From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 28 (Whole No. 87), 24 October 1931, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
In 79 B.C. the slave and gladiator Spartacus commenced a magnificent struggle of revolt against the oppression and rule of the Roman Empire. In the course of battles in which thousands of revolting slaves gathered around the banner raised by the Greek Spartacus, ten Roman armies were defeated and laid to waste before the patricians and military power of Rome could gather sufficient strength to beat down the glorious revolt of the enslaved masses. Spartacus and his followers went to their death, but for the slaves, plebeians, serfs and toilers, there remain forever the glory and inspiration of the revolt of Spartacus and his fellow-slaves and gladiators.
The Communist League of America (Opposition) aims to develop further the Spartacus tradition of struggle, revolt and organization against the slavery of today – wage-slavery, which enfolds countless millions of toiler, young and old, throughout the world. The National Youth Committee of the Communist League jointly with the National Committee of the Communist League, have decided to call the forthcoming Youth paper of the Left Opposition, announced in the previous issue of the Militant – Young Spartacus. The youth of the Left Opposition, in claiming the tradition of Spartacus for the revolutionary youth and proletarian movement of today thereby also lift high the symbol and banner by which Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg gathered the first cohorts of Communism in Germany into the Spartacus League – Communist Party of Germany.
The issuance of Young Spartacus in the very near future represents another advance of the Communist League of America and the International Left Opposition in the endeavor to bring clarity again into the confusion wrought by the theories and practises of Centrism, led and nurtured by Stalin. It is but the first, we hope, of youth publications by the Left Opposition.
For the young workers in the United States, in the official Young Communist League, for Communist sympathizers among the toiling and student youth of America, the issuance of Young Spartacus, it is hoped and expected, will be one of the means whereby the revolutionary youth can once again step into the front ranks of Communism in the demand for clarity of purpose, sound theory and program, for militancy and action. The Young Worker, official organ of the Young Communist League, is but a caricature of what a youth paper should be. It grovels before the bureaucrats of the party, and makes sycophants of the youth, acceptors without question of any and all orders handed down from above. The official apparatus of the Y.C.I. and the party is passively accepted, at best with whispered criticism. Neither thought nor educational material of any real consequence is any longer to be found in its columns. The revolutionary youth in the United States needs a revolutionary youth paper and this role Young Spartacus aims to fulfill. In his letter to his party nucleus, entitled The New Course, Trotsky has this to say concerning the youth:
“It is wholly inadequate that the youth should repeat our formulas [i.e. of the older comrades – so-called Old Guard – M.A.] It is necessary that the youth should take the revolutionary formulas fighting, transform them into flesh and blood, work out for themselves their own opinion with that courage that comes from sincere conviction and independence of character. Passive obedience, mechanical drill, characterlessness, obsequiousness, careerism – away with these things from the party! A Bolshevik is not only a disciplined man; no, a Bolshevik is a man who, boring deep, has worked out for himself in each given instance a firm opinion, and courageously and independently defends it, not only in war with his enemies, but also within his own organization. Today he may be in the minority in the organization. He submits because it is his party. But that obviously does not always mean that he was wrong. ...”
The members of the Young Communist League and the Young Worker today only too plainly do not have that independence and courage and clarity which characterize the kind of revolutionary youth needed in the Communist movement. Trotsky’s words are the words for any vital, thinking revolutionary youth. The Youth fraction of the Communist League, through Young Spartacus, as well as through the coming formation of youth clubs, will endeavor to instill the fundamentals of Communist theory and practise among the youth it can reach. In the Young Communist League of America there is also worthy tradition, particularly of its early years as the Y.W.L. when Clarity and Action were its slogans. Young Spartacus will endeavor to fulfill these slogans. Every adult worker and member of the Communist League and sympathizer of the Left Opposition should help in the issuance and maintenance of the forthcoming Young Spartacus which will start as a monthly four page paper, tabloid size. H. Stone has been selected as Business Manager of Young Spartacus and funds for it may now be sent to H. Stone, care of Young Spartacus, 84 East 10th Street, New York, N.Y
Last updated: 4.2.2013