Europe’s young communists declare ‘Socialism or Barbarism’ in the midst of COVID-19 second wave

Abbie Rhodes reports on a recent online conference which brought together European communist youth organisations to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the struggles being led by the youth across the continent.

Abbie Rhodes is a member of the YCL’s Glasgow Branch

Earlier this month, on 7th November 2020, 20 communist youth organisations from across Europe gathered to discuss their views and experiences since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The online meeting: ‘Youth in Survival Against Pandemic and Capitalism: Socialism or Barbarism‘, was fittingly held on the 103rd anniversary of the October Revolution, and saw comrades from Croatia to Catalonia share an insight into the political landscape of their countries and the ongoing struggle of the youth all over the continent.

Though reported experiences varied between delegates with differing lockdown measures, healthcare systems, and political situations, what was ultimately shared across all nations was the placing of the burden of the economic capitalist crisis on the shoulders of the working class. Across all capitalist states, the lives of workers have been perceived by the ruling class as an acceptable sacrifice to protect the price of shares and the profit margins of corporations.

Young people have been ushered back into crowded classrooms and university accommodation, only to then be scapegoated as transmitters of the virus to deflect blame from governments. All the while, they are facing a bleak and uncertain future of hiked rent and lack of post-education opportunities such as apprenticeships. Countering this prolonged attack on youth and workers of Europe is a cause to which every communist youth organisation is committed – many at the forefront of the struggle in their respective countries.

The Young Communist League of Britain would like to extend our gratitude once again to the Communist Youth of Turkey for organising and hosting this important meeting. It was our privilege to join our European comrades in sharing our experiences of the pandemic, and what work we have been carrying out in order to fight against exploitation and oppression under the capitalist system in Britain, for social and economic progress, and for Socialism.

Detailing our work over the previous months, the YCL highlighted our continued solidarity campaigns with the workers of Venezuela and the USA, as well as the appeal organised in aid of the Union of Lebanese Democratic Youth (ULDY) following the devastating explosion in Beirut. We also covered our presence in the tenants movement and work in preventing evictions, and our involvement in climate action protests where we made headlines with our banner proclaiming a choice that we all know to be true: Socialism or Extinction!

Of course, like all other delegates to the meeting of communist youth, a significant amount of our organising has been restricted to over the internet. It was fantastic to hear that other organisations had carried out similar online education programs as the YCL has since the summer, and many expressed that this had been a great initiative to maintain morale and ensure no comrades were left isolated by the circumstances of lockdown.

On such a significant anniversary, and in the midst of this devastating pandemic as imperialists deepen their ruthless competition, the present communist youth organizations agreed to strengthen their solidarity and determination that the only road to carry humanity away from the current economic and health crisis is Socialism.

We expressed our hope to face this challenge with the same commitment, spirit, and discipline as we have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate despite the difficulty brought by the pandemic. Taking part in this meeting only strengthened our every faith that comrades across Europe are carrying this same glorious struggle, wherever they are.

You can read the full press release from the conference here.

Abbie Rhodes

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