John Rigas

Why I read the WSWS

28 March 2013

I was introduced to the WSWS in 2003 by my father who was already a reader and had been a member of the Greek section of the International Committee of the Fourth International before the split in 1986. The article he showed me was about a recent mathematical discovery. This made a pleasant change from mainstream left publications such as the Socialist Worker, which had always struck me as shallow and wishy-washy.

It was also during this period that I became radicalised by the war in Iraq and participated in campaigning for the anti-war protests organised by the Stop The War Coalition. I harboured the illusion, following the two-million strong protest on 15 February 2003, that if that momentum was maintained, the illegal decision to go to war could be overturned. In the end, like many others, I grew disappointed with the leadership of the Stop The War Coalition.

The analysis by the WSWS, however, offered a different, more devastating perspective. According to the WSWS, the decision to unwind the anti-war protests was a conscious decision by the leadership of the various radical organisations within the Stop The War Coalition which sought to steer the movement into harmless channels while at the same time vying for positions within the periphery of the establishment in return for this service. The launching of the Respect coalition and the state-funded European Social Forum were cases in point. What also intrigued me about the WSWS’s analysis of the Iraq war was the fact that it placed it within a wider objective context, that is, the crisis of world capitalism and the decline of the United States as an economic power.

Since then I have become an avid reader of the website and am always impressed by the breadth and depth of its content. Its economic analyses in particular surpass the best of what the bourgeois media has to offer. If anyone acts as a tribune for the working class and oppressed masses of this world then it is the WSWS. Like Ernest Everhard in Jack London’s The Iron Heel, it doesn’t merely question the elite’s morality, but “menaces their money-bags” by exposing their historical bankruptcy.

Finally, the WSWS has offered me a different take on what genuine internationalism means. Having grown up in 1980s Greece, I was subjected to a fierce nationalism and parochialism that I found difficult to shake when I moved with my family to the UK in 1990. Eventually I grew fond of London’s cosmopolitanism and preferred to observe Greece from afar. Hence, while I have always been genuinely interested in historical questions dealing with the Greek class struggle, this felt uncomfortable when it became more than an academic interest, since from a personal standpoint it felt like taking a step backwards. The crisis in Greece has, however, underscored in my mind that such efforts are necessary if one is to build a genuine internationalism in the working class that has a firm footing beyond a vague appeal to solidarity. As part of this effort I have been twice to Greece with a WSWS reporting team to help with translating, have assisted in the WSWS coverage of Greece by translating material from the Greek press used in articles and, with my father, have also translated David North’s In Defence of Leon Trotsky into Greek.

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