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Young Socialist Forum Goes National

A Trotskyist youth group was launched in Toronto and Vancouver early in 1960, but it stopped operating as a public organization in the summer of 1961, when its members joined the newly-formed New Democratic Youth (NDY). Young Socialist Forum was originally a mimeographed publication endorsed by the executive of the B.C. NDY.

In 1962 and 1963, the NDY Ontario and B.C. expelled all of the Trotskyist youth they could identify. In December 1963 that group launched Young Socialist Forum as a national publication, printed in Toronto. In its early years it was a 4-page, 8½x11 tabloid newspaper. The original editorial board members were Phil Courneyeur, Peter Elphinstone, Allan Engler, Sonia Puchalski, John Riddell, Ruth Tate, and John Wilson.

Young Socialist Forum, December, 1963

Students, Young Workers
Launch New Youth Paper


This is the first printed issue of YOUNG SOCIALIST FORUM to appear nationally in Canada. It is a significant step, not only for young socialists, but for increasing numbers of students and young working people who are looking for answers to the problems and the crises that face our society and that threaten our future. The answers to these problems are of the greatest concern to us—the younger generation—because it is we who feel the effects of these .problems most—and it is upon us that the responsibility falls for solving them.

In a very real sense, while not an official publication of the New Democratic Party or the New Democratic Youth, YSF is an NDP-NDY paper. Until this, the first national issue of the new YSF, YOUNG SOCIALIST FORUM was a mimeographed monthly published by socialists in the British Columbia New Democratic Youth. In its first stages, YSF was officially endorsed by the B.C. NDY provincial council. This endorsation was later cancelled in an outbreak of hysteria against socialists in the NDP-NDY. Most of those then on the editorial board were expelled from the movement for their views and their attempts to convince the majority of them. Those of us now on the editorial board from Ontario were expelled some time later from the Ontario movement in a completely undemocratic manner. Despite these right-wing attacks on democratic discussion, we remain 100%, unconditional supporters of the NDP. We will continue to demand our right of membership against those who expelled us because they want the NDP to be as similar as possible to the big business parties. We will continue to campaign to make the NDP a socialist party.

Canadian youth live in a society racked with crisis. This society can neither guarantee them a secure future nor even promise there will be a future. The threat of nuclear war casts a shadow over the lives of all of us.

This society places a premium on wealth, not ability or dedication. The vast majority of our people work out their lives for the enrichment of the small minority of profiteers who own the bulk of the economy and through their wealth control the entire society. A decaying economy that staggers from one crisis to another, increasing chronic unemployment—particularly among youth, a vicious and unending drive against the rights of labor, and a budget in which one-third of the funds are marked for weapons of mass murder—all these are hallmarks of the "system" we live under.

The system is capitalism. Under it a small minority rule in fact if not in name, and profit is the be-all and end-all of economic life; human needs come second—if at all.

That is why we see the New Democratic Party, a labor party, as such an important step forward for working people, and especially the youth, of Canada. With the support of organized labor, the NDP, more so than the old CCF, is a break with capitalist politics, with the old-line parties of the profit-gorged corporations.

The NDP, whatever its current program, holds out the possibility of a new society of production for use, not for profit. Freed from the clutches of the profit-gougers and their hangers-on, the major industries must be brought under public ownership and the economy must be planned by the people themselves in their own areas of work. The profit system cannot make use of automation for the benefit of society; socialism will! The future society that will be constructed under socialism will reduce work to a insignificant part of daily life and offer the individual the fullest possibilities to pursue his own abilities and interests.

The present NDP leadership, however, is not committed to a socialist policy, but a policy of liberal reforms. But these reforms, good in themselves, do not solve any basic problems. Thus the majority of people have seen no reason to believe that the NDP is really that different from the old parties. We believe that all youth belong in the NDP and that we must fight to make the program of the party socialist.

YSF believes that youth have major role to play in the fight for socialism, freedom, equality. It is our generation that must end capitalism’s drive toward World War III. We must change the system if we want to simply survive. Part of the fight is the struggle for youth’s own rights - for democracy in education, and end to the price tag on schooling, against regimentation and indoctrination in the schools! For the right to a job and a decent standard of living! Let Bay Street pay for unemployment—it’s their system, not ours!

It is with this struggle that YSF concerns itself. Make it your paper.

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