The Young Communist League of Britain sends revolutionary greetings to the young workers and students of Britain and the world in 2024. Following our 51st Congress, we are stronger and more determined than ever before, growing in number and dedicated to winning more victories for working people in 2024.
We extend our warm thanks to our members and to all young workers and students who have played a part in the successes of 2023. The activities of our members, who make a variety of contributions in trade unions, communities, and progressive organisations, as well as those of our many friends and allies, belong to the whole working-class movement. Without your steadfast determination, discipline, and maturity, the call of young people for a better life and justice would not be heard so loudly in the new year.
At our 51st Congress, members of the YCL from up and down the country had the opportunity to debate and refresh our analysis and plan of action for the current situation for young people in Britain, preparing ourselves with innovative ideas for facing the challenges ahead and building the struggle for working class power and Socialism.
After our 51st Congress, I was honoured to be elected the new General Secretary of the YCL. It has been a pleasure to work with talented comrades across Britain to foster growth and development in our ranks and I look forward to building upon our achievements from 2023 in the new year with branches, districts, and nations, including our industrial, international, and environmental work.
2023 has changed the landscape on which our struggles must be fought. The British capitalist class is intensifying its exploitation of British workers, our fellow workers overseas, and the planet. Among the challenges that we must prepare ourselves to face are the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023, the genocidal war on Palestine, and COP28, for example, are challenges that young communists must be prepared to act on and educate others on to demand better for working and oppressed peoples.
Our members are increasingly demonstrating leadership in schools, colleges, and workplaces, contributing to the rebuilding of militant student and trade union movements that can fight for a better standard of living for Britain’s young people.
The most pressing issue for most young people in Britain remains the so-called “cost of living” crisis, which is in fact a crisis brought on by the increased profiteering of the biggest and wealthiest multinational corporations. As young communists, always, our duty is to embed ourselves in our communities and workplaces and fight for the day-to-day needs and aspirations of young people for decent housing, jobs, access to education, affordable necessities, and purpose in life.
The British ruling class is currently facing an economic crisis that is vastly deteriorating the living standards of the working class, and all the Tories care about is pleasing their capitalist cronies. Laughably, the Autumn Budget included 110 growth measures that reduced the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast from 1.8 percent to 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, cuts to public services have been announced yet again. Tory policy is actively pushing more working people into poverty without a care for solving the inherent contradiction that is capitalism.
All the while, the Conservatives are attempting to strong-arm trade unions into submission, further attacking the working class. The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023 received royal assent in July of this year and would see workers losing their automatic right to not be unlawfully dismissed for strike action. Attacking trade union rights is part of the ruling class’s response to the current economic crisis in that introducing measures to strike-break reduces the ability to win trade union fights for better wages, thus increasing the rate of exploitation of workers.
To meet this challenge, the League will develop industrial work alongside the Party. This will include building broad left alliances with other young trade unionists based on non-sectarianism to advance the needs of young workers in Britain, as well as providing training for our members to become shop stewards, reps, and active rank and file members. Young people lack trade union consciousness, which is something we must combat through cadre development, and affecting change in our trade unions through workplace organising as well as in young members networks and across the wider labour movement. We shall also use trade unions to develop ordinary trade union consciousness into a revolutionary socialist one. All these tasks, being led by great industrial officers nationally and locally, will mean that young comrades will build their confidence in trade union organising and then be equipped to raise the political consciousness of young workers and use their skills to demand not only better material conditions for workers in Britain, but an end to the capitalist system of exploitation, private ownership, and wage slavery altogether.
In the international arena, our anti-imperialist stance holds steadfast. Our opposition to the government’s ongoing funding of Ukraine is so important not only to the anti-imperialist movement, but also to the Kononovich brothers, who remain under house arrest by Ukrainian authorities with the US, EU, and NATO backing it. Few are providing an anti-imperialist account of this war; therefore, it is our duty as young communists to educate people on the realities of the increasing drive for conflict and bloodshed to gain or maintain control of markets and resources, as it is the working class who inevitably suffer the most. Whilst the British working class increasingly struggle to put food on the table and the Ukrainian working class suffer in war, the capitalist class in Britain are wealthier than ever. We are reminded that it is not a cost-of-living crisis but a cost-of-profits crisis.
Our commitment to the international peace movement is never more needed, it is in our motto. We are currently witnessing the murder and forced displacement of thousands of Palestinians, amounting to war crimes. Whilst the Tories and Labour Party continue to support Netanyahu’s government, the YCL and the Party are calling for an immediate ceasefire and for the withdrawal of NATO forces from the region.
There can be no peace while NATO continues to terrorise the planet and Israel continues its occupation of Palestine. Both these battles are part of the interconnected global struggle against imperialism and young communists in Britain will continue our fight for an end to NATO and for a free and sovereign Palestinian state.
For an international movement, we need international cooperation. At our 51st YCL Congress this year, we welcomed a WFDY delegate, and in 2024, it is vital that our ties with WFDY are maintained and blossomed so that we can enact WFDY campaigns, including Yes to Peace, No to NATO and Free Young Political Prisoners in Britain. The work that we do is critical in educating the British working class on how capitalism impacts workers globally and promoting solidarity, as well as ensuring that injustices are not forgotten and ignored, but fought against and that those responsible are held to account.
Capitalism’s very existence impacts all of humanity through environmental degradation and destruction. The capitalist class put next to no effort into masking their lies and unwillingness to prevent further environmental destruction, putting profit and business before the youth, the working class, humanity, and the planet.
The growing environmental crisis is explicitly linked to international issues on the basis that the working classes in the Global South are the ones affected the most by climate change yet contribute the least towards global warming. We are witnessing an increasing number of droughts across the world, currently leaving one in three children with limited access to water, with the worsening climate crisis expected to deteriorate the situation further.
We have a future to fight for, and for that, there are many changes that must occur. Short, medium, and long-term goals, including a transition to green industry with assurances of no job losses, must be met, along with nationalising public services and utilities. It is vital that Young Communists be active in their communities, workplaces, educational institutions, and trade unions to get workers involved in environmental campaigns and provide a viable alternative that will save the planet and humanity, rather than leaving it to rot in the hands of the ruling class.
The multitude of challenges that the working class in Britain and abroad must deal with in 2024 and beyond have one solution: socialism. It is hard for a lot of people to imagine life any differently. Subsequently, it is hard to imagine fighting for anything different. It is the mission of the Young Communist League to create the image of a viable alternative to the status quo, that puts the youth, working class, humanity, and the planet above private profit. To see the changes that we want and need, we have all got to put in the hard work and effort as a collective, and use our ensemble of skills and knowledge to develop the League further.
Young people have our future to fight for.
The young workers and students of Britain and the world are facing a huge array of challenges in 2024, but these challenges share a collective solution – our unity and our collective struggle for peace, justice, and a viable alternative to the status quo that puts people and the planet above profit and private interests – Socialism and Communism.
To all members of our glorious League, I wish you a happy, successful, and revolutionary 2024. Let us march into the new year with renewed clarity, vigour, and determination to fight for and win a better future for young people.
For Peace, Jobs, and Socialism in our Lifetime!
Young Communist League
1st January 2024