Why I read the WSWS: Letters from Readers
The World Socialist Web Site invites readers and supporters to write in describing your introduction to and experience with the WSWS. When did you start reading and why? Which articles have had the most influence on you? How has the site affected your political development? Submit your comments here.
Tradesman, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
22 June 2013
Since first “discovering” the World Socialist Web Site several years ago, I have become an enthusiastic daily reader of WSWS coverage of world events. They have proven themselves to be a reliable, intelligent, objective, radical and alternative source of information. There has to be a better way forward for mankind, an alternative vision based on brotherhood, cooperation and respect for differences in ideas, culture and religion. The dark vision of the current power elites, who see domination and destruction as the only way, must be eradicated by a conscious effort of the world working class to create a world based on human values of equality and social justice for all. May that vision be realized.
Instructor of English as a Second Language, Canada. WSWS reader since 2007
21 June 2013
I first started reading the WSWS in university. An IYSSE member (at the time ISSE) who was my floor mate introduced me to the website. I had no prior knowledge of Marxism or socialism outside of a superficial impression that uncritically identified it with the legacy of Stalinism. I had no idea about the philosophical and historical conceptions of Marxism, the actual history of the Russian Revolution, or the struggle waged by genuine Marxists, chiefly Trotsky, against Stalin’s betrayal and the degeneration of the Soviet Union into a totalitarian state. The democratic origins and progressiveness of the Soviet project had been entirely concealed from view by the crimes of Stalinism, which played so well into the hands of bourgeois ideology, i.e. capitalism=democracy=freedom, communism=dictatorship=oppression.
As I became more and more interested and began to learn more about the history of the workers’ movement and Marxism, I began to understand on a much deeper level the interconnection of world events and the immense importance of history in the cognition of political reality. It also became clearer why I had not heard of these things before: such powerful ideas in the hands of masses of people would pose a mortal danger to the status quo of the political establishment and the entire capitalist order. This was the reason such seminal historical events and the philosophical and scientific conceptions that guided them were nowhere to be found in my high school history textbooks or even mainstream media at large, except in the most obfuscated and distorted form.
Starting out as a philosophy major in university, I had big hopes in the power of critical thinking to change the world. I found myself very disenchanted with what university philosophy turned out to be: a series of academic exercises and regurgitation of arguments onto exam papers without any significant regard to the context from which these ideas sprung or their relevance for today. But I always thought, with all of our intimate knowledge of the workings of nature and the universe, why hasn’t the world changed yet? The monumental achievements in science-technology and economic productive capacity were, for me, proof of the boundless potential of human creativity, understanding and consciously directed thought. I wanted to know why philosophy hadn’t become reality.
The WSWS opened my eyes to a whole new world of thought. It not only offered, and continues to offer, a consistent, critical and systematic approach to philosophical, historical and scientific questions, but brings these questions in direct relation to today—the processes taking place before our very eyes and which ultimately extend into the future. The coverage and analysis of the WSWS is unparalleled. Nowhere else can one find such intelligent and uncompromising insight into the philosophical, cultural and scientific achievements of humanity or the world historical crisis of the capitalist system.
This is why I read the WSWS.
Filmmaker, Columbus, Ohio, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
19 June 2013
In these times of social, political, economic, and cultural malaise, the WSWS is the only source of astute hard news, commentary, and arts reviews. It provides a necessary antidote to various corporate media, which keep populations around the world in the dark regarding the crimes of global capitalism. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with the plight of the international working class and its place on the world stage.
14 June 2013
I am grateful for your work as I still find your site the best and most relevant online. I am impressed with the research and thorough work of the WSWS.
The WSWS faces huge obstacles, challenges and hard work when confronted with the immense indoctrination (brainwashing we used to call it), double standards and lies in (especially) the western world where “might becomes right”.
It seems as if even today the minds of many ordinary European people almost genetically accept their leaders’ double standards, the media’s self-censorship and lies, where they would hold most other countries accountable for war crimes. It’s amazing what the majority believe (want to believe) again and again. Seven out of 10 Norwegians supported Norwegian pilots bombing Libya. The government here, in fact, requested NATO to be the first in line to bomb.
In the beginning, quite a few years ago, I felt I had to check the articles of the WSWS against other sources—other dissenters, writers and journalists—especially in the US. Now, after experiencing a constant path of truth-seeking of your site I check western self-censoring, main stream information against the WSWS.
It gives a stability that is important in these times. Good luck. The WSWS is more important than ever and gets better all the time.
Australia. WSWS reader since 1998
13 June 2013
I began reading the WSWS soon after it began publishing on the Internet in 1998. At that time I was looking for a news source that did not misrepresent or gloss over or plain lie about the facts. It was really obvious from the very beginning the writers of WSWS articles were armed with incredibly powerful tools of analysis. I discovered anew Marx, Engels, and then Trotsky. I began to see how there could be ruling class interests that were set implacably against those of the working class, how these interests arose out of objective circumstances, and no reinterpretation or redefining could deny the historical path we were all on. Time after time, the accuracy of the Marxist analysis of economic, political, and social issues was proven correct. Over the next decade I witnessed the social forces identified by the writers of the WSWS play out fairly much precisely as they said they would.
In that earlier time I wanted to understand why the UN and the US were so determinedly focused on bombing Iraq into submission. I remember how several years earlier I had been appalled by the scale and ferocity of the US-led attack on Iraqi armed forces following the attempt by President Hussein to annex Kuwait. During the time of the Clinton administration it seemed difficult to understand how the West were continuing to use such disproportionate military power on an already beaten Iraq. Given the events unfolding, everything coming out of the mouths of politicians and the mass media was beginning to resemble nothing so much as propaganda. I wanted and needed to know the truth.
But as I continued to read the WSWS, it relentlessly challenged my perspective. I was confronted with the contradictions of the views I held of the world and my place in it. This was the case particularly with the WSWS articles covering the war in the Balkans and particularly the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. I had been convinced by what I had read from other sources of the justification for NATO strikes. The WSWS articles were not only unrelenting in their condemnation of the intervention but also presented the most insightful analysis of how the conflict began. Following the articles on the site through the next decade I found the quality of the analysis of world events was proven time and time again, and reading it over time was an education.
I followed with interest WSWS reports on the US elections, and began to understand the parallels with what was happening in my own country, New Zealand and elsewhere. I learned about the necessity for an international class struggle against the increasingly reactionary measures taken by the ruling class in each country as the global economy worsened year by year, and ever more corruption scandals enveloped the financial system. I learned about identity politics and realised the obfuscating role it had played in my own education. More importantly, I realised how it is used to block the merging aspirations of workers worldwide. I followed with interest the exchanges between the WSWS and the bourgeois left. I read with great interest the exchanges between David North and Steiner and Brenner. David North opened my eyes and I remember at that time acutely feeling I was seeing something clearly for the first time and wishing it had happened so much earlier in my life. The movie reviews by David Walsh were refreshing in their insight and illuminated what was missing in what passes for art coming out of the major film studios these days. The strong focus on science and rationality is always present in all of the WSWS output. What shines most clearly through all of the output of WSWS is determination to build a better world and the humanity behind its express cause.
Over the years the WSWS has been for me a strong beacon of light in a sea of lies and confusion, and a real wealth of knowledge always there to dip into. The arrival of the WSWS is not to be taken for granted. I realize eventually it requires more than just an audience but a commitment to a future for all of us. The WSWS reveals the increasingly desperate effort of the bourgeoisie to breathe life into the stumbling monstrosity capitalism has degenerated into. Karl Marx forewarned the world that the decay in capitalism is inevitable and its end must not be prolonged. Unlike Shelly’s creation there is not a speck of humanity left in the empty shell of that system. We must move on. The arrival of the SEP is the opportunity to become part of the cause, to establish a truly international democracy through socialism. This is the realisation I have arrived at. I am very grateful for the continued existence and growth of the WSWS.
Teacher, London, England. WSWS reader since 2008
12 June 2013
I was first introduced to the WSWS by a friend of mine. I have always been interested in socialist politics, but had until that time always articulated my views based on what I disagreed with more than a solid theoretical base. Whilst I knew what I didn’t think was right in the world, I found it difficult to develop that into a coherent political argument. This was particularly frustrating in discussions with friends from both similar and opposite political loyalties—without a broad base of knowledge, it is difficult to discuss and compare ideas. The WSWS has given me more of a framework for my ideas—what we as international workers should be working towards, what it is specifically about our current regimes that are holding humanity back.
The WSWS has a strong and relentless focus on exposing social and political injustice and hypocrisy around the world. What I have always found particularly enlightening are the articles and opinion pieces analysing the actions of “centre-left” parties and groups such as New Labour and the unions. As a teacher, I myself have been extremely frustrated with the [National Union of Teachers] NUT’s modes of operating, and the realisation that this is part of a wider problem was eye-opening. The truth behind the unions’ complicity in pushing back workers’ rights makes much more sense when played out against the back drop of the international attack on workers’ rights and the ever widening gap between the rich and poor, which union chiefs stand to benefit from.
I have not always agreed with the site ( I find the film reviews particularly maddening!) But what I think IS important is the discussion and thinking points that the site generates. The WSWS really stands out as one of very few news reporting bodies who does not give at best a toothless “liberal” account, or at worst, unadulterated right-wing propaganda. By proposing an alternative view, one is given the opportunity to consider wholly new ideas not presented in the mainstream press, let alone in general conversation.
The site’s message on political education is perhaps its most important. In times such as we live in it is vital that people are presented with more than one view on the events of the day. The switch in blame from bankers to benefits claimants for the reason of our national deficit is an astonishing and heart-breaking example of what can happen when a corrupt political elite are able to constantly proclaim their own agenda through a supportively biased mainstream media.
For all these reasons I look forward to another 15 years of strong political analysis and debate on the role of the international working class.
UK. WSWS reader since 1998
6 June 2013
I first came across the World Socialist Web Site in 1997 or 1998. I was struck by the quality of the analysis, the general level of information and the uncluttered presentation. And this was at a time when—relatively early in terms of the Internet and what was accessible online as a common resource—you just didn’t have that much in terms of reportage, serious comment and analysis. Most mainstream newspapers had yet to establish a substantial online presence, for example. And the World Socialist Web Site was one of the first sites I came across when I started using the Internet, together with a few other databases, which were useful for research and general interest. So I remember bookmarking the site, and then checking it regularly, and have read it ever since then.
Thinking back, this was the right moment to find the WSWS: in the UK, Blair’s New Labour party had come to power and dragged in its wake a large and gullible liberal crowd and media apparatus, just thankful that the Conservative party had gone, and who were surprised to find that their illusions, or hopes, were to be systematically shattered.
There was a need for an historically literate and anti-capitalist perspective at this point. Where else was that to be found? And we see the same process now in the US, with those who pinned their hopes on Barack Obama. At the other end of this period, with the Blair government’s complicity in all aspects of the “War on Terror”, the WSWS was able to deliver a clearer perspective on the momentous protest events around the UK than that found on the “left” wing of New Labour, or the Socialist Workers Party. And at the point at which, a year and a half ago, rioting broke out across the country, the WSWS stood firm against the exodus to the right as the entire establishment, its media and its legal apparatus, and its entertainers, perceived an entire class as essentially criminal.
For me, one of the great strengths of the WSWS is the approach to the arts. In no sense is any of the commentary or analysis typical of the more mainstream press. The WSWS isn’t in hock to celebrity cultures or strung along by whatever is fashionable; there’s no compulsion to celebrate the new, and mistake that for news or analysis. The WSWS has always had the advantage of being very clear-sighted. If something is bad, they’ll call it ... and the context for such a judgment that then follows is worth more than the usual scramble to salvage something of worth, as found in the mainstream media.
There is an independence of mind when it comes to dealing with film culture, and especially in the writing of David Walsh. He is not responding so much to film as film, and in respect of the flows and eddies of international film cultures, but to film in relation to a series of more compelling concerns. David offers a perspective that’s not found in the mainstream media and not often found in academic writing either. It is part of what lends the WSWS a very characteristic and unique voice. And with each discussion, there is a renewal of ideas, and re-articulation of positions. To talk of a crisis in film culture is to talk of a wider crisis, and to question the role of the filmmaker in society. At work is an understanding that various writers, actors, producers and directors, in attempting to talk about something, invariably find themselves confronting issues that are common not only to the artistic world but the world beyond.
Consequently, when the WSWS interviews filmmakers, dialogue occurs. This isn’t just a matter of promotion, but a matter of insight, an exchange of views, which invariably return to questions of the roles of the artist, and cinema, in society. I’m thinking in particular of the interview with Marco Bellocchio, but also with figures from the New Iranian Cinema. And also of the coverage of Harold Pinter, in his final years, as he received the Nobel Prize for literature.
