‘Across the Country with the Young Workers League’ from Young Worker. Vol. 2 No. 9. September, 1923.
Through these hot summer months the Young Workers League branches are scrambling with hikes, picnics, outdoor meetings, sports and educational work. It is difficult for many to pull through; they have yet to organize themselves at the places of work and thus find that the League work will take on an impetus during the summer months.
Children’s Work Hitting High.
Many Leagues are reporting the formation of Junior Sections of the Young Workers’ League. We hope soon to give organizational form on a national scale to the Junior Section of the YWL. In another column is given a summary of some of the work in the children’s field.
Four More Leagues Organized.
As a result of Comrade Max Salzman’s efforts in the agricultural and mining sections of Minnesota, we now have three more towns with a branch of the Young Workers League. These are in Florenton and Angora, farming communities, and Hibbing, a mining town, labeled the richest town in the world, the income per capita being greatest. Which sounds very nice, except that the miners are among the most poorly paid of any workers there. The YWL is now there to explain why and how to remedy that condition.
In Phelps, Wis., Comrade Riihimaki has succeeded after long efforts in organizing a branch. There are, to start, seven- teen members.
In Norwood, Mass., Waukegan, Ill., San Francisco, Cal., Plainfield, N.J., Warren, Ohio, and Jamestown, N. Y., because most of the members are working out of town, there will be but very little doing till fall. Aberdeen, Wash., is preparing for greatly increased fall activities. The comrades sent in $15 to the Day’s Wage Fund.
The Detroit League is being reorganized and is planning on a big lYD celebration. Philadelphia has been lagging behind somewhat, but is now getting out of the rut. A new CCC has been elected and the new secretary. Comrade Hartman, writes that the comrades will do their utmost to put Philly back on its feet. An lYD celebration will be held. The Italian branch is doing good educational work, etc.
Carl Norberg, secretary of the Eben Junction, Mich., League is trying hard to hold the League together. He says: “The young folks around here are slow in waking up; they don’t realize where they should belong.” But he proposes to keep working and make them realize that they belong nowhere unless they are in a revolutionary workers’ organization.
Now that we have gotten the gloomier side done with, we can turn to some of the very much alive leagues. Paterson, N.J., Jewish branch, is carrying on educational work, and have responded to the Day’s Wage Call. The Leagues organized in Minnesota by Max Salzman are all starting out well. St. Louis, Mo., has been a bit slow, because of internal difficulties, but now is making efforts to do some work. International Youth Day will be celebrated.
The Workers’ Party district convention, held in August, resulted in a better understanding and co-operation between the league and party. Children’s work is being started and the comrades are participating in the work to build the Federated Farmer-Labor Party. Kansas City sent Comrade Mass to the WP district convention at St. Louis August 12 to represent the YWL. The K. C. League is enlisting the services of Comrade Mihelic and expects to plunge forward again.
Twin Cities Hold Joint Affairs.
The Minneapolis and St. Paul leagues held a joint meeting for Comrade John Williamson and discussed league problems. Williamson spoke for the league at an open air meeting where Magnus Johnson, Senator elected on the Farmer-Labor Party ticket, also spoke. The leagues united also on a hike on July 22, meeting at Fort Snelling (naturally looking over future Soviet arsenals). Their songs attracted a road construction gang nearby who came over and joined in the singing of the revolutionary songs. Minneapolis has a children’s class and the comrades ask for more material, which we hope to be able later to furnish for all. St. Paul did well in the Day’s Wage campaign.
Toledo, Ohio, YWL writes in notes saying the League is doing well. There is a quiet enthusiasm among the comrades. Bethlehem, Pa., YWL is very much on the job with educational meetings, entertainments, etc., and makes nice remittances to the National Office as the 10 per cent, share on the affairs. The comrades contributed to the Hungarian paper, Elore. They have a few new members. Newark, N.J., YWL will be doing much better, writes Comrade Ida Barhash, when the summer is over and the members take up the work with more energy.
