The everyday work of a branch-level committee member involves tasks that never make the history books –– the writing of reports, liasing with members, convening meetings, planing and executing actions, building up networks, and so much more. Branch-level work plays a fundamental role in developing the YCL’s districts, and of course, the organisation nationally. All branches must lead to roots that unify the tree, thus, all the branches of league must come under a unified leadership formed form its own ranks.
“The sovereign body of the League shall be the congress”Young Communist League
In amongst the forests of books, mountains of papers, busts, portraits and pamphlets, delegates from Scotlands branches gathered in the offices of Unity books on Sunday 19 June to reflect on the past and plan for the future.
Meeting in the midst of the cost of living crisis, it is clear we are entering a period of new struggles and for these we must be prepared. Addressing this, Scottish Congress stressed the need to increase our agitation efforts in wider society. Beyond heroism and poetic language, our struggle is a very real one, based on consistent efforts to create practical and reasonable goals in our struggle for socialism.
As Matthew Waddell, YCL Scotland Secretary made clear: “I do not mean simply increasing the frequency of what we already do well, but increasing the work that is taken on by individual cadres within the sphere of their own lives. In our branches the question still sometimes arises of what should we do next, or what should our focus be at some given moment; what are we meant to do as communists and how do we place ourselves at the front of the class struggle?
“Our members are already perfectly placed to carry out revolutionary work. Our members are from the masses, of the working class and they are already present in the very places where class exploitation can be most readily exposed; schools, communities and primarily workplaces. Sending our members to organise in these places, must be the foundation of our work.
“In order to do this, we must produce reports on everything we do. Without reporting there can be no self-study and no study of the work of those below. And these reports must be written documents, otherwise the knowledge and experience gained from all of our work will not be able to travel through the league to go where else it needs to, confining vital experience to individuals.”
There is perhaps nothing new about this call to organise, it is one as old as the movement itself. Yet the circumstances that demand it and the results of our efforts to achieve it will be our own. Everything under the sun is not yet fully in chaos but hour by hour and day by day, the contradictions of capitalism intensify. Passivity in the face of these contradictions, as numerous and as they are deep, is fatal.
Thus, a scientific effort to sharpen our spears must be made. The Scottish Congress was the grindstone on which this sharpening occurred. The creation of more concrete reporting systems, proposals for cultural efforts, the election of a new committee, the handling of issues amongst the cadre all centred upon democratic centralism, allows for the strengthening of Scottish YCL and our membership base.
It’s here that it is made apparent why congress is the sovereign body of the league. It is the hub from which each branch can receive inspiration and the central organisation can learn to fight better.
Grant MacDonald, is a member of the YCL’s Edinburgh Branch