by Michelle Tonneslan — Seattle, WA, Homeless Shelter Counselor
It was an accumulation of my life experiences that led me to socialist conclusions. When I was a child, my mom worked long hours for low wages, in horrible working conditions, with bosses who harassed her. She had two children to support, so she had to keep her job.
When I was in Junior High, I got involved in the feminist movement. I read books by liberal authors like Betty Friedan, and I came to the conclusion that sexism was responsible for the economic hardship that we faced. However, there were still questions that could not be answered by placing sexism as the root of the problem. For example, even without sexism, racism would still exist and working class men also earn low wages.
Later, I started to realize that sexism, racism, and class exploitation were all connected. The capitalist system needs to divide workers along race and gender lines to keep us from uniting. Bosses pit workers against each other by paying male workers and white workers higher wages than female workers and workers of color, but in reality none of us are making decent wages. After reading The Communist Manifesto and other left-wing books, I realized that socialism was the only system that could put an end to capitalist exploitation.