I found the WSWS in early 2010. I had voted for Obama and had witnessed a year’s worth of “change you can believe in,” enough to recognize that it was no change at all. At that time the outline of his health care reform was taking shape. It had been drawn up behind closed doors with the pharmaceutical industry in meetings somehow immune to Freedom of Information requests, much like the Bush Administration began its reign behind closed doors with the oil industry.
When single-payer health care was somehow deemed by the Democrats “off the table” or a “non-starter” to negotiations, I sought out my usual sources for answers. Perennial guest of the news program “Democracy Now,” Michael Moore, offered the explanation that since Obama is black, he had to move to the right to show Wall Street and white people that his presidency wouldn’t be as scary for them as they may have thought. Obama, he said, had to work under that constant burden and Michael Moore “got that about him.” Apologies, once again, for the Democrats kowtowing to big business on every issue, and I had had it. I considered myself a socialist from that point on, not knowing exactly what that meant, but encouraged to learn more.
A Google search brought two prominent results, the Socialist Party of Michigan, and the WSWS. I called both. The Socialist Party invited me to a screening of, you guessed it, Michael Moore’s “Capitalism, A Love Story,” and the WSWS called back with a serious and biting analysis of the role of the Democratic Party. I made my decision.
Over the next few months I became a regular reader of the WSWS and started attending meetings. The first major event I followed on the website was the BP oil spill. The extensive and concrete analysis provided confirmation to me that the profit system was the root cause not only of that environmental and social disaster, but of the lack of affordable health care, unending war and poverty, and ever-diminishing democratic rights.
While other news outlets and organizations could at times describe the numerous symptoms of the problem, they never got to a serious discussion of, “What are we going to do about it? How are all these issues related? Why is a discussion of capitalism itself off the table among left-liberals and ‘progressives?’”
The answer to these and other fundamental questions that was demonstrated daily for me on the WSWS in news articles, perspectives, the ICFI Library, as well as at Mehring Books and in the many conversations that came out of my initial decision to write in to the website was simple yet profound: Workers must build independent organizations of struggle on an internationalist basis against the big banks and corporations and their big business parties.
I had previously volunteered and worked on behalf of many political organizations and some unions, but my political work did not begin in earnest, on a thoroughly principled basis, I had to conclude, until I contacted the WSWS. There are a lot of young, and not so young, people who want to do something, who want to fight back, but unfortunately many of these individuals are being derailed out of high school and college like I was into the professional activism industry and the union bureaucracy, and become foot soldiers for the petty bourgeoisie and therefore ultimately for capitalism. One can only imagine what will happen as the sincere and best of these elements turn, as they are turning, to socialism instead. I urge other workers and young people to do as I did and write in to the website, and make the decision to build socialism.