November 11, 2015

YCL-LJC Canada in Havana for the 19th General Assembly of the WFDY

Picture from the 19th General Assembly of WFDY
taking place now in Havana
Special to RY

Despite the historical messaging put forward by the hawkish celebrations of our pro-war and pro-business governments, 2015 does not mark the 70th anniversary of a military victory, but a victory of the people against Nazism and fascism. These were not regular armies who routed the Nazi armies, but largely resistance movements, including communists and the people in general, who fought fascist barbarism which had as its main aim the end of communism.

It is in this vein that several organizations were formed with the aim of ensuring world peace and especially to end the system which, as stated by Jaur├Ęs, "carries within it war just as rain clouds carry the storm". This system is capitalism, and more specifically, its highest stage: imperialism. Women united under the banner of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF); workers within the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and the peace movement joined the World Peace Council (WPC). Meanwhile, young people, with the slogan "Youth unite! Forward for lasting peace!", formed the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY). WFDY’s actions for the liberation of oppressed peoples and for friendship among the people was advanced notably through the World Festival of Youth and Students, which brought together thousands of young people.
Today, this organization continues to represent the interests of youth in struggle for a world of peace, solidarity and social transformation. The last World Festival of Youth and Students, organized by the WFDY, brought together nearly 10,000 young anti-imperialist activists in Quito in December 2013.

Photo from the World Festival of Youth and Students
- Quito, 2013
Certainly the world has changed in the last 70 years: many countries gained their independence after bloody struggles, several countries have gone through counterrevolutions, most notably in Eastern Europe, forcing them to abandon their principles of anti-imperialism, while other countries have benefited from social advantages won through workers' struggle. There is no doubt the world has changed its face, but cosmetic changes do not change the most important point of the analysis of our predecessors in 1945: the main enemy of youth (and the people in general) remains imperialism.

With the development of capitalist and environmental crises in recent years, inter-imperialist contradictions have been exacerbated, generating armed conflicts around the world, including most recently the wars in Syria and Ukraine.

More than mere skirmishes, these conflicts pose a real danger to peace as they threaten to envelope more and more countries and peoples. They leave in their wake the blood of the daughters and sons of working people who have no alternative besides unemployment or serving as cannon fodder in these wars.

Youth deserve a better future. Another world is possible. The movements to build this world exist and are fighting as we can see now in Palestine with young rebels who reject Zionist colonization and are claiming their right to self-determination, or similarly in Western Sahara with those who are fighting daily against the military occupation of their country by Moroccan troops. Latin American countries at the last CELAC meeting designated their continent a "zone of peace", while countries such as Ecuador have gotten rid of foreign military bases and made the United States ambassador persona non grata.

The choice of Cuba as the host of the 19th General Assembly of the WFDY sends a positive message to youth fighting for a better future free from war. Not only does socialist Cuba represent a country which has maintained its anti-imperialist positions and actions for peace despite all the difficulties associated with this resistance, but also holding the meeting in Latin America serves to underline a revival in the anti-imperialist movement with major contributions from countries undergoing revolutionary processes such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador.

During this event, the YCL-LJC intends to take part in discussions not only as an observer but as an actor.

Rozhin Emadi, one of two Canadian delegates and a member of the Central Executive Committee of the YCL-LJC, says that "this meeting will be an opportunity to exchange experiences with comrades from around the world, to learn from their struggles and reiterate our solidarity with people in struggle against imperialism, especially with the Cuban people, but also with the Palestinian and Sahrawi people. This is our internationalist duty. At the same time, we will go to Havana in order to share and promote our own perspectives on issues, namely the struggle against the oppression of women, against climate change and national oppression, on issues where the YCL-LJC’s analysis provides a contribution to strengthen the anti-imperialist movement."

"Indeed, we do not consider questions of the environment or gender as auxiliary struggles but rather as an integral part to the anti-imperialist struggle. It is no coincidence that rape, national oppression and the destruction of the environment are used as weapons of war," adds Adrien Welsh, chair of the International Committee of the YCL-LJC and second Canadian delegate at the meeting. "Our presence in Cuba will also be an opportunity to show the youth of the world that anti-imperialist, progressive, active and militant youth exist in Canada and Quebec, including young communists, who better represent the interests of the youth of Canada than official bodies which are only interested in exploiting youth for business profits.”
WFDY is one of the most important platforms for young progressives as it supports our demands internationally. A far cry from forums controlled by proponents of capitalist hegemony it assures that we are heard and that our actions will be supported around the world.

The 19th General Assembly of the WFDY will take place from the 9th to 13th November and will bring together over a hundred young people from almost as many countries to coordinate their efforts in the anti-imperialist struggle for lasting peace.

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