World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Young Communist League USA

Young Communist League
of the United States of America
Founded 1920
Ideology Communism
Mother party Communist Party USA
International affiliation World Federation of Democratic Youth

The Young Communist League USA (YCLUSA) is a youth organization in the United States. The stated aim of the League is the development of its members into Communists, through studying Marxism–Leninism and through active participation in the struggles of the American working class. The YCL recognises the Communist Party as the party for socialism in the United States and operates as the Party's youth wing.[1] Although the name of the group has changed a number of times over the years, it dates its lineage back to 1920, shortly after the establishment of the first communist parties in America.


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
      • The underground period 1.1.1
      • Establishment of the "overground" organization 1.1.2
    • The depression decade and after 1.2
    • The YCL today 1.3
    • Present operations 1.4
  • See also 2
  • Footnotes 3
  • Publications 4
  • External links 5


Early years

The 1920 split of the Oliver Carlson, attempted to steer the group to a position of neutrality between the two warring factions of American communism, the Communist Party of America and the Communist Labor Party of America.

The underground period

As early as 1920, a skeleton of a "Young People's Communist League" was in existence. This minuscule, largely

  • Young Communist League, USA
  • Dynamic - quarterly magazine of the YCLUSA
  • Young Communist League (1921 - 1939). Historical documents of the YCL, archived at Early American Marxism website. Retrieved September 27, 2006.

External links

  • The Young Worker. New York and Chicago: Young Workers League of America. Vol. 1, No. 1 (Feb. 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 2 (March-April 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 3 (May 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 4 (June-July 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 5 (Aug.-Sept. 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 6 (Oct. 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 7 (Nov. 1922) | Vol. 1, No. 8 (Dec. 1922)


  1. ^ Constitution of the YCL
  2. ^ Department of Justice/Bureau of Investigation Investigative Files, NARA collection M-1085, reel 940, document 679. Downloadable pdf Archived November 20, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Comintern Archive, RGASPI, f. 515, op. 1, d. 152, ll. 10, 12.
  4. ^ "Oliver Carlson, "The Road Before Us," ''The Young Worker,'' v. 1, no. 4 (June–July 1922), pp. 18-19. Downloadable pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  5. ^ Oliver Carlson, "Our First Convention," The Young Worker, v. 1, no. 4 (June–July 1922), pg. 20.
  6. ^ "Young Communist League". Leftist Encyclopedia of the United States (second ed.). Oxford University Press. 1998. pp. 920–923.  


See also

State City/Cities Club name
Arizona Arizona Young Communist League
Arkansas Van Buren Arkansas Young Communist League
California Los Angeles Southern California Young Communist League
Connecticut New Haven New Haven Young Communist League
District of Columbia/Northern Virginia Washington D.C. DC/NOVA Young Communist League
Florida Tampa, Orlando Young Communist League of Tampa Bay, Young Communist League Orlando
Illinois Chicago Chicago Young Communist League (Haymarket CLub)
Indiana Auburn Young Communist League of Northern Indiana
Kentucky Louisville Kentucky Young Communist League
Maryland Baltimore Baltimore Young Communist League (Tupac Shakur Club)
Michigan East Lansing MSU Young Communist League
Montana Helena Young Communist League - Butte/Helena
New Jersey West Orange West Orange Young Communist League
New York New York City New York Young Communist League
North Carolina North Carolina Young Communist League
Ohio Cleveland, Montpelier Young Communist League Ohio, Young Communist League NW Ohio
South Carolina South Carolina Young Communist League
Tennessee Tennessee Young Communist League
Texas Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio (City) Young Communist League
West Virginia West Virginia Young Communist League
Wisconsin Milwaukee Young Communist League Milwaukee

In recent years the YCL has experienced a rapid rate of expansion and has thus opened chapters all over the country.

Present operations

The YCL operates in cities and rural areas across the country, and organizes national schools and conferences based in Chicago, Illinois. According to its constitution, "The YCL is devoted to the interests of all young people and is dedicated to the revolutionary cause of the working class of our country, the transformation of the United States through mass democratic struggle into a socialist society."

After the president of the United States and the escalation of militarism, membership began to rise again. The YCL experienced a rapid growth in membership after the 2008 elections, largely due to the prominent role played by youth in the election of Barack Obama and the fact that his opponents criticised his pro-labor rhetoric as "socialist." Membership has continued to grow with an increase of youth feeling disillusioned by a perceived lack of progress under the Obama administration.

The YCL today

In 1944 the YCL followed the CPUSA into dissolution, reconstituting itself as American Labor Youth League, which dissolved in the dissension following the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and the 20th Congress of the CPSU. In 1965, After a period of mainly local activity, the DuBois Clubs were formed and later renamed the Young Workers Liberation League before reaffirming the original name Young Communist League in 1984.[6]

The turn toward the Popular Front initiated a period of the YCL's greatest growth and it may have had as many as 12,000 members in New York City alone by 1939.

The depression decade and after

The name of the youth league ultimately followed the name of the adult party, becoming the Young Workers (Communist) League in 1926 when the Workers Party became the "Workers (Communist) Party" and to the Young Communist League, USA in 1929 when the adult party became the "Communist Party, USA."

The organization was governed by a National Executive Committee of seven members, of whom at least five were to live in a single locale. Chicago was set as the headquarters city for the organization, a change from the group's provisional base of operations in New York. Harry Gannes, treasurer Gus Schulenberg, and future fixture of the 1930s American radical movement Herbert Zam.

The basic unit of organization of the YWL was the "branch," consisting of at least five but no more than one hundred and fifty members. Two or more branches in a single large city were to form a "City Central Committee" to coordinate their activities, and all units were to be part of the regular array of districts used by the adult party. The initiation fee was 25 cents and dues 25 cents per month, with all initiation fees and 10 cents of every month's dues going to support the National Office.[5]

The founding convention of the YWL was held in

The YWL was also bolstered, as was its adult counterpart, by the addition of a new mass of members coming into the organization from the Finnish Socialist Federation — the largest foreign language federation of the Socialist Party, which had been biding its time as an independent organization since 1921, waiting for an end to the ineffectual underground form of organization. In the middle 1920s, the Workers Party of America was approximately 40% Finnish-American — and its youth section was no exception to this trend.

For the young communist youth, this organization was the Young Workers League of America (YWL), established in 1922. As was the case with the corresponding adult organization, the "legal" YWL had a much easier time establishing itself. At the small cost of eliminating a few ill considered ultra-revolutionary phrases from its literature, the YWL was able to meet in the open, to advertise its events, and to distribute its newspapers, leaflets, and pamphlets with only minimal interference from the legal authorities. Consequently, it was able to attract a steady stream of new devotees to the cause — although, as was the case with the adult party, retention of its new recruits always remained problematic.

Logo of the YWL, established in 1922.

Establishment of the "overground" organization

The underground form of organization made it very difficult to attract and hold quality recruits — recruiting had to be by word of mouth, literature distribution surreptitious, advertising of meetings non-existent. Accordingly, very little progress was made in building the size and effectiveness of the organization. This underground YCL continued in existence until early 1923, when it was terminated together with the underground adult Communist Party, leaving the "overground" youth and adult groups as the only remaining organizations.

This did not mean that there was no national convention of the organization. The founding convention of the YCL was held early in May 1922, apparently in [3]

Owing to government pressure from the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party prior to the Russian Revolution. The YCL was no different, its leaders and members making use of pseudonyms and holding their meetings in secret.

The establishment of a parallel "aboveground" to the technically illegal YCL was called for. [2]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.