a. What does YCL stand for?
b. So How do I become a member?
c. What types of things is the YCL doing?
d. Am I too old/young to be in the YCL?
e. Is there a club in my area?
f. There is no club in my area – what should I do?
g. What is the relationship between YCL and the Communist Party?
a. Why do people join the YCL?
b. What kind of people are members?
c. Do I have to be a communist?
d. Do I join by submitting the online form?
e. Why should I get involved?
f. Do people treat you differently if you are a Communist?
g. I don’t know yet if I want to join. Can I still participate?
h. Why use the name ‘Communist’?
a. Are you dead?
b. Haven’t Marx’s predictions been disproved?
c. Do Communists want to ban religion?
d. Don’t all Communists advocate violence?
e. Why don’t all the socialists just work together?
f. What is the difference between Socialism and Communism?
a. What is capitalism?
b. Will capitalism last forever?
c. How could a socialist revolution be achieved in Canada?
d. How can working people get power?
e. Will this be a fast process?
f. Why is the working class so important?
g. Why are unity and militancy so important?
h. Is Canada a socialist country?
a. Was the Soviet Union a real socialist country?
b. Why did Communism fall in the Soviet Union?
c. Has there ever been a successful Communist society?
a. What Communist countries still exist?
b. Why is Cuba so poor?
c. What is the role of the Communist Party in Cuba?
d. How free are the people in Communist countries?
e. Are there taxes?
f. How can people get ahead?
g. Can people decide what job they want?
a. Why would anyone be motivated to work hard under Communism?
b. Aren’t Canadians greedy by nature?
c. Don’t rich Canadians deserve to be rich?
d. Would a socialist Canada be democratic?
e. What would be the benefits of socialism in Canada?
f. Can socialism end exploitation, racism, sexism, and homophobia?
g. What do you mean, socialism is inevitable?
WHAT IS THE YCL?
What does YCL stand for?
YCL stands for Young Communist League. We are Canada’s oldest revolutionary youth organization. Today we are organized into clubs in campuses, high schools, and communities across the country, including Quebec. At our Central Convention in March 2007 we democratically elected a Central Committee and approved a constitution. Our short-term goal is to unite and build the movements fighting for youth rights. Our long-term goal is socialism. We publish the magazine Rebel Youth, and are always looking for submissions.
So how do I become a member?
Submitting a form online puts you in contact with the nearest organizer in your area. You will be provided with more information on the League, and a membership application form. Once you submit this form you will be invited to the next meeting, where you can be voted in by the local Club members. Where no Club exists you will be voted in by the Provincial or National Committee in your area.
What types of things is the YCL doing?
We fight collectively for immediate social progress through our own campaigns, and often work with other mass movements to create this change. Our priority areas of work differs by region and what's going on at the time, but there are three main areas that were determined by our Central Convention in March 2007: Peace, Jobs, and Education. Check out the -events- section for more details. In addition to working in the labour, student, and peoples movements we also organize study groups, summer camps/schools, film nights, rallies and demonstrations and wide array of other activities. The YCL publishes two magazines; Rebel Youth and Jeunesse Militante.
Am I too old/young to be in the YCL?
The YCL welcomes youth aged 13-30. For those over 30, you may want to join the Communist Party of Canada instead.
Is there a club in my area?
To find this out, contact the organizer in your area (you can find their email addresses here).
There is no club in my area -- what should I do?
You should contact the YCL/LJC and tell them you would like to get involved. There may be other contacts in your area we can put you in touch with to work on building a club. You should also keep in touch for province-wide events that accommodate out-of-towners.
What is the relationship between the Young Communist League and the Communist Party of Canada?
The YCL is ideologically and politically united with the Communist Party, but organizationally independent, We support the CPC and they support us. Although many YCL members are also party members, being a YCL member does not mean you are, or have to be, a party member.
WHY JOIN THE YCL?
Why do people join the YCL?
