BY JOHN STEELE AND JASON PHELPS
TORONTO - A number of young people attending the socialist conference and Communist League convention that took place here April 10-12 spoke to the Militant.
"The Young Socialists invited me to come," said Edward Joaquín, a 19-year-old student and member of the 400-member Union of Young Dominicans in New York. "I have been interested in the socialist movement for about four years and am interested in the Young Socialists." Joaquín said that he was impressed with how Cuban volunteers helped Angola in face of invasions by the racist South African regime between 1975 and 1988, and by how the revolution has combated racism in Cuba.
Karen Hunter, an avid reader of Pathfinder books, is 20 and a student a Sheridan College in Oakville near Toronto. He joined the Young Socialists several months ago. "I read the Communist Manifesto," he said. "There comes a point where you do something or you don't. I did some research into a lot of groups. The YS looked interesting, and was the only group that called me back to show an interest in me. They took me to the Maple Leaf picket line," during the meatpackers strike that recently ended. The Young Socialists "practiced what they preached," Hunter continued. "At this conference I found out what young people are doing in other countries an that we are hooking up with others like the Irish fighters in Sein Fein."
"I met the Young Socialists at a literature table in 1996 at a demonstration against education cutbacks," said Alexandre Geoffroy, a Social Sciences CEGEP (community college) student in Drummondville, Quebec. "I support the struggle for Quebec independence," he said. "But, I joined the YS this year after I began to see things in terms of class. I like the collective thinking that has gone on here and at the first session of the convention where mistakes were corrected."
Yanick Gamelin is 20 and also a Social Sciences CEGEP student from Drummondville. He is considering joining the YS. "I have been interested in communism for two years," he explained. "Before, I saw the contradictions in capitalism, but didn't see it all in class terms. I'm doing a lot of reading and starting to discuss The Changing Face of U.S. Politics."
Junior Portero, who is originally from Panama, is 20
years old and works as a shipper, joined the YS in Montreal
in October 1997. He met the YS at a literature table set up
at a Montreal subway station. "We got to talking about the
U.S. invasion of Panama. I was invited to a Militant Labor
Forum. I went to some other political activities. Then I was
asked to join the YS. Originally I was a kind of pacifist
and I actually thought that the Cuban revolution was
dangerous and that Fidel Castro was a terrorist. I don't
think that now."
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