Constitution of the Young Communist League of Canada
As amended at the 25th Central Convention of the YCL, 2010
ARTICLE 1: Name, Purpose and aims of organization
1. The name of the organization is the Young Communist League of Canada. Its aims and purposes are stated in its Declaration of Unity and Resistance.
ARTICLE 2: Principles of organization
1. The Young Communist League is a mass-based organization that aspires to be a Marxist-Leninist force in the youth and student movement, and in the struggle for socialism.
2. The YCL is a voluntary organization of young workers, students and classes and strata of the population which are exploited and oppressed by Canada’s monopoly capitalist system. It struggles for working-class state power and has no interests separate from those of the working class.
3. Democratic centralism is the organizational principle by which the YCL operates. This system, which combines the maximum democracy with recognition of the responsibility of leading bodies to lead, guarantees that the YCL will move into action united in a single policy supported by and fought for by all of it’s members. When a decision is made by the majority of members or elected bodies representing the members that decision is binding on all members. This ensures unity of action and removes the threat of factionalism or splitting.
ARTICLE 3: Emblem and motto
1. The emblem of the YCL is a red flag being held by a fist, surrounded by a circle. The flag shall have, in its top left corner, a red star outlined in gold above the initials of the League: YCL-LJC.
2. The motto of the YCL is “The Youth are the Future, the Future is Socialism!”.
ARTICLE 4: Membership
1. Any resident of Canada between the ages of 12 and 30 who subscribes to the provisions of Article 4, Section 2, is eligible to apply for membership. All members are equal regardless of age.
2. A YCL member is one who accepts the constitution and Declaration of Unity and Resistance, who reads and supports the leagues press and literature, who participates in YCL activities and meetings and supports and fights for the policies of the YCL. Members work to build the League in terms of general membership, ideology and organization.
3. Except as provided for in Article 4, Section 5, applicants for membership shall be admitted by majority vote of the Club to which they apply. In areas where there are no clubs, applicants may apply to the Provincial Executive and may be admitted as members in correspondence until a club can be formed. Applicants may apply to the Central Executive in areas where no Provincial Executive exists.
4. New members of the YCL must be reported to the next highest body and/or the authority responsible for keeping membership records. Membership applications shall be sent to the authority responsible for recording membership records and a copy should be kept for the clubs records.
5. New applicants who have formerly been members of the YCL and have been expelled from the YCL or left due to basic disagreement with the policies of the league must be submitted to the Provincial Executive or next higher body where provincial executive does not exist. If a Provincial Executive does not exist in the region, the application will be forwarded to the Central Executive. Such applications will be investigated and decided on a case by case basis based on the most serious consideration of the former club and/or body of the YCL from which the member was expelled.
6. The members of the la Ligue de la Jeunesse communiste du Québec (LJC-Q), as members of the YCL of Canada, participate fully in its life and activities, in its convention, Central Committee and leadership, have the same rights and duties as the members of YCL of Canada, take part in the collective formulation of the YCL of Canada’s policy, and share in the common responsibility for action in the interests of the youth of Canada.
ARTICLE 5: Rights and Duties of Members
1. Every member of the YCL has the right and duty to take part in the formulation of YCL policy. This includes the right to discuss and debate policies, actions and tactics of the League within the structures of the League while at the same time unconditionally carrying them out in line with democratic centralism. Criticisms of policies, actions, tactics, publications and so forth can be sent in writing to the body of the YCL in question.
2. Members of the YCL constantly struggle for unity within the League. The forming of factions, (levels of discipline above that of the YCL), within the YCL is unquestionably forbidden and punishable by disciplinary action up to and including expulsion.
3. All members of the YCL in good standing have the right to elect the officers and leadership of the League at all levels from Club to Central Committee. Any officer within the club shall be elected by the proper body as stated in this constitution by secret ballot. Any officer may be recalled by majority vote of the body which elected her/him. Vacancies shall be filled by the same body by majority vote.
4. All members of the YCL should constantly endeavor to deepen their understanding, political knowledge and analysis through systematic study of Marxism-Leninism, YCL educationals and practical work within the YCL
5. It is the duty of members of the YCL to practice democratic centralism and discipline in YCL work. Members should oppose and refrain from all things detrimental to the League and the working-class as a whole. Members should refrain from activities that come in conflict with the policies of the YCL.