They see the present conditions that have been wrought by capitalism. They want to fight against racism, sexism, exploitation, homophobia, and immigrant-bashing. They want to make Canada and the world a better place by fighting for jobs, justice, education and equality.
What kind of people are members?
Those want to change the world into a much better place. Young people of all ethnicities, genders, religions, sexual orientations, and nationalities are in the YCL. Many types of working class youth, students and young workers of many interests like music, theatre, sports, dance, visual arts and more...
Do I have to be a communist?
No. If you are sincere about fighting the effects of capitalism, like racism, sexism, exploitation, lousy schools, unemployment, homelessness, and so on, you should join the YCL right away, whether you are a communist or not.
Do I join by submitting the online form?
Not quite – you become a member of the YCL when you join a club. If there is no club in your area, we plug you into a level of regional organization.
Why should I get involved?
The YCL is created out of a need for Marxist-Leninist youth to be organized and connected. It is also an organization that sees the root of the problem and the need for revolutionary change. The YCL is one of the few progressive organizations led by youth that is cross-Canada, and the only pan-Canadian Marxist youth organization in Canada.
Do people treat you differently if you are a communist?
Yes, but not much. Those who disagree with our politics often respect our work and commitment to the class struggle. Many bless us, a few curse us, but no one ignores us.
I don't know yet if I want to join. Can I still participate?
Yes. We welcome friends of the league to come to participate in our events. But if you adhere to our goals, we suggest you join.
I support what the YCL stands for, but why use the name communist?
If the YCL were we to carry out our socialist agenda all call ourselves any other name, like “the political sock-darning circle,” we would still be red baited. By calling ourselves communists, we openly and honestly pick up the banner held by working people and youth around the world who are fighting against capitalism.
MYTHS ABOUT COMMUNISM
Isn't Communism dead?
In the late 80s and early 90s, many countries that were socialist fell due to a combination of forces including capitalist economic pressure, popular unrest, mistakes and shortcomings. Since then, capitalism has been restored, resulting in a disastrous drop in the living standards and well-being of the people.
But Communism isn’t dead! There is still a worldwide movement of Communists, including young communists, many of whose organizations are members of the World Federation of Democratic Youth. Communists are active in the struggles in their own countries, applying Marxism to their conditions and according to the history of their countries, and who organize international solidarity.
For example, elected Communists who run the government of the states of Kerala and West Bengal in India. The South African Communist Party (which played a significant role in the fight to end apartheid) is a respected coalition partner of the ANC government. The Communist Party of Nepal helped lead the struggle to transform Nepal from a monarchy to a constitutional democracy. The Communist Parties of Vietnam and Cuba lead their countries and governments through times of difficult and complex economic transition. The Communist Party of Venezuela was the first political party to endorse Hugo Chavez’s party, and now holds cabinet posts in the Venezuelan government.
Haven’t Marx’s predictions been disproved?
Some of the predictions by Marx and Engels didn’t work out the way they expected—for example, the first socialist revolutions didn’t take place in the most advanced industrial societies. However, most of their predictions have proven to be true—the ever-increasing internationalization of capital, the ever-larger merger mania consolidating economic and political power in ever fewer hands, the inability of capitalism to avoid repetitive economic crises, the ever-growing gap between rich and poor, the insatiable drive of capitalists for more profits.
Do Communists want to ban religion?
Our fight is not with religion, but with capitalism. Freedom of religion would continue under socialism but would be a private matter, separate from the state. The freedom of non-believers would also be respected.
Don’t communists advocate violence?
We are for peace, for peaceful solutions to both international and intra-national problems, and for a peaceful transition to socialism, wherever possible. This has become ever more essential in the nuclear age.
Many revolutions have been relatively peaceful, including the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Vietnamese Revolution of 1945. The bloodshed comes when those formerly in power initiate a civil war, or foreign armies invade, trying to reestablish capitalist, feudal, or colonial power.