It was at a time when Pinter was very much on my mind; he had spoken at the 2003 anti-war rally in Hyde Park. His physical frailty was very apparent. His hands were shaking in the cold but his voice thundered: he called Blair “a hired Christian thug”. He spoke with authority and audacity. Clearly the broadsheets had had enough of this and his searing anti-war poetry. So there’s a common current of received opinion in the liberal media, and the WSWS remains above all this. Difficult now to remember the trivial details of the attempted trashing of Pinter from most quarters, but the WSWS response remains with me.
This remains the case now, in the coverage of Julian Assange. And, again in terms of the British press in the coverage of the Royal Family, and the coverage of the “election” of the new Pope. And yet nuance and measured consideration remain: a number of articles on Princess Diana, reflecting on how her fate sheds light on elements of British society and institutions, come to mind. In the lifetime of the WSWS, editorial lines have only been tightened in the mainstream press, further squeezing out any “licensed” space for dissent. In these respects, the WSWS is an essential resource.
This is true in terms of teaching too, and the university environment. I’m often asked to provide students with reading lists as they research and prepare work. Where concerns range from “identity politics” to recent Hollywood films that have dealt in violence (often with postmodern irony) WSWS articles are a welcome counterbalance.
Undergraduates can find this a refreshing experience, moving from the uncritical to the critical. The idea of the normalisation of brutality, considered in respect to state violence—especially since 2001—and as connected to the “new brutality” in film, is one that opens up another horizon of discussion.
Undergraduate politics student, Perth, Western Australia
5 June 2013
Before I began reading the WSWS I had been looking around for a political party to support for a while. I was looking for a solution to environmental destruction and the declining standard of living of the working class in Australia and worldwide. Before discovering the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party I had been looking into the Greens, the Communist Party of Australia, the Stable Population Party and then the Socialist Alliance.
At first I followed the Stable Population Party, after coming across the lectures of Dr. Albert Bartlett on YouTube, and the writings of Australian Malthusian Mark O’Connor on the problem of a growing population in Australia. At first their logic seemed infallible: environmental destruction and most modern crises can be linked to a population that grows at an exponential rate, outpacing the creation of jobs and infrastructure, leading to environmental destruction through the growing demand for resources.
But, after further reading on the population debate, I realized the Stable Population Party’s rhetoric was wrong, as implementing a stable population leaves the problems of the profit-seeking capitalist system unanswered. The Stable Population Party scapegoats the international working class for the environmental destruction and emissions of the capitalist system. A stable population would only serve to extend the life of capitalism, a system in which a crash and environmental destruction are inevitable.
The Socialist Alliance recruited me during orientation week at university; I was receptive to the idea of socialism so I paid $5 and joined their political party. I had a subscription to their newspaper, the Green Left Weekly, prior to joining the group. I soon became disillusioned after their focus on protest politics, micro issues in their newspaper and lack of a Marxist education amongst their constituents. They weren’t doing much to lift the level of socialist consciousness. For instance, soon after joining their group I was invited to vote on amendments to their activities. I didn’t know a great deal about socialism, so why should I be given a vote? Anything I would be voting on would be under a very impressionistic point of view.
When I joined the Socialist Alliance I expected to gain a Marxist education, but it was not something that they provide for their members. There was no prerequisite to join their party, no education, no minimum time of association, no agreement on the principles for which they stand, before full membership was granted. I realized it was just a protest group. It was not something I was interested in.
I started reading the World Socialist Web Site less than six months ago, when I first learned of its existence after meeting Western Australia senate candidate Joe Lopez at a Tsar to Lenin film screening at my university, Murdoch, in Perth. I was given leaflets about the “pivot to Asia” and the prospects for the working class after the upcoming state election. I was very impressed, as the WSWS was expressing views and making mention of subjects not covered in the media or by any other “leftist” groups in Australia.
There isn’t much else published about the “pivot to Asia” or the threat of war in the Asia Pacific region altogether, because in Australia we suffer from a media oligopoly—meaning there is very little public debate, and this is exacerbated by Australia’s geographical isolation. In Australia, there is a very real apathy towards political thought and discussion of world events. So at first I did not understand the significance of the Tsar to Lenin documentary and considered the SEP extremists at the time, due to their emphasis on the revolutionary struggle. But after learning more about the history of the SEP in Australia, and its analysis of the economic crisis of capitalism, I now realize the need for a mass revolutionary struggle to be waged against capitalism worldwide. The capitalist system cannot be reformed; globalization has rendered nationalist struggles defunct; and the existing political parties do not adequately represent the interests of the international working class.
I have since made an application to join the SEP and have begun reading the statement of principles and the history of the Australian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. I am getting a very real education about socialism from my local SEP branch and through reading the WSWS. I really respect the principled theoretical approach to building this political party.
Only now that I am getting a real education can I begin to interpret events through the lens of a Marxist. Everything I read in the media only confirms my opinion on the need for socialism. I have always believed that the meaning of life is to develop your knowledge and become a better person, in order to achieve in life. So in a sense, reading the WSWS and applying to become a full member of the SEP has given meaning to my life. I am educating myself and doing all that I can to promote the website and upcoming lecture. The WSWS is a great source of information, a tool to be used to develop a true socialist consciousness. I am glad I was introduced to the World Socialist Web Site— will continue to read it daily.
Retired M.D., USA
3 June 2013
My sibs, cousins, and I were born in the immediate post war years, into families of very modest means in the rural South. Though it took the perspective of many years to more fully grasp the historical roots of our social circumstances, members of “our class” never really recovered from the Great Depression, or perhaps even the Civil War. The “social wealth” for public education was very limited. I was the first to attempt and finish college as my escape from those margins of existence.
There were a total of six books in our home, including a Bible—the same six volumes as when I departed that country.
Our parents did not conceive of historical, social or political roots of the Depression, which ruined them and their parents economically in their youth. Disoriented in their misery and terror with daily calamities and religious hucksterism, they viewed the foreclosures, losses of their farms, and deprivations as akin to an unpredictable weather event, such as a cyclone striking them and sweeping everything away without warning. Therefore, who knew? Such events might one day suddenly strike again, no matter how hard anyone worked to scrimp and save.
That the Great Depression swept across the world (certainly storm-like) as the expression of the deep crisis of global capitalism was the furthest conception from their minds, an ignorance that was not their fault.
Our families viewed Franklin Roosevelt and the reforms from that period, including Social Security, and Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 Medicare entitlements as their salvation. Our parents lived every instant of their lives with the deepest fears of the return of events similar to those of the 1930s. And they clung to the hope that yoking themselves to the constancy of hard work lessened the risk of repeat ruination. To them, “recreation” and “play” constituted lack of vigilance and irresponsibility.
In our youth, we were “loaned” out to relatives to work the farms for no personal compensation. The kids of us did not understand that dubious arrangement very accurately until we were in our mid and late teens. Through various humiliations, our circumstances were clarified, and some of us resolved to move on.
Virtually in an altered life altogether (as though I’d settled on a different planet), and after some long years, I obtained training to be a physician. I had also learned our parents’ distrust of “play” and dedication to being workaholics. And despite a state university education, I cannot say that my conceptions of political economy much improved from theirs. I harbored all the illusions dangled ceaselessly by that big business and large ownership class instrument called the Democratic Party.
Then one day, I cannot recall the date, I stumbled over the wsws.
It was in a period of my own very deep political crisis, just after the launching of the second Bush’s Iraq war. I’d spent almost two decades on a hospital board, a medium sized general care facility serving as a regional referral center. One summer day, my giant employer’s administrators invited themselves into the hospital boardroom and, in so many obfuscating words, demanded to be handed millions of dollars in cash and capital assets for absolutely nothing. Or they, the physician company providing me a regular paycheck, would take all of their services out of the facility and financially destroy the community facility.
Of course, every board member was aghast, and then panicked. It was banker against banker, investment broker against other financial “advisors.” A precious few thought of the impact on the source of everyone’s wealth, that of the working people, including the hundreds of hospital staff. Very shortly, behavioral profiles of cowardice, corruption, and cronyism emerged. And when I publicly objected to the threats issued to the board, I was heavily fined and asked to resign. I found myself, and my family, financially imperiled.
What I noticed was not a single elected big business party official of the city, county, state, or even the feds, despite widespread knowledge of what was going on, lifted a finger to defend the quasi-public institution packed with state and federal public health care dollars. Until many long months later, the hospital board capitulated and gave the company every dollar of the facility’s accumulated wealth of several decades.
Both Republican and Democratic party operatives and politicians glossed over the extortion with platitudes of conciliation through it all, of course while extolling the virtues of free markets.
Almost every week now, I see legal notices in the regional newspapers regarding home and farm foreclosures against families by the United States’ largest lenders, and very often waiting in line behind them is my former employer. Waiting to pick another group of young or old working persons clean.
And then I understood, starkly, that there existed no defense of the working people’s wealth. That the “work folk,” as Marx used to refer to the toilers, would have to take matters into their hands and defend themselves. Not as vigilantes in any sense at all. But rather, they had to form their own movement and political instruments to defend themselves against the biggest owners of societal assets that they the working class had accumulated. On the road to the day that they would form their own government and bring into their hands the wealth that they, the “work folk,” had created. Only in that way would imperialist wars cease and senseless and preventable poverty and misery be abolished.
Wherever I have been thereafter, I have not missed a day of looking at the wsws. Once in the earth’s human history, the working people have formed their own government, in 1917.
The Socialist Equality Party has taken every step and every turn in the principled, historical, and theoretical road necessary to embody that political tradition.
Musician and restaurant worker, Ithaca, New York, USA. WSWS reader since 2009
25 May 2013
Oddly enough, it was through art that I realized the plight of the working class. I sat down to view Fritz Lang’s magnificent Metropolis and the real life parallels were impossible to overlook. A good neighbor and friend happened to stop by and pointed me to the WSWS, where I found there simply is no other news source so thoroughly dedicated to being objective, honest and thorough when it comes down to upholding the true foundation of American politics. It’s nearly impossible to endure another news source without finding some ulterior motive or an obvious agenda to keep the public distracted with petty squabbles over ever shifting morality and matters of identity politics. I have a sincere admiration for the SEP and their uncompromising dedication to principle.
Soon after I finished college with a degree in creative writing, I found myself working on a large micro-chip manufacturing line and was confronted head-on with the oppressive nature of today’s political environment. What I found there ranged from reluctant complacency to full blown misery. It was openly acknowledged by lower management that we were not going to be given any opportunity to advance through the corporation’s vast and intricate ranks. We were simply there to push the buttons and keep the gears running for 12 hours at a time for as many years as it takes to become eligible for retirement— of course unless they decide to lay us off instead—a thought which was deliberately kept looming over our heads. I realized that this life was actually a goal for a lot of people, a beacon of hope. We were the lowest paid workers in the entire chain of command, yet we were the backbone. Without us the company would produce nothing.
Seemingly in direct spite of us, I come to find out the CEO, (who produces what exactly?) had doubled her own absurd salary. I tried to mention to my co-workers that there is a group of people speaking out and sticking up for us, but the mere mention of the word “Socialist” seemed to turn people green with a sheer pop-media-fueled misunderstanding. I look forward to a day where the principles of the SEP are common knowledge and the working class not only fully realizes but achieves the long overdue credit we deserve.
Archivist, Houston, Texas, USA. WSWS reader since 2002.
20 May 2013
I started reading the World Socialist Web Site in 2001 or 2002. The first article I read was an interview with American Civil War historian James MacPherson. The emphasis placed on historical matters is what originally attracted me to the WSWS. When I was in college, I majored in history; later, I became a professional archivist, in which my duties involved the preservation of historically significant documents. Part of the reason I entered this field was because I became aware of how little understanding there is among the general population of history, and how the distortion of historical facts is used for political purposes. Thus, I have a special interest in the issue of historical falsification, and was very surprised to learn that historical truth is a cornerstone of Trotskyism.
It’s not just the particular historical facts that interest me, though, but also the theory that underlies them. The Trotskyist movement’s insistence that class is the most fundamental division of humans, and that the class-based system we live in is international, was again something I felt strong agreement with. I have read the articles relating to theory with particular interest. One thing I find fascinating is how disputes that have arisen in a tiny political movement are indicative of massive changes in conditions that have taken place in the international socio-economic system (for example, the events within the ICFI that occurred in the mid-1980s).
I find the arts reviews to be extremely useful in this regard. While they have caused me to see certain movies or read books that I might not have otherwise, they have also caused me to reevaluate the careers of certain artists of whom I once had different opinions. In a broader sense, though, the arts reviews are a demonstration that the underlying theory can be used to evaluate virtually anything.
