March 7, 2017

Building Camaraderie in Western Canada: Preparing for the 27th YCL-LJC Convention

Special to RY

Nearly forty members and close friends of the YCL-LJC from all over Alberta and British Columbia united for the holiday weekend of February 18, 2017. The unceded territories of the Syilx people in Kelowna served as a scenic backdrop for important discussions between comrades in preparation for the 27th Central Convention of the Young Communist League-Ligue de la jeunesse communiste du Canada (YCL-LJC) in May. The purpose of the Kelowna retreat was to allow comrades in Western Canada the opportunity to create bonds, to participate in educational sessions, and to be familiarized with, discuss, and to expand upon the political line of the YCL-LJC.

Educational sessions at the YCL-LJC retreat covered a variety of topics relevant to the socialist struggle within settler-colonial, capitalist Canada and to the broader internationalist struggle. Comrades discussed the international context of capitalism in crisis by examining Canadian imperialism and the climate crisis in depth. It was emphasized that young comrades in Canada today especially bore the brunt of increasing economic disparity and precarity aggravated by imperialist wars of aggression. Canada’s participation in the destabilization of Yemen, Ukraine, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan, to name a few, were highlighted during discussions. Comrades also linked the imperialist nature of capitalism to the undeniable devastation caused by the climate crisis. Comrades concluded that it was necessary to provide climate reparations for the sustainable development of over-exploited countries and to protect Indigenous peoples from the disproportionate impact of environmental racism. It was made clear that the climate crisis knew no borders and that capitalism had created and perpetuated this environmental catastrophe. The international context session was important in recognizing connections between fascism abroad and fascism at home. Comrades were able to identify imperialism and the climate crisis as the two functions of capitalism, with resistance uniting young people across Canada.

After discussions regarding the international context, comrades delved deep into the myriad problems plaguing young people in Canada and how to strengthen the fightback at home. The corporate attack on young people was approached in the materialist frame of anti-capitalism with an intersectional analysis. These discussions were particularly pressing in light of recent mass movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Women's March against Trump. By examining the variety of mass movements in Canada and around the world, comrades were able to contextualize the YCL-LJC’s ideological and strategic role as a revolutionary organization. Topics ranged from healthcare and disability, the women’s movement and LBTQI2S rights, racism and xenophobia, the need to organize and unionize young workers, to Indigenous struggles. Many of these topics were personally moving for comrades and allowed for generative and educational conversation. As a result, comrades were able to learn from one another in an intimate and intellectual setting. The discussions in these sections were poignant considering theoretical concerns on the left regarding ultra-leftism and practical concerns regarding reformist tendencies in mass movements. Not currently living in a revolutionary moment in Canada, the necessity of organizing young militant people from a variety of movements into broad and massive political struggles with concrete political demands, was brought to light.

To conclude the weekend, comrades had a chance to ground their discussions in praxis by discussing strategy of the YCL-LJC. As a democratic centralist, inclusive, and collective league, members were able to expand upon important tactics for recruitment. Comrades focused on building clubs that are more inviting and accessible to marginalized youth, immigrant youth, young workers, and especially Indigenous youth. Comrades were also able to establish deep links with one another in order to increase communication between YCL-LJC clubs across Western Canada. Finally, comrades discussed the necessity of strengthening organizing now with all the aforementioned crises. The current situation truly resonates with the words of Rosa Luxemburg: “socialism or barbarism!”

New and old members united at the Kelowna retreat, leaving with a reinvigorated desire for justice and peace. Now is the time for young people to organize politically in the struggle against capitalism since “the youth are the future, the future is socialism!”

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