It is not an either-or proposition, either Communists are guilty or the capitalists are guilty. While we think that an objective, detailed analysis of most situations over the last century would conclude that capitalist and reactionary governments and parties are responsible for most of the violence, it is true that Communists have engaged in armed struggle, and are not pacifists. Communists stand for the right of the working class and the oppressed to defend themselves and their gains against the violence of the oppressor classes.
Why don’t all the socialists just put aside their differences and work together?
There are many organizations in the Canada that view themselves as socialist or communist, or based in some way on Marxism. Superficially, it might seem like we would have a stronger movement if they all joined together.
However, these organizations have more differences than are obvious from a cursory look at their programs. In fact, our experience is that trying to force a unity among many small groups leads to endless debate, not to strengthening our ability to reach and organize our class.
Developing more left unity is a political process, not a meeting or agreement or debate between small groups. Marxism bases itself, in part, on the proposition that there needs to be unity between theory and practice, and that practice (in other words, real life) is primary. There are many groups that describe themselves as socialist, and they offer a wide variety of strategies and tactics. How can anyone determine who is right?
Only by practice. Practice is the test, not debate, not a superficial unity which is not deep enough to create a real common program. If a strategy is wrong, real life will prove it, not endless debate. All too often, many left groupings distinguish themselves by working against real unity.
We stand ready to work with any group or organization that works in practical ways to build the unity we see as essential, not just a formal or forced left unity, but a real unity rooted in practical work among masses of people. Real left unity will be built as we work to build a broad left/center unity for democracy, peace, equality, justice, and workers rights.
What is the difference between communism and socialism?
The short answer is socialism is "from each according to their ability and to each according to their DEEDS," and communism is "from each according to their ability and to each according to their NEEDS." The longer answer is socialism is the step between capitalism and communism. Socialism still has people working for wages, for example. Socialism is the society that will pave the way for a communist society by setting a foundation of co-operation and sharing of all things in common. Communism is the realization of these goals.
WHAT IS CAPITALISM AND HOW DO WE BEAT IT?
What is capitalism?
Capitalism is a socio-economic system where the majority of the economy is privately owned by capitalists. The capitalists, a tiny minority, run economy to get profits and the source of those profits is the exploitation of the majority, the working class. In contrast, socialism is a more democratic system where the working people own the economy and cooperatively make decisions about their future.
Will capitalism last forever?
Capitalism has a basic conflict between the capitalists and workers. The capitalists hold down wages to the lowest possible level to squeeze more profits out of the workers. The workers fight back -- to maintain and increase wages, to improve living and working conditions, and to extend economic, social and political rights. This is the heart of the class struggle. The class struggle affects the whole of society. At a certain stage the class struggle pushes the working class to revolutionary struggle aimed at changing the social system itself.
More about Capitalism in Canada
How can a socialist revolution be achieved in Canada?
Today this may seem like an idle question. Ten years ago in Venezuela it may have also seemed like an idle question, but today it is the hot topic of political debate. Clearly, the unity of working people will be essential to winning socialism. Working people will have to realize that capitalism can not solve the problems it creates and that there is an alternative. Working people can gain the confidence and experience necessary to seize power, and exercise genuine people's rule over the collective life of the country, controlling Canada's economy.
How can working people get power?
By wining genuine victories against the capitalists. By advancing an alternative agenda to the corporate agenda on the streets in protest, and through alliances and coalitions in parliament that include all other progressive forces as well as the Communists. The Communist contribution is to help unite the current existing movements that are fighting for peace, jobs, workers rights, democratic rights, and sovereignty and then develop this common agenda against imperialism and monopoly capitalism, and then ultimately capitalism itself.
We need a revolution today! Will this be a fast process?
The revolutionary transformation to socialism will mark the absolute transfer of power from the capitalist class to the working class together with its allies. Some so-called revolutionaries say that this will be a very quick process. Revolution, however, is unlikely to occur in one simple step, but many through stages. This process will be influenced by both Canadian and international conditions and developments. The pace and character of this transformation will be determined by the unity and resolve of the working class and its closest allies at decisive junctures, and the capacity of the progressive and revolutionary forces to frustrate and curtail counter-revolutionary activity which violates democracy and the rule of law.
