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Joseph Carter

Y.C.L. Meet Converted into
Forum Against Social Patriots

(23 November 1935)

From New Militant, Vol. 1 No. 48, 23 November 1935, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Last Friday’s New York meeting of the Young Communist League on the new turn of the Young Communist International was converted into a forum against Stalinist social-patriotism.

The several thousand youth, mostly students, who came to the meeting were given innumerable pieces of anti-Stalinist literature by the Spartacus Youth League, the Young People’s Socialist League and others. As a prelude to a dry humanitarian speech by Gil Green the audience was treated to some soothing music. The young Socialists were given the platform following Green’s speech. The chairman announced that two representatives of the Spartacus Youth League had asked for the floor but that there was not “sufficient time” for any more discussion. This after only two Yipsels and no one else had been permitted to speak!

Following the meeting a group of Spartacans assembled in the street and lustily sang revolutionary songs and shouted slogans, most popular of which was “I knows it Browder” and the slogan of “Fourth, Fourth, Fourth International.”

Green Sees the “Light”

Green dished out the new line of the Young Communist International. He sounded like a Y.M.C.A. director who had just seen the “light” and urged “the unity at all costs of the young generation against war and Fascism.” Nothing new was added to his interview in the Daily Worker and Young Worker on the “reorganization” of the Y.C.I. preparatory to organic unity with the Young Socialist International.

The Young Communist League is today nothing but a “young Communist party,” he stated. It must become a mass youth educational organization not directly affiliated with any political party. He denied that this meant the “liquidation” of the Y.C.L. but avoided any explanation of the omission of the road to power in the proposed program of the “reorganized” league.

Green declared that the “communists” In this broad league would “democratically” urge that the organization have fraternal relations, engage in joint activities, etc. with the Communist Party. If organic unity were achieved between the Y.C.L. and the Y.P.S.L. then the young Socialists would have the right to propose that the new youth ^organization have certain relations with the Socialist Party. This, he stated, would be a step to organic unity of the S.P. and C.P.

The response of the audience indicated that the young Communists present were uneasy about the liquidation of the Y.C.I. but seemed to be reassured by the remarks of Green.

Green had apparently forgotten all about the struggle against capitalism! Nor did he even attempt to explain the program of the Y.C. L. on the struggle against war and struggle against Fascism. Only bare formulas were presented: “unity of all non-Fascist and progressive youth,” “organic unity of the Y.C.L. and the Y.P.S.L.”

YPSL Denounces Social Patriotism

The young Socialists who spoke – in “semi-official capacity” since the Y.P.S.L. had refused to send an official spokesman – followed the line of the leaflet issued by their organization. This is the first leaflet ever issued by the Yipsels to the Y.C.L. in New York and follows on the heels of a young Socialist leaflet which greeted Browder’s meeting in Chicago several weeks ago.

The leaflet scores the “liquidationism” of the Y.C.L. “as an abandonment of the struggle for a Socialist revolution.” (The inference might logically be drawn from this that the Y.C.L. directly affiliated to the C. P. is a revolutionary organization.)

The social-patriotism of the Comintern is attacked.

“The Comintern justified the split 15 years ago mainly on the ground that the International had to exclude all remnants of social-patriotism, all those who had supported the imperialist war because they considered their bourgeoisie to be aligned on the ‘just side.’ Today a similar situation is developing. Again we find sections of the working class (including the Communist International) beating the war drums in the name of the revolution. The C.P. frankly states that if, in the next world war, the U.S. finds itself aligned on the same side as the U.S.S.R. (against Japan or Germany) then it will support that war by the Government.”

Here is a clear cut statement against social-patriotism.

The Twenty-One Points

But strangely enough, this statement appears in the same leaflet wherein the twenty-one conditions for admittance to the Communist International (adopted 1920) is attacked as the cause of the split in the international working class movement.

“We are glad that they (the leaders of the Comintern – J.C.) now wish to take measures to overcome the split in our movement which has lasted since 1919 and for which the famous ‘21 points’ were largely responsible. At that time, it was the theory of the Communist leaders that it was inadmissible for revolutionaries to be in the same party with the reformists and centrists. It was with this guiding idea that they drove toward the thoroughgoing split which your leaders are bemoaning at present.

“We of the Y.P.S.L. agree with the goal of a homogeneous revolutionary party, disciplined and centralized, which will be capable of overthrowing the capitalist state. But we consider that such an end can be achieved only by a process of discussion and self-development within the party, not through an artificial split engineered from without as the Comintern leaders believed. We therefore welcome the new turn of the C.P. and the Y.C.L. toward organic unity as a complete repudiation of the organizational principle upon which the C.I. was founded and which gave it Its reason for separate existence.”

Here we have a combination of an ignorance as to how the Comintern was formed and a confusion on the conception of a revolutionary party.

Let History Speak

In the first place the split in the labor movement was caused by the social democratic betrayal during and following the World War. Strangely enough, this was stated, by the young Socialist speaker at the Y.C.L. meeting – who is the author of the leaflet!

Second, the organizational split with the social-patriots was not “an artificial split engineered from without.” One has but to read, for example, the history of the origins of the French and American Communist parties. In the first case Lenin urged the Communists to stay in the S.P. and it was more than a year and a half after the, Comintern was formed (March 1919) that the Communists won a majority in the French S.P. (Dec., 1920)! The party affiliated to the Comintern.

In the United States the majority of the S.P. was expelled in the most arbitrary fashion because of its support to the program of the Third International. They “agreed with the goal of a homogeneous revolutionary party, disciplined and centralized” (present statement of Y.P.S.L.) and. attempted to achieve this end – which means a break with the social-patriots of all stripe “by a process of discussion and self-development within the party.”

Green Nods His Head

The leaflet confuses Stalinism with the early Comintern under Lenin. Stalinism has repudiated, the 21 points in regard to the political struggle against social-patriotism because it has adopted this treacherous program as its own. And therefore it proposes organic unity to the social-patriots of the Second International!

Gil Green’s reply to the young Socialists’ charge of social-patriotism was an admission of the accuracy of the charge. He did not deny that the Y.C.L. would support the United States if it were in alliance with the Soviet Union in the coming war. He stated very dramatically that “we would force the government to support the Soviet Union in case of war”!

The young Stalinists present were undoubtedly impressed by the anti-Stalinist literature given to them. The statement of the Spartacus Youth League clearly explained the political basis and significance of the new turn of the Y.C.I.

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