WFDY was created out of the struggle against fascism. The youth of the world played a key part in resistance movements. For more than sixty years WFDY has been a broad anti-imperialist youth organization that is committed to peace and friendship between young peoples committed to building socialism. During its proud history WFDY has organized sixteen World Festivals of Youth and Students where tens of thousands of youth come together at one time under the common banners of anti-imperialist solidarity.
The 16th festival was hosted in Caracas in 2005 where around 100 young Canadians joined the 25, 000 international participants.
Over the two day meeting in Havana future actions of WFDY were collectively discussed by the thirty member organizations present. This included WFDY's "We will defeat imperialism" brigade to Cuba this summer, in solidarity with the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. Solidarity actions with the Saharaui and Palestinian people were presented and accepted, as well as the launch of an international campaign against military bases and occupation armies.
The 17th World Festival of Youth and Students was at the top of the agenda, and all those present reiterated the importance of holding a mass anti-imperialist festival. The immediate need to find a host country for the Festival was expressed and a solution is expected in the coming months so planning can get underway as soon as possible. Members also affirmed a commitment to ensure that the financial health of WFDY remain strong in the face of new budget challenges.
The meeting discussed the economic crisis at length and the importance of a militant struggle against the push towards the reduction of the rights of young people and the working class that are expected during the coming period. It was understood in the political report that this is a systemic crisis, which means that only by getting rid of imperialism will humanity be able to overcome crisis, exploitation and the drive towards war. It is in this context that an organization such as WFDY has an important role to play as the united voice of the world's youth.
“We salute the fearless resistance of all the youth and people in struggle against the imperialist offensive in their countries, defending and struggling for their independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity, which greatly inspire us in our daily struggles” the Final Political statement said, adding:
“The International Financial Crisis of the capitalist system, which was predictable since long ago, clearly demonstrated that the existence of the capitalist system is not compatible with the development that serves peoples’ interests and needs. Imperialists focus on loading the crisis on the peoples’ back. The puppet Governments of the imperialist World New Order use several ways of management in order to promote the profits of the capital (either with injections of millions of dollars to the account of big companies, either with measures like the “re-nationalization” of companies).
“Governments (both neoliberal and social democrats) and the body of employers call the workers for consensus and unity. At the same time, the crisis itself strengthens the threats for the global peace, as the hunting for bigger parts of the market and natural resources is being intensified. WFDY calls upon the youth of the world so that those who produced the crisis pay for it, and not the people. WFDY calls especially the young workers, target of a great attack against their rights, to organize themselves into trade unions that struggle to protect and deepen the workers’ rights.”
The General Council meeting was viewed as a success by all those that participated in it. It was moving to talk to delegates from around the world that are engaged in monumental struggles at home. This includes comrades from Greece, France, Nepal and Lebanon to name a few. I was personally struck by the degree of unity and comradeship among delegates despite the wide range of countries present. This unity is an important tool in the hands of youth and students from around the world.