Why is the working class so important?
Because the working class is the majority, it is the class that has the real power to transform society. It is their work which creates the wealth which allows a very few people to live in obscene luxury. The workers are not revolutionary because they are poor. They are revolutionary because they can shut down the system by not working. They also learn the organization and discipline necessary for revolutionary action through work.
Why are unity and militancy so important?
Because unity and militant organization are the best tools the working class has. We have strength in numbers. We are the majority in this country and world wide. Without unity, we fight each other for the crumbs while the capitalist takes the majority of the pie. Without militancy, we will never overcome the power of the capitalist class. We must go beyond talk and fight for change.
Is Canada a socialist country?
Canada is a capitalist country because the Capitalist class owns the economy, and they control the state. When the Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal are owned by the people, when the factories are run by the workers, when the state is in the hands of the working people, when unemployment is eliminated, Canada will be socialist. Spokespeople for big business fear socialism, and sometimes call Canada a socialist country to deliberately confuse people. It is true that we have public services, because working people fought for them, but public education and health care do not make Canada a socialist country.
HAS SOCIALISM WORKED?
Was the Soviet Union a real socialist country?
Yes. While there were serious mistakes, problems, and violations of socialist legality with the Soviet Union, it also scored many great social achievements, overcoming unemployment, illiteracy, starvation, homelessness, and deep alienation. Socialism in the Soviet Union transformed an economically and culturally "backward" country to one of the world's leading powers, and made great advances in culture and science. These achievements were all the more remarkable, considering the relentless imperialist pressures against the USSR throughout its history.
Why did communism fail in the Soviet Union?
There are many reasons why socialism fell in the Soviet Union. One reason was because of the Cold War. Capitalist countries were able to spend more on the cold war and the Soviet Union tried too hard to compete. Overall it is very hard for a socialist country to survive with imperial powers breathing down their necks. There were both errors that the Communist officials made within the country, including a lack of democracy, and forces from outside that after seventy years overcame the revolution.
Has there ever been a successful communist society?
Technically, there never has been a communist society. Some socialist societies, such as Vietnam, and Cuba are succeeding in raising the standards of living and doing it without being bossed around by the rich countries. Since the revolution in China, famine has been ended. Wherever working people have seized power and formed socialist societies the result has been land reform, social services, jobs, housing, and a dramatic increase in the standard of living. Communism is the long term goal; just as the world has developed from feudalism to capitalism, so it will develop from capitalism, through socialism (in which the working class is dominant), then eventually to communism (in which there are no classes). This will not happen by itself. Marx discovered that revolution was the engine of history. Each form of society has developed, lived out its usefulness and, through revolution, been replaced by a higher form of society.
HOW IS SOCIALISM WORKING TODAY?
What communist countries still exist?
Despite tremendous pressure from imperialism, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cuba are socialist or socialist-orientated states. Many other countries, especially in Latin America, are moving in a progressive direction, and in some cases, socialism. As Communists fighting in Canada, just above the United States, the Cuban revolution is of particular interest and significance.
Why is Cuba so poor?
The Cuban people have all suffered due a 40-year US blockade. They lost their main trading partner, the USSR and the socialist bloc, in the early 1990s when counter-revolutions restored capitalism in those countries. A few Cubans want to leave their country, largely for economic reasons, but most Cubans do not believe that they can become wealthy capitalists by leaving Cuba. Despite the tremendous difficulties imposed on Cuban socialism by U.S. imperialism, Cuba is still a strong and healthy socialist country with an improving standard of living.
What is the role of the Communist Party in Cuba?
The Communist Party in Cuba plays a very different role from that of political parties in the Canada and other Western nations. It is not an electoral party – you are elected to the party by your fellow workers, who are not necessarily Communist Party members. Candidates for political office in Cuba do not run on party tickets, and one does not have to be a member of the Communist Party to run for office. Instead, the Communist Party of Cuba plays a leadership role, with the purpose of unifying the Cuban nation in the work of preserving its independence and sovereignty, building socialism, and providing a better life for all of its people.
