Why I read the WSWS
27 March 2013
I came of age in the ’60s (I am 64), and I was radicalized by the struggles of the era. I was in, out of and around left organizations for decades, and as a topical singer/songwriter performed for many of them. However, during all that time, persistent political questions nagged at me, and I could not find adequate answers in the milieu that I was in.
Due to my eclectic reading, I could rattle off the crimes of capitalism, but I could not come up with a way forward. My hopes kept being dashed by events in China, Chile, Nicaragua, the USSR and other countries, as well as in the US, where one protest or election after another resulted in official politics inexorably moving rightward. It seemed that leftism meant resigning oneself to repeated disappointment.
By the early 2000s I had joined the Greens, which made matters worse. (Just how do bike paths help the working class?) So in about 2005, out of frustration, I googled “socialist” on the Internet. After visiting a number of party and organization web sites, I happened upon the World Socialist Web Site.
Reading the WSWS was a revelation. It rejected wishful thinking, subjective impressions and word mincing for solid Marxist analysis based on a thorough knowledge of working-class history and the often painful lessons drawn from that history. Terms that I had previously dismissed as so much “rhetoric” were used with precision, clarity and seriousness. (How many times in the past had I heard the word “fascist” carelessly thrown about?) And what masterful writers!
It wasn’t an easy experience. For one thing, the subject of a criticism often bore a distinct resemblance to yours truly. And I had to digest the fact that people and organizations that I had known for years were—whatever their intentions—going down at best a dead-end street. But the WSWS coverage of events, its analyses, critiques and program were irrefutable.
And going through those invaluable archives clarified the aforementioned nagging issues.
Eventually I contacted the Socialist Equality Party and thus began a period of political education that will continue for the rest of my life. Although I regret coming to authentic Marxism and Trotskyism so late, I am glad that I finally did, and I have the WSWS to thank for that.