YCL Statement on the General Election

The Executive Committee of the Young Communist League has released the following statement outlining the League’s position on the upcoming general election.


For the youth and working people of Britain the General Election on 12 December 2019 is an exciting and long overdue opportunity. It is a chance to end a decade of Tory austerity and put in place a left government which can reverse attacks on working class living standards and our welfare state.

The YCL reaffirms our commitment, alongside the Communist Party, to struggle for the election of a left-led government on a left and progressive manifesto on 12 December 2019. Once again, we will call upon all socialists, progressives and trade unionists to vote for such a government led. We call this the interests of working people and their families and of opposing militarism and imperialist wars. Politics is not conducted from an ivory tower. It is incumbent on socialists to engage with political reality as it stands. Not how we wish it was or would like it to be. We cannot simply shout convenient slogans. Our decisions must be based on advancing the interests of the working class and the struggle for socialism.

The Labour Party is a social democratic party. It remains to committed to reform only within the confines of the capitalist system. In the long-term history has proven that when the class struggle becomes most acute, Labour will side with the capitalist class and the imperialism. While Jeremy Corbyn has proven himself to be a principled individual, elements of the Labour Party, and especially the Parliamentary Labour Party remains committed to neoliberal and Blairite politics. Despite this, the fact remains that only a Labour victory can remove this Tory government. The victory of a left-led Labour government would have the potential to reverse a decade of austerity and implement a progressive programme. This would create space for the revival of the left and trade union movement. At this stage the struggle for left advance and to hold this government to account would really begin. The alternative? Defeat and disillusionment among working people and the youth of Britain. Another 5 years of Tory austerity.

We harbour no illusions about the nature of the Labour Party but our commitment to the working class of Britain leads us to the conclusion that in this election this is the best and only option for advancing the interests of the working class and the struggle for socialism. In order to demonstrate its commitment to unity around this perspective, the Communist Party has made the decision not to stand candidates of its own in the next General Election. This is remains subject to Labour retaining a left leadership, fighting the election on a left and progressive manifesto and the Labour Party not becoming a pro-Remain party.

Britain’s Communists will continue to oppose Britain’s membership of the European Union, a struggle which we have led on the left for some time. Communists recognise that the treaties, rules, directives and policies of the EU are designed to protect big business interests and their capitalist markets and prevent even minor reform which threatens those interests, never mind any advance towards socialism. Communist Parties and Youth Organisations across Europe understand that the EU has been designed to be unreformable as a bulwark to defend and promote capitalism. The EU is now becoming increasingly militarised and more closely intertwined with NATO in order to promote the common interests of Europe’s main imperialist powers. The YCL will never abandon our demand that Britain withdraws from the EU honouring the result of the June 2016 referendum, the biggest democratic vote in this country’s history.

We call for Brexit to be achieved on terms, favourable to working people which enables future governments to engage in commerce and make trade agreements which mutually benefit the workers and peoples of Britain and other countries. Britain’s Communists condemn as anti-democratic all efforts to delay or block any kind of Brexit, including by holding a second referendum. They are deliberately concealing the long running abuse of referendum processes by the EU. Where a referendum produces a problematic result, the EU and its helpers will simply either re-run the vote or ignore it. Just ask the voters of Denmark, Ireland, France and the Netherlands where they pulled this trick before. They want to pull the biggest trick yet in Britain. Democratic principles require that the result of the referendum be honoured, which can only mean implementing it. Popular sovereignty demands that the people’s vote of June 2016 overrides all machinations in or by the Westminster parliament and the courts to delay or prevent Britain’s exit from the EU. Refusing to implement that Brexit referendum result will represent the biggest threat to democratic rights and principles in Britain for many decades.

Should Britain finally withdraw from the EU while remaining tied to Single Market or customs union rules which restrict the freedom of the British, Scottish and Welsh governments to pursue policies in the interests of the working class and the people generally, the Communist Party and YCL will continue to campaign with its allies for the removal of those restrictions and the implementation of left policies regardless. Should Labour fully capitulate on a second referendum and pledges to campaign for remain, this position will require to be reassessed.

We offer only critical support to the Labour Party in the struggle for a left led government as the first tentative step in achieving socialist change. But this will be impossible in the absence of a strong Communist Party, YCL and a mass extra parliamentary shift centred on the trade union movement. In the final analysis the Labour Party is a social democratic party which aims to mend capitalism – not to end it. The various capitulations on a second referendum and other radical element illustrate this point.

Our priority remains building the YCL and the Communist Party in a non-sectarian way through our work in communities, trade unions and in the broad movement. Working class state power and socialism in Britain will never result without a mass, disciplined and militant Communist movement. We will continue to fight for a left-led government and we will continue to campaign for a full withdrawal from the European Union as well for a broad, democratic alliance of left wing forces. These remain essential precursors to putting Britain on the socialist path with the working class in political power.

Executive Committee
Young Communist League