Such is the case with my own family’s history. My father’s family immigrated to the United States from different parts of Germany in 1850, following the suppression of revolutions across Europe. After they moved to America, they were supporters of the Republican Party during the Civil War, and became members of Milwaukee’s German-American community. German-Americans had a vibrant community in the 19th and early 20th centuries. German was widely spoken in many parts of this country, German-language newspapers thrived, and many aspects of German culture were adopted in the general American culture.
World War I put an end to all of this. This period was a very traumatic time for German-Americans in general and for my ancestors. Once the US entered the war, what can only be described as an anti-German psychosis took root. Anything that was perceived as being pro-German was targeted. This included banning use of the German language in public and banning German-language instruction in schools, to acts of violence against people who were outspoken with their anti-war views. (This extended beyond the German-Americans, and included anyone who was considered anti-war or radical.) The pressure to conform was enormous. In my own family, my grandfather fought in the war. I also had a great-uncle who did not see eye-to-eye with my great-grandfather on a number of issues, and apparently ran away from home before the US entry into the war and joined the Canadian army. He never returned.
I believe this period influenced the psychology of numerous members of the family, some of whom became alcoholics, while others suffered from depression. Members of subsequent generations were affected as well. While certain factors, such as biology, genetics, or culture may predispose some people to addiction or mental illness, it seems clear that American-style capitalism creates very fertile ground for problems such as these to crop up.
Politically, there were contradictions in the positions that different family members had. My grandmother was a supporter of the Republican Party for most of her life, with the exception of the 1930’s when she supported Roosevelt and the Democrats. By the time I knew her, she was a staunch anti-communist, and had supported the infamous Senator Joseph McCarthy. She was very fearful of the Soviet Union; I remember her justifying her position by quoting Khrushchev’s famous comment of “We will bury you.” My grandfather, on the other hand, knew Frank Zeidler, the former socialist mayor of Milwaukee. My father met him several decades after my grandfather died; Zeidler remembered my grandfather, and was complimentary of him.
In addition to reading the website, I have read numerous books published by Trotskyists and others, including Isaac Deutscher’s trilogy, the Socialist Starter bundle [from Mehring Books], the Stalin’s Terror bundle [from Mehring Books], History of the Russian Revolution, The Revolution Betrayed, and others. I find that I am able to independently analyze many topics I come across using the tools I have learned.
I regret that up to now, I have not been able to join the Socialist Equality Party. I do not feel that I have been in a position to devote the time and energy that would be required of me. This does not mean that I will not apply for membership at some point in the future. I have met a number of SEP members, and they all seem like fine people. I continue to read the WSWS daily and donate a small amount each month. Keep up the excellent work!
Student, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
18 May 2013
Why do I read the World Socialist Web Site? To answer that question I must first ask another: What is the first thing that all socialists must do and do without hesitation? Socialists must tell the truth. I read the WSWS because it is the only news source that tells the truth and tells it consistently.
When the ISO defends the CIA-backed, Islamic-militant Syrian rebels, the WSWS tells the truth about their nature, their roots, their backings and their actions. When so-called leftists like Michael Moore defend blatantly pro-torture films like Zero Dark Thirty the WSWS provides accurate appraisals. While the intellectuals, academia and the pseudo-lefts invent and focus on non-issues, redirecting genuine opposition to war and austerity into dead channels, the WSWS stands like an unrelenting cliff against the waves of lies constantly threatening to drown the working class.
I read the WSWS because the WSWS tells, without qualifications, the truth. It is only in seeking the truth that genuine progress can be made. Galileo spoke the truth when he stated that the Earth traveled around the Sun—paving the way for huge advancements in astronomy and our understanding of the universe. Locke spoke the truth when he proposed that human beings were born tabula rasa (“a blank slate”) and paved the way for a material understanding of the human psyche. Darwin spoke the truth when he rejected the notion that life was unchanging, and stated instead that species had evolved over a long and gradual process—providing us, for the first time, with a true understanding of where we came from. And above all else, Marx spoke the truth when he stated that all of the inequality, in all of the civilizations of mankind, was the result of class distinctions in society and that no society could ever eliminate the problems of poverty and war without eliminating these class distinctions. In doing so he paved the way for a mass, revolutionary socialist movement of the people.
The WSWS carries on this tradition. And that is why I read the World Socialist Web Site.
Durham, UK. WSWS reader since 2005
15 May 2013
I have been reading the WSWS for the past eight years and find it to be essential reading for anyone on the critical left who wants to see a Marxist analysis combined with a realistic strategy to fight back against the austerity programme of the global capitalist class.
For too long the working class has been hampered by so-called left groups who refuse to build a revolutionary alternative to the gamut of reformist parties and their trade unions. In the UK, from where I am, there is a whole melody of left organisations who are in the process of forming their own front bodies such as the “Peoples Assembly” of Counterfire, the “Unite the Resistance” of the SWP, the “TUSC” of the Socialist Party, and finally the dreadfully named “Left Unity” of the other fragments of the ACI, CPGB, Workers Power. What each and every one of these organisations rely upon is a gamut of celebrities of the left—Owen Jones, Tariq Ali, Mark Serwotka, Bob Crow et. al. to somehow inspire millions of workers who are experiencing the brutal attacks on our wages and benefits.
For me, the WSWS’s great contribution in building an alternative to these pathetic attempts at politically misleading the working class, is to highlight the class position of the groups as being from the petit bourgeoisie in pamphlets such as The Theoretical and Historical Origins of the Pseudo-Left .
What I find the most fascinating is the coverage of the current Syrian civil war. Only the WSWS has clearly portrayed this tragedy for what it is—a civil war between various fractions of the Syrian bourgeoisie armed and abetted by US Imperialism and the Gulf Monarchies. The tragedy is that so many workers are suffering, and paying with their lives in either defending a dictatorial regime or being pulled into fighting with what are deeply reactionary Muslim organisations such as the Al-Nusra Front. Or even worse, being caught in the crossfire. All of the pseudo-left groups support this civil war as being somehow a part of the revolutionary process. Maybe they should revisit Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution to understand the dynamics of revolution.
There’s much more I could praise, such as the art pieces and the science pieces, but I won’t. I’ll stop here to wish another successful fifteen years, or even better—that in the coming fifteen years the various SEPs develop and grow—unlike the bankruptcy of the pseudo-left, as is shown in their inability to stop the austerity attacks while at the same time their leaders are living a comfortable life. The working class, especially the youth will see that if we are to avoid a catastrophe of the worst order, then a revolutionary Marxist organisation needs to be built.
14 May 2013
I hope you will forgive me for opening this testimonial with a bit about myself. My name is Thomas Scripps. I’m 17 years old and a member of the Socialist Equality Party in Britain. And it is down to the determined and sharp commentaries of the WSWS that I can say that today.
Coming to socialism in the years 2008-9—as have many of my generation—I was disappointed and to some extent demoralised by the lack of perspective offered by many so-called left wing and socialist parties. The clear analysis offered on the WSWS was not only an exceptionally rare (I’d go so far as to say unique) find but also an example of the very highest level of Marxist thinking. Simply the inclusion of multiple languages raised it above the narrow nationalism—farcically opposed to the global nature of the internet—of so many other sites, and to the level of ingrained internationalism indicative of a genuine and powerful socialist movement. The breadth of topics and depth of discussion, too, reminded me of the respect shown for working people’s understanding so prominent in Marxist literature.
When I first started reading the site regularly, I was astonished at the resounding sense of each article. At no other time in my life did I feel I was really drawing together a concrete idea of how the world functioned. Initially dubious about the necessity of revolution, this was put forward article by article, case by case. That is one of the key strengths of the website: its ability to put forward the arguments for socialism and revolution on a daily basis, based on daily world events, demonstrating through factual example the inescapable logic of its conclusions.
Continued reading eventually gave me the confidence in my own understanding to apply for membership of the Party and it has since been my very great honour to write for the site. Despite my close association, though, what continues to astound and impress me is the persistence, the clarity and the quality of publication.
My political consciousness has been shaped and continually sharpened by the precise analysis of world events offered on the site every single day: the WSWS is a tool of immense political power. As I have learned more about the history of the socialist movement, it has strengthened me to draw the parallels between the immense collaborative effort and intellectual community the WSWS represents and the international socialist organisations of the past.
In a world dominated by the multi-million media of the elite, a non-corrupt news publisher committed to the defence of the working class—and the exposure of assaults against it—is essential. As the time comes for a mass movement, the revolution will look to the WSWS for direction and its performance so far shows that it is more than up to the task.
Photographer, South East Asia. WSWS reader since 1998
11 May 2013
I would like to offer my congratulations to the WSWS for its 15 years of unequalled insights into the ongoing developments in the capitalist crisis and the struggles of the working class.
My involvement in political activity began in the early 1980s when I joined the Workers Revolutionary Party, then the British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. My political education, however, only started during the split in the movement in 1985, the period when the International Committee was able to provide a clear historical analysis of the national opportunist degeneration and betrayals of the WRP leadership and elaborate on what were the real issues at stake: the defence of the programme, perspectives, and heritage of the Fourth International. This is powerfully explained in “How the Workers Revolutionary Party betrayed Trotskyism.”
For genuine Trotskyists the 1985-86 split was of immense historical importance and laid the political foundations for the extraordinary advances made by the International Committee since and, in particular, in the development of the World Socialist Web Site.
In 1998 when the WSWS began publishing online I did not have a computer and would travel for about 30 minutes to visit a friend who had a PC so I could download articles to read later. I obtained my first computer soon after and for the sole purpose of accessing the WSWS every day. I encountered some hostility to the turn taken by the Trotskyist movement to publish on the Internet. Members of my family initially thought it was a “betrayal” to stop producing a newspaper, but over time this attitude changed as the site became an absolute must-daily-read.
I’m currently in South East Asia and depend on the WSWS for accurate and honest reportage. It is the only publication able to provide a clear and coherent analysis of the fast moving political events—in this region and internationally—and the unfolding global economic crisis and the drive towards war.
As a documentary photographer, I was delighted to have the WSWS cover my exhibition on migrant workers at Oxford University in February 2011. In 2008 I had the opportunity to be part of a WSWS team which travelled to central Australia to report and photograph the impact of the Australian government’s Northern Territory “intervention” on Aboriginal communities. (Rudd Labor deepens Howard’s assault on Aboriginal communities) The “intervention” was not only a direct assault on the democratic and social rights of Aboriginal people and their communities but a testing ground for future attacks on all welfare recipients, indigenous and non-indigenous alike. The experience left a deep and lasting impression on me.
We are about to enter a profound period of enormous class struggles on a global basis. What has been made clear over the past 15 years is that the WSWS is the only publication that shows a way forward for the international working class.
Yorkshire, England. WSWS reader since 1998
10 May 2013
I am a longtime supporter of the International Committee of the Fourth International and started reading the World Socialist Web Site in 1998, a few months after its launch. I previously read the International Worker newspaper, which was excellent but only came out every two weeks so it was always a few weeks “behind”, whereas the WSWS can give analysis of the latest developments instantly and can provide an enormous archive of articles.
It’s hard to imagine what it would be like not to have the WSWS. Recently I was really appalled to hear someone say he finds it hard to watch the television news because “it’s all about wars and bad things happening … it’s so depressing.” It made me think of Spinoza: neither to laugh or cry, but to understand.
Without the WSWS one would be left at the mercy of the latest lies and distortions of the capitalist media, or, maybe worse, the twisted bunkum of right-wing conspiracy theorists on the net.
I read the WSWS every day to get a Marxist perspective on everything that happens. I always make sure I read all the editorials, lead articles and perspectives documents, such as the resolutions of the last congress of the German section of the ICFI which I found particularly well argued and clear. Nick Beams’ articles on the economy are vital; I often find Jean Shaoul’s articles very illuminating such as those on UK government spending and the Private Finance Initiative. I read most of David Walsh’s film reviews and I support the struggle against the guys who “prefer to leave their brain at the cinema door”—and I’ve got the scars to prove it! In general I try to understand and remember as much as possible so I can explain things to other people.
One article that stands out was a letter by Dave Hyland following the death of Corin Redgrave. Dave goes over a fascinating history of his experiences in the revolutionary movement, and he shows a remarkable understanding of the position of educated middle class personalities working in a proletarian milieu. He argues that Redgrave’s artistic talents should have been used to educate others but instead Redgrave was more or less destroyed by Healy.
These days I seem to keep meeting young people who say they want to travel in order to understand the world and find their place in it. I can’t help feeling they’d do better to just stay home and read the WSWS. It would give them a much better understanding of the world and who knows, they might decide to take part in the struggle to change it!
