Vincent, Youth & Young Communist League Liaison Officer for the South West and Cornwall District, reports on the YCL Summer Camp

On the final weekend of August, comrades of the Young Communist League (UK) descended onto the sleepy little village of Edale in the picturesque Peak District. This included a small contingent of south-west based YCL members. Despite the wet and windy weather conditions upon arrival, spirits amongst comrades was high and all were greeted very warmly, some who had travelled from as far as London and from over the Scottish border.

Following a much needed night’s sleep and breakfast, comrades carrying various different flags ranging from CPB flags, the People’s Charter, the former Soviet Union and Cuba among others marched into the village of Edale, creating a visually effective spectacle that caught the attention of local residents and other ramblers. Upon meeting our guide, the march up Kinder Scout Peak began, with flags still waving high and proud throughout the ascent, where at certain intervals our guide informed young comrades of the historical significance of Kinder Scout Peak, to the history of the YCL as a site for an important act of civil disobedience.

To briefly outline the historical event in question for comrades who may not be aware, during April 1932 a mass trespass of Kinder Scout Peak took place, which members of the YCL helped to organise and participate in. The trespass was controversial at the time, being seen as a working-class struggle for the right to roam versus the rights of the wealthy to have exclusive use of moorlands for grouse shooting. Despite the arrests of many of the ramblers who took part, the mass trespass is credited with securing walkers' rights over open country and common land, as well as contributing to the development of the Pennine Way and many other long distance footpaths.

It was of course for the reason of how this event forms part of the history of the Young Communist League (UK) that this area in question, was chosen as the location of the first YCL Summer Camp. We followed in the same footpath and climb up the same rocky ravine, as our predecessors had done before us in 1932, honouring their successful act of civil disobedience.

Upon completion of our hike and returning to the camp site, comrades participated in a series of workshops that included topics from Marxism and the environment to dialectical materialism and democratic centralism. This was then followed by a social evening at the village hall, where comrades were able to relax and socialise. The evening included a meal, a speech from YCL General Secretary Zoe Hennessey, a rousing rendition of the Internationale and a toast to the revolution.

Breakfast and tidying up the campsite were the first order of business on Sunday morning, which all comrades did their part to help. This was followed by another return to the village hall, for another series of workshops and it was at this point that we were joined by CPB General Secretary Rob Griffiths, who led the workshops on elections and also on the national question.

The YCL summer camp was a resounding success, allowing for comrades from all over the UK to meet and get to know each other and to share and debate ideas, as well as allowing for essential training and education. The YCL hopes to build on this event and make it an annually recurring event at different locations around the country. As well as being an event to help educate and train young comrades to be the future of the party and of the wider labour movement, the summer camp allowed comrades to let down their hair and to have fun and socialise with each other as young communists.