“Youth are not only the future, but also the present of the struggle”

By Aritz Rodríguez  

President, World Federation of Democratic Youth  

The conflicts we are observing around the world are an aggressive manifestation of sharpening contradictions and crises. In the face of capital’s increasing difficulty to sustain itself, conflicts are increasing for spheres of influence, market shares, raw materials, energy plans and transport routes. And, of course, the working class is the main victim of all this, either by putting their blood into these conflicts or by suffering precarization so that capitalist profits are not diminished.

This is not only about the imperialist war in Ukraine but also a general escalation of tensions and conflicts. The main imperialist forces – the US, the European Union and NATO – are treating this situation as a high priority. Undoubtedly, they do not want to lose their position in this reconfiguration of the world and the emergence and consolidation of new regional and international forces and alliances.

For all this, the World Federation of Democratic Youth raises high the flag of peace and anti-imperialism.

In this context, defending internationalist principles plays a fundamental role for young workers and students. Today, the imperialist forces are deploying all their propaganda and ideological apparatuses to try to win the support of the working class and the youth to participate in their plans. And, when necessary, they do not hesitate to resort to the repressive apparatus of the state to repress those who try to confront their interests. The aim, without any doubt, is to wipe out any political independence of the working class and its youth and to align it with the social-chauvinist interests of the oppressors.

So, while we proclaim the centrality of internationalism, we cannot reduce this to mere symbolic solidarity. Sometimes, when we talk about international solidarity, we think about it as a separate struggle from our national struggle. We must merge our struggles nationally and internationally and avoid any kind of artificial separation between them.

For this purpose, on the one hand, we must struggle together against the common enemy that all of us have: imperialism. The imperialist system, as the highest stage of capitalism, represents a global threat to the lives of people, workers and youth worldwide. It produces aggressions, interferences, wars, the plunder of natural resources, exploitation, racism, xenophobia, violence and oppression against women, LGBT-phobia. It occurs in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and North America. Different faces, different tools, different ways of suffering, but the same root problem: our exploitation and oppression around the world to increase capitalist profits. That is why the struggle against imperialism needs to be international: to strike with one fist against our common enemy.

On the other hand, we must also take responsibility in our own countries, being aware of the connection between our national and international tasks and standing up to the ruling classes in our own countries and their responsibility for this barbarism. We must struggle together against the main imperialist forces like the US, the EU and NATO, and also against the capitalists and their representatives in our countries. Because imperialist barbarism is also a result of their collaboration, direct or indirect involvement, interests, arms shipments and financing.

If we understand our internationalist principles as a commitment to the international struggle for the liberation of humanity from exploitation and any kind of oppression, and also the need to confront this task at home against our own capitalists, we will succeed in making a crucial qualitative leap for the advance of the anti-imperialist struggle.

We cannot hesitate and give up. We need to take advantage of the opportunities that this conjuncture opens, to continue advancing towards the national and international articulation of an anti-imperialist movement that is independent of the interests of the oppressors, of their representatives and their ideology, and which can confront their power and propose a new horizon free of exploitation and any kind of oppression.

We remember our comrades that suffer repression and political persecution, especially our Ukrainian comrades Mikhail and Aleksander Kononovich.

The role of NATO, together with the US and the EU, in pushing for a coup in Ukraine in 2014 that brought to power a regime which has sanitized and supported fascist groups, has been appalling for our Ukrainian comrades. After the outlawing of our member organization in Ukraine (LCYU) in 2015, persecution has been their daily routine, including the kidnapping by the Ukrainian Security Services of our Mikhail and Aleksander. We reiterate our call for an end to torture, false accusations, the violation of their rights, and their political persecution – we demand their immediate release.

We call to revolutionary young militants around the world: Do not give up! There is no reason to be afraid of capitalist repression because, in the face of any attack, your militancy will have the support of all anti-imperialist youth on an international level. You can count on the World Federation of Democratic Youth to strengthen the anti-imperialist struggle.

We, the youth, are not only the future, but also the present of the struggle. We will maintain the struggle until we achieve the final victory.

Edited from remarks made to the 29th Convention of the Young Communist League of Canada

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