Retired university lecturer, Mt. Lavinia, Sri Lanka. WSWS reader since 1998
8 May 2013
I am a 68-year-old retired lecturer in Sociology from the University of Colombo, after teaching the subject for 41 years. In my first year (1965), as a student in the same university, I was elected as a member of the Arts faculty’s student union, representing the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP). By then I was a sympathiser of that party.
Later, as the LSSP’s role evolved within the coalition government of Sirimavo Bandaranayake (1970–1977), I got disillusioned with the LSSP and began to sympathise with the Revolutionary Communist League, forerunner of the SEP (Socialist Equality Party).
Once the WSWS was inaugurated by the SEP in 1998, I started reading it as and when time permitted me. As a university teacher, I was much impressed with the critical articles on sociological theories such as modernism and post-modernism, and identity politics published by the website. Critical perspectives put forward by the website on such widely prevalent sociological theories helped me to be critical of my university colleagues who were blind followers of such theories.
Since retirement in 2010, I keep on reading the website and I am very much impressed with its contribution to building up the Marxist revolutionary party internationally—to usher in international socialist revolution, which is sine qua non to redeem humanity from its current quagmire.
The website’s impact on me is multifaceted. I am trained to think of the other human being who comes into contact with me as my equal. Training imparted to me by the website as a reader has empowered me to think of global capitalism quite contrary to established academia both locally and internationally.
Being influenced by the website, I have been able to differentiate the pseudo-left from the Marxist revolutionary organization which is the SEP based on ICFI’s [International Committee of the Fourth International] perspectives. This positive impact of the website helps me to live a decent but arduous life, with a conviction that humans have no alternative other than getting rid of global capitalism through working class revolution—to have a life with basic needs—to march forward along the path of development socio-economically and culturally.
Former teacher, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA.
7 May 2013
My introduction to the WSWS, and socialism in general, came as the result of being a public school teacher. I was a teacher for nine years, and every year I saw declines—whether it was in the form of increased classroom size, laying off of teachers and support staff, reductions in salary and benefits, or reduction of class options for the students.
I started off as a liberal, seeing the Republican Party as the party to blame; but it did not take long to realize that the Democrats were putting forward policies that were equally destructive to public education, including their continual support of the thinly-veiled for-profit charter schools and high-stakes testing.
However, the most egregious actions came from those who claimed to be the stalwart defenders of the teachers—the union. Every year we saw declines, but instead of vigorously fighting the system that was bringing about these declines, the union engaged in activities whose actions I can only surmise were designed to isolate and pacify the people they were supposed to defend. All the different working groups (secretaries, administrators, custodial, etc...) negotiated their contracts separately and at different times. When other, nearby districts were getting bad contracts we were told there was nothing we could do. When a bill that attacked teachers was proposed, we were told to “contact our legislator.” When we were offered a contract with cuts, we were told to wear black and hold up placards before and after school. Everything was designed to make our actions as feckless as possible and never was there any talk about joining forces with other groups, let alone a strike.
I could see all these things going on but I could not explain why it was happening. The typical explanation that I would get was that people, especially politicians, were just “being stupid.” It was not until I started reading the WSWS that I came to an understanding of the class forces at work and the tie-in of what was going on in public education to the broader world in which capitalism has propped up a parasitic layer that was determined to maintain its power at the expense of the working class. It was only the WSWS who could intelligently address my questions about why the “American dream” had failed. It was only the WSWS who could explain how unpopular wars based on lies could be propagated by the whole political system. In a world where news is filtered by financial interests, I have learned to depend upon the WSWS to provide the unfiltered version of events.
Musician, Los Angeles, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
6 May 2013
When I was little I thought that when countries go to war there is a good side and an evil side, and usually the good one wins. Moreover, we always happened to be the good guys, thank God! And that frame of mind didn’t just belong to me, but to the majority of people.
Growing up, by reading history books, I started questioning these dynamics because I had a feeling that things weren’t that simple. Later in life, by traveling, I was able to confront myself with people from different countries, who often shared very similar stories and doubts, from their own perspectives. More and more, it felt odd that those people were to be considered my enemies, in any circumstance...
By the time the first Gulf War happened, and even more so with 9/11, years later, the official explanations didn’t make any more sense to me. It was clear that those events were revealing something different, something that the current establishment would never be ready to talk about, because it would undermine its own foundations.
Looking for better answers, I found the WSWS, where I learned about the contradictions of the capitalist system, and how they lead to horrible events such as local and world wars, which ultimately no one wants. The WSWS’s scientific standpoint was an eye opener for me and many others, who simply couldn’t find an acceptable explanation to the dualism between imperialistic expansion and the need to rely on foreign labor, or the fact that profit is private while debt is public, and many other dichotomies.
One true thing we’ve been told though: that we are all living in a very delicate era, a period of crisis. But no one besides the WSWS has ever elaborated on that to the point where it’s the actual worldwide economical and political system to be put in discussion, in order to understand and solve the issue. And thanks to this site we can all access precious information and build a worldwide working class consciousness, opposing it to the prevailing one which only defines good and bad on the basis of national, racial, sexual differences and so on.
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.
Teacher, Los Angeles, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
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.
Photographer, London, England. WSWS reader since 2012
2 May 2013
I have only been reading the WSWS for a little while. Sometimes you believe in something, but don’t really see how much until someone opens your eyes and I guess that’s what happened with me here. I’ve always agreed with socialist ideals at heart, stemming from my family really, but I had never really looked into them properly until recently when a friend pushed me towards this website thinking it would be of interest to me. I started reading articles on the WSWS and realised this was what I agreed with and this is what I want to participate in.
Over the last few years I’ve become extremely disillusioned with my government. Mostly I hate that my choices in voting come down to voting for someone awful or someone a bit less awful. They do not speak for me or anyone working class and it frustrated me that I was seemingly participating in a system that was there to make people feel like they matter, rather than actually benefitting anyone at all. I didn’t want to buy into this illusion anymore and I figured there had to be an alternative that I could not only agree with but also actively participate in. Through reading the WSWS and going to some SEP meetings I think I’ve found that.
Having grown up in an Islamic background (but not being Muslim myself) I have seen firsthand the effect false media campaigns can have via people in my family having to deal with a lot of persecution post 9/11. I’ve always been looking for a source that was unbiased and trustworthy. WSWS provides me with articles on news that is happening around me but explains the truth of these situations. This is especially important to me when it comes to issues about the Middle East. I am constantly frustrated with news sources ignoring or misreporting stories from there. There is a lot that goes on around me that has confused and annoyed me for so many years and the WSWS has offered clarity, which I really needed.
The website is also helping me get my head around the history of this all. There is a lot to take in, and I want to learn as much as I can so I can start taking part more. I’ve got to a point in life where I know I want to do something and I want to fight back and without the WSWS I’d not be as focused. As someone who is learning about socialism still, the WSWS is an essential source for me.
Los Angeles, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2008
1 May 2013
I wanted to write this quick letter to hopefully help highlight the importance of the WSWS in the fight for socialism, by sharing my experience in the International Socialist Organization (ISO), one of many pseudo-left groups that one can find today lining up behind US imperialism in Syria. The ISO has played, and continues to play, a key role in torpedoing any working class struggle by building up the authority of the unions, and it propels a perspective according to which the working class could pressure the Democrats to make change through sufficient protest. It is important the working class knows that groups like the ISO are an obstacle in the struggle for socialism.
I joined the ISO simply because they were the first group utilizing socialist rhetoric that happened to cross my path. But as my time and experience in the ISO went on and I started independently reading some of Trotsky’s and James P. Cannon’s writings, it was becoming clear that I had some political differences with the ISO. For instance, I was against affirmative action (a position that, it seemed to me, divides the working class) and I was strongly against support of the Green Party. The relationship with the Greens the ISO called a “united front.” It seemed to me that far from the united front that Trotsky had called to establish in specific historic circumstances, the ISO’s type of united front was more like the Stalinist “popular front.” If I stayed in this group it was only because the only other group around at the time was the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and I couldn’t stomach the idea of being around open Stalinists.
I came in contact with the WSWS around 2008 while looking for stuff to read on the civil war in Sudan; then read the SEP (US) Statement of Principles and the SEP program that moved me and finally led me to break with the ISO. The SEP program rejected positions that I myself rejected in the ISO, while at the same time the program powerfully showed me the way forward for the working class. Like many workers at the time, I had doubts about, and was confused by the destructive role of the unions. I couldn’t get my head around the uncritical support the ISO continued to give the unions and their leadership. The ISO argued that we must stand with the union leadership because “to be against the unions is to be against the working class.” However, this argument didn’t seem to fit with what was happening all around the world. The unions and their leadership were playing a part in the attack on the working class. One case in particular in Los Angeles, where I live: the UTLA fought to convince teachers to accept furloughs by claiming that they will save teachers’ jobs. The ISO, along with the union leadership, supported and pushed to get teachers to accept furloughs.
It’s not the case that the ISO made a mistake—the ISO is fully integrated with the same union leaders who are helping with the destruction of teachers’ jobs. A.J. Duffy, the UTLA’s former president is a good friend of the ISO. The ISO presented A.J. Duffy as a fighter for the working class, and invited Duffy to speak to workers at immigrant rights rallies. Today, A.J. Duffy, supposedly a “fighter” for the working class, is starting his own charter school. He even wants to make it harder for teachers to keep tenure protection, by requiring that teachers demonstrate that they remain effective in the classroom.
For anyone who wants to get a fundamental understanding of what is happening in the world, and decides they’d like to change it, then reading the WSWS is essential.
South African living in the UK. New reader of the WSWS
30 April 2013
I am a new reader of the WSWS. I first contacted the Socialist Equality Party and the WSWS by attending a meeting on the situation in Greece. I knew nothing of socialist internationalism until I met the SEP.
The meeting addressed questions I had been asking myself about the present situation compared to what I saw when I first came to the UK in 1990. It also gave me a chance to read the WSWS and find answers to other questions that had not been answered before, such as what is socialism and where will it take us?
I arrived here from Tanzania, where I had been for nine years as an African National Congress refugee from South Africa. I came on a Walter Sisulu scholarship.
I have always been interested in Marxism which I was exposed to by the ANC. I was taught that Tanzania was what was called “African Socialism”.
The ANC didn’t live up to our expectations and confused people like me because they were talking about socialism on the one hand and the National Democratic Revolution on the other as if they were the same thing. But they are not.
The ANC leadership claimed that they would build a system to suit African conditions, taking what is good from all systems, accepting moral and political support from all over the world, especially the west.
They also talked about “non-antagonistic contradictions” that would exist during the reconstruction of the country. This is why I say they confused me. They justified themselves by trying to say that when we take over, things will change, but very slowly.
There were great hopes when Mandela became president. But now the majority in South Africa are terribly disillusioned, because the living conditions for the masses have not improved. Nothing has changed since the end of Apartheid.
There have been three black presidents, Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma and everyone in the country knows that the situation is getting worse. People are suffering terribly. The gap between rich and poor is widening daily. I realise from the WSWS that the working class all over the world is suffering as a result of the crisis.
When I arrived in this country in 1990, I met many people who were politically active, including South Africans. I asked them, “How many socialisms are there?” There was Chinese socialism, Russian socialism and socialism in Tanzania. I saw the poverty in Tanzania and thought, “How is socialism operating here?”
So what does the term socialism mean?
I went to a Socialist Workers Party meeting at the university and came away very disappointed because it was all slogans. I never went back. But I still didn’t lose interest in politics and I wanted some answers.
Through reading the WSWS I have learnt what the word socialism means and how the crisis of capitalism affects us globally and how socialism can address these problems. To me, international socialism is the only socialism to overcome this capitalist crisis. I just don’t see any other way.
We need a revolution, a revolutionary party and a complete change of the system.
I love my country but don’t like what is happening there. So I may as well stay here and learn.
Dublin, Ireland. WSWS reader since 2011
26 April 2013
I was a member of the Socialist Workers Party in Ireland since my mid twenties but I found myself more and more disillusioned with their movement toward “broad front” politics and away from what I considered at the time to be the SWP’s core politics. I found more and more that the Socialist Worker was becoming a more nationalist paper and headlines such as “Irish Resources Not For Sale” were further confirming that this paper/website was missing the bigger picture.
In spite of my concerns I was reluctant to leave the party as I was not aware of where else I could look to get a concise, accurate editorial of worldwide events. Thankfully I found the WSWS.
The WSWS gives the reader a full and honest history of major and minor international events. It gives insight into all manner of issues and for the most part has articles on news “just broken”. I find the historical research which goes into the WSWS articles extremely educational and often they clearly portray the corruption of capitalism through recent history which has led to its disastrous results today.
I have relied on WSWS to be my main source of world news over the past couple of years and will continue doing so. Keep up the good work!
