YCL West of England have held our historic 1st District Congress since re-foundation, in Bath on Saturday 24 September 2022. Congress welcomed full delegations from our newly established Branches in Bristol & Central, Exeter & West and Salisbury & East.
The room was decorated with a Congress banner specially painted for the occasion, and portraits of Comrades Lenin, Stalin and Harry Pollitt were hung from the walls. This made for a fitting backdrop as comrades from across the West of England convened to participate in the democratic life of the YCL.
The District made full use of Congress as an opportunity for frank discussion and constructive internal criticism, demonstrating the importance of accountable leadership and promoting a practical understanding of inner-League democracy.
Open debate reflects a healthy and robust democratic process. It is a prerequisite of democratic centralism, the key organisational principle of Marxism-Leninism. As such it is not only welcome, or optional – it is at the core of YCL policy creation. Collective decision-making also ensures that the resolutions carried forward from Congress are binding on each member and implemented with strict discipline. Only then is democratic centralism fully put into practice.
Congress was pleased to welcome several guests invited to mark the occasion:
• Comrade Hugh Kirkbride from Bristol addressed the room on behalf of the Communist Party’s Executive Committee, remarking upon the progress made by the district since the start of its recent initiatives in September 2019. He provided delegates with an update on the priorities and activities of the Party from the most recent meeting of its executive.
• Comrade Shea Stewart spoke as a representative of the YCL Central Committee. He passed on greetings and expressed his keenness for West of England comrades to make full use of their experience and insight to the benefit of the YCL across Britain.
• Comrade Will Barton represented the Communist Party’s Welsh National Committee, giving an overview of the history of the old CPGB, its path to liquidation, relationship with electoral and industrial politics, and its defining subordination to the USSR.
All resolutions were accepted; this outcome highlights the importance we place upon pre-Congress discussion. Our branches corresponded with each other and the outgoing District Committee (DC) to propose and submit draft resolutions and amendments in the months preceding Congress itself. However, several delegates’ remarks from the floor were noted and will be handed to our new DC for further investigation.
Our outgoing District Secretary looked to the task ahead:
“The West of England has its ducks in a row. But we cannot rest on this achievement. We must continue to move forward, as a vanguard. It is only right that in the years to come we move forward by turning our attention to; organisational issues of national importance, avoiding provincialism, and providing leadership and the value of our experience to an All-Britain audience”.
Comrade Nathan goes on to support our new officers in the role of District Organiser. Comrade Charlie has since been elected our District Secretary. He writes:
“I’m looking forward to the next two years. I hope to continue the good work that has been achieved by the previous District Secretary, and that we see continued growth in the West of England”.
A busy day of formal Congress proceedings wrapped up at 6PM, closing with a thunderous rendition of The Internationale. Celebrations continued into the night.
But the work only begins with Congress. Words must now be turned into deeds and resolutions enacted. The YCL is not a talking shop or debating society. The resolutions adopted at Congress set out a course of action, a common trajectory for our branches to advance on. Young communists in the West of England are striving to carry forward the priorities and policies laid out at our inaugural District Congress with unity in action.
YCL West of England