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
By The EDITORS
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
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
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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