Venezuela’s young communists urge unity

The Young Communists of Venezuela held their 10th national congress Sept. 15-17 to coincide with their 59th anniversary. The gathering included 300 delegates and guests from 100 national and international groups.

A major theme of the congress was strengthening support for President Hugo Chávez and the country’s socialist future. Discussions centered on resolutions issued at the 12th congress of the Communist Party of Venezuela last July, including one that called on communist youth to exert influence on students, workers and all young people in order to raise political awareness.

The communist youth are proposing a national unity movement in support of Chávez’s call to create a single party of revolutionary forces. Carlos Aquino, outgoing general secretary of the group, told reporters that youth have a very important role to play in the socialist process of the country.

Dolores Huerta urges youth to vote

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, stressed voting, nonviolence and unity to 200 students at the Freemont Federation of High Schools in Oakland, Calif., during a hip-hop-themed event Sept. 20.

“We can’t let people drive wedges between us because we are all one family,” said Huerta, 76, to a diverse crowd of teenagers. “There is only one human race.”

Speaking to reporters, Huerta said, “I see the new civil rights movement emerging. A lot of it’s around the hip-hop movement, among young people, but now it’s more about economic rights.”

Laws passed in the U.S. can cause suffering, she said, and “the only way to have an influence on the laws is to vote.” Youth Together, a multi-ethnic, leadership-building group comprising five East Bay high schools, organized the event. One youth called Huerta a living “civil rights legend.”

Youth launch ‘books not bombs’ campaign

The National Youth and Student Peace Coalition is launching a fall campaign making the link between the massive cuts to public education, higher education, job training, veteran’s benefits and healthcare with the funding for the war in Iraq. NYSPC is calling on all youth to hit the streets and the voting booths to demand “Books Not Bombs,” and is planning educational events, organizing drives and actions nationwide. For more information, e-mail NYSPC ator check out its web site at www.nyspc.org.

Youth voters underrepresented at the polls

Nonpartisan organizations are hoping to educate young voters and change attitudes on a local and national scale in preparation for Nov. 7. The Ad Council is working with the Federal Voting Assistance Program to generate interest and emphasize the importance of voting, especially among college-age citizens.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 19.4 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds voted in the 2002 midterm elections, making that demographic the most underrepresented at the polls.

“Our goal is to help create a generation of voters,” said Michelle Hillman, Ad Council vice president.

Tina Post, communications director of the New Voters Project, said her group registered 524,000 young voters in the last presidential elections, making it the largest nonpartisan, youth-motivated movement in history. “The youth vote in America is primed to become an important constituency,” she said. “By 2015, 18- to 35-year olds will represent one-third of the electorate.”

— Pepe Lozano (plozano@pww.org)

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