Word came in just before going to press that the Rochester, N.Y., comrades are making a big effort to organize a branch on August 22. They are making big preparations for International Youth Day and have asked that a speaker be sent them at all costs. Comrade Stolz has been on the job for the league there and has been spreading our literature steadily. Now it is about time to produce organizational results.
Comrade Rudolph Harju of Frederick, S.D., YWL says the comrades are inexperienced, but that there are a few experienced comrades in the branch who are conducting the work in good fashion. The comrades, who are farmers, cannot afford any day’s pay, since they are getting no pay. Frederick, S.D., is trying to obtain an lYD speaker from the Twin Cities.
The Monessen and Daisytown Leagues remain among the best and most active of our leagues. Comrades Schindler, George Jacobson and Carrie Maki are leading the work in Monessen and Comrade Helen Heinonen in Daisytown. In the summer months, in addition to the regular educational meetings, swimming parties, which have served to increase the comradeship, have been held. The leagues have ordered, besides the league literature, many books by Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Dreiser, Remain Rolland, Capek, and others.
The Massachusetts leagues — Worcester, Gardner, Maynard and Fitchburg — are on the job. Comrade Julia Schulner is working very hard with the Milwaukee Junior Section; very little else is doing at the moment. Of the league on the* cold Superior shore, Superior, Wis., we have not been getting much information lately, but Comrade Salzman, who is up there often, reports that the League is keeping up its work. Buffalo, N.Y., is always on the go. Comrade Jackola being the mainspring.
The Big Towns.
New York proposed to make a start in the direction of Shop Nuclei by the organization of Industrial Branches wherever possible. International Youth Day will be celebrated in large-scale style at Webster Hall, which has a 2,000 seating Capacity. The regular educational work is proceeding apace.
Cleveland, Ohio, YWL is making fast headway. It is increasing greatly its orders for all kinds of our literature. The comrades there want to get more closely in touch with the other leagues; Comrade Rebecca Sacherow suggests, there- fore, that the comrades in the various Leagues correspond with one another. ‘The Young Worker’ can be used as one of the mediums to discuss League problems. A Junior Section has been started. We expect a complete report on work to date any day.
The Los Angeles comrades are interesting themselves at the moment in putting over the Junior Section in good style. A report is given in another column.
Chicago still remains in the front row of activities. C July 29 the YWL had a picnic attended by 800. In the local branches, lectures are being given regularly and the meetings are well attended. On August 14 a general membership meeting will be held to go over thoroughly the first steps for the formation of Shop Nuclei. The registration of the membership is pretty complete and the comrades believe they will be able to make a start in the reorganization work. The league, as Comrade Swabeck, Workers’ Party District Organizer, states, is active also in the party work — industrial, technical and political. Educational work among the foreign-speaking members in the direction of union and TUEL activity must be conducted because, although 50 per cent, of the foreign-speaking YWL members belong to the unions, they are not very active in the TUEL or the unions. An attempt will be made to have a course of lectures on industrial work given in the Hungarian and Jewish branches. Nevertheless, industrial activity has been picking up. Fifty-three new members have been taken in the past month.
Pittsburgh is rounding into better shape steadily. Comrade Pasternak, YWL organizer in this District, is developing into quite a speaker, being used frequently.
Comrades! Don’t always wait to be told what to do. Take the initiative. Try, experiment. Into the shops, factories, fields, comrades! Where the struggle is, there must you be. We are Communists. Let’s show we are worthy of bearing the most glorious of names. Work! Work! Work.
With the Junior Groups
Reports coming in from the various leagues show that the work of organizing Junior Groups is proceeding rapidly. The branch and city directors in charge of this work are showing by their actions this no stone is being left unturned to bring into existence a powerful children’s movement within the next six months.