Graduate, San Diego State University, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2008
25 April 2013
As I entered college as a cynical misbegotten youth at 18 years of age, I longed for answers regarding the misery encompassing the world. Throughout high school I always considered myself a “leftist,” opting for a Rage Against the Machine album or a book on political prisoners to encompass my time as opposed to the latest video gaming console. My friends ran within anarchist circles and I became acquainted with the “lifestylism” of CrimeThInc. and the like. While all of these various analyses offered something, I found myself wanting the entirety. I knew that there was an explanation to war, poverty and social misery, but missed it entirely.
I first came into contact with the World Socialist Web Site through the avenue of the (then) International Students for Social Equality (ISSE). I was just a freshman at San Diego State University in 2008 when the financial crisis sent the world into an economic tailspin. The media flew into a frenzy as the politicians hoped to make the eventual massive cuts palpable. The words “shared sacrifice” became commonplace and seemed inescapable.
Opposition began to mount within the schools as proposed fee increases were set to take effect. As a means to conceal and maintain this frustration, universities launched “Vent at the Tent” demonstrations. These consisted of large tents where students and faculty could express their animosity through recorded video messages and pre-drafted forms that would be sent to Sacramento. This was an implied strategy of begging the Democrats in Sacramento to “listen to our pleas;” I was confronted with protest politics from the ground. The only organization on campus that offered answers other than this dead-end was the ISSE.
Two reporters asked to interview me. After expressing my frustration with the Democrats and the unions, they directed me to look at the World Socialist Web Site for an analysis of world events and as a way to fight for a new world system, one which was based on public interest and not private profit. Cynical as I was, I began to browse the website at my leisure.
The most impactful of all articles that I came across and the single-handed reason why I continue to read the WSWS today was David North’s piece on the Columbine High School tragedy entitled “ American Pastoral... American Berserk .” As I looked for answers on why it seemed the world was afire around me with catastrophe after catastrophe, North and the WSWS offered an explanation, stating:
“...the concentration on individual warning signs will be of little help in preventing further tragedies. Attention should be focused, rather, on the social warning signs, that is, the indications and indices of social and political dysfunction that create the climate that produces events like the Columbine HS massacre. Vital indicators of impending disaster might include: growing polarization between wealth and poverty; atomization of working people and the suppression of their class identity; the glorification of militarism and war; the absence of serious social commentary and political debate; the debased state of popular culture; the worship of the stock exchange; the unrestrained celebration of individual success and personal wealth; the denigration of the ideals of social progress and equality.”
Since reading this in 2009 it is unfortunate to say that these words have only been proven in the negative. Sandy Hook, the Newtown massacre, the Colorado shooting massacre and countless other seemingly “random acts of violence” have peppered the national news. Today, the White House debates ways in which to prepare for another incident, not to prevent another one. Throughout the world, war ravages with a multitude of illegal wars having been launched since Obama’s ascension to the presidency in 2008. Today we await the conflagration between North Korea and South Korea, which, just as in 21st century remakes of 1950s disasters, only promises to be graver.
While the WSWS has illuminated the misery we face today, it offers a way forward. If the problems we face today are systemic, the solution we must fight for is systemic. What is the counter-pole to bourgeois media but working class media? What is the counter-pole to capitalism, a system based on private profit, but socialism, a system based on social need? In the short 4 years of reading it, I have seen the WSWS grow in readership, in coverage and in its analysis. Time and time again, its unwavering, principled nature has proved that there is a meta-narrative that explains society. And all the more crucial, there is a solution to the problems we face.
Retired, Seattle, Washington, USA. WSWS reader since 1998
24 April 2013
I read the WSWS to understand what is going on all over the world and why. But more importantly, I read it to see how the struggle for socialism is going, how the party is doing. You have every right to celebrate the web site since it is a great achievement. But I can see clearly that previous political struggles prepared the way for this. For example, when I first met Bill and Jean Brust they went on and on about Pabloism and the split in 1953. I didn’t understand at first but I learned. They would be so proud of the WSWS today, but they would also have the right to say that they helped. I was amazed at the destruction of the SWP but not surprised since that is what was predicted in the struggle with Pabloism. Today all the other so-called socialists are lost and end up supporting the system.
San Diego, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
23 April 2013
I think it’s true that those of us in the working class naturally possess a potential to know something that the bourgeoisie cannot. This potential starts with the fact that, having no buffer between personal experience and economic reality, the working class is constantly put in touch to understate the actual, hard truth of an economic system that places profit over human need.
So when I first came across wsws.org about 2 and a half years ago, I recognized right away something quite familiar. The direct, clear and precise writing style really spoke to me on a deep level and kept me coming back. And little by little, while getting acquainted with the actual, hard reality of today’s politics—especially the true role of the trade unions here and around the world in subordinating the working class to the bourgeoisie—I naturally began viewing politics primarily in terms of objective forces and events.
Then I began reading David North’s The Heritage We Defend and had an epiphany of sorts. I was reading about how the Pabloites subordinated the class struggle to the conflict of the Cold War and how as a consequence “the real underlying conflict between the world bourgeoisie and the international proletariat” eventually “receded from the political consciousness.”
This explained much about today’s official silence, confusion and estrangement from reality exhibited by the bourgeoisie during, for instance, the deepest jobs crisis since the Great Depression. Suddenly, I was no longer thinking in terms isolated from a broader class struggle. For me that comes down to finally knowing exactly what I’m up against, exactly who’s up against it with me, and exactly what kind of political weapons and leadership we need to prevail. In other words:
“They will find in the political biography of Comrade Keerthi Balisuriya an inspiring example of courageous and principled political struggle. Even more importantly, in the Marxist political conceptions that he defended and developed they will find the theoretical and political weapons to guide the struggle for the political independence and revolutionary mobilization of the international working class.”
Los Angeles, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2008
22 April 2013
I started to read the WSWS in early 2008 and, although I was to a certain extent already familiar with Marxism, it took me some time to develop a higher understanding of dialectical materialism, the very core of Marxist thought, the key to understanding society and its trends. That was possible through the constant reading of the WSWS.
A few months later, with the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the consequent bipartisan enactments such as the bailout of the banks at the expense of the American population and the beginning of an era of social devastation, vindicated the uncompromising class analysis of the WSWS.
As a matter of fact, the election of an African American president, if on one hand it was presented by most “left” newspapers as a lesser of two evils, when not directly as an upward turning point for the working class, the WSWS placed that election in its historical context and stated the following at the conclusion of an article about the victory of the Democratic Party :
“Whatever satisfaction the Democratic Party draws from its victory is tempered by the realization within President-elect Obama’s inner circle, the party leadership and the political establishment that the mass expectations and hopes aroused by the election will not be easily contained. The outcome of the election sets the stage for a new and protracted period of intense class conflict in the United States.”
After more than four years into the crisis, the reality for the working class not only in the US but internationally, has gotten worse. The claims that there’s a recovery in place is exclusively about the stock market, bankers and speculators, not for the ordinary worker. Hence the growing discontent that can’t find expression within the present establishment.
The immense amount of knowledge contained in the WSWS can’t be fully described in a letter like this; nonetheless I still want to mention some articles by which I was particularly impressed, such as the obituary of the pope Wojtyla, an article that, among various aspects, exposes the devastating role of the church in the dismantling of the USSR in favor of the soon-to-be Russian oligarchs; an article on the book “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, where the writer (Joe Kay), while welcoming such a publication, also demonstrates with scientific accuracy, its limitations. A remarkable point is when he puts in direct relation the progress of human society with the retreat of religion .
One extremely important article, that can actually be considered as the watershed that separates the WSWS from what is considered “left,” is the one called Anti-Americanism: The “anti-imperialism” of fools. The article exposes the ideological rot of the various pseudo-left groups that in one way or another blame the American working class for the crimes of US imperialism, instead of seeing it as a victim itself.
As we enter a period characterized by stronger class conflicts, it becomes an urgency to develop the readership of the WSWS.
University student, Isla Vista, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2007
20 April 2013
I discovered the World Socialist Web Site in 2006 or 2007. When Bear Stearns collapsed in March of 2008, the wsws stood virtually alone in clearly and accurately predicting the depth of the crisis that would ensue. After the Bear Stearns takeover I began reading the wsws regularly, and it was my guiding light over the next several months of economic turbulence. I knew very little about capitalism when it began crumbling down around my ears in 2008, but I understood that I was living through a momentous event and one that would prove consequential in my own life and those around me. I struggled to understand the crisis not just on the surface, but also at the level of its root causes. The articles by the wsws, especially Nick Beams and Barry Grey, cut through the financial esoterica and explained the economic collapse in a way that was clear and understandable.
More importantly, the website offered satisfying explanations of the longer term causes and consequences of the crisis. Through reading the website I came to see that the historic meltdown was rooted in the inherent general contradictions of the capitalist system and in the long decline of American capitalism specifically. While the bourgeois media still insisted the financial collapse was a temporary aberration, the wsws said in no uncertain terms that it marked a historical turning point in global capitalism, and that any “solution” to the crisis would entail shifting the economic burdens of a recovery onto the working class. The ruling class has forced workers throughout the world to accept a permanent reduction in their standard of living in order to restore the profitability of the capitalist system. This restructuring of class relations has entailed, among other things, a disturbing growth of the bourgeois police state. The wsws has spoken out in opposition to every step in the deterioration of democratic rights.
Throughout these years of crisis, the wsws has continually exposed the lie of recovery not only through serious economic analysis, but by telling the stories of the workers whose stories get left out of the mainstream media. At a time in which the bourgeois press has become a scripted affair, the wsws has carried on the lost art of original reporting. I have been particularly impressed by the increasing use of video clips interviewing workers. I commend wsws reporters for allowing workers to tell their stories at length, without interruption. The effect is often powerful and moving.
Autism therapy worker, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2005
19 April 2013
I would first like to congratulate all those who contribute to the World Socialist Web Site on this fifteenth anniversary. It is truly a social and cultural milestone.
I was a freshman in High School when the 9-11 terror attacks happened. I was horrified by the events taking place of course, but I was left confused by my teachers and the corporate media as to why they took place. It didn’t make sense to me how a person like George W. Bush, who stole the election and was to me, an illegitimate president, could become a world-class statesman overnight. Nevertheless, I, along with many, was swept up by the jingoism promoted by the government and the media to bomb Afghanistan, the poorest country on the planet.
The Taliban fell, “democracy” had arrived to that part of the world we were told, and one didn’t hear about Afghanistan for a while. Then came the drums for another war, this time against Iraq. I remember when the Democrats caved in to Bush and voted to authorize the war what a huge disillusionment that was for me. I was raised in a family of Democrats and we were all against the war but I was perplexed as to why this “party of the people” had collaborated with Bush.
When war came, my whole bourgeois upbringing was shattered. My government, which from an early age I always loved and respected, was now something on par with the Third Reich. Far from being the underdog, I realized the US government was the biggest threat to world peace, not tiny, Iraq. Something was seriously wrong with the world.
I searched for the truth and read everything I could, but the events of 2003 demonstrated to me that CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, et. al., were nothing more than media arms of the State Department, dutifully reporting (and not reporting) what they are told. In the midst of all this, I read many “counter-cultural”, “liberal-left” websites and magazines and this greatly increased my understanding of politics and what was really going on.
But there was one publication I kept coming back to again and again. The World Socialist Web Site was not only international but highly readable. The articles struck me as serious and humane. I could tell their writers were speaking to the highest qualities of their readers; they respected their audience and their intelligence.
By the time I was in college, I was no longer a Democrat and by 2006 I no longer supported Ralph Nader or the Greens. I realized if I voted for anybody it would be for the Socialist Equality Party. The decisive political moment for me came in early 2007, when the WSWS published a statement entitled “ For an International Mobilization of Workers and Youth against the War in Iraq .”
The WSWS was the only website that called for a break with the two parties of big business, for an independent movement of the working class fighting for international socialism, something that I was waiting to hear all my life.
The last statement in particular, “We make a special appeal to the youth—those who will, in the first instance, bear the terrible cost of war—to fight for this perspective,” felt like it was written especially for me.
Upon reading this I came to the conclusion that it was not enough to simply just read the website and agree with the analysis. If I truly agreed with that analysis, I would help and join the WSWS to make socialism a reality.
Filmmaker, Sri Lanka. WSWS reader since 1999
17 April 2013
[ Editor’s note: Prasanna Vithanage, veteran Sri Lankan filmmaker, has been acclaimed both nationally and internationally. Apart from several striking films such as Purahanda Kaluwara, ( Death on a Full Moon Day ) and Ira Mediyama ( August Sun ) he has also produced and directed several stage dramas including Debiddo (Dario Fo’s Trumpets and Raspberries ).]