6. It shall be the duty of all Members of the YCL to oppose and combat any attempt to injure the rights of or cause division of the working class. Young Communists struggle for the rights of workers as well as all oppressed and exploited strata of the population and against the ruling capitalist class and reactionary forces which support it.
7. Every member of the YCL shall oppose all forms of national discrimination, racial intolerance or ethnic hatred both in their political work and in their everyday life.
8. It shall be the duty of all YCL members to work for the complete social, political and economic equality of women and for the elimination of chauvinism, male dominance and all forms of discrimination based on gender. YCL members shall encourage gender parity and take steps to ensure the equal participation of women in club discussion and action.
9. All YCL members shall oppose all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation and homophobia. Members of the YCL shall struggle for the complete social, political and economic equality of members of the LGBT community.
10. Members of the YCL shall be members of their trade union, student organization or other people’s organizations where applicable, and work to establish such organizations where they do not exist.
ARTICLE 6: La Ligue de la Jeunesse communiste du Québec
La Ligue de la Jeunesse communiste du Québec (LJC-Q) is a distinct entity within the YCL of Canada. The LJC-Q has complete control over its policies and structures within Quebec as decided by the convention and committee of LJC-Q.
ARTICLE 7: Structure
1. Within the scope of duties and powers assigned them either by the constitution or by the authorization of the constitution, the following shall be the levels of authority in the YCL: Central Convention, Central Committee, Central Executive, the Convention of the LJC-Q and Provincial Conventions; the National Committee of the LJC-Q and Provincial Committees, Provincial Executives, Clubs.
ARTICLE 8: Clubs
1. The basic unit of organization is the YCL club. Clubs may be established when there are three or more members of the YCL in one city, town or region, workplace, industry or campus. Each club shall elect an organizer and whatever officers it deems necessary based on the size of the club and its needs. These officers constitute the club executive which carries out the day to day leadership of the club and delegates tasks. Such elections shall take place annually unless two thirds of members support a call for elections before one year has passed. Elections shall be by secret ballot. Results of all elections shall be reported to the next highest body.
2. Every member of the YCL shall belong to a club except members in correspondence when so designated by the Provincial Executive. Transfer of a member from one area or club to another shall be reported to the next highest body. In case of a member transferring from one province to another province the Central Executive shall be informed.
3. Clubs shall hold general meetings at least once a month and strive to hold educationals regularly. Club meetings shall be action oriented and include planning for club activities and assigning tasks.
4. All decisions made in any meeting of a YCL club shall be made by majority vote of members present and adhered to by all members of the club. The club organizer is obligated to notify all members of the club of all club meetings.
5. The club shall be the body of the YCL which carries out the political work of the YCL at the ground level. Clubs are charged with the duty of bringing about the closest possible relationship between the League and the rest of the working, exploited and oppressed people. It is the clubs duty to conduct agitational and organizational work within the masses and to bring them closer to the League and to acceptance of the policies of the YCL. YCL clubs join in the struggles of the people for economic, political and cultural needs and rights. Young Communists shall be active within the labour and/or student movements whenever possible with the aid of their club.
6. YCL clubs shall attempt to build the League by bringing new members in through their everyday work.
7. YCL clubs shall check up regularly to see that the decisions of the club are being carried out to the fullest extent in an attempt to strengthen discipline.
8. Where clubs take on a size of 20-30 members or more it may be sensible to divide the group into more than one club based on region, workplace, industry, campus etc. Large clubs may find it more difficult to work efficiently and may find it more useful to create new clubs which may work on organizing in a more specific area. This shall be left to the discretion of the club in coordination with the Provincial Committee and shall be decided by majority vote of the clubs members.
9. Clubs may choose to name themselves by the collective decision of its members. Clubs could be named after prominent local working class and revolutionary figures as a means of honoring and remembering their contributions to the class struggle and educating young workers of their revolutionary history. Alternatively, clubs could be given other names that help add to the appeal of the YCL Club.
