"Kick Start My Heart" By Dita Behn

When one of my comrades suggested that I write an article describing my experience attending the Young Communist League's National Convention I felt that it was an exceptional opportunity to showcase many of the problems that are plaguing, not only the YCL, but also the Communist Party in general.  I also felt a great deal of disappointment, thinking back to when I joined The Party four years ago, and how I thought that I'd finally found a group that would be willing to work towards revolutionary change.  However, what I've dealt with over the years from the C.P. has ranged from neglect to petty career opportunism to blatant revisionism, and unfortunately, one of the worst aspects is the lack of cultivating their own youth into strong-minded and willed communists.

     I ran into many problems before the convention even occurred, two of  the  worst being the lack of shared information, as well as, the C.P. Chapter being unwilling to financially support the trip to Chicago.  First of all,  while trying to plan the trip out I continually emailed a comrade in a nearby city who refused to give me even the most simple information, such as, how much the registration fees were, where the check is mailed to, etc.  This eventually was settled when I had to send an email to everyone in the YCL begging for this information in order to alert my work and get plane tickets.
  This did not gain me an award for punctuality; instead I was bombarded with emails blaming me for not having the information in the first place and that "if I was really active in the YCL I would have been given the information". This was completely shocking to me on so many levels especially since I
had been in The Party for over four years, and was one of the two active members in my city, as well as, having just attended the National Convention in New York.  Another issue was that the C.P. Chapter in the city decided that it was more important to use funds towards "The Paper" instead of encouraging its two members of the YCL to attend the conference, which was supposed to
be an educational and amazing experience.  Because the comrade that attended the convention with me did not have a financially supportive job, I shelled out $700 for the two of us to go to the convention in hopes of being reimbursed at some point.  Unfortunately, to this date I'm still out the money and the person in charge of reimbursement is the very comrade who would not give
out the convention information in the first place.
     It's seems like through most of my life I've had what I call an "allies complex", most of which stems from the lack of comrades and a certain anti-intellectualism that seems to have been present in society since my birth.  Even when I was involved in Riot Grrrl, as well as, other feminist organizations I never felt that there was a sense of unity or seriousness within these groups.  If anything there was always backstabbing and a  certain pettiness that emanated within its members, and I was determined that the club I'd formed with a young comrade would be an example of communist  youth.
    However, when we arrived in Chicago it was unknown to us at that time that we  would be witness to one of the most disturbing weekends of Democrat ass-kissing revisionism.
     When my comrade and I arrived at the convention center it was the very essence of high school cliques, and the same people that I had met  previously at the New York Convention were now the same people asking to see my "credentials" before I was admitted into the conference area.  At fist I
thought that this was some lame joke, but instead it was a serious attempt at bureaucracy being perpetrated by the very people that were supposed to be tearing it down.  My comrade and I settled down for the lengthy introduction and plenary that was over 3 hours long and included the use of the word "Socialism" over 50 times, but never once "Communism" or "Marxism-Leninism."  I felt shocked and embarrassed that I was supposed to call these people that were in arrested political development, my comrades.  I thought to myself about how I would fight and die for the  chance to actualize revolutionary change, and that I could not trust these people with getting out emails, let alone having my back.  As the verbal barrage continued from YCL groups across the country lacking any sort of  inspiration or even clarity for that matter, my comrade and I sat back passing each  other looks that assured me that I wasn't alone in thinking that this entire convention was just a sham and a disgrace.  Meanwhile, throughout the entire convention no one introduced themselves or even attempted to maintain simple rules of etiquette, leaving the two of us in a very solitary position.  It seemed as though I was still being punished for speaking against the group and their unorganized structure of setting up a national convention without even providing basic information to YCL leaders.
     One of the most ridiculous aspects of the Convention weekend was the "Demonstration" that occurred down the streets of Schiller Park.  There was no exact point or subject that we were supposed to be demonstrating  against, yet for some reason we all walked over 3 miles to try to illegally hang a banner over a highway pass.  At this point I was so embarrassed by their hodge-podge banners and half-assed chants that all I could do was wait until this entire weekend was over.  So far the Convention hadn't even displayed any sort of interaction or discussion within its members, all of that changing with the "Workshop" schedule which included such topics as "Defending the Ultra-Right at the Ballot Box" and "Socialism USA".  While attending the workshop on "Building YCL Clubs on Campus" I came to the sudden realization of just how isolating and bourgeois these kids truly were, exemplified by the fact that the comrades who were running the workshop completely excluded anyone who didn't go to an ivy league and had to work.
Throughout the entire conversation the discussion remained directed only to those in school that didn't have to support themselves to live, and those that had the privilege of attending State funded or Private schools.  I  found it hard to believe that it was so easy for these people to discredit the working class in college with their anti-proletariat banter when they were supposed to be fighting for the masses to begin with.  It seemed as though the group couldn't wait to become exactly like their parents living the Middle Class American Dream, except with the twist of maintaining a sense of
rebellion.  My comrade and I were disgusted by their entire attitude and spent a lot of time by ourselves in the hotel room trying to plan out the actions that we would take to build our own club once we arrived home.  In fact, for the most part of the weekend all I looked forward to was getting back on the plane and away from these revisionist traitors.
     The worst aspect of the entire trip was witnessing the utter disappointment that both my comrade and I endured realizing that the Party we so strongly joined and pledged to was, in fact, a disgrace to the masses it claimed to represent.  I personally felt as though I dragged my comrade half way across the country only for him to not feel one ounce of camaraderie or unity, and that if he was a man of lesser convictions he would have walked away and never been involved in Leftist politics again.  This seems to be a crime that the YCL perpetuates over and over again; by not contacting potential members for years, by forming cliques but claiming to be non-sectarian, and worst of all, by snuffing out the fire of it's members through it's ineffective attempts at being politically active.  The YCL Convention was a sham and a disgrace not only because of its straying from the very concept of "communism", but because the people involved are the very one's who are poisoning the political climate with their tepid and unserious nature.  I'm lucky that I was able to witness first hand the true face of the youth of the Communist Party, that being, closet bourgeois Democrat sympathizers who have been the demise of the Communist Party.

Alliance Issue 1, January 2003.