February 1, 2021 | 2 minutes read | Tags: Party Statements, The British Left

YCL Must Expel Abusers

We call on the EC of the YCL to permanently expel the member found to have comitted an act of sexual harassment. If members are unable to achieve this, they should resign alongside those who have already left the organisation.

Content Warning: This statement directly references patriarchal violence in the form of sexual harassment/sexual assault

Several comrades who previously belonged to the YCL have bravely resigned the organisation, in solidarity with a survivor who was sexually harassed by a YCL member. This member has had his membership upheld by the Executive Committee of the organisation. Statements from resigned members note that the abuser in question was unanimously voted to be expelled by his own branch, but the Executive Committee of the organisation see fit to ignore branch democracy.

We are issuing this statement in solidarity with those currently and previously in the YCL who are struggling against patriarchal abuse. We do not issue this statement lightly, nor does it bring us any satisfaction to identify harm wherever it is found.

Those who have resigned and issued statements criticising the YCL's conduct are absolutely right to do so. The YCL's provenly embedded culture of misogyny is clearly structural. Whilst this will impact every member, there are nonetheless those in the YCL who have and will act with principle on this matter. Any communist remaining cannot accept this outcome as some skewed version of democratic centralism; indeed, democratic centralism must allow party democracy to be able to reign in and discipline a clearly patriarchal leadership.

Revolutionary organizations, if they are genuine, must automatically expel any member who engages in anti-women violence and abuse. Organizations that fail to do this cannot be taken seriously and must be publicly exposed for their liberalism in failing to oppose male chauvinism.

—The Center for Marxist-Leninist-Maoist Studies, "On Standards of Feminist Conduct", August 2013

If a communist organisation intends to hold itself to these basic standards, it must adopt a zero tolerance policy that guarantees the automatic expulsion of patriarchal abusers. Instead, the EC have suspended the member for 3 months, and made his unsuspension conditional on passing an interview with representatives of the EC. The CMLMS notes "the causal link between the [...] class reductionist line and male chauvinist practice." The YCL must reflect on the relationship between its culture of transmisogyny, its reactionary line on sex workers' organising, and the patriarchal culture of the organisation.

We call on the EC of the YCL to permanently expel the member found to have comitted an act of sexual harassment. If members are unable to achieve this, they should resign alongside those who have already left the organisation. The YCL must equally enact the necessary behavioural, disciplinary, theoretical and structural changes to bring the party up to the communist standard.

Red Fightback Central Committee