WHATS REALLY GOOD: A different kind of road trip

The moment Chicago members of the Young Communist League picked me up to go to the YCL’s national convention in Brooklyn, I could tell this was going to be a different experience for me.

A meal stop was planned and everyone waited for each other getting off the bus and walked into the building together. They also came back as a group.

Everything we did on the bus, be it movies, music, etc., was voted on. I got the impression that everyone was seriously hard-core into what they believed in.

Day One at the convention opened with Congressman Owens from Brooklyn who criticized the Bush administration. “The youth of today, who are filled with life and exuberance, will be the blood and guts” of a new movement for political change, he said.

The YCL’s Jessie Marshall talked about the upsurges throughout the country and how the ultra-right will do anything to maintain control.

Afterward I attended a panel about issues facing farm workers, immigrant rights, registering voters and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Later I attended workshops titled “Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote: The Fight For Immigrant Rights” and one about building YCL clubs.

Next was the International Panel, with representatives from Greece, Canada, Israel, Portugal and El Salvador. An art show, “War & Peace,” wrapped up the evening.

Day Two began with a slide show called “YCL: Images from 80 Years of Struggle.”

Jarvis Tyner of the Communist Party USA spoke about the responsibilities of youth fighting the Bush administration, and for socialism.

The day included group discussions of the YCL Draft Action Plan, which emphasizes peace, education and jobs. The final wording was approved after lunch.

We then marched down Brooklyn streets protesting the war, and rallied in front of a military recruitment office.

I later attended a workshop titled “Workers of the World Unite: Still a Good Idea,” about U.S. imperialism, how to fight it, and why socialism is the answer.

Then there were group tours. I joined the Labor/Radical Movement tour. We saw Washington Square Park, the Bobst Library, the site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, the original Communist Party headquarters, Union Square, the African Burial Ground Site and the World Trade Center location. I also visited Times Square.

Day Three started with a delegate-only voting session, followed by a short film titled “Battle Scars” about two rappers. Convention participants also evaluated what they liked and didn’t like about the weekend’s events.

The convention ended with a YCL rap group from Connecticut singing three songs: “We Need Peace,” “Immigrational Rights” and “Let’s Make a Difference.”

I had a great time and met so many cool people.

I was so impressed that I signed up for the YCL School in August.

— Selena Coleman is from Detroit and attended the YCL convention on Memorial Day weekend.