If I may recall my first encounter with WSWS, it was during the time I screened my second film Pavuru Walalu ( Walls Within ) in January, 1999. A colleague informed me that WSWS had published a review of my film and recommended to read it. In her film review, late comrade Piyaseeli Wijegunasinghe, explored how man is being deprived of socially harmonious relations and development within the existing social environment. I was then interviewed by the WSWS in order to examine the connection between the artist’s self-expression and the social reality expressed in his artwork. That was how I started to follow WSWS and I continue to benefit from its analysis.
I thank WSWS for its principled and courageous campaign waged against the banning of my next film Purahanda Kaluwara ( Death on a Full Moon Day ) by the government. Through that campaign, many international artists and intellectuals came forward to defend the rights of artists and the freedom of art. I think that campaign was one of the major reasons for lifting the ban on my film.
I follow WSWS diligently, its art reviews in particular. I have found the web site to be a knowledge generator on all aspects of social existence. I would like to draw special attention to David Walsh’s The Aesthetic Component of Socialism which has helped me immensely whenever I become sceptical about my own work. I have read it many times to understand the roots of the problems faced by artists in this consumer society.
When I meet fellow filmmakers, we talk about international films. In these discussions, I base myself mostly on the reviews of WSWS and they have vastly broadened my own knowledge on art and cultural issues as well as others. So, I always recommend WSWS to my colleagues. At the same time, WSWS is the only organ that I have come across that fights against the idea currently dominant among many artists that the struggle for socialism is futile.
The value of WSWS is not limited to the field of art. When you consider the situations in either Egypt, or in Libya and Syria, the analysis of the WSWS stands opposed to any position of despair. People have shown their readiness to engage in struggle but they are maneuvered by reactionary forces with the help of pseudo left groups. WSWS explains the reasons behind this situation. The main issue is the lack of a genuine socialist perspective.
The recent Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party document on its historical foundations published on the WSWS make it clear that many historical problems created in the island and the region stem from the liquidation of the Bolshevik Leninist Party of India, abandoning Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution. Today we face complex issues that emerged after that betrayal. I would like to claim that without having this historical knowledge on what happened in the world, an artist cannot make a contribution to society. I believe that although the art work is a self expression of the artist it always has an objective basis.
Finally, I would say without any doubt, WSWS has been the most influential cultural organ in shaping my vision of life. So, I wish WSWS a long life on its fifteenth anniversary.
Oak Park, Michigan, USA. WSWS reader since 2000
16 April 2013
I first picked up a copy of the old World Socialist Web Site Review at a news stand just outside Detroit. It wasn’t long after the US-Balkan war had concluded and the first article I read was about that war. I immediately bought several more issues. I was quite impressed by the clarity of the writing and the analysis. I’ve been a regular reader of the WSWS ever since.
I remember puzzling over what “World Socialist” meant. I was pretty familiar with Marxism and I had the notion of the class struggle down cold. It took a while but then of course it began to make sense, a world movement, an International was what was necessary and probably always had been.
For the actor, observer, or student of current affairs, history, or in fact the entire social and political world, the WSWS is an indispensable resource and presents a serious and contemporary Marxist and Trotskyist viewpoint to the world working class.
The year-by-year review easily supports this point and the sheer body of first-rate writing already on display is indisputable proof of it. This review itself will provide the reader with a history, documentation, and digest of the last fifteen years—years of savage, murderous reaction worldwide. The birth and life of the WSWS during this period is a signal achievement and an important historical development in the struggle to bring political understanding and consciousness to the world working class. All credit is due those who have made it happen.
I don’t believe I speak too highly by also saying that if the consciousness of the working class is a party which upholds the socialist revolutionary rights, interests, and traditions of both party and class, the World Socialist Web Site is a first-rate voice of that consciousness.
Retired and self-employed, Sydney, Australia. WSWS reader since 2012
15 April 2013
For most of my life I have been interested in politics but in recent years I have found it more and more difficult to relate popular Australian political parties and their stories to my world view, spiritual practice and personal values. I doubt that I would have even been attracted to the SEP story had I not already been “spiritually liberated” in a way that I believe Marx and Trotsky would approve of.
My belief is derived from the compassion I find within Marx’s “opium of the people” statement wherein he recognises the human being’s right to cling to “spirit” in a “spiritless situation” and to “heart” in a “heartless world”. And in the declaration made by Trotsky in 1938, when celebrating the founding of the Fourth International: “We are not a party like other parties. … Our aim is the full material and spiritual liberation of the toilers and exploited…” Of course I can only speculate that the likes of Marx and Trotsky would approve of my particular kind of “spiritual liberation”. I do so because it has little or nothing to do with the established oppressive religions that these two great political leaders so rightly condemned.
Unfortunately, Marxism has confused the established religions with “spirit” and thereby unintentionally turned millions of people away from the economic and social analysis necessary to clarify and change their situation.
My “spiritual liberation” was arrived at via the objective observance and celebration of planet Earth’s orbit around the Sun and its spin around an axis both of which result in planetary seasonal moments known as the Solstice and the Equinox. Added to this is a contemporary scientific understanding of my place and sense of belonging within a seamless Universe experienced as an Earth based “spiritual liberation”.
After reading regular updates of the WSWS for about a year I decided the SEP was for me the only plausible political story and party I could now relate to and be inspired by. After making a modest financial donation to the WSWS, I was encouraged by a member of the SEP to attend a public meeting in Sydney as part of the 15 year review and celebration of the WSWS. During this meeting I was further inspired by the main speaker David North, so much so that I have decided to join the SEP and to support the party to the best of my ability.
Student, USA. WSWS reader since 2006
13 April 2013
I started reading the WSWS in 2006 at the height of the Iraq war. I was in the Middle East at the time and was repulsed by the US atrocities and the bloody suppression of Iraqi resistance, as were vast sections of the population as well.
Pro-western political tendencies and the media portrayed the “Iraqi mess” as caused by blunders of the Neo-cons or the meddling of Iran. Other tendencies that were traditionally against US intervention were incapable of offering a consistent analysis of the underlying causes of the eruption of US militarism in the region and were ultimately rooting its origin back to the expansionist attitude of the Neo-cons and the interest of the oil companies.
The existing conceptions of the US wars of occupation in the region were a reflection of the views of various political tendencies in Europe and the US. The common denominator of all these views was a disregard for the historical economic decline of US imperialism and the massive geopolitical changes following the disintegration of the USSR. Hence it was convenient for these various tendencies to blame one section of the US political system as “insane” or “evil” to whitewash the complicity of the other major party of US imperialism in these bloody wars, i.e. the Democratic Party. I found the analysis of the WSWS totally different.
So it was the consistent exposing of the Democratic Party, based on an objective assessment of the US position in the world economy and the inherent weaknesses and the class character of the anti-war movement that made me appreciate more and more the unique role of the WSWS as the tribune for saturating the workers and youth with analysis of major political, economic and cultural developments from a class perspective.
The intensification of the assault on the living conditions of workers and youth combined with expansion of US military interventions under Barack Obama, which was uniquely anticipated by the analysis of the WSWS, strengthened my support for the SEP and WSWS.
I think the main obstacle in forming an independent socialist movement in imperialist countries is the confusion prevalent among the working class about the nature and the role of the Democratic Party and various social democratic and labor parties in Europe. The WSWS has quite correctly placed the struggle against these factions and their pseudo-left supporters at the forefront of its analysis.
Telecommunications worker, British Columbia, Canada. WSWS reader since 2006
12 April 2013
A co-worker introduced me to the WSWS, and not knowing exactly what to expect, I started reading the website articles and commentary of current events. The articles were like nothing I've ever read before. It was all so new to me. Never before have I read such detailed analysis of how workers are attacked by policies of a ruthless ruling class.
It stated so clearly how these anti-worker policies came from both the Republicans and the Democrats. My eyes were also opened wide when I realized how the unions, and my union, were selling out workers in various ways. I had previously thought that the capitalist system could be reformed by tinkering with regulations that could benefit the working class, but I now realize this is impossible. The forces of the corporations have infiltrated the decision makers in government and they stand together, ready to extract from the working class what little benefits they have left. The unions follow on their coattails pretending to defend workers but end up betraying them by accepting sell-out agreements and isolating their struggles.
In my own union, I have witnessed huge layoffs, dramatic increases in contracting out, the introduction of tiered wages, reduced job security, reduced overtime pay and increases in benefit premiums. Wages are not keeping up with inflation, but the CEO’s pocket book keeps growing by the millions. The added value created by the rank and file workforce is syphoned off into executive pockets and into speedup programs which act like the whip against the backs of the workers. Meanwhile there isn’t enough money to feed back into the company to keep it running properly or provide better service to customers.
I wish the WSWS the best of luck in fulfilling its aims to unite workers worldwide within a socialist framework. Thank you.
Local government worker, London, UK. WSWS reader since 2001
11 April 2013
I began my conscious orientation towards a leftist perspective during the miners’ strike in 1985, while I was living in South Wales, and then took in anti-imperialist struggles led by (mostly) African liberation nationalists.
Vaguely searching the Net hoping to find some “socialist daily news” in the months after 9/11 and the imperialist invasion of Afghanistan, I stumbled across the World Socialist Web Site. My life turned one of its most important corners of my mature years.
I read the website daily and where I do not get the opportunity to read and digest the articles, I print off the remaining articles (or re-read them) once a month to create my own pamphlet. I don’t consider myself to be an advanced worker by any means, just a worker driven to search for objective truths.
The website, in my opinion, is the single most progressive act of this generation; the comments in the “Why I read the WSWS” section are a strong testament to this. My view is based not only on the quality and perspective of the reporting on daily events, but also on the focus on empowering the cognitive processes in the mind of the worker, to develop the individual capacity to critique the life lived in capitalist society, to activate and elevate the consciousness of the worker to prepare him/her to take on their historical tasks, nothing less.
I refer here to the articles/essays on historical analysis including human development, film reviews, exhibitions, philosophy, science and popular culture. As someone who aspires to write I can recommend in particular:
along with the many articles written in defence of historical truth, and so many more …
I would like to see the website grow and feature regular articles/reportage from the underdeveloped nations, states and regions, but I recognise that this is a question of resources and accept that the project is a work in progress. The opportunity to mark the occasion of the website’s anniversary has compelled me to revise my commitments to it, and accordingly I am pleased to say that I have set up a regular financial contribution to the site and I urge comrades to do the same.
Home health aide, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
10 April 2013
I found the WSWS in early 2010. I had voted for Obama and had witnessed a year’s worth of “change you can believe in,” enough to recognize that it was no change at all. At that time the outline of his health care reform was taking shape. It had been drawn up behind closed doors with the pharmaceutical industry in meetings somehow immune to Freedom of Information requests, much like the Bush Administration began its reign behind closed doors with the oil industry.
When single-payer health care was somehow deemed by the Democrats “off the table” or a “non-starter” to negotiations, I sought out my usual sources for answers. Perennial guest of the news program “Democracy Now,” Michael Moore, offered the explanation that since Obama is black, he had to move to the right to show Wall Street and white people that his presidency wouldn’t be as scary for them as they may have thought. Obama, he said, had to work under that constant burden and Michael Moore “got that about him.” Apologies, once again, for the Democrats kowtowing to big business on every issue, and I had had it. I considered myself a socialist from that point on, not knowing exactly what that meant, but encouraged to learn more.
A Google search brought two prominent results, the Socialist Party of Michigan, and the WSWS. I called both. The Socialist Party invited me to a screening of, you guessed it, Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, A Love Story,” and the WSWS called back with a serious and biting analysis of the role of the Democratic Party. I made my decision.
Over the next few months I became a regular reader of the WSWS and started attending meetings. The first major event I followed on the website was the BP oil spill. The extensive and concrete analysis provided confirmation to me that the profit system was the root cause not only of that environmental and social disaster, but of the lack of affordable health care, unending war and poverty, and ever-diminishing democratic rights.
While other news outlets and organizations could at times describe the numerous symptoms of the problem, they never got to a serious discussion of, “What are we going to do about it? How are all these issues related? Why is a discussion of capitalism itself off the table among left-liberals and ‘progressives?’”
The answer to these and other fundamental questions that was demonstrated daily for me on the WSWS in news articles, perspectives, the ICFI Library, as well as at Mehring Books and in the many conversations that came out of my initial decision to write in to the website was simple yet profound: Workers must build independent organizations of struggle on an internationalist basis against the big banks and corporations and their big business parties.
I had previously volunteered and worked on behalf of many political organizations and some unions, but my political work did not begin in earnest, on a thoroughly principled basis, I had to conclude, until I contacted the WSWS. There are a lot of young, and not so young, people who want to do something, who want to fight back, but unfortunately many of these individuals are being derailed out of high school and college like I was into the professional activism industry and the union bureaucracy, and become foot soldiers for the petty bourgeoisie and therefore ultimately for capitalism. One can only imagine what will happen as the sincere and best of these elements turn, as they are turning, to socialism instead. I urge other workers and young people to do as I did and write in to the website, and make the decision to build socialism.
