The International Editorial Board is proud to present the first edition of the redesigned World Socialist Web Site. It is the product of the work of an international team of web designers and technicians who have been involved in this project for more than a year. It represents visually and technically a major advance. In addition to its modern design, readers will notice as they navigate the site significant improvements in functionality.
The redesign of the site posed considerable challenges, stemming from the unique character of the World Socialist Web Site. The WSWS is a genuinely international publication, whose daily production involves the efforts of a dedicated staff of comrades working across time zones all over the globe. Articles are being posted on the site in more than 10 languages. The volume of material placed on the site is extraordinary. Since the original launch of the site in February 1998, nearly 25,000 individual items have been published. What makes this number even more impressive is the range and depth of the material presented by the World Socialist Web Site.
It would be possible, simply on the basis of the news articles that have appeared on our site, to reconstruct a fairly detailed picture of the major international events of the past decade. In addition to its coverage of political and economic developments, the World Socialist Web Site has attentively followed and commented on social questions, problems of artistic creation and aesthetic theory, advances in science, historical controversies and philosophical disputes. The vast output of the last 10 years will remain accessible to readers of the WSWS (through the use of a sophisticated search engine).
However important and complicated the many technical and aesthetic problems involved in the redesign, the principal considerations that guided the project were political. The redesign was undertaken in response to the demands posed by a rapidly growing readership and in anticipation of major changes in the world economic and political situation.
In the light of the tumultuous events of recent weeks, the timing of the relaunch may seem especially fortuitous. But as attentive readers of the World Socialist Web Site certainly know, we have followed systematically the unfolding contradictions of the increasingly unstable world capitalist system. The eruption of the present crisis did not take the World Socialist Web Site by surprise.
The political orientation and tasks of the World Socialist Web Site proceed from an assessment of the objective implications of the unfolding crisis. Stated briefly, the International Editorial Board maintains the following:
1. The global financial crisis, centered in the United States, marks a decisive turning point in the historical crisis of the world capitalist system. The Marxist analysis of the inherent and insoluble contradictions of the capitalist mode of production has received a stunning vindication.
2. The deepening economic crisis will exacerbate the already substantial tensions between the major imperialist and capitalist powers. The basic historical conflict between the internationally integrated development of the productive forces and the nation-state system will raise ever more openly the danger of global warfare. The efforts of the United States to offset the deterioration of its world economic position, dramatically exposed in the ongoing crisis, will assume an increasingly reckless and unrestrained militaristic character.
3. The worsening economic situation is leading inexorably to a renewed upsurge of class struggle on a world scale. The working class will resist with mounting determination the efforts of the old and corrupt bureaucratic organizations—political parties and trade unions—to block and betray its struggles.
4. A new audience for Marxist theory and the perspective and program of revolutionary socialism advanced by the International Committee of the Fourth International will emerge among newly radicalized workers, students, youth and intellectuals. Only a party that is based firmly on Marxist theory and defends unambiguously the heritage of Trotskyism will meet the challenges of a new revolutionary epoch.
Based on this assessment of the developing crisis, the International Editorial Board sees the redesign and relaunch of the World Socialist Web Site as a major step forward in the struggle for workers' power and the establishment of socialism.
David North, chairman of the International Editorial Board