The 15th meeting of the European Communist Youth Organizations was hosted by the Kommunistiche Jugend Osterreichs (KJO) or the Communist Youth of Austria from June 29 to 30, in the city of Linz. Alexander Homits, general secretary of the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) of Ireland, writes about the experience and the vision of the meeting.
A day prior to the commencement of the session, the delegates from across the continent visited the city of Vienna and were introduced to some of the key local issues. In the near future, the New Danube, an artificially created side-channel to the main river, and the surrounding public area is proposed to be privatized. The larger trend of privatization of key areas has already been proven as erroneous, the KJO representatives explained, pointing out how common people are denied access to public spaces, and leisurely pursuits are monetized by private entities to whom such such areas have been undemocratically handed over.
The meeting itself was attended by 15 organizations, and was greeted by the Young Communist League of Britain, which could not attend. Representatives of the Party of Labor and the Communist Party of Austria also addressed the meetings.
Delegates from France, Catalonia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Serbia, Turkey and Finland, among others, reported on their political activities. Their reports reflected their various stages of developments and the strategies of the organizations based on this. For instance, in Serbia where there are no trade unions to work with, the communist front is more focused on anti-imperialist struggles. In Finland, an ‘advanced’ capitalist state, comrades are engaged in addressing issues like the profound mental health epidemic that has led to an incredibly high suicide rate.
France, Spain, Italy and Greece have more developed Communist parties with a long and broad history. The organizations belonging to these countries are quite active and influential. They involve large sections of society, with secondary school students, university students, young workers and tenants participating as driven/enthusiastic activists in communist-led struggles. They serve as an inspiration to other delegations, including the Irish, to take advantage of the rising contradictions in society, foretelling that the time is ripe to advance an agenda for the poor and the working classes.
The report of the Irish delegation was well received by the European community of communists. It was noted that despite being a small organization, the CYM and other Irish communist organizations were punching way above their weight. The morning session concluded with a discussion over the exchange of information, tactics and strategies to take the communist movement forward in Europe.
The delegates then visited a number of memorial sites in Linz, some of which commemorate the death of thousands who were killed in concentration camps in Austria. Some of the monuments are dedicated to anti-fascist heroes who stood up to the fascist Austrian government and the Nazi German occupation that followed it. The delegates also learnt about the role of the Soviet Red Army in liberating the city. The proud anti-fascist traditions of the Austrian communists became evident from this historical tour of the city.
On June 30, the delegates reconvened to discuss a joint statement based on the proceedings of the session. The document was initially drafted by the KJO, summarizing the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist consensus. It was discussed thoroughly by the delegates with deliberations stretching to nine hours.
Along with Ireland, which has been placed on the political map by the consistent struggles of left-wing forces in the country, the entire European Communist movement is, after many years, again on the offensive against the bourgeoisie. It is refreshing, inspiring and empowering that an organized and class-conscious working class is marching once more as a militant army of labor.