ARTICLE 9: Regional Organizations
1. In areas where two or more clubs exist in a city or regional organization may be formed by decision of the Provincial Committee of the Central Executive where no Provincial Committee exists. A convention shall then be held composed of elected delegates from all clubs involved. This convention shall elect a Regional Organization. Such conventions shall be held at least every two years or sooner if called for by two-thirds of the members of the clubs under the Regional Organization. Clubs may submit nominations for elections to the Regional Organization.
2. The Regional Organization will assist clubs in strengthening their public work and help facilitate co-ordination and co-operation between the clubs under it. It shall administer the affairs of the city or regional organization and elaborate the decisions of the higher bodies at a local level.
ARTICLE 10: Provincial Committees
1. Where sufficient clubs exist in one province, the Central Executive shall convene a Provincial Convention. This convention shall elect a Provincial Committee.
2. The Provincial Committee shall elect a Provincial Secretary, Organizer and Treasurer.
3. The Provincial Committee shall elect from its ranks a Provincial Executive the size of which will be determined by the committee. This Executive will direct the work of the YCL in that province between Provincial Committee meetings.
4. The Provincial Executive will transmit decisions of the Provincial or Central Committees to the clubs.
5. The Provincial Committee shall meet at least quarterly. The Provincial Executive shall meet at least bi-monthly.
ARTICLE 11: Provincial Convention
1. The Provincial Committee shall call conventions at least every two years, or when two-thirds of the members call for such.
2. The Provincial Convention shall establish policies which will govern the activities of the YCL within the province in question within the over-all scope of the policy and structure set out by the Central Convention. It shall also elect the Provincial Committee.
3. Election of delegates to the Provincial Convention shall be in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Provincial Committee. These guidelines must ensure that all centers elect delegates by secret ballot and on a proportional basis.
ARTICLE 12: Central Committee
1. The Central Committee and alternates shall be elected in such numbers and in such a manner as decided by the Central Convention, taking into account the need to promote sexual, gender, ethnic, national equality and so forth.
2. The Central Committee shall elect from its ranks a General Secretary, Organizer and Treasurer.
3. The Central Committee shall meet at least once a year between conventions. The Central Executive shall meet at least once every three months.
4. The Central Committee shall elect from it’s ranks a Central Executive in a number decided by the committee, to direct the work of the YCL between Central Committee meetings.
ARTICLE 13: Central Convention
1. A Central Convention shall be held at least every three years upon the call of the Central Committee, or when two thirds of the members call for such.
2. Election of delegates to the Central Convention shall be in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central Committee. These guidelines must ensure that all centers elect delegates by secret ballot and on a proportional basis.
3. The Central Convention shall decide on the policies of the organization, elect the incoming Central Committee and is empowered to amend the constitution.
4. All members of the outgoing Central Committee shall be delegates to the Central Convention.
ARTICLE 14: Disciplinary Action
1. Criticism and self-criticism are essential but must always be carried out in comradely and objective manner. Such criticisms strengthen the YCL by pointing out weaknesses and setting the stage for work towards rectifying such weaknesses. Any tendency towards evading or suppressing criticisms must be opposed resolutely. Serious criticisms can lead to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the YCL especially in cases where the comrade in question refuses to accept criticism and work towards correcting mistakes or tendencies.
2. Conduct or action by any member of the YCL that is detrimental or divisive to the YCL and the best interests of the working class may be dealt with by censure, removal from all responsible positions, suspension pending investigation and/or expulsion from the YCL.
3. Written charges against any member leading to disciplinary action may be made by any other member, any club or any committee of the YCL.
4. Any YCL club or committee shall have the right to decide by the vote of the majority of its members on any disciplinary action involving its members under its jurisdiction up to and including expulsion. Such decisions may be appealed to the next higher body up to and including the Central Convention.
5. All disciplinary action at any level of the YCL shall be reported immediately to the next highest body. All concerned in any disciplinary action shall have the right to appear, bring witnesses and freely testify before the given body of the YCL.
6. Advocacy or practice of racial, sexual, gender, national or ethnic discrimination are causes for disciplinary action including expulsion from the YCL.
