WFDY Meets in Cyprus

BY: Maicol David Lynch| January 7, 2020
WFDY Meets in Cyprus


The 20th General Assembly of the World Federation of Democratic Youth took place December 2–6, 2019. The location in Cyprus was selected based on the ability of EDON (the young communist league of AKEL) on the island to host such an event. Cyprus gained its independence from Britain in 1960 and experienced an invasion and occupation by Turkey of the northern half of the island which began in 1974 and continues to this day. We were unable to fly into the capital city of Nicosia due to the unlawful and unrecognized control of the Nicosia airport by the Turkish military. Therefore, we were instructed to arrive at the city of Larnaka where we stayed in a hotel owned by a communist-affiliated labor union, and every morning, we rode a bus for an hour to Nicosia where we met for the general assembly. It’s also worth noting that apart from the northern half of the island being occupied by Turkish forces, the southern half of the island has 3% of its land mass occupied by British military bases, giving Cyprus its nickname as “Britain’s natural aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.” Over the course of the General Assembly, we rallied on the border, with the self-proclaimed “Northern Cypriots” standing on one side and the AKEL and EDON comrades on the other chanting “Turkish troops out of Cyprus!” and “One Cyprus United!” Only a barrier with U.N. peacekeepers and Turkish soldiers divided us from the northern half of the island, reminding us of the danger imposed by NATO-based imperialism.

About 46 percent of the conference attendees were women, and there were 95 delegations present. Most were communist youth/student leagues associated with the communist parties in their countries, but many other progressive and social democratic youth leagues were also present. In attendance were the youth leagues of the ruling governmental parties of Venezuela, Cuba, Nepal, the DPRK, and Vietnam in addition to the governing African parties from Eritrea, Namibia, Angola, and Zimbabwe.

The political declaration that was passed contained a preamble and a series of resolutions which were debated and edited over the course of the four-day General Assembly. The resolutions covered the following topics:

1. imperialist interventions

2. discrimination and social inequality

3. employment and education

4. environment and climate change

5. fascism, extreme right and fundamentalism

6. peace and freedom.

These resolutions were overwhelmingly supported and passed by consensus without the need for a vote.

Some key organizations did not attend, unfortunately. Namely, the YCL and ANC Youth League from South Africa, and the YCLs from Uruguay and Bolivia, due to difficult conditions in their countries. However, this was the largest General Assembly of WFDY in 30 years. They have not had this much of a unifying and well-attended meeting since the fall of real existing socialism in Eastern Europe.

Our CPUSA youth organization is a member of the CENA (Caucasia, Europe and North America) grouping whose president was re-elected as a member of the YCL of Portugal (JCP). The two vice-presidents of our regional grouping are the comrades from EDON (Cyprus) and the KNE (Greece). We reached this agreement by consensus.

The newly elected president of WFDY, Aritz Rodriguez, is a comrade from UJCE, the youth wing of the PCE in Spain. The opposition for the WFDY presidency initially came from Komsomol (the YCL of the CP of the Russian Federation), but they withdrew from the race in favor of unity, which was representative of the unifying character of the entire general assembly.

Multiple organizations expressed solidarity with the U.S. working class or our organization in particular during their greetings, and many organizations mentioned the U.S. people’s fight against Trump as being an integral part of fighting global imperialism. The successful Chicago teachers and UAW-led strikes were celebrated and commented on by various individual youth organizations, including the host organization EDON, who included footage from the strikes in their introduction video the first morning of the assembly.

It’s obvious that many youth organizations don’t understand how the two-party system and electoral college works in our country. Many were surprised to hear that Trump did not win the majority vote in 2016. Many organizations expressed concern for a Democratic presidential candidate other than Bernie Sanders winning the election since, from their perspective, Republican and Democratic foreign policy has tended to be the same throughout history with some exceptions here or there.

Of course we had to explain that we back movements and policies over individual personalities, which most groups seemed to understand. Every group asks why we don’t run more candidates at the local and state levels. On the other hand, various organizations expressed their interest in our youth-led podcast initiative known as “The Specter,” and many stated that they follow both the Party and the People’s World on Twitter and Facebook. Like our party and youth organization, every youth group I spoke to reported a high amount of growth in this socialist, progressive, and working-class moment that the world is experiencing. The attendees also expressed interest in the election of Wahsayah Whitebird, a CPUSA youth, to city council in Wisconsin earlier this year, which they all read about in the PW.

Overall, it was a very unifying meeting, and it’s clear that our presence at these events is crucial. Also, my hope is that we can build up our youth league and run for a position on the General Council at the next General Assembly. The vast majority of the delegations present at the General Assembly expressed support for our party and organization and look forward to working with us in the future.

Long live international solidarity; long live the progressive, revolutionary, and anti-imperialist youth of the world; and long live WFDY!


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