Thomas Gaist

Why I read the WSWS

3 May 2013

I started to become radicalized before encountering the WSWS, and during the intervening period I was plagued by unanswered questions. While it was clear that mass resistance against the “war on terror” and the financial oligarchy had become necessary, I had no conception of what form such a movement could take.

I read works of today’s “radical philosophy,” from the pseudo-Marxism of the Frankfurt School to the subjectivist ravings of the post-1968 postmodernists. Despite the apparently “oppositional” stance of these thinkers towards bourgeois society, their rejection of rationality, progress, and science was intensely demoralizing.

Only when I encountered the WSWS’s philosophy page did I begin to understand the underlying socio-economic processes which produced these trends of thought. The pessimism of these thinkers sprang not from their insights into human being but from their class position as the petty bourgeoisie within the framework of the postwar order. Their rejection of socialist revolution derived not from science, but from their privileged position under capitalism.

On the other hand, the WSWS has introduced me to the tradition which contains the highest accomplishments of human thought: classical Marxism. In a single chapter of Frederick Engels one finds more truth than in a thousand of today’s fashionable academic philosophy. Encountering this mighty tradition after wandering in the wasteland of pseudo-Marxism has been life changing. The WSWS has collected and organized the foundational texts of this tradition. The site’s archives contain careful refutations of the distortions and falsifications of Marxism that are constantly cropping up.

The WSWS is the vehicle that will bring the great tradition of classical Marxism to new generations of workers and youth. The combination of scientific rigor with active struggle which characterizes this tradition will win the hearts and minds of millions in the coming years. In particular, the Historical and International Foundations documents produced by the various SEP sections enable young people to assimilate the historical experiences and theoretical conquests of the workers’ movement as efficiently as possible.

The WSWS provides readers with a theoretical perspective on the great problems of the 20th century. The WSWS article “ Imperialism and the Political Economy of the Holocaust ” helped me to understand the truth about this event, and about genocide in general. Genocide is not produced by “instrumental rationality” as the Frankfurts have it, or by totalitarian “meta-narratives.”

The Trotskyist perspective of the WSWS grasps that the genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries are products of the death crisis of world capitalism. Today’s world system is murderous in its essence…

The WSWS’s coverage of the Iraq war has been of major importance to my political education. Against the apologetics and cheerleading of war carried on by the petty bourgeoisie, the WSWS has exposed the sociocidal reality of the occupation, as it enforces the will of the predatory oligarchy which controls our society. Only the WSWS has drawn the necessary conclusions from these developments, posing the choice for the working class: socialist revolution or barbarism and global war.

The first decades of the 21st century have seared new names into our collective memory: Fallujah, Haditha, Najaf, Sirte. The WSWS has armed us with the knowledge necessary to comprehend and confront these traumatic developments. By enabling youth and workers to understand the objective cause of imperialist war - the revolt of the productive forces against the obsolete, bourgeois state system—the WSWS affirms that where mankind confronts problems, history provides material for the solutions.

The scientific framework provided by the WSWS enables one to approach these horrific developments without giving in to despair. As a daily reader of the WSWS, I am optimistic for the future of humanity; equipped with a scientific understanding of politics, the working class will overcome these catastrophes and create a new society.