Music teacher, Wicklow, Ireland. WSWS reader since 2008
9 April 2013
Throughout my adult life I have always considered myself a socialist. It was very much a part of my family tradition. My father had fought hard in the 30s on the streets of Dublin against the Blueshirts which were a Catholic fascist organisation which tried to overthrow the then Fianna Fail republican government. When I was in my twenties I read Marx and James Connolly, and joined the SWP which was a small group in Ireland in the 70s and 80s.
I was a shop steward for many years and was blacklisted on two occasions and found it hard to get work. Whatever the shortcomings of the SWP at the time I believed that they at least stood for a number of principled positions. In short, they championed the working class and I believed that they were seeking a revolutionary transition to socialism, and they would not sell out workers and their struggles as the Labour party had done.
Because I was blacklisted, and possibly through demoralization, I drifted out of the SWP but I still considered myself a socialist and a revolutionary.
In 2007, at the beginning of the capitalist crisis and banking crash in Ireland, I decided to get stuck into some activity which would advance the cause of the working class. I believed (very naively I must add) that as the crisis of capitalism unfolded, groups such as the SWP or SP would offer a lead to working class people and fight to put the struggle for socialism on the agenda. How wrong can one be.
What now passed for the left was a couple of parliamentary representatives (Joe Higgins from the Socialist Party and Richard Boyd Barrett, SWP) who made it perfectly clear with every public statement that capitalism needed to be regulated and reformed into a “fairer” system.
Indeed, constant meetings with the troika (the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) on a regular basis and the constant use of nationalist terminology such as “our nation” and “the way forward for Ireland” reinforced a number of conclusions that I formed from watching them in action.
Firstly, they had dropped the struggle for socialism and trying to raise workers’ consciousness like a hot potato. Out went Marx, out went Trotsky, and in came the most horrible opportunism to get a few votes at election time. The gallop to the right to me was astonishing. These people were now part of the establishment.
But the second thing which struck me was that for these so-called socialists to betray the working class and the historic fight for socialism, something rotten and very twisted must have been running through them from the very beginning. How could organizations such as the SWP and SP end up as they are now? How could they end up making alliances with bourgeois politicians, and meeting the troika to discuss managing capitalism a little better?
It only became clear to me after reading the WSWS and investigating the politics of the ICFI. The disgusting move to parliamentary nationalism and Labourism must have been rooted in their false and fake politics and their split from the international Trotskyist movement.
The WSWS outlined in great detail how these groups served the interests of a middle layer in society which is hostile to any genuine international workers’ fight against capitalism. At first quite naively I thought it was an Irish phenomenon, but these groups internationally now accept capitalism and have become totally counterrevolutionary and hostile to the struggle for socialism.
The WSWS must be congratulated and supported in its coverage of the fight against the capitalist system and in its coverage of the sell-outs of the fake left. A fake left which has abandoned the working class with its half-truths and lies. A fake left which has made its peace with capitalism.
I only began reading the WSWS five years ago. I wish now it had been 15 years ago. It’s a brilliant and truthful website.
Los Angeles, California, USA. WSWS reader since 2009
8 April 2013
I began reading the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) in early May 2009, at the urging of my fiancé. In the beginning of our relationship, we had many long arguments about politics; I was a staunch Republican and he was a socialist. I finally gave in to him and began reading the site. At first I totally resisted the class approach of the articles. I come from a solid middle class, Catholic background with parents who rose to a level of affluence significantly above their parents. I struggled to understand bourgeois ideology and class warfare and attributed my own—and others’— financial setbacks to individual failing and weakness.
By the beginning of 2010, the WSWS was increasingly becoming my go-to source for news and information because I realized that the WSWS and its reporters are the only news source that presents the most thoroughly investigated and politically accurate stories.
I was especially impressed by the WSWS coverage of the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In the coverage of that event and its aftermath, I found that the WSWS was the only site that was providing accurate accounts and analysis of the devastation. Through those articles, I really began to understand the powerful social forces behind the destruction of the environment, the control of natural resources and the subjugation of the working class to the financial elite.
That was the beginning of my turn to socialism as the way forward for working people. Compelled by the continuing economic decline, I started submitting my own articles for publication and I eventually applied for membership in the Socialist Equality Party.
I cannot bring myself to imagine the fate of the working class if the WSWS ceased to exist. That is why I support the website with a monthly donation.
Sales assistant, Wicklow, Ireland. WSWS reader since 2011
8 April 2013
I was introduced to Marxism in my 20s by my future husband. Coming from a working class Catholic family I was always aware of Catholic oppression and the unequal capitalist society. Even though my introduction came from the SWP [Socialist Workers Party, UK], I was able to weed out the real politics of the fake left groups only by coming across the WSWS and the politics of the ICFI. They are the only party that has upheld the struggle for socialism and internationalism.
I have learned that the trade unions and their nationalist spokespeople in parliament have no part to play in the struggle of the working class. The Irish working class are suffering and forced to live in poverty and pay for the reckless gambling of the ruling elite. The Irish working class will learn from the struggles of the working class worldwide. From reading the WSWS my ideas have changed drastically. I am now clearer on the need to build a truly world party to struggle for socialism. A Trotskyist party which tells the truth to working people is now an utmost priority. The WSWS offers a guiding force which offers real hope for future struggles against capitalism.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. WSWS reader since 2011
6 April 2013
I started reading the WSWS in 2011 after seeing a poster and attending a conference called “The Fight for Socialism Today” in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was 3 years out of college and had just moved back to my home state after quitting my job installing computer hardware for a huge corporate IT firm in Chicago, where I had begun my career in July 2008, just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. That process had been very politicizing for me. Chicago is a very unequal city, and I was able to get a close look at both very impoverished areas as well as sit in on corporate meetings in lavish offices where high-level managers and executives made very shrewd money-based decisions. My company soon laid off thousands of workers and forced speedup and longer hours on myself and the veteran workers that hadn’t yet lost their jobs. Some of our clients were huge banks that I could see were responsible for ruining the economy. I felt culpable just by participating in the system.
The situation literally made me sick, but I didn’t have an understanding of how it all worked. I was absolutely desperate to behave in a socially conscionable way, but was utterly confused about what was to be done. I initially became interested in identity politics and protest politics. To me it was all a moral problem, and people’s subjective ideas had to change first and foremost. And though I didn’t recognize it at the time, I had a thoroughly post-modernist outlook.
Enter the SEP and the WSWS. They really had their work cut out for them with me!
I was very impressed with the news articles on the website from the beginning. No one else seemed to be paying such close attention to the crisis from every angle. But I was very critical of their attitudes toward identity politics, and toward the trade unions, who I naively believed were the representatives of workers. I began attending ISSE [now IYSSE] meetings, but was very combative. Somehow these guys were the best news source around, but their whole approach seemed stubborn and unrealistic to me. Didn’t they realize that most people weren’t ready for such radical ideas? That they had to meet the masses at their current level of understanding? That to denounce identity politics and the unions would turn off huge sections of youth who had been brought up to support these things? Couldn’t they work with other liberal and left groups instead of criticizing them?
What I lacked—and what the website and certain indefatigable party members were finally able to help me attain—were a class perspective, a knowledge of history, and an understanding of dialectical materialism.
The perspectives throughout Obama’s campaign and first term were of immense importance, as here was the quintessential example of the bankruptcy of identity politics in action. The coverage of Occupy Wall Street, the explanation of the class forces at work, was another instructive episode. I had very high hopes in Occupy at first, but quickly saw the WSWS perspectives coming true. Also important was the coverage of the Quebec student strike. I was able to follow it in real time from beginning to end and watch as the WSWS warned presciently of the betrayals being prepared, and analyzed the perspectives of those leading the strike. And a number of articles on union betrayals here in the US were critical for me. I could see the class analysis of the WSWS being vindicated over and over again, like clockwork. Without the consistent and scientific stance of the WSWS I would not have been able to make sense of these events.
I also especially appreciate whenever a WSWS reporting team interviews workers on the street, on strike, locked out of a factory, etc, and provides their photos and quotes of their own words, what they themselves think of their situation, and how they respond to respectful, patient and truthful points made by reporters. One such article that moved me followed up on a police massacre of a mentally ill homeless man who had stolen a cup of coffee in Saginaw, Michigan. The working class is much better than they are portrayed in the mainstream media.
David Walsh’s social commentaries—recent examples include the shooting death of a bus driver in Alabama, and the Steubenville rape case—explain how individual consciousness flows from objective conditions. It may sound cliché, but these stories and many others really restored my faith in humanity. No other news source is capable of this type of compassionate—and correct!—analysis, because no one else proceeds according to dialectical materialism, from the really existing world to its reflection in the minds of individuals. Post-modern quackery about conflicting “narratives” explains nothing and only serves to confuse.
I could really go on and on. I feel like I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the value of the website in this short essay. The art, music and film reviews have completely changed the way I appreciate and assess art, and I’m happy to have been able to contribute some of my own writing to this section of the site. No other publication attempts to put art in its complete historical trajectory and consider it as the most complicated and sensitive part of culture, the cognition of life in images. The recent article on George Bellows is outstanding, but there are many others.
Essentially, without the WSWS and the ICFI, my correct feelings about the rotten state of society would still be misdirected into this or that safe channel while the ruling class continues its counterrevolution unimpeded. Instead, I’m working hard to build political consciousness in workers and youth, and myself, to fight for a permanent socialist revolution, equality, the end of war. … It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of what the ICFI and WSWS are doing for the future of human society.
Greek, living in London, UK. WSWS reader since 2003
5 April 2013
I started reading the WSWS regularly in 2003. More than anything else, I was attracted by its internationalist perspective which was openly declared as a matter of principle. I was born in Greece a few years after the Second World War and as I was growing up I gradually realised how nationalism was only the other side of the coin to religious obscurantism, backwardness and the impoverishment of large sections of the working class (not to mention its disorientation by the Stalinist left!).
All this was, of course, consolidated and formed the basis of my political education during the seven years of rule of the colonels’ junta (1967-1974). As the junta ended I became a supporter of the Workers Internationalist League (the Greek section of the International Committee of the Fourth International at the time). It might seem a bit ridiculous now, but the main reason for my support for the WIL was that it was the only left party that did not have the word “Greece” in its title.
However, during the 1985-86 split the WIL walked away from the ICFI confirming that it had a nationalist outlook like any other Greek political party. In the years that followed I tried several times to understand the significance of these events.
In 1989, I relocated with my family to the UK. Even though I stopped being actively involved in politics, I tried to educate myself by reading the Marxist classics. I particularly enjoyed re-reading Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution and the way he uses the materialist approach to effortlessly transform seemingly chaotic events into a majestic panorama of the masses rushing onto the stage of history.
The WSWS is using the same method to analyse and make sense of the events in politics, art, science and much more from the standpoint of the defence of the historical interests of the working class. In recent years the coverage of workers’ struggles has been expanded with on-site reporting, videos, interviews etc. which prompts many readers and supporters to write back with their own comments and views. I find this of great interest and I hope that eventually all workers’ struggles across all continents will get the same detailed coverage. This would then be the first time that the great theoretical discovery of Marx and Engels about the independent role of the working class as an international class in the transition to socialism would be documented on a worldwide scale.
As we enter the new epoch of struggles of the working class it is increasingly clear that this is truly a vast project. There is every reason to be confident that the WSWS and the ICFI have everything that it takes to carry forward this task. Their long history in defence of revolutionary Marxism against all kinds of revisionism, opportunism and nationalism has made possible the current WSWS project which will make abundantly clear to all and sundry the immense power of the working class, the bedrock upon which its world party is being built.
Student, Lower Columbia College, Portland, Oregon, USA. WSWS reader for seven months
4 April 2013
Less than a year ago as a recently ex-Libertarian, I read Marx and Engels seriously for the first time. Soon I was reading Lenin (and coming up on the boundary of my ability to understand Marxism on my own) and determined that if I was serious about this, I would need to join a party to put it in practice and further develop my consciousness. I did what any young and naïve person might do and sought out the Communist Party, USA. When I began reading their newspaper, People’s Daily World, I was struck by the incessant cheerleading for Obama and the Democratic Party in the election. This was not an organization I wanted to be involved in. I first came across the Socialist Equality Party in a campaign video showing Jerry White in Findlay standing with workers and outlining the basis of his candidacy and principled politics, to which I was very attracted. I was moved by the way he spoke bluntly and truthfully about the issues facing both the American and international working classes. This is how I came to read the World Socialist Web Site.
