The Young Communist League’s General Secretary, Johnnie Hunter, has released a New Year’s address to mark the beginning of 2021.
The Young Communist League sends peace and solidarity to the working people of the world in 2021. We wish you a year full of struggles and victories.
2020 has been a year which has exposed more than ever for our generation the brutal realities of capitalism in Britain and imperialism globally. But it has also been a year of victories for working people, some small, some great – and a year characterised by resistance and the continuing resurgence of socialist and communist politics.
Well over 60,000 people in Britain have now dies as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and thousands more have died or had their lives shortened indirectly. The vast majority of these deaths were entirely avoidable. They are the result of ruling class incompetence and the determination of their Tory Party to prioritise profits and value of shares in the City of London over human life.
Globally the pandemic and resulting economic chaos have hit working people hardest in terms of deaths and hardship. At the same time, the billionaires dominating the planet have actually increased their wealth by over a quarter, $10.2 trillion dollars. Where frontline workers see a crisis to be battled and lives to be saved, parasitic billionaires such as Jeff Bezos see an opportunity to profiteer.
Even during the pandemic, imperialism and war have continued to be the main threat to peace and sovereignty for working people. The human tragedies unfolding today in the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere are the direct result of the predatory foreign policy of Britain, the USA, the European Union and the NATO alliance. These same powers have weaponised the pandemic, using the spread of disease and access to medical supplies to attack and undermine popular and democratically elected governments in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and elsewhere.
While many have pointed to the pandemic being a rare opportunity for ‘the planet to heal’ in the face of an impending crisis which threatens our very existence, this sadly has not been the case. Any small reduction in carbon emissions will be fleeting. Capitalist regimes across the planet have proven themselves unable and unwilling to make the serious and systemic changes necessary to avert a climate catastrophe,
Even in these dark days there are many reasons to be hopeful for our class and humanity.
Across Britain, working people have not taken ruling class profiteering and incompetence in combatting the pandemic lying down. Workers across Britain have fought for safe workplaces, communities and services and a government strategy which actually halts the pandemic. The Tories have been forced into open retreat at various points and this shouldn’t be overlooked.
Internationally, massive movements have shown the limitless potential of working people to fight and win and to change society in the process. From the 250 million strong general strike in India, to the election victories in Bolivia and Venezuela, to the determination of workers across Europe to save themselves from the pandemic and fight government corruption and incompetence in the process.
Truly the brightest sign of hope has come from the socialist family of nations. China has shown, that with working people united and mobilised it is possible to quickly overcome the virus, saving hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods in the process. Vietnam’s ability to halt the virus completely put to shame our Tory government here in Britain and capitalist regimes across the world. Socialist Cuba, even in the face of the US blockade, was able to halt the pandemic on its own shores and send thousands of doctors abroad, including to Europe, to fight the pandemic as well as developing its own vaccine.
We are consistently told by the monopoly owned media and ruling class intellectuals that socialism-communism is a dead ideology, a relic of the past. The pandemic has proved to a new generation that it is capitalism which is a decaying form of society, unable and unwilling protect the lives or interests of working people, only determined to keep increasing the wealth of a shrinking number of billionaires.
2020 was a year which saw Britain’s communists and the YCL continue to make gains across our country – recruiting new members, establishing new branches and throwing ourselves into new struggles. 2021 promises to see us accelerate our work to reconstruct a strong and militant communist movement, organically rooted in Britain’s working class communities.
2021 will be the centenary year of the YCL. We will be celebrating 100 years of glorious struggle for Britain’s youth, the working class and humanity. We have a full calendar of events and initiatives stretching to April 2022. Our centenary will be an opportunity to take stock of what we have achieved and the legacy of our organisation but also – just as importantly – to expand and intensify our growth and our work.
We are proud of our past but we’re a project for the future. 2021 will be a year where – as ever – Britain’s communists throw themselves into all of the struggles taking place up and down Britain in our communities, workplaces, schools and campuses.
The Communist Party will be contesting elections in Scotland, Wales, London and elsewhere which will be a welcome opportunity to return to increased community work as we overcome the pandemic and to take the communist message and the demands of our Youth Charter out there with a new vigour and determination.
If you are reading this and in need of a New Year’s Resolution, we have one for you: join the YCL and the Communist Party.
If you want to fight Tory corruption and austerity, if you want to save the planet from imperialist war and environmental disaster, if you want to win a dignified life for young people in Britain – this is the movement for you.
Long live the youth!
Long live working class internationalism!
For peace, jobs and socialism!
Young Communist League
1 January 2021
[*The YCL has a membership of over 350 as of 1 July 2020]