In Britain and across the world, 2021 was a year when the working class was faced not just with the worst excesses of a decaying and inhumane capitalist system and its destruction of the Earth.
It also fell to working people to lead the fight against and save ourselves from a global pandemic which the ruling class is unwilling and unable to tackle.
But even in the face of sometimes seemingly insurmountable obstacles and attacks, 2021 has been a year in which working people and the youth have resisted and fought and won.
It was working people and the labour movement that waged the struggle for and won public health measures and economic support during the pandemic, in the face of government incompetence and ruling-class apathy.
In the past year trade unions have taken on and beaten some of Britain’s most exploitative employers. Trade union membership is on the rise for the first time in decades.
During 2021, millions of young people across the world took to the streets in school strikes and other protests to protect our planet, culminating in the massive Cop26 demonstrations in Glasgow and other cities.
Young people the length and breadth of Britain and across Europe and North America have been at the forefront of the continuing fight against racism and prejudice in our society.
Internationally we have seen historic victories: from the farmers’ strike in India to the defeat of neoliberalism and the legacy of Pinochet in Chile.
Wherever and whenever working people and the youth are prepared to stand up, there is always hope, even in the most difficult conditions.
As we begin 2022, militancy and class consciousness are on the rise in Britain.
Last year was also a historic, exciting and important one for the Young Communist League. 2021 was our centenary year, marking 100 years since young communists from across Britain met in Birmingham to found a youth organisation of a new type.
Those young workers and students didn’t just agree to condemn the ills and excesses of capitalism. They shared the realisation that a different world is possible, a new, superior form of society.
They were united by a common determination to give the best years of their lives, their hope, their energy and their enthusiasm to do everything in their power to advance that world historic struggle.
One hundred years on, this is the same pact — the same commitment to live life with a purpose — that unites the growing number of hundreds of young communists around Britain today.
2021 featured a lively and exciting calendar of centenary events across Britain reclaiming, rediscovering, celebrating a century of struggle by the YCL. Our celebrations will carry until April 2022 as we go confidently into the next 100 years of struggle.
But YCLers aren’t merely the custodians of an exciting but bygone past. Our centenary coincided with the highest levels of activity and militancy for young communists across Britain in living memory. YCLers have been active on every front, in our communities, schools, campuses and workplaces.
This activity has been accompanied by the fastest growth for the YCL across Britain in decades, with young workers and students joining the YCL up and down the country.
New branches are being formed and throwing themselves into the struggle in different towns and cities each and every month.
Last summer, YCLers from across Britain came together in Edale in the Peak District for our biggest summer camp in living memory.
Carrying forward the traditions of the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass, young communists are carrying forward the tradition of political education and the right of working people to enjoy and socialise in our natural heritage.
In August, over 100 delegates representing hundreds of YCLers and branches from the length and breadth of Britain met in London for our historic 50th congress, the biggest for generations.
The congress itself was the culmination of over nine months of the widest and most comprehensive democratic debate and discussion across the whole of the YCL.
Our genuinely youth-led organisation enters 2022 with a clear strategy to build the fight for peace, democracy and socialism among Britain’s youth and defined by a will to win. And we have big plans for the year ahead.
Our 50th congress set itself the task of analysing and responding to the fundamental questions of the hour — how to combat the deep systemic crisis confronting Britain’s youth, how to stop capitalism destroying the Earth and how to build a militant and disciplined communist movement in our country.
Young communists will hit the ground running in 2022, building the fight against this Tory government in our communities and as part of broad labour, student, tenant, peace and anti-imperialist movements.
We’re determined to continue and accelerate the exciting growth that we have worked to build in 2021 and win more and more young people to the struggle for socialism. Our strategy is based on education, organisation, militancy and confidence in the struggle.
Our message to Britain’s young workers and students is simple: another world is possible, a world free from the exploitation of human by human — socialism.
The beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection and for hope. The struggles of working people represent the future and the very best of humanity and what it is that makes us human.
That is what we celebrate at this time of year and every day, in the struggle for socialism.
In 2022 the challenge for Britain’s youth and working people is to build the struggle to defeat the pandemic once and for all, to remove this corrupt Tory government and save the planet.
Even with all the challenges and difficulties that we face — if you’re in the fight, you’re already winning.
If you want to play your part, make sure your new year’s resolution is to take your place in the YCL and the Communist Party.
Young Communist League