Why I read the WSWS
5 June 2013
Before I began reading the WSWS I had been looking around for a political party to support for a while. I was looking for a solution to environmental destruction and the declining standard of living of the working class in Australia and worldwide. Before discovering the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party I had been looking into the Greens, the Communist Party of Australia, the Stable Population Party and then the Socialist Alliance.
At first I followed the Stable Population Party, after coming across the lectures of Dr. Albert Bartlett on YouTube, and the writings of Australian Malthusian Mark O’Connor on the problem of a growing population in Australia. At first their logic seemed infallible: environmental destruction and most modern crises can be linked to a population that grows at an exponential rate, outpacing the creation of jobs and infrastructure, leading to environmental destruction through the growing demand for resources.
But, after further reading on the population debate, I realized the Stable Population Party’s rhetoric was wrong, as implementing a stable population leaves the problems of the profit-seeking capitalist system unanswered. The Stable Population Party scapegoats the international working class for the environmental destruction and emissions of the capitalist system. A stable population would only serve to extend the life of capitalism, a system in which a crash and environmental destruction are inevitable.
The Socialist Alliance recruited me during orientation week at university; I was receptive to the idea of socialism so I paid $5 and joined their political party. I had a subscription to their newspaper, the Green Left Weekly, prior to joining the group. I soon became disillusioned after their focus on protest politics, micro issues in their newspaper and lack of a Marxist education amongst their constituents. They weren’t doing much to lift the level of socialist consciousness. For instance, soon after joining their group I was invited to vote on amendments to their activities. I didn’t know a great deal about socialism, so why should I be given a vote? Anything I would be voting on would be under a very impressionistic point of view.
When I joined the Socialist Alliance I expected to gain a Marxist education, but it was not something that they provide for their members. There was no prerequisite to join their party, no education, no minimum time of association, no agreement on the principles for which they stand, before full membership was granted. I realized it was just a protest group. It was not something I was interested in.
I started reading the World Socialist Web Site less than six months ago, when I first learned of its existence after meeting Western Australia senate candidate Joe Lopez at a Tsar to Lenin film screening at my university, Murdoch, in Perth. I was given leaflets about the “pivot to Asia” and the prospects for the working class after the upcoming state election. I was very impressed, as the WSWS was expressing views and making mention of subjects not covered in the media or by any other “leftist” groups in Australia.
There isn’t much else published about the “pivot to Asia” or the threat of war in the Asia Pacific region altogether, because in Australia we suffer from a media oligopoly—meaning there is very little public debate, and this is exacerbated by Australia’s geographical isolation. In Australia, there is a very real apathy towards political thought and discussion of world events. So at first I did not understand the significance of the Tsar to Lenin documentary and considered the SEP extremists at the time, due to their emphasis on the revolutionary struggle. But after learning more about the history of the SEP in Australia, and its analysis of the economic crisis of capitalism, I now realize the need for a mass revolutionary struggle to be waged against capitalism worldwide. The capitalist system cannot be reformed; globalization has rendered nationalist struggles defunct; and the existing political parties do not adequately represent the interests of the international working class.
I have since made an application to join the SEP and have begun reading the statement of principles and the history of the Australian section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. I am getting a very real education about socialism from my local SEP branch and through reading the WSWS. I really respect the principled theoretical approach to building this political party.
Only now that I am getting a real education can I begin to interpret events through the lens of a Marxist. Everything I read in the media only confirms my opinion on the need for socialism. I have always believed that the meaning of life is to develop your knowledge and become a better person, in order to achieve in life. So in a sense, reading the WSWS and applying to become a full member of the SEP has given meaning to my life. I am educating myself and doing all that I can to promote the website and upcoming lecture. The WSWS is a great source of information, a tool to be used to develop a true socialist consciousness. I am glad I was introduced to the World Socialist Web Site— will continue to read it daily.