I read the World Socialist Web Site every day because it is an unbreakable link between present events and the history of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Left Opposition. For me personally, the WSWS connects me to the principles with which I was raised by the American Trotskyists, Jean and Bill Brust.
Out of the jangle of lies and confusion that comprise modern daily news coverage, the WSWS brings me back to the fundamentals of dialectical materialism, and the certainty that the world working class can forge a revolutionary leadership and meet its historical challenges.
Especially for those young people who have been drawn into mass struggles worldwide, I would like to share a little of my parents’ history. More complete stories can be found in the archives of the WSWS. My dad was born in 1919, in revolutionary Budapest—his father was a member of a workers’ Soviet. My mother was born in 1921, to a mother and father who had escaped the Russian pogroms as children and been shaped and toughened by the winds, heat and cold of the American Midwest.
Both Bill and Jean arrived in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul during the Great Depression, and both became Trotskyists in the late 1930s. She was still in high school; he but a few years out.
They were trained in party work and socialist theory through great conflicts and splits in the Trotskyist party, through the assassination of Trotsky himself, through the Second World War, the great postwar labor struggles, and McCarthyism.
They upheld the principles of internationalism and class struggle during the Civil Rights movement, the fight against the war in Vietnam, and labor struggles, most notably the industry-wide packinghouse strikes of the late 1940s.
When they became founding members of the Workers League (predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party), their work became more international in scope. They traveled and spoke in Europe, campaigning for a United Socialist States of Europe when the Common Market was created. Bill died just before the Berlin Wall was torn down. Jean was able to continue speaking in Australia and elsewhere, drawing the lessons of the collapse of the Soviet Union. She died in 1997, just months before the launching of the WSWS.
Both my parents were energized and reinforced in their understanding as they met with younger comrades throughout the world and shared the principles and events that had forged their lifelong work. I never knew them once to waiver or become doubtful, or to stop studying and learning.
Today, I see the WSWS publishing articles that detail events as they unfold in every corner of the world, in dozens of languages and accessible to the vast majority of the world’s population. I read sharp, unwavering analysis of these events, and of the culture that both shapes and too often misleads us. Jean and Bill would have been proud of this cadre of revolutionary journalists.
And I think they would have been most excited and found the greatest confirmation of their work in the range of topics, and the clear thinking so often revealed in the Letters to the Editor that pour into the WSWS month after month. Though the level of training varies, this section, especially, is my daily connection to the steadfast revolutionary optimism that characterized the extraordinary people who raised me.
I salute the members and supporters of the World Socialist Web Site for the extraordinary accomplishments made in the last fifteen years, and for those of the years ahead.