LOS ANGELES, through Comrade A. Lyons, tells us: To commence with, I must say that it was a very successful meeting. There were not as many adults as we would have liked to see, but there were present over 150 children, who appeared very enthusiastic. We had a nicely arranged program arranged that consisted of piano solos, poems and sing- last, but not least, a playlet entitled “Springtime,” the outline for which was taken from the June issue of the bulletin for the leaders of Communist Children’s Groups. The last part of this skit transported the audience into a scene of actual revolution. The strains of “The Red Flag,” red flags waving, followed by the singing of the “Internationale” and the audience joining in the chorus, etc. We have collected $11.35 for the new children’s paper, which we are enclosing. We have also gained new members. Now our slogan is 100 members and we expect to get them soon.
On July 22, the Monessen and Daisytown, Pa., Young Workers’ Leagues, in conjunction, celebrated Children’s Week. Comrade Schindler writes: “We had a meeting, with a program arranged that consisted of piano solos, poems and singing by the junior section, an excellent speech by Comrade Pasternak and a minstrel show, which consisted of a chorus of eighteen children, who were uniformly dressed for the occasion, and they certainly made a hit with the Workers’ Party comrades who participated. As a result of this week a Junior Group consisting of fifteen members has been formed. We expect to have wonderful results from our younger comrades who are showing a great enthusiasm for the league.” Helen Heinonen is also on the job, determined to help this group grow bigger and stronger.
SOUTH BEND, IND., is on the job with the rest of them. The comrades celebrated International Children’s Week by arranging a picnic of our Junior Group, where there was fishing, strawberry patch raids, etc. “We also had,” says Comrade Szigety, “the singing of ‘The Red Flag’ and a discussion out there in the open air. We are holding Educational Meetings for the children each Sunday afternoon, at which we try to get recruits for our group. Since we organized on Sunday, June 3, we have made good progress and will keep it up. Comrade M. Sklarr, as our director, is helping the group to function in accordance with our Children’s Program.”
CHICAGO, ILL., can now boast of three Junior Groups, with a membership of about seventy. International Children’s Week was celebrated by a hike to Michigan Woods on the twenty-second of July, at which a variety of political games were played with the Junior members. A feature of the day was the organizing of the children into a Red Army, which surrounded a Boy Scout camp in the woods and sang the “Internationale” and distributed our local bulletin for the Junior Groups, “The Young Comrade,” which we print by hand on a mimeograph machine. Besides the work in our own groups we are actively participating in the work of the United Workers’ Sunday School in this town. Comrade Eddie Cohen, our City Director, has been elected supervisor over this school, and in a short time we expect to win it over to our method of organizing the working-class children.
NEW YORK CITY says that Comrade H. Zam is participating in the work of an existing working-class school and results are expected from him in a short time. Comrade Ida Dailes has been elected City Junior Director, and her big task at present is to get the branches to pitch into the work.
BUFFALO, N.Y., is also on the map in this field. Comrade P. Hansen, City Secretary of the Workers’ Party, is lending full co-operation to the Y.W.L. in an endeavor to organize a Junior Group.
The full reports on the results obtained from International Children’s Week have not as yet. been compiled. Some of the leagues that arranged meetings and demonstrations have not sent us word of the results which they obtained. In Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Boston we have functioning Junior Groups that have set aside one or more days of the week for their celebration. We expect to hear shortly from those towns where there are prospects of a Junior Organization in the near future, such as Cleveland, Toledo, Maynard, Mass., and Cromwell, Minn.
The Young Worker was produced by the Young Workers League of America beginning in 1922. The name of the Workers Party youth league followed the name of the adult party, changing to the Young Workers (Communist) League when the Workers Party became the Workers (Communist) Party in 1926. The journal was published monthly in Chicago and continued until 1927. Editors included Oliver Carlson, Martin Abern, Max Schachtman, Nat Kaplan, and Harry Gannes.
PDF of full issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/youngworker/v2n9-sep-1923-yw.pdf