From a WWP Conference welcoming talk.
Before two years ago, I’d never imagined making a speech about how I came to join a revolutionary party. I grew up in a conservative rural town in western New York. History lessons were a crash-course in anti-communism, with textbooks the Pentagon itself could have authored. All this, against the backdrop of 9/11 fear mongering.
Throughout grade school I witnessed what the imperialists could do as live footage of Iraq’s destruction was broadcast worldwide. Images of Baghdad burning, the utter lack of humanity, the callous destruction of a sovereign country … haunted me. It was at that point that I stopped trusting what I was being told and began questioning the real motives behind these wars.
I read about other U.S. wars and quickly realized who the real terrorists were, beginning with genocide against the Native peoples of the Americas and the horrific history of slavery, which manifests itself in today’s mass incarceration of people of color and racist police brutality.
During university I became involved politically, but quickly became frustrated. I kept hitting brick walls because I was still working within the constraints of capitalist politics. Eventually it became clear that a system evil to the core cannot possibly be reformed for good.
In 2011, when the U.S. began its bombardment of Libya, I found new political consciousness. I saw footage of the deaths and the destruction of the country, the murder of Gadhafi, the lynching and ethnic cleansing. I found Workers World when searching for a perspective that respected the sovereignty and right to self-determination of Libya.
I was invited to attend the Party conference last year, where I met many of my dear comrades and gained a deeper political analysis that has guided my perspective ever since. But it wasn’t just a deeper understanding of political theory, of Marxist-Leninist analysis that was important at that conference.
Putting politics into practice
Last year Gaza was being bombed mercilessly by Zionist occupying forces, and I was able to get out into the streets with Palestinians and other anti-war activists as we shouted in Times Square: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
It was the experience of being out in the streets and putting those politics into practice that I first experienced solidarity — solidarity with those resisting imperialism, those defending their sovereignty against occupying forces, those being exploited.
I learned the real meaning of the word “revolution” at that conference. It means smashing the ruling class, smashing our oppressor. It means organizing against them. It means taking control of the means of production to create a just society. It means joining a revolutionary party.
I decided to join Workers World Party because I knew it stood staunchly with the poor, the oppressed and exploited here in the U.S. and around the globe. I experienced a feeling of unity. I became part of the struggle.
Workers World Party has always represented a party of solidarity, unity and struggle, one of complete support for the most oppressed, raising their struggles to the forefront. The Party’s perspective is critical to the movement for liberation and socialism.