Why I read the WSWS
26 March 2013
I have been reading the WSWS since 1998 or 1999, and solidly since 2000. I found the site after someone had accused me of being a communist in the course of an online conversation and, in a pique, searched the keywords “socialism” and “America” so as to find out if there were any such things as American socialists anymore. I found a couple of sites, but only one which actually made sense, the WSWS.org.
The consistency of the reportage on events not just in America, but over the world was impressive. Things started falling into place—and some long-held beliefs were challenged and, ultimately, abandoned for the lies they were. Like many, I had been brought up to think that “there is power in a union”—and at first the coverage of the UAW in particular baffled me. It took about a year or so, but it finally sunk in, and I gained an understanding of what the UAW and trade unions in general represent.
In 1999/2000, I was in school, taking accounting courses as Enron was collapsing, and was a polling station official for the presidential election. These huge events would have been incredibly confusing were it not for the coverage of the WSWS. What looked to be just the evil deeds of a few in the case of Enron, and the machinations of one party over the other in the case of the election were clarified and shown to be parts of a larger picture; the breakdown of the capitalist system itself.
The only time I paused from reading the site was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. That was a huge mistake. After a few months, I went back and read all I could get my hands on. Even in a time of such tragedy and reaction, the cooler heads of the editorial board prevailed—“ Anti-Americanism, the anti-imperialism of fools ” ranks as one of the best articles ever—giving a much-needed clarity to a complex subject and flying in the face of the sharp right turn being taken by the pseudo-left.
I have read a lot of supposedly “left” publications over the years. The Nation, Z Magazine, etc. I’ve also read the ISO’s Socialist Worker site from time to time. There is no comparison—where the WSWS can point to a record of principled analysis that has been borne out on the testing ground of history, the others are subject to the whims of whatever prevailing wind blows.
This record is something we can and do point to when talking to workers about the conditions under which we are living—the questions of how and why our living standards are falling are answered—what’s more, the question of What Is To Be Done is answered.