NEW YORK - This past weekend, members of the Young Communist League from around the country flocked to the national headquarters of the Communist Party USA to attend its national conference.
The event focused on ways the Communist Party and YCL are working to fight for jobs and equality and to refine their strategy of reaching out online and through social networks to the millions that are now beginning to question capitalism.
These new efforts were welcomed by the YCL members in attendance.
When asked about the conference, Derek, a 19-year-old YCL and Communist Party member in Kentucky said, "Going to the conference was a new experience for me, I met the leadership of the Communist Party and the YCL and the camaraderie between members was amazing. We left with great ideas to go back to our respective clubs [local organizations of the CPUSA and YCL] to build the Communist Party and YCL and utilize new technologies in the world today."
Discussion and reports on the Communist Party and YCL's internet work was inspiring, with the word that hundreds of thousands are now using the People's World, Political Affairs and the Communist Party and YCL websites to get their news and analysis. Those in attendance stressed the importance of combining these new tools with in-person organizing.
The majority of new membership applications to both organizations come from young people, and their attendance was of the utmost importance in getting a youth perspective.
Jesse, a YCL and Communist Party member from Montana who attended the conference said, "The one thing that I felt was really inspiring was the whole atmosphere of motivation and confidence. These are tough times but it seems that people are really excited to get involved and fight back."
He continued, "I was glad to learn about how the Communist Party and YCL are growing, and we shared ways to keep the momentum going," adding, "overall, I think it was just a huge shot in the arm that really makes me want to work even harder and get more involved in the struggle."
There were also presentations on the recent "Red School Bus Tour" stops in Los Angeles and New Haven, Conn. The tour is a national series of classes on Marxism organized by the YCL with upcoming stops in Chicago, Florida and Texas.
It was also announced that, due to its enormous success, the tour will now be continuing into the fall. The YCL is also focusing on the economic struggle in their campaign "Youth Unite and Fight for Jobs," organizing events in opposition to the new GOP budget.
YCL members also announced their intention to take on a new project collecting signatures on petitions for release of the Cuban 5 from their illegal detention in U.S. prisons.
In addition to the conference's business, the YCL members reveled in the opportunity to mingle and enjoy each other's company, as many of them were meeting face-to-face for the fist time. "Many of us have known each other through Facebook or other social media sites for years, and it was great to finally get to meet my comrades in person," said Alice, attending from Washington, D.C., adding, "We had a lot of fun, and it really shows that politically active youth are not the 'squares' that they are portrayed a lot of times in the popular culture. I don't think I've ever enjoyed myself as much as I did partying with my comrades!"
The youth in attendance were also awarded certificates of congratulations for their decision to join the YCL or the Communist Party, and were also given books on famous American communists Benjamin Davis and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, also known as The Rebel Girl.
When asked if she planned on attending next year's conference, Inez, a YCL member from New Haven, replied, "Are you kidding me? This was the best day of my life! Of course, I will and I'll be dragging every comrade I can get my hands on with me!"