David Byrne

Why I read the WSWS

4 May 2013

I have been a revolutionary socialist since the late 1960s, having received a copy of the Communist Manifesto from my dad when I was 15 years old. He was a member of the Communist Party of Ireland in the late 1920s.

With the rise of Stalinism and the degeneration of the Soviet Union I began to read various New Left publications to try to understand why such a magnificent event as the working class taking state power for the first time in history turned out the way it did.

I joined the International Socialists (later Socialist Workers Movement in Ireland) and it seemed to me that their explanation of what happened in Russia made more sense than the other left-wing organisations. Their position on internationalism (“neither Washington nor Moscow”) and their stress on the role of the working class seemed to be keeping the ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky alive.

At times, as events changed, the stress on the importance of the working class was sidelined to suit the level of consciousness in the various campaigns such as the womens movement, student campaigns, gay rights, the “national question” etc. These were then and now important struggles, but inequality and oppression can only be overcome when we challenge the system itself and break with capitalist solutions.

Having taken a break from politics for a couple of years, I rejoined the SWP (Ireland) about five years ago. I could not believe the shift to the right that had taken place. Certain words and descriptions of reality such as “Communism”, the “working class” and “Marxism” were discouraged at meetings. With the election of Richard Boyd Barrett (SWP and United Left Alliance) to the Dail (parliament) the whole effort of the SWP was now geared towards electioneering and playing down the fact that the movement considered itself socialist. It ended up with a representative in parliament elected on opportunist positions who was stressing the need to “regulate” capitalism in a “fairer” way for the “ordinary people”.

So I began to despair that there was no left-wing party or group keeping the ideas of Marxism and the Communist Manifesto alive. I began browsing the web and came across the WSWS. Here at last was a website that viewed the conflicts throughout the world from a Marxist perspective. I found articles on Ireland, Spain, the threat of global war, and the role of the European fake left most informative. The analysis of the WSWS was rooted in a genuine Trotskyist alternative and placed the working class as central to the struggle for socialism.

I am now a regular reader of the WSWS and congratulate the ICFI on its 15th anniversary, and for continuing the struggle of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky at a period when the working class are suffering attacks in every aspect of their lives leading to poverty, suicide and homelessness.

The WSWS has been a guiding force to me in the fight for world socialism.