How I got redder and redder

October 27, 2015

ONE OF my first political memories is of being in my parents' bedroom, listening to something about Bill Clinton and George Bush on the radio. My parents explained to me that Clinton was the good guy and Bush was racist, and from then on out, I was ready to go.

Four years later, I plastered my school desk with homemade propaganda for Clinton, against that butthead Bob Dole. (Stick to raisins, Bob. Gosh.)

I've changed my mind a little since then. From reading horrifying investigative reports in Harper's magazine and Mother Jones to bewildering conversations with enigmatic older friends – one told me "public schools were created so workers could read instruction manuals," and I thought he was a right-winger – to classes in feminist philosophy and Afrocentric pedagogy with a proudly socialist professor, I kept getting redder.

After a couple years as an armchair anarchist, I was standing outside a Coup show when someone invited me to Detroit for an International Socialist Organization meeting. They had an agenda, took stack, spoke with sharp focus, and engaged seriously with the task of organizing to fight police racism in Detroit. It was like they actually intended to overthrow capitalism, to get even instead of mad.

Image from

If you think capitalism is one big atrocity, it makes sense to organize with people who think so too. It makes sense to learn about how capitalism works, where it comes from and how it might be destroyed, and it makes sense to do that collectively in a socialist organization, independent of capitalist institutions that lie when you don't even know they're speaking.

It makes sense to learn about and then learn from the history of struggle against capitalism, to remember what our quiet rulers want us to forget, and then together apply those lessons as one bloc to actually change the world.

That's why you should be a socialist.
Joel Reinstein, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Readers’ Views welcomes our readers' contributions to discussion and debate about articles we've published and questions facing the left. Opinions expressed in these contributions don't necessarily reflect those of SW.

Further Reading

From the archives