Nick Barrickman

“The truth never hurt anyone, provided he was on the level”

18 February 2013

I first came in contact with the World Socialist Webs Site in 2007, while searching for reviews of the Michael Moore film Sicko. Like many others, I supported this film on the assumption that it was speaking for the underdogs in society, that it was taking a stand against entrenched power. David Walsh’s analysis of this film struck me, as did several correspondences between him and other readers, in his assertion that art, and consequently all forms of social interaction, should not aim to merely placate an audience with sentimental imagery, but to tell it the truth. This struck a chord with me.

“The truth never hurt anyone, provided he was on the level,” said James P. Cannon, one of the founders of the American Trotskyist movement. This is the philosophy that one must apply to oneself on a constant basis if one truly intends to endow one’s actions with meaning. Consequently, one cannot lie when the fate of humankind is at stake. This explains the SEP and its web site’s critical attitude towards social developments, the seriousness of the situation facing mankind, and the party’s willingness to acknowledge it and conduct its struggle on those terms. This is the definition of the word “principled.”

Throughout the course of the year 2008 particularly, that period bearing so much political significance, I found myself drawn to the WSWS’s analysis at an increasing rate. The stance it took on the election of the first African American president of the United States, and the financial crash of Wall Street with its many aspects of criminality, kept me grounded during this time of alarm. To this day, I am pleasantly surprised upon seeing the release of the WSWS’ latest commentary on events, always keeping in step with social developments and applying a refocusing lens to the proceedings.

In a world where mottos such as “good guys always finish last” had gained traction and the truth seemed to be unfashionable, this was a breath of fresh air. There is something empowering about being able to stand on a platform which wholly defends historical truth and the working class, the underprivileged and oppressed of society in such an adept manner. This is something the youth of today will cling to as they strive to find their bearings in the gauntlet that capitalism has laid before them.

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