NEW YORK — Over a dozen members of the Young Communist League USA participated in a seven-day National Youth School facilitated by four leading members of the Communist Party USA here during the week of Jan. 8-14.

The school entertained a diverse array of YCLers who discussed topics such as capitalism, socialism, the working class, Marxism-Leninism, dialectical and historical materialism, and strategy and tactics. It also took up issues relating to women and equality, racism and national oppression, youth and labor, and the role of the YCL and the Communist Party.

Questions like, “What’s wrong with capitalism, and can it be patched up? Who makes up the working class and how did it come to be? Are we on the doorsteps of fascism? In whose interest is socialism? Are all women equally oppressed? What defines racism?” were asked throughout the weeklong course.

Classic films were presented at lunch, such as Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” and “The Good Fight,” a documentary about members of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Brigade who sacrificed their lives to fight heroically against the rising tide of fascism in Spain in the 1930s. The school explained that fascism is the “open terrorist capitalist dictatorship,” consisting of the most “racist, chauvinist, militarist reactionary sector of the bourgeoisie.”

One speaker, noting the “great scientific discovery” of socialism by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and drawing on the experience of the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, led by Vladimir Lenin, said that socialism in the 21st century requires a “working-class led state, social ownership of the means of production and democracy.”

“Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it,” Marx said. This quotation and others, like Clara Zetkin’s “True emancipation of women is not possible except through communism,” were highlighted throughout the school. In a discussion about racism the comments of Gus Hall, the late national leader of the CPUSA, were cited: “White chauvinism remains the most persistent and widespread poisonous ideological current influencing the thinking of the white masses.”

At the end of the week, students commented that the school was “extremely helpful,” “thought provoking” and “well organized.”

The YCL is also preparing for its Eighth National Convention to be held May 27-29 in New York City. It’s calling upon its members, friends and allies to build for the convention with the slogan, “Our Future, Our Fight: Youth Beat Back the Ultra-Right.” The convention is the highest body of the YCL and it brings young activists together to share strategies and tactics, to elect leadership, to set its direction for the next period, and to enjoy recreational and cultural activities.

As the Bush administration and the ultra-right continue to attack the rights of working people here at home and initiate imperialist wars over seas, the YCL school made it plain that the organization remains committed to building a broad, united, labor-led, all people’s front in defeating the backward policies of the ultra-right.