexuality, we are not allowed to vote but can be sent to die imperialist wars, to name just a few examples. This oppression is a product of capitalism and therefore it can only be ended by the overthrow of this system.

This oppression is also reproduced within the left. In any reformist party one sees how adults decide on policies while young people go flyposting.

Today’s anticapitalist movement, which has been active around the world since the protests against the WTO meeting in Seattle, is primarily a youth movement. The heads of the movement are from the NGOs or the reformist parties and trade unions, but the hands and feet of the movements are radical youth.

The traditional left, i.e. the reformist parties and the trade unions, is shockingly weak amongst young people. The anticapitalist movement of today is an expression of the fact that young people are becoming active by going around this left and the workers’ movement.

The most advanced parts of the anticapitalist movement must be won for the class struggle, for the perspective of proletarian revolution. We fight for the young base of the movement to organize itself independently of the “old” reformist leadership and take the wheel themselves.

To move forward, these radicalized youth need an independent revolutionary youth organization. For a century the communist movement has advocated such an organization. The Communist International wrote in 1921: “The entire history of the proletarian youth movement in every country shows that only independent, that is, self-governing, youth organisations develop bold and determined revolutionary fighters and astute organizers of the proletarian revolution and soviet power.” (1)

The slogan of the “complete independence of the youth movement”, which Lenin defended (2), has two aspects:
1) breaking young people from the organizations of reformism, by strictly rejecting every type of tutelage and bureaucratism.
2) giving young activists the opportunity to take on responsibility and thus learn from their own successes and mistakes.

Therefore REVOLUTION works to build up a completely independent, revolutionary communist youth movement. Political and organizational independence means that young people must decide on their policies themselves and put them into practice independently. Young activists need more than just theory: they need a spirit of resistance and self-reliance that they can only learn in the struggle for their ideas. (They already learn blind obedience in the bourgeoisie’s schools.) A communist youth organization must be a school for revolutionary struggle, with constant political education to impart Marxist theory.

We want a broad youth organization – in which all young people who want to fight against the capitalist system can participate, with a program based on Marxist theory and the experience of the workers’ movement. Every generation must approach socialism on its own paths, and therefore young activists today must work out new ideas rather than just adopting ready-made formulas from their “parents”. Therefore, a revolutionary youth organization must not only intervene in the class struggle resolutely, but also provide an arena for the widest debates on all political questions.

Independence does not mean that we want to divide ourselves from older activists. More experienced revolutionaries are extremely important to us as teachers and advisors. But as Karl Liebknecht declared a hundred years ago: “The youth must elect their leaders and advisors themselves.” (3) Concretely this means for us: we want suggestions for our work, but the youth must decide themselves what to do with these suggestions.

We want to win other revolutionary groups and especially their young members to the project of supporting and building up independent youth groups. On this basis we will work together with other revolutionary groups where we share programmatic goals. These groups must accept, as a strategic project, that young activists need self-governing structures (and thus abstain from closed factions and “entryism” in their own youth organization).

Building up an independent revolutionary youth organization is not an end in itself. The point is to mobilize forces amongst the youth for the formation of a revolutionary party of the working class.

When a revolutionary workers’ party with influence on the masses emerges, a revolutionary youth organization must become an organic part of it, i.e. taking part in its decision-making on equal footing and complying with the common decisions. Such a party would unite revolutionaries of all ages and – in contrast to a small propaganda group – lead significant actions in the class struggle. The youth must then be in the front lines of these actions. But even in this case the youth organization would need to maintain its organizational independence, i.e. the participation in this party would need to be constantly re-considered.

To win the broadest possible forces amongst the youth for a revolutionary programme and a corresponding organization, we call for the formation of a revolutionary youth international. We do not see this as a short-term project to be realized in the next months – for us this is a strategic orientation which we constantly aim for.

international conference of REVOLUTION
July 28, 2007, Liberec


1. “Theses on the Youth Movement”, passed by the Executive Committee of the Communist International in August 1920, published in “Declarations of Independence”, p. 17.
2. “Jugend-Internationale” by V.I. Lenin, published in “Declarations of Independence”, p. 15.
3. “Workers’ Movement and Youth Organization” by Karl Liebknecht, published in “Declarations of Independence”, p. 13.

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