September 29, 2010
Johan Boyden: YCL convention a big success, PV Ontario Bureau , Rebel Youth Magazine
This past weekend, the 25th Central Convention of the Young Communist League of Canada met at the University of Toronto, wrapping up seven months of debate and discussion in the League about the future of the youth fight-back and the YCL Canada.
"I think the overwhelming sentiment of delegates was that this
convention was a tremendous success," said Johan Boyden, re-elected General Secretary. "Our meeting sent a bold demand for a stronger, more united and more militant youth and student movement in Canada, fighting for peace, jobs, accessible education, the environment, and acharter of youth rights."
According to Boyden, the convention had many tasks - to make an
evaluation of the main dangers facing the youth and student's forces
today and chart a course forward; to identify the strengths and
challenges facing the League now; and to make constitutional
"It was a heavy agenda and delegates showed great discipline, I
think," said Boyden. "They worked hard to keep a high standard of
political debate up at all points, discussing the general situation of
the young people's struggles, solving the necessary problems in
resolutions, and keeping at it until 11 pm on Sunday night."
The major orientation of the convention discussion documents were
towards reinforcing, broadening and developing YCL analysis and policy
in the context of the Harper Conservative attack on the youth in
The first section dealt with the international crisis of capitalism
and the offensive of imperialism. It emphasized that imperialism's
attack on the youth was all-sided - ideological, political, economic,
and military - but that brave resistance movements from Palestine to
Cuba were confronting this agenda and demanding peace and sovereignty.
The economic crisis, now entering `round two' has had a particularly
tough impact on the youth, the convention noted. More and more, youth
are facing a choice of which side of the barricades they stand - with
the working class and its allies or the boss.
The majority of the convention dealt with issues in Canada, including
young workers, peace, students, the environment, and other struggles
of youth for equality, people's culture and a democratic solution to
the national question, and a proposal for a Charter of Youth Rights.
"The idea of a Charter of Youth Rights brings together all these areas
of struggle in a way the YCL can now debate and dialogue with the
youth and students about winning urgent demands from the perspective
of the need for broad social transformation. That transformation is,
we think, really a revolutionary process of uniting the youth with the
working class and people's forces towards an anti-monopoly,
anti-imperialist and a pro-socialist agenda," Boyden said.
Convention discussions paid particular focus to the fightback of youth
and what holds it back: barriers to youth participation in trade
unions, the importance of connecting with labour councils, the need
for unity of the students against the right-wing attack on campuses,
unity between English-speaking students and Quebec, and the importance
of building the peace movement, blocking military recruitment.
Special convention greetings were given by Dave McKee, President of
the Canadian Peace Congress, as the delegates marched out onto the
streets to participate in the cross-Canada day of Action against
extending Canada's involvement in the war in Afghanistan.
Rejecting the original proposal that the YCL focus on the issue of
climate change, the convention decided that the League will turn its
energies to the environmental crisis overall, with special attention
on climate change. Discussion and argument sharpened the YCL's
understanding of environmental problems like capitalist agro-industry.
"This means the League will be speaking about another issue concerning
millions of Canadian youth," Boyden said, "and is also a very urgent
question: nature or profits?"
The convention demanded the YCL pay closer attention to the struggles
of young women, which are also important struggles for young men. This
includes the need to defend and expand victories made by the
pro-choice movement, violence against women, and sexism. A special
fraction of women delegates brought forward a serious discussion about
recruiting more young women to the League.
"This convention shows the YCL has made a qualitative step forward in
all-rounded way since our last convention in 2007," Boyden said. "I
think it said: we're not giving up. We're here to fight. We put
socialism back on the table within our movement. We're not afraid!"
There are objective reasons for optimism amongst the youth today, he
added, pointing to resurgent calls for socialism, especially in Latin
In his greetings on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of Canada, party leader Miguel Figueroa urged the delegates to
foster communist principles and values and to continue their efforts
to grow the future of the revolutionary movement. Figueroa urged the
YCL to continue its focus on the 17th World Festival of Youth and
Students in South Africa this December.
Greetings from the World Federation of Democratic Youth called upon
the youth of Canada "to give a strong and firm answer to the offenses
[they] face." "The best answer we can give is to struggle everyday, in
schools, in places of work or in neighborhoods for social
transformation, for a peaceful and fair world!" the WFDY said.
At the end of the convention the delegates elected a new nine-person
Central Committee, (with seven regionally-based alternates) and
representation from British Columbia to Nova Scotia. Five are young
women; four are active trade unionists; six are student activists. The
CC elected an executive of four people including Drew Garvie, YCL
Ontario organizer, as at-large; Marianne Breton Fontaine, leader of
the LJC-Quebec and editor of Jeunesse Militante as treasurer; Stephen
Von Sychowski as Central Organizer, and Johan Boyden as General
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