What must a young communist be by Che Guevara

In this excerpt from a speech delivered in 1962, Ernesto Che Guevara discusses the essential qualities of young communists not just in Cuba, but the world over. This oration was first delivered during a commemoration of the integration of Cuba’s revolutionary youth organisations.

The Young Communist League must define itself with a single word: vanguard. You, comrades, must be the vanguard of all movements. The first to be ready to make the sacrifices that the Revolution demands, whatever the nature of these sacrifices. The first in work. The first in study. The first in the defence of the country …

This is something that must characterize the young communist. Alongside this, a great sensibility in the face of injustice; a nonconformist spirit whenever something is wrong, no matter who has said so. To question everything that is not understood; to discuss and ask for clarification of what is not clear; to declare war on formalism, on all types of formalism. Always open to new experiences …

This is to say, the proposal is that every young communist be essentially human, so human as to approach the best of what is human, to purify the best of man by means of work, study, the exercise of continuous solidarity with the people and with all the peoples of the world, to develop sensitivity to the maximum, to the point of being anguished whenever a person is murdered anywhere in the world and to feel encouraged when, anywhere in the world, a new flag of freedom is raised …

Thus, at a given moment, on any given day in the years to come – after having made many sacrifices, yes, after having seen ourselves perhaps many times on the brink of destruction – after having seen perhaps how our factories are destroyed and having rebuilt them again, after witnessing the murder, the killing of many of us and rebuilding whatever is destroyed, at the end of all this, on any given day, almost without realizing it, we will have created, alongside other peoples of the world, the communist society, our ideal.

Ernesto Che Guevara

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