Last week the World Socialist Web Site passed a major milestone, having published 75,000 articles on its English-language pages since the International Committee of the Fourth International launched the WSWS on February 14, 1998. Adding the many thousands of articles published in 21 other languages, including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Sinhala, Tamil, Norwegian, Mandarin, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Russian and Portuguese, the total amount of material published on the WSWS has already surpassed 100,000 articles.
These figures give an indication of the unparalleled work of political analysis and exposure of the capitalist system carried out over more than 21 years of continuous publication, involving hundreds of writers. The WSWS began posting articles five days a week in 1998. In April 1999, the WSWS extended its schedule to posting articles six days a week.
The World Socialist Web Site has not missed a single day of scheduled publication, relying on the 24-hour-a-day collaboration of socialist editorial boards operating in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. This close daily political collaboration across national boundaries represents a practical realization of the perspective on which the WSWS was founded: to unite the international working class on the basis of revolutionary Marxist principles.
The WSWS is an extraordinary achievement in the history of the Marxist movement. It is the first, and remains the only, daily international socialist publication. The WSWS has consistently upheld the principles of Trotskyism, the revolutionary Marxism of today, and fought to defend the interests of the international working class.
As we explained in the statement published on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the WSWS:
The unique character of the World Socialist Web Site is derived from its perspective, which is consciously based on Marxist theory and the assimilation and constant reworking of the essential strategic experiences of the international class struggle, spanning the entirety of the twentieth century. In contrast to the pragmatic impressionism that prevails in the bourgeois media—and, in an even more vulgar form, in the postings of the petty-bourgeois left and pseudo-left websites—the WSWS places daily events in their appropriate historical context.
The establishment of the WSWS in February 1998 was the outcome of the development of the ICFI, in the aftermath of the 1985-86 split with the Workers Revolutionary Party, into a politically unified world party, consciously based on the previous historical experience of the Marxist movement.
As early as 1988, the ICFI had drawn attention to the significance of the globalization of capitalist production and the revolutionary changes in telecommunications with which it was associated. As a result, the IC was highly attuned to the potential of the Internet, even before its significance was broadly understood by the ruling class. It was actively seeking means through which it could disseminate revolutionary ideas and develop a level of international integration and coordination of the working-class movement that was previously unimaginable.
Moreover, the IC understood that the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 did not mark the “end of history” as was proclaimed by the ideologists of the ruling class. Rather, the end of the USSR confirmed the correctness of Trotsky’s characterization of Stalinism as the instrument of imperialism within the first workers’ state, and an implacable opponent of world socialist revolution. The dissolution of the USSR was itself a manifestation of the crisis of world capitalism brought on by the development of globalized production, which fatally undermined all national programs, including the Stalinist perspective of “socialism in one country.”
In its initial 1998 statement, announcing the new publication, the WSWS wrote that it would “strive for an encyclopedic breadth of historical knowledge, cultural criticism, scientific enlightenment and revolutionary strategy. Its goal is to raise the level of political and cultural discourse, which is indispensable for the rebirth of a modern socialist workers’ movement.”
The expanding influence of the WSWS over the more than two decades of its publication, and the consequent growth of the Socialist Equality Parties, sections of the International Committee, have made possible a steady increase in the amount of material published, from just over 1,500 English-language articles in the first year of publication in 1998, to nearly 3,000 articles in 2008, the year of the global financial crash, to the current pace of more than 5,000 articles each year from 2014 on.
There have been more than 22,000 articles dealing with the politics, social crisis, and struggles of the working class in the United States and Canada. Some 15,000 articles have analyzed political and social developments in Europe, from Britain, France and Germany to Greece and Russia. There have been 6,000 articles on Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, 7,500 articles on Asia and the Indian subcontinent, and 6,500 articles on the Middle East, including the US-instigated wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Thousands of articles have been written on Latin America and Africa.
The WSWS has published more than 4,000 articles on art, culture and science, including more than 2,000 articles on film alone, but across a far wider range: art and museum exhibits, photography, TV and theater reviews, architecture and dance, and music in all its forms, from classical opera to rap. Another 1,500 articles have been devoted to historical topics, essential for the political education of both workers and intellectuals, and animated by intransigent hostility to the reactionary antiscientific posturing of postmodernism.
There is not a major political event in world politics or a significant struggle of the international working class that has not been the subject of Marxist analysis on the WSWS, which has been the basis for political intervention by the sections of the International Committee, including the building of new sections of the ICFI.
The WSWS began daily publication at the onset of the political crisis in the United States which led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. In the course of the year, the WSWS published more than 100 articles and commentaries analyzing and opposing the ultra-right campaign to remove a twice-elected president. We explained the threat this represented to the democratic rights of the working class, while maintaining intransigent opposition to Clinton’s actions as the commander-in-chief of US imperialism, as he ordered the bombing of Iraq and missile strikes on Sudan and Afghanistan.
This experience demonstrated the ability of the Trotskyist movement to develop an independent political line for the international working class, against all factions of the capitalist ruling elite and their instruments in the trade unions, Labor and social-democratic parties, and the organizations of the pseudo-left.
Over the ensuing 21 years, the WSWS has spearheaded the opposition of the most conscious sections of the international working class to the crimes of world imperialism. We fought against the US-NATO bombing of Serbia and Libya, the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the revival of French imperialism in west Africa, and the reemergence of German imperialism, the most powerful and reactionary in Europe. Through the WSWS, the International Committee has launched a campaign to build an international antiwar movement, which now takes the form of the struggle to defend Julian Assange, who faces the prospect of life in prison for the exposures by WikiLeaks of US war crimes.
In each country where the WSWS has readers and supporters, we have sought to defend and extend workers’ struggles, demonstrate their intrinsically international character, and develop the political consciousness of the working class. We have fought intransigently against the old, bankrupt organizations that have long ago abandoned any struggle for workers’ interests, and posed the central task confronting the working class in this historical epoch: the building of new mass organizations based on the perspective of world socialist revolution.
Ten years after the Wall Street crash of 2008, the working class has reemerged as a major social and political force, signaled initially last year in major strikes by American public-school teachers, the “yellow vest” movement in France, and other powerful strikes. This movement has grown exponentially this year, with mass struggles from Puerto Rico to Hong Kong, social upheavals shaking entrenched dictatorships in Algeria and Sudan, and a rising curve of strike action in the advanced industrialized countries.
The most conscious expression of this reemergence of the working class is the growth in readership for the World Socialist Web Site, which is playing an ever more direct role in the education and organization of the working class on a world scale.
Despite efforts to limit access to the WSWS as a result of the actions of Google, Facebook and other social media giants initiated in 2017, the readership of the WSWS has topped one million a month, and in August reached 1.58 million, nearly triple the level of February.
Particularly noteworthy is the wide circulation on social media of articles on the conditions of life and struggles by industrial workers, an indication that the most powerful and decisive battalion of the world working class is looking for new leadership.
In order to keep pace with a growing readership, we are continually expanding the technical foundations of the site and utilizing video, livestreaming and other forms of multimedia.
We urge all our readers to take up the fight for the World Socialist Web Site. Help break internet censorship by sharing WSWS articles, printing them out and distributing them to your friends, classmates and coworkers. Become a correspondent for the WSWS by sending in reports on developments in your workplace and area.
And become a regular financial supporter of the WSWS, making possible the expansion of its vital work of political preparation and organization of the struggles of the world working class.