Reading the WSWS was a watershed moment in my development as a Marxist. It was like uncovering a treasure trove of smart analysis, clear perspectives, objective reporting, and pointed commentary. It was almost too good to be true and I was skeptical at first that such a resource could really exist. The WSWS really is that good though. Their eye toward the context in which events occur guides their analysis, a feature lacking in virtually every major news source. The ability to put out such a high quality publication truly speaks to the power of the perspectives behind it. It was through the WSWS and SEP that I first encountered the life and ideas of Leon Trotsky. The WSWS was and continues to be absolutely essential to my development as a Marxist, as it has been for so many people, especially young people like me. This is a testament to the great foresight displayed by the ICFI in undertaking this project 15 years ago.
Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. WSWS reader since 2001
3 April 2013
The World Socialist Web Site is literally the first thing I do every morning upon waking up. Before I even get out of bed I scan the headlines and usually read an article or two. Then, with my first cup of coffee, I usually read another article. Only after this do I feel adequately inoculated to read, watch, or listen to the bourgeois perspective oozing out of every pore of the mainstream press.
Having discovered wsws.org in the days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, I found that it was the only media outlet that provided a sensible explanation of this historic turning point in world history. The editorial board correctly and accurately predicted at the time that the response of the American ruling class would be to seize upon this horrific crime, whoever was behind its planning and execution, to pursue a policy of US military hegemony in the Middle East in an attempt to seize resources, counter the rising influence of China in the region, and offset the historic decline of the post-WWII American economic powerhouse.
The Democratic Party would fall in lock-step behind the Bush administration to show solidarity with the blood-thirsty aspirations of the American ruling class. The pseudo-left would lead the anti-war movement down the dead end of the two-party bourgeois political system. The unions would assist in that effort to ensure no organized response from the working class would be possible.
No other publication in the world could make such statements, since completely vindicated by the events of history. And these were made in the days immediately after September 11th, 2001! These are not statements that were made in hindsight but in foresight.
How is wsws.org able to do that? The answer is in the perspective of Marxism, on display in every article on the website everyday.
I support wsws.org with a monthly contribution because I understand I can’t get analysis of this level of quality and integrity anywhere else. In an era in which the ruling classes of the world are systematically lowering the living standards of billions of people and the major powers are on the verge of a global military conflict with dire consequences for humanity, this perspective becomes more important with each passing day. Join me and support the World Socialist Web Site now with your contributions and your support.
UK. Daily WSWS reader since 2011
3 April 2013
When I was at university I became involved with the British Socialist Worker Party (SWP). Even then I found the SWP’s paper lacked any real substantive commentary or analysis, consisting of simple and often banal reflections on extremely serious events that I felt required a much deeper analysis than was ever offered.
In the final year of my undergraduate degree, while writing my dissertation on Lenin and the Bolsheviks, I was lucky enough to be in contact with an SEP member who advised me to read Trotsky’s opus, The Revolution Betrayed. I found this gave me a deep insight into the revolution, but more importantly, the degeneration of the Soviet Union under Stalinism.
Around the same time I was also advised to start reading the WSWS. Initially I read a few articles, but over the next year and half my interest grew substantially. It provided a reasoned and well constructed analysis, in a readable and accessible way but without being reductive, generalised or over-simplified.
The WSWS was a central reference point to the events of 2011 including the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, the riots across the UK and the Occupy movement. It showed the relation they had to the global capitalist system, their historic foundations and the perspective required to unify the international proletariat.
During my postgraduate study in Modern History I took a far deeper interest in the Russian Revolution. In Defense of Leon Trotsky by David North, which I had first discovered on the WSWS, and several other lectures and articles on the site were very helpful in grounding my academic study as well as my political outlook. I read The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (the US and UK versions) which gave me a fantastic understanding of the heritage of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).
I have now finished my Masters. I’ve become more and more involved with the ICFI and since 2011 have read the WSWS on a daily basis. I’ve found it to be the most important, up-to-date and reliable news source available and highly recommend it. By using the Internet over the last fifteen years the ICFI has given a far greater scope of exposure to its revolutionary perspective.
Michigan, USA. WSWS reader for seven months
3 April 2013
I read the WSWS because it tells the truth. It doesn’t matter what section of the website you’re on, or who wrote what article, every single thing published is honest. I’ve read a lot of disgraceful material from other so-called “leftist” groups, and have found that, over time, their articles have gotten more and more reactionary, more and more politically correct. I’m proud to say that the WSWS is my main news source because educating people and raising a higher consciousness among the working class is the only way to get a true proletariat revolution underway. Reading the WSWS is important for any person because there is no awareness or definite facts that can be known without the WSWS to abolish the misconceptions the capitalists throw at us. The ruling elite seeks to keep us held down by ignorance. The WSWS is our biggest weapon against this.
The WSWS is necessary for any goals that we, as Marxists and Trotskyists, may have. The liberation of the working class cannot be obtained without it.
Canadian university student. WSWS reader since 2011
1 April 2013
The WSWS was first brought to my attention in January 2011. A friend of mine had suggested that I read the site because, unlike the mainstream liberal media and other “left”-wing sources, the WSWS critiqued the Obama administration from a principled, left-wing perspective.
As a high school student in the mid-2000s, I had read the Communist Manifesto and I had a rudimentary knowledge of historical materialism. Although I read widely and I considered myself “left-wing,” my political perspective lacked any coherence. The lack of a lucid, systemic political perspective made itself abundantly clear in the reformist policies that I uncritically embraced. Until as recently as early 2011, I believed that reformist measures like proportional representation would be enough to sufficiently change the system. That, however, changed with the eruption of the “Arab Spring” in January 2011.
My first response to the revolutionary convulsions in the Middle East was perhaps similar to the reaction of many members of the ostensible “left” in North America. My naïve evaluation of the historical events unfolding in the Arab world could be summed up in this simple phrase: “How lovely! Everyone wants a peaceful transition to representative democracy!” This opinion, widely held amongst many of my “progressive” colleagues, was identical to the bilge that was spewed out by bourgeois media outlets. With the onset of civil war in Libya, however, my views changed.
At first, I uncritically embraced the “analysis” that was promulgated in the bourgeois press. The Libyan people were, after all, being butchered in the streets according to the New York Times. Lacking a rational, systemic, and scientific method of analyzing the events in Libya, I accepted the official propaganda. It was upon my reading of the WSWS, however, that I finally realized how hollow my existing views were. The WSWS pointed out correctly that the NATO “humanitarian intervention” in Libya was just another imperialist war for plunder and for a means to project imperialist power in a region that was rapidly heading in a direction contrary to the aims of Washington, Berlin et al.
Two years later, the results have vindicated the WSWS’ principled position. Contrary to other “left” sources, the WSWS never failed to point out the class nature of the Libyan bourgeois uprising. The WSWS’ adherence to Marxist analysis allows it to see past the smoke and mirrors of the bourgeois press and, ultimately, get to the root of history as it unfolds.
The breadth of content on the site is unparalleled. I have been particularly impressed not only by the coverage of geo-political and macro-economic events, but also by the coverage of the arts, philosophy, and science. The arts in particular are vilified as, to quote one of my bourgeois acquaintances, “nothing more than a hobby.” The fact that the WSWS actually covers the arts, and not just “Entertainment,” helps to underscore the fact that contrary to the philistine attitude cultivated by the Stalinists, true socialists are not anti-arts.
While the tone of the WSWS is, to borrow David North’s words, “blunt, uncompromising, and unforgiving,” the coverage is always of the highest calibre. It never fails to analyse the objective conditions on which our socio-economic and political systems rest. I have found the tone of the WSWS to be refreshing, especially when contrasted with bastions of liberal hypocrisy and sophistry like the New York Times in America or The Globe and Mail in Canada. Mainstream bourgeois media outlets feign objectivity, perhaps as a façade for their class orientation; there is, however, no need for the WSWS to feign objectivity, for, to borrow the words of Karl Marx, they, “disdain to conceal their views and aims.” For me personally, the WSWS has played an inestimable role in the development of my political perspective and I would like to commend the International Committee of the Fourth International for their admirable work.
Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. WSWS reader since 2010
1 April 2013
I came across the World Socialist Web Site after having spent the 2008 and 2010 election cycles working for the Democratic Party—the latter cycle as a full-time staff member for a statewide candidate.
After the election of Obama, for whom I voted in my first election as an eligible voter, I noted with consternation the administration’s enthusiastic continuation of the policies of the Bush administration. Candidate Obama reneged on his cynical promises to end the wars and dismantle the anti-democratic national security apparatus, and furthermore, his administration oversaw a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the banks and corporations. This permanently shook my faith in the Democrats, in the Democratic campaign for which I was working at the time, and in the politics of the capitalist class.
I began reading the WSWS in late 2010 after seeing a flyer for the Socialist Equality Party on my college campus. Immediately, I recognized the principled, historical focus which the website takes to current events and the arts. Conditioned by the corporate media that I was used to reading, I was initially shocked by the honest approach that the WSWS takes to political and other issues. Though credit for the content and management of the website belongs with the editorial board and with the dozens of talented contributors to the WSWS, the true strength of the website lies in its class foundation—it stands as the only major news source which puts the world around us in a working class perspective.
And how important is that perspective, as imperialism spreads its tentacles around Western Africa and as the events in South Africa, Egypt, Greece, Spain, and elsewhere have vindicated Leon Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution?
The events of the past years have made clear that the only way forward for the working class is to develop socialist consciousness and unite under the banner of international socialist revolution.
That is why the work of the World Socialist Web Site is so important in developing the world socialist revolution. The website is more than a discussion group of the most important issues of the day, it is the political organ of the world proletariat.
In a similar pre-revolutionary period, Lenin, the leader of the Bolshevik Party, posed the following question to those who doubted the historical importance of the party organ:
“[W]hen bricklayers lay bricks in various parts of an enormous unprecedentedly large structure, is it ‘paper’ work to use a line to help them find the correct place for the bricklaying; to indicate to them the ultimate goal of the common work; to enable them to use, not only every brick, but even every piece of brick which, cemented to the bricks laid before and after it, forms a finished, continuous line? And are we not now passing through precisely such a period in our Party life when we have bricks and bricklayers, but lack the guideline for all to see and follow?”
Former psychiatric nurse and building worker, Scotland
1 April 2013
I see the WSWS as being the educator and organiser of the working class for world socialist revolution. I think it is a very good web site; the best there is. What struck me when I first saw it was that it was a world socialist website. I have always based myself on an internationalist outlook.
I particularly like the economics articles by Barry Grey and Nick Beams because I have a lot of difficulty understanding the financial aspect of imperialism and capitalism. Also I find it very uplifting to read about socialist activity in other parts of the world like Sri Lanka and Australia. I have never come across such a detailed analysis of where capitalism has taken us in the last few decades and where we are heading.
The first time I got involved in anything political was when I was working as a nurse in Montrose. I started up a union there. Afterwards I moved to London, where I joined the Labour Party, but following its wholesale capitulation to the bourgeoisie during the 1980s miners’ strike, I left and joined the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP). I took part in a few activities such the “Release the Jailed Miners” march but drifted away during the crisis that erupted in 1985.
After a while, back in Dundee, I came across a seller of the Workers Press (newspaper of Cliff Slaughter’s WRP). I became involved in the Dundee Committee for a United Ireland and the Timex strike, which consisted of supporting the nationalists in Sinn Fein and trying to find “lefts” in the Labour Party.
I also supported the WRP’s Workers Aid for Bosnia, but I had my reservations. It ended up siding with Croatia’s Tudjman. I felt there should be unity of Yugoslav workers to overthrow the regimes of Tudjman and Milosevic but there was no turn to the working class. It was the WSWS that opened up my eyes to what I hadn’t seen … about Bosnia, the bombing of Serbia, and the Kosovo Liberation Army, which Slaughter’s WRP supported.
It is the same with the entire website. It keeps us up to date with the world situation, the breakdown in Europe, the situation in America—the biggest capitalist country in the world, offsetting its demise by military means. It is very important what happens there, and in Africa—the scramble for Africa—and the conflict between China and Japan.
- Michael Allen
- Bjørn Richter
- Benjamin Halligan
- Dr. J
- Dave Tate
- Thomas Scripps
- John H
- David Byrne
- Thomas Gaist
- Crome Carlos
- B.E. Sondlo
- Maire Byrne
- Juan Verala Luz
- Bob Jackson
- Mike Jobson
- Cody Stephens
- Prasanna Vithanage
- Lawrence Cohen
- Robert (Taffy) Seaborne
- Mitch Marcus
- Dermot Byrne
- Allison Smith
- Carol Byrne
- Zac Corrigan
- Chris R.
- Walter Noeli
- Ben Trent
- Ken Singer