Young Communists hit the streets in New York with Black Lives Matter
New York members of the Young Communist League Organizing Committee march through Manhattan. | Maicol David Lynch / PW

NEW YORK—“How do you spell racist? NYPD!” the crowd chanted as it proceeded up Fifth Avenue towards Central Park from Washington Square Park in Manhattan. The Young Communist League Organizing Committee of New York wasted no time mobilizing its members to participate in and even lead the dozens of protests which have taken the streets of New York City over the past two weeks in light of the recent execution of George Floyd by a racist police officer in Minneapolis.

The YCL Organizing Committee of N.Y. was already in the process of activating members and allies to build unemployment councils and provide mutual aid for neighbors and community members in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was able to quickly join the protests that erupted following Floyd’s murder.

Young Communists have been distributing printed literature as they march through the streets, including a pamphlet by veteran Communist leader Jarvis Tyner. | Maicol David Lynch / PW

One member in Brooklyn has been arrested twice during peaceful protests. Several report being fired upon by sonic weapons, tear gas, and rubber bullets after finding themselves on the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges before the city-wide curfew even went into effect each night during the first week of protests. Others found themselves stranded in Lower Manhattan or a neighborhood far from home without transportation to get home after 7:30 p.m. The curfew order was finally lifted last Sunday evening.

Regardless of these hardships, the YCL and New York Communist Party continue to stay involved in the mass demonstrations and observe coronavirus safety protocols. They’ve been marching daily on Trump Tower, surrounding it completely. The police guarding it outside never have masks on, unlike the protesters.

Young Communists in the city are active from morning until night, whether offering support for jailed protesters, mutual aid for fellow demonstrators, or marching alongside the wide range of democratic movements that have hit the streets against racism and fascism. Members have shown up at city jails and precincts almost daily the past two weeks to greet freed protesters. The steady stream of demonstrators from city lock-ups disprove police insistence that “all prisoners were being held in the suburbs.”

Young Communist League Organizing Committee activists have been joined and supported by members of the Communist Party. On the left is CPUSA National Co-Chair Joe Sims. | Maicol David Lynch / PW

Arrested demonstrators have been provided with disinfecting wipes, water, coffee, snacks, masks, and hand sanitizer after spending a night in possibly coronavirus-infected jail cells. Some YCL N.Y. members and Communist Party veterans stand on the sidelines of marches and hand out snacks, water, and hand sanitizer as protesters pass by, while others march in the demonstrations. On a few occasions, they’ve been asked to lead the march with a large CPUSA banner that reads, “Stop Trump’s New Jim Crow Fascist Danger!”

The message of the Communist Party has become mainstream among protesters here. Fellow demonstrators as well as supporters on the sidewalk give a thumbs-up as Communists pass by with banners and signs. Others stop to take pictures with the banner and accept handouts, such as a Black Lives Matter pamphlet written by New York Communist leader Jarvis Tyner.

The popular demand of these marches is to “Defund the Police.” Community control of the police is seen as a means to begin the process of defunding, disarming, and ultimately disbanding racist police institutions.

Mutual aid distribution for released protesters outside city jails have been a regular part of the Young Communists’ activities. | Maicol David Lynch / PW

Part of the message that Communists are bringing to the struggle is that the fight against violent and racist policing intersects with the resistance against the neo-fascist danger posed by the Trump administration. The Communist Party has stated for decades that the fascist danger must be defeated whenever it arises in order for the working class and progressive democratic movements to change the balance of class forces and improve the terrain on which they must fight their battles.

The Communists also emphasize the need to expand and build the united movement that has emerged in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, keeping it going all the way to the November elections and beyond.

For more information about the Young Communist League Organizing Committee’s book clubs, neighborhood initiatives, and educationals, those interested are invited to attend a prison-letter writing workshop being held on Saturday, June 13, at 2:00 pm EST. Registration details available here.


Maicol David Lynch
Maicol David Lynch

Maicol David Lynch is a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA and an activist and organizer in Working America and Indivisible, the national grassroots movement. He writes from New York City and is most passionate about the struggles against imperialism in Latin America and the fight against xenophobia in immigrant communities in the USA.