NEW YORK – Members of the Young Communist League’s (YCL) National Council met here March 23-24. The meeting, also attended by YCL friends and allies, discussed the goals of the YCL in the period leading up to the National March for Peace in D.C. on April 20.

Libero Della Piana, national coordinator of the YCL, began the meeting with a main political report. He said that “there are huge opportunities for the YCL. We are working together on a national level with many diverse organizations. We should also work together locally. The YCL can play a key role in coalition work.”

“It is empowering to see the youth lead this march,” said Shelly Delos, managing editor of the YCL’s magazine. “The April 20 march is the beginning. We need to look for ways to go beyond April 20.”

Jennifer Perna, a National Council member from Philadelphia, tied the issue of civil liberties and the increased war budget to education, the focus of the YCL’s national campaign. “A fight for civil liberties is a fight for education,” Perna said.

Perna, a teacher, mentioned the continuing attempts by Edison to take over Philadelphia’s public schools. She also discussed the money being diverted from social programs, like education, into the production of bombs and bombers.

The YCL Membership Committee held an interactive workshop on recruitment and club building in the afternoon.

On Saturday evening, the 55 youth gathered again with many older comrades, Communist Party members, friends and allies, and celebrated the 80th anniversary of the YCL with music, laughter, reflections and food.

Jarvis Tyner, former national chair of the Young Workers Liberation League (YWLL), a precursor to the YCL, said, “The youth are carrying the torch. You are the bulk of the anti-globalization movement. You are the active core of the peace and justice struggles.”

Gloria Freedman, an 86-year-old member of the Communist Party, said, “My life started when I joined the Young Communist League.” The YCL and the Party have been the “most glorious things in my life for 66 years,” Freedman continued.

Speakers reminded the audience that it takes money to run any organization, including the YCL. A fundraising campaign around the YCL’s 80th anniversary was introduced.

The second day of the meeting focused on the YCL convention, draft budget for the fiscal year 2002 and the proposed new National Council, to be voted on at the convention. The YCL convention will be held in Chicago November 22-24.

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