7. In the case of unmistakable evidence that a member is an undercover agent or provocateur, or exhibits an openly hostile attitude towards the YCL, that member shall be summarily expelled.
8. Any member of the YCL who is found to be a strikebreaker, scab and/or traitor to the working class shall be subject to expulsion.
9. Any disciplinary action may be appealed to the next higher body of the YCL up to and including the Central Convention. Any disciplinary action is binding during an appeal until the appeal is settled at which point the decision of the body to which the appeal was levied becomes binding.
10. Members under disciplinary action will be considered members not in good standing. Members not in good standing may not be allowed to hold or be elected to positions of authority within the YCL or attend conventions.
ARTICLE 15: Recall of Officers
1. Any officer at any level of authority may be relieved of her or his duties at any time by a majority vote of the body that elected that person.
ARTICLE 16: Rules of Procedure
1. The rules contained in Roberts Rules of Order shall govern the proceedings of the YCL at all levels and in which they are not inconsistent with the constitution and accepted procedures within the YCL. The Constitution shall always over-ride Roberts Rules if contradictions between the two arise.
ARTICLE 17: Amending and Interpreting the Constitution
1. This constitution may be amended by a simple majority vote of the Central Convention.
2. The Central Committee shall have the right to interpret the constitution and all procedures in any or all matters not covered by the constitution.
ARTICLE 18: Documents, Publications and Websites
1. The Young Communist League is not responsible for any documents, publications or websites or any other expression of political opinion except those issued by the authority or sanction of a body of the YCL of authority equal to or higher than a Provincial Committee.
ARTICLE 19: Election Procedures
1. Ballots for any election to any body of the YCL which are marked a number of times more or less than the number of officers to be elected shall be considered a spoiled ballot. Spoiled ballots shall not be counted.
2. All YCL officers in any body shall be elected by secret ballot and majority vote either directly by the membership or by their elected delegates.
ARTICLE 20: By-laws
1. By –laws may be adopted by any body of the YCL for the purpose of establishing rules of order and procedure.
2. By-laws shall be based on and within the constitutional framework of the YCL.
3. Bylaws may be adopted, amended, or repealed by a simple majority of the Central Convention.
4. Any or all Bylaws may be repealed at any time by the Central Committee in the event that regular functioning of the organization be interrupted by state persecution, imperialist invasion, or armed struggle.
ARTICLE 21: Financial Reports and Audits
1. The financial accounts of each of the bodies listed in Article 6 shall be open to inspection for any members of that body at any reasonable time. The central and provincial treasurers shall report at least twice a year to their respective committees or conventions. The club treasurers shall report to their club on finances at club meetings regularly.
2. The Central Executive has and may delegate the authority to examine the financial accounts of any lower body at any reasonable time.
3. Each of the bodies listed in Article 5 shall annually appoint non-members of the Central Executive to audit its financial accounts and shall submit the audited statements to the Central and Provincial conventions and club membership respectively.
ARTICLE 22: Dues
Upon acceptance into the YCL new members will pay a $1 initiation fee. All members shall pay monthly dues and an annual convention assessment according to the following guidelines:
Members shall pay $5 in dues every six months.
Proof of payment shall be provided in the form of stamps or initials from the club treasurer on the member's membership card at the time of payment.
Dues will be divided between the Provincial and Central Committees. 100% will be sent to the Provincial Treasurer who will then send 50% to the Central Committee.
Members in arrears of their dues will be notified by their club treasurer. Members more than 6 months in arrears shall be temporarily suspended from membership. Members a year or more in arrears of dues shall be stricken from membership.
ARTICLE 23: Initiation Pledge
1. The Initiation Pledge of the YCL shall be as follows:
I ________________, accept as my own, the aims of the Young Communist League to work unceasingly for the building of the socialist youth movement and the establishment of a socialist society in Canada. This society will see the principle means of producing and distributing wealth as the common property of society as a whole, where exploitation, poverty, oppression, discrimination and insecurity will be ended forever.
I will work to the best of my ability to carry out the Declaration of Unity and Resistance and policies of the League as determined by the constitution and convention.
I will be active in my club and support the league financially.
I will read, support, and spread the YCL literature and work at all times to build the League.