Red Tide #15
Revolutionary Youth Group Formed
[By Michael Letwin]
LOS ANGELES—On the weekend of December 14-15, 55 people from around the country arrived to found the Revolutionary Youth Organization.
The convention was attended primarily from two other youth organizations in California, the Red Tide in Los Angeles, and the Contra Costa Socialist Coalition in the Bay Area. There were also representatives from the Midwest.
Both the Red Tide and the CCSC have been leading struggles of young people for several years in their areas.
Red Tide began as a high school paper in several schools in Los Angeles in 1971, out of young people who had been involved in the anti-war and youth movements of the 1960s. It was involved in the fight for student rights, and developed a citywide reputation for its activities, which included a mass sit-in at University High School in 1972 over the right to distribute the Red Tide in the schools.
Last summer, Red Tide expanded its focus and moved to involve not only high school students, but [also] young workers and young people at junior colleges. In the last few weeks it has been involved in leading the fight against police on high school campuses.
The Contra Costa Socialist Coalition (CCSC) was also formed in 1971 and was extremely active in the movement to end the Vietnam War. Its members included several young workers who had been active in unionization drives at their workplaces in northern California. In the last year CCSC has mobilized numbers of people in support of a unionization drive and strike at the Ruckers electronics plants, [and] the struggle to support the Farmworkers, as well as other struggles such as the right to have gay speakers at Ygnacio High.
Both groups have changed significantly since they began. The defeats of the movements of the ‘60s have meant we have had to think through our politics and perspectives.
This has led us to the understanding of the need for a national revolutionary socialist organization.
The recognition that local organizations of youth alone is not enough to make a revolution has led us to joint the International Socialists.
The goals of the IS are the same as ours, and its members have been active in building a movement among rank and file workers. We feel that we can be most effective in building a revolutionary workers’ party as the youth organization of the IS.
The discussions at the Convention centered around several documents outlining the objectives and activity of the Revolutionary Youth Organization in the coming months.
The focus of activity of members and branches of the R.Y.O. will center on problems that affect young people, such as deteriorating schools, youth unemployment, [and] the special oppression of youth and minorities.
We will continue to expand the work that has been carried on by the Red Tide and CCSC. Organizing committees in several cities in the Northwest and Midwest will be established, and the Red Tide looks toward quickly developing into a real national organization.
The Red Tide newspaper, which will be the paper of the R.Y.O., will be coming out monthly at first and will be a crucial tool in the growth of the organization.
The Convention also affirmed the R.Y.O. will be primarily an organization of high school students and young people who work or go to junior colleges, all of whom will be under the age of 23.
Our major contribution in the coming months will be carrying on work in the black and Latino high schools and communities.
We believe that the R.Y.O. has an important part to play in developing the struggles of young people for a working class revolution in this country. We call on any young people who agree with us and want to fight to join with us in our activity and in building the R.Y.O.
Young people are generally apathetic because they feel they have no power. We aim to show them that power. We have a world to win.
[Historical Note: The Red Tide was a revolutionary high school underground newspaper and youth organization that existed from 1971-1981. See: http://theredtide.wordpress.com/]