Every socialist will have their own political awakening. Mine was the London riots. The unfolding events were captivating and, for a liberal, troubling to witness—because I didn’t understand them.
Now I look back at some of my thoughts from that time, rightly, as reactionary. What drew me out of such thoughts was the political response held in emergency parliament. The social conditions of the broad masses of rioters were barely mentioned. Instead there were calls for the armed forces on the streets and “robust” policing to put down “criminality.”
Rioters, these salaried and privileged men and women said, needed to be put down or caged like sick dogs. Seeing footage online of police beating down youths on bicycles cemented this position. A system was using the stick, not the carrot, because it was ultimately what it knows best: violence. This was later confirmed by the shocking global violence worldwide enacted on the peaceful Occupy movement and in the response to many other mass movements.
The World Socialist Web Site was absolutely crucial in understanding these events. Throughout, reading the WSWS’s excellent coverage and analysis helped guide my political thought, and it continues to do so. I read plenty of blogs and a lot of news online and in the papers, but nothing “left” can hold a candle to the extensive coverage and principled perspective of the WSWS on such a daily quality and scale.
For me, the WSWS later brought my attention to the criminal machinations of the capitalist class. What I was taught as a child in school proved bankrupt: that we should be grateful for our conditions, the idea that master-slave authoritarianism is not possible in a “civilised country” such as ours. Looking back on those assertions, it’s clear that they were as false then as they are now. While the exploited and poverty stricken and oppressed exist here on our planet, not a single one of us should accept our lot.
Capitalism is not the end of history. It is in crisis. The arrogant bourgeoisie continues to plunder and profit from the blood of the masses. For them the capitalist system is working perfectly, but these thieves will have a rude awakening.
The WSWS exposes the violent crimes of the ruling class, it exposes theft, and it exposes murder. The WSWS exposes a wholly illogical system that makes kings out of the idle and guts the rest. As long as socialist political analysis is necessary, long may the WSWS continue. I’m sorry to say I hadn’t been a regular reader sooner, but I am now, and it’s my firm belief that every worker should be too.