Why I read the WSWS
1 April 2013
The WSWS was first brought to my attention in January 2011. A friend of mine had suggested that I read the site because, unlike the mainstream liberal media and other “left”-wing sources, the WSWS critiqued the Obama administration from a principled, left-wing perspective.
As a high school student in the mid-2000s, I had read the Communist Manifesto and I had a rudimentary knowledge of historical materialism. Although I read widely and I considered myself “left-wing,” my political perspective lacked any coherence. The lack of a lucid, systemic political perspective made itself abundantly clear in the reformist policies that I uncritically embraced. Until as recently as early 2011, I believed that reformist measures like proportional representation would be enough to sufficiently change the system. That, however, changed with the eruption of the “Arab Spring” in January 2011.
My first response to the revolutionary convulsions in the Middle East was perhaps similar to the reaction of many members of the ostensible “left” in North America. My naïve evaluation of the historical events unfolding in the Arab world could be summed up in this simple phrase: “How lovely! Everyone wants a peaceful transition to representative democracy!” This opinion, widely held amongst many of my “progressive” colleagues, was identical to the bilge that was spewed out by bourgeois media outlets. With the onset of civil war in Libya, however, my views changed.
At first, I uncritically embraced the “analysis” that was promulgated in the bourgeois press. The Libyan people were, after all, being butchered in the streets according to the New York Times. Lacking a rational, systemic, and scientific method of analyzing the events in Libya, I accepted the official propaganda. It was upon my reading of the WSWS, however, that I finally realized how hollow my existing views were. The WSWS pointed out correctly that the NATO “humanitarian intervention” in Libya was just another imperialist war for plunder and for a means to project imperialist power in a region that was rapidly heading in a direction contrary to the aims of Washington, Berlin et al.
Two years later, the results have vindicated the WSWS’ principled position. Contrary to other “left” sources, the WSWS never failed to point out the class nature of the Libyan bourgeois uprising. The WSWS’ adherence to Marxist analysis allows it to see past the smoke and mirrors of the bourgeois press and, ultimately, get to the root of history as it unfolds.
The breadth of content on the site is unparalleled. I have been particularly impressed not only by the coverage of geo-political and macro-economic events, but also by the coverage of the arts, philosophy, and science. The arts in particular are vilified as, to quote one of my bourgeois acquaintances, “nothing more than a hobby.” The fact that the WSWS actually covers the arts, and not just “Entertainment,” helps to underscore the fact that contrary to the philistine attitude cultivated by the Stalinists, true socialists are not anti-arts.
While the tone of the WSWS is, to borrow David North’s words, “blunt, uncompromising, and unforgiving,” the coverage is always of the highest calibre. It never fails to analyse the objective conditions on which our socio-economic and political systems rest. I have found the tone of the WSWS to be refreshing, especially when contrasted with bastions of liberal hypocrisy and sophistry like the New York Times in America or The Globe and Mail in Canada. Mainstream bourgeois media outlets feign objectivity, perhaps as a façade for their class orientation; there is, however, no need for the WSWS to feign objectivity, for, to borrow the words of Karl Marx, they, “disdain to conceal their views and aims.” For me personally, the WSWS has played an inestimable role in the development of my political perspective and I would like to commend the International Committee of the Fourth International for their admirable work.