Fifteen Years of the WSWS: 1998-2013

When the first issue of the World Socialist Web Site was posted on February 14, 1998, the corporate media was proclaiming the irreversible triumph of capitalism and “the end of history.” A new era of peace and prosperity had supposedly dawned. What followed, however, was the unending “war on terror,” the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, a devastating collapse in working class living standards, unprecedented attacks on democratic rights, and, in the face of these events, profound cultural and intellectual disorientation.

The International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site is posting a year-by-year Chronology, selected from its archive of more than 45,000 articles, to provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the critical events of years 1998 to 2013. We urge our readers to study the Chronology, and review how the great events, political issues, social processes, and cultural and intellectual controversies of the last 15 years were reported on and analyzed by the World Socialist Web Site.




Year in Review: 2000

People around the world rang in New Year’s Day 2000 with hopes that the new millennium would bring a better world, one with less violence and poverty. For their part, the ruling classes proclaimed that social convulsions and revolutions were a thing of the past and the next period would be one of triumphant capitalism. Read more...


Year in Review: 2001

The year 2001 began with the culmination of the right-wing political coup engineered by the US Supreme Court: the installation of George W. Bush as president. It quickly became apparent that what was unfolding was a dramatic shift to the right, not only in the United States but in world politics as a whole. Read more...


Year in Review: 2002

The year 2002 was a transition, as the fraudulent “war on terror” launched by the Bush administration in the United States after the attacks of September 11 was used to justify historic attacks on democratic rights and civil liberties. At the same time, the occupation of Afghanistan was followed by brazen preparations for the invasion of Iraq. Read more...


Year in Review: 2003

The year 2003 marked a turning point in world history. US imperialism, with the complicity of all the major powers, launched a brutal and illegal war against Iraq. Defying the will of the majority of the world’s population—millions of whom took to the streets in protest—the imperialist powers, driven by insoluble economic contradictions, escalated a campaign of military predation and world conquest. Read more...


Year in Review: 2004

In 2004, as the lies upon which the Iraq war was based became exposed and the occupation dragged on, the truly brutal and criminal nature of the war was seen in the massacres in Fallujah and other cities and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Accompanying the growth of militarism was the attack on democratic rights within the United States and in all the countries involved in the “global war on terror.” Read more...


Year in Review: 2005

The year 2005 unfolded under the impact of two great natural disasters that exposed the failure of world capitalism. The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami devastated Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, killing nearly 300,000 people. Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, inundating New Orleans, killing more than 1,800, and demonstrating that working people were hardly more secure in the richest country in the world than in the poorest. Read more...


Year in Review: 2006

The fourth year of the US war in Iraq was the bloodiest, with the eruption of full-scale inter-communal civil strife between Sunni and Shi’ite-based militias. The US occupation regime encouraged and fomented such conflicts, while itself perpetrating a series of bloody atrocities against civilians. At the same time, Washington began to threaten war against Iran, following the first in a long series of stage-managed crises over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Read more...


Year in Review: 2007

The events of 2007 demonstrated that it was impossible to fight the growth of militarism, in the United States and internationally, through the old political parties and the machinery of the bourgeois state. Just as US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair had launched the war in 2003 in defiance of world public opinion, so Bush escalated the war in 2007 despite his defeat at the polls in November 2006. Read more...


Year in Review: 2008

In 2008, the crisis of world capitalism, long developing beneath the surface, erupted in the biggest financial upheaval since the 1929 stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression. The WSWS had been analyzing the processes leading up to this event for more than a decade. Read more...


Year in Review: 2009

The year 2009 was dominated by the spreading worldwide economic slump ushered in by the Wall Street collapse of September 2008. Unemployment and poverty soared in North America, Europe and increasingly in the “emerging economies” of Asia. Read more...


Year in Review: 2010

The events of 2010 made clear that the economic slump stemming from the 2008 financial crash was not merely a cyclical downturn. Rather, it represented a fundamental breakdown of the world capitalist system and a turning point in class relations on a global scale. Read more...


Year in Review: 2011

The year began with the eruption of revolutionary struggles in Tunisia and Egypt and popular upheavals throughout the Arab world, followed by mass struggles in Europe and the US state of Wisconsin. These events were an initial response by the working class to the world crisis of the capitalist system that had erupted two-and-a-half years earlier. They marked the reemergence of the working class onto the stage of world history. Read more...


Year in Review: 2012

The year 2012 was marked by a deepening of the world economic crisis of capitalism, with Europe plunging further into slump, mass unemployment and poverty growing in the United States, and conflicts between the major powers intensifying, expressed, in part, in the form of currency warfare. Throughout the world, the policy of the ruling classes was the same: unlimited funds for the banks, austerity to make workers pay for the crisis, and state repression against any resistance from below. Read more...