I think I was a socialist long before I knew myself to be one. My parents had left Hungary following the uprising of 1956, and although their own political instincts were social-democratic, their children were raised with a confused mythology about the real nature of that event. I knew next to nothing about the history of Stalinism, I simply understood that the Soviets were not “real” socialists. Of Trotsky I only knew his name, occasional derogatory references to “Trotskyites”, and that he had been the subject of a movie in which Richard Burton had apparently overacted in the title role.
My sense of the importance of history made me think I was some kind of conservative. Yet I knew I was not politically conservative, I just felt that it was important to preserve and understand the past and all things that have enduring value—including music, drama, literature, history, art.
A traumatic upbringing led me to study psychology, which led me to more radical authors who suggested that our personal psychic trauma has wider, societal causes. I was attracted to anything vaguely connected with social justice, environmental causes and feminism, but I always felt uneasy, as all these things, including the dreadful misogyny with which I had been raised, seemed to find their meaning in a larger context than single-issue identity politics.
While working as a volunteer on a community radio station program, I became an admirer of Michel Chossudovsky, and an early follower of his Global Research website based out of Montreal, Quebec. It must have been somewhere around 2004 that I followed the link on that website to the WSWS, and it wasn’t long before I became a faithful daily reader of the latter.
My education through the WSWS has been extremely fruitful. I now feel I can articulate my political beliefs in a way that had not been possible before I began assimilating the real history of socialism. One of the greatest gifts of the WSWS is its arts and culture reporting and analysis—for me it was a relief and a mind-opener to confirm what I had always felt, that the treasures of humanity are here for all to appreciate and enjoy.
The WSWS has enabled me to not only say that I am a socialist, but to understand what it means to be one. The intellectual grounding that makes it possible to reach out to others in a meaningful way can be found on this website. As more readers come to the WSWS, the sense of isolation many of us experience, in our workplaces and lives, will be replaced by a growing sense of the inevitable end of the system that now oppresses us.