How free are the people in communist countries?
Many socialist countries are in the third world, where the capitalist countries all suffer from massive political instability, unemployment, and sometimes famine. Freedoms vary according to each socialist country, but socialist third world countries are more free than their capitalist neighbours because the people are able to eat, have work, and go to school, and have an effective say over their future. Under socialism, nobody has the freedom to exploit others. In capitalist countries, we have only illusions of freedom and democracy because the media is owned by only a few corporations and the political campaigns are financed by the billionaires.
Are there taxes?
Generally no. However some socialist countries levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals.
How can people get ahead?
Ahead of whom? Under capitalism, people get ahead of other people. Many poor and working class people in this country consider putting food on the table being ahead of the game. Under socialism, and eventually communism, all people get ahead together with basic necessities and luxuries.
Can people decide what job they want?
Yes, and better than under capitalism. Now, you get a job based on the education you receive, and the people you know: poor education + bad connections = a poor job, generally. Communism will allow people who have aptitudes for certain work the education -- for free -- to learn the skills it takes to do that work.
More information about Cuba
More about socialism in Canada, including the Soviet experience
COULD SOCIALISM WORK IN CANADA?
Why would anyone be motivated to work hard under communism?
People can learn to be motivated by working for the common good. If we help each other, we both gain. Capitalism encourages us to fight against each other for crumbs, while the very few stuff themselves on the pie.
Aren't Canadians greedy by nature?
No. For example, little children quickly learn to share and cooperate, but they are later taught to take more than they need compete viciously in "the real world."
Don’t rich Canadians deserve to be rich?
Rich people don’t get rich because they work harder. Capitalists gain their wealth from the labor of others, not from their own work. Many capitalists inherited their fortunes. As well, many famous capitalists and companies (like Bill Gates, Conrad Black, ENRON, or the Hudson’s Bay Company) made their money by cheating and stealing. The workers actually create the wealth -- by picking the crops, assembling the engines, cooking the fries, raising children to be future workers, etc. Why shouldn’t the working people control the wealth they create? Why should someone be a millionaire, with three houses and a private plane, when other people can't even afford enough to eat?
Would a socialist Canada be democratic?
Yes! Communists believe in TRUE democracy, as opposed to our "bourgeois democracy." Democracy and communism are not opposites. What that means is when you only get to choose between millionaires running for election, working class people, the vast majority of society, aren't really represented. Elections in a capitalist system are almost always decided by who can get the most corporate money. True democracy will be realized under communism because everyone will have an equal say in society.
What would be the benefits of socialism in Canada?
Just to name a few there would be jobs for all at living wages, full equality and an end to racism, sexism and homophobia, health care for all, a right to a clean healthy environment, equal rights for immigrant workers, free public education form nursery to university, peace and solidarity. There would also have to be a democratic solution to the national issue – granting the people of Quebec, as well as the Aboriginal nations in Canada self-determination.
Can socialism end exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia?
Yes. These societal ills are products of capitalism, but they will not vanish immediately with socialism. They have been around for centuries, and will take generations of the humanistic system of socialism and a constant struggle to cure. But, socialism will make ending these problems possible, while capitalism encourages them. At the same time, we can't wait until "after the revolution" to fight these ills. The fight against exploitation, racism, sexism and homophobia is a crucial part of the struggle for socialism.
What do you mean, socialism is inevitable?
If the human race is to survive--yes, it is. Capitalism cannot solve the problems it creates. For example, the capitalists want to pay workers less and less so they can have more and more for themselves. But when the workers have less, they can buy less, which means the capitalist end up with less as a result. It's a vicious circle that has no solution under capitalism. As a result, people begin looking for revolutionary alternatives. If there were no Communist Party in Canada, working people would build one.