Young Communist League Fredericton hopes to become an official club under the Young Communist League of Canada in the next few weeks. The five to seven core organizers have been meeting bi-weekly since August, discussing current events, local progress of the group and engagement in local activism. They tackle patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, racism, colonialism and imperialism as a product of capitalism.
YCL was founded in 1922. Despite sharing the same ideological and political values of the Communist Party of Canada, they are separate organizations. YCL revolves around Marxist and Leninist ideologies with the goals of fighting for youth and their various rights and ultimately, socialism. YCL defines socialism and communism in their Frequently Asked Questions About the YCL and Socialism flyer.
“Socialism is the society that will pave the way for a communist society by setting a foundation of cooperation and sharing of all things in common. Communism is the realization of these goals,” it reads.
Abram Lutes, group organizer and third-year philosophy and anthropology student at the University of New Brunswick, said there are a lot of conversations to be had.
“I think there’s a lot of really great things happening on the UNB and [St. Thomas University] campuses, in terms of students learning and fighting for social justice and different causes,” he said. “But I think an organization like the Young Communist League is a healthy addition to those.”
The group is one of five sponsors of Tina Oh’s speech “Another Feminist Killjoy on Climate Justice,” at St. Thomas on Feb. 20. They are also interested in entering a coalition with other organizations to form a Fight for $15 collective in the city. They’ve been distributing pamphlets on campus and throughout Fredericton to spread their message.
In the summer, they ran a reading group focusing on Lenin’s works to get people interested in the theory and practice.
The group is diverse with Indigenous, Acadian and LGBTQ members. Anyone who wants to join ages 15 to 35 are welcome, regardless if they’re a student on campus or not.
Jacob Patterson, another organizer of the group and second-year sociology major at STU, believes this sort of group fills a gap in the political scene of Fredericton.
“There are large political parties that don’t have much interest in radical politics. We found that was lacking in Fredericton,” said Patterson.
“[And] we think socialism [describes] the kind of world that we need, to completely eliminate these various kinds of oppression and also, to liberate people from things like poverty and exploitation,” said Lutes.
Both Lutes and Patterson believe there are misconceptions and misunderstandings that come along with socialism and communism.
“[There is] this kind of bleak stereotype of growing up in the Soviet Union, everybody gets the same clothes and has to eat the same food everyday. That’s not at all what it’s like,” said Lutes.
“There’s a widespread belief that communism equals total state control over everything, and of course as we pointed out earlier when we described a communist society [as] essentially anarchistic in nature, which is … the complete opposite of total state control,” said Patterson.
Young Communist League Fredericton has close relationships with the No One is Illegal Fredericton group in Fredericton and have talked with the Young Greens about working together in the future.
Lutes said YCL is in no way in a leadership position in the city, but feels it could be.
“I think we hope to give voice to [the] radical vision … not just [fight] the issues we have today, but actually [think] about what kind of world we’re building when they’re gone.”