Joe

Why I read the WSWS

9 March 2013

When the website was established in 1998 I was ten years old and our house wasn’t connected to the internet. Fifteen years later, every morning the World Socialist Web Site appears on my Kindle screen. It brings me the cutting edge of political thought and connects me to the workers’ movement globally.

I wasn’t one of those who encountered the party through the website. Instead, I first attended a meeting on campus in Manchester as a first year student in late 2008 as the financial meltdown erupted. When I first discovered the website I read every single article each day because I was so excited to find such a profound and clear analysis of world events. At the time, eager for more to read, I asked Manchester ISSE organiser Rob Stevens “are there any more websites like this?” He, of course, said no.

In the following months I began to understand the nature of the website as the unique voice of the Marxist tradition in the world today due to the political heritage of the ICFI. The movement had clearly made enormous theoretical advances in the decade preceding 2008, the year of the collapse of the global financial system and the founding of the Socialist Equality Parties. This was reflected in the content of the website which has played the primary role in my political education.

The World Socialist Web Site doesn’t merely function as a newspaper, but a searchable knowledge base of the Trotskyist illumination of historical, cultural, philosophical and political issues. This greatly facilitated my learning as I was attempting to grasp the nature of the ICFI, the political debates surrounding the early years of the Soviet Union and the meaning of the world historic events of the 20th century. …

The WSWS has given me the opportunity to publish articles on current events that can be seen by thousands of comrades and advanced workers across the world. I’ve written on attacks on issues facing young people such as attacks on the education system, poverty in Britain and the crimes of British imperialism.

Our student society and the Socialist Equality Party candidate Rob Stevens were blocked from participating in a hustings event at Manchester University prior to the 2010 General Election. We were able to immediately bring this to the attention of a global audience of politically conscious workers and commented on the refusal of the pseudo-left candidates to raise a principled protest.

The site’s cultural commentary and essays have contributed greatly to the development of my aesthetic sensitivity and introduced me to great cultural critics such as Alexander Voronsky, Leon Trotsky and Harold Bloom. It has spurred my interest in and provided a critical understanding of the novels of Tolstoy, Balzac, Dickens and Dreiser amongst others. It has also led me to engage with the latest creations of world cinema and to discover classic films such as those of Orson Welles and Charlie Chaplin.

I emerged into conscious political life amid the horrors of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, suffocated by the political lethargy of the establishment and hungry for answers. …

My generation has only ever known the internet and we’ve never had much to do with newspapers. However, in its time, the printed word played a revolutionary role, as described on the “About the WSWS” page:

“In the fifteenth century Gutenberg's invention of the printing press played a critical role in breaking the control of the Church over intellectual life, undermining feudal institutions, and fostering the great cultural revival that began with the Renaissance and ultimately found expression in the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.”

… Today, as the WSWS reaches tens of thousands of readers, it’s clear it will play an enormous role in the coming mass politicization of youth. It will be the foundation of the raising of the organisational power of Trotskyism to levels equal to its theoretical power. The essay continues:

“The International Committee of the Fourth International intends to use this technology as a tool for the liberation of the working people and oppressed all over the world.”

I am grateful to be part of this generation that will rejuvenate socialist culture and build a mass Trotskyist party in preparation for the coming world Socialist revolution.

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