Meet a Socialist

By CJ White

I think the first political issue I became passionate about was gay rights, back in high school. Then, I was briefly a “very passionate ally,” before coming out (to myself and my immediate family) as bisexual, but to my classmates remained just an ally. I grew up in a small, fairly conservative town, and there were certainly fears around coming out–social ostracization, physical safety, and being allowed to remain in my Boy Scouts troop with my friends and complete my Eagle Scout rank. I could not have imagined, at the time, coming out as a transgender woman as I have since done. 

I was a passionate, budding leftist. While I still had illusions that the Democratic Party could help build a better society, I began to realize that they are a corporate party and wouldn’t meaningfully try to build the world I Ionged for.

I went on to college where I completed a dual degree in exercise physiology and sociology. In my sociology coursework, I was introduced to the ideas of Karl Marx, whose work resonated with me as being grounded in reality, and I found myself drawn to the passion in his words.

Fast forward and I completed my undergraduate degrees and doctorate degree in physical therapy. With a Marxist perspective on the world around me, I found it easy to connect with the workers who I treated as patients and the students who shadowed me. As I went about my work, I thought that “someday” I would do activist or political work, once I was “comfortable” (financially). But, after meeting the Independent Socialist Group at the Trans Resistance Festival, and examining my own mental and emotional challenges and frustrations with society and the uphill battle I face as a trans person, as a young person with student loans, and more, I realized—“someday” would never come, because, despite coming from a highly-educated/white collar field, I am not better than or better off than “the lowly workers”; I am a lowly worker. 

In this capitalist system, healthcare workers such as myself struggle to keep up with student loan payments and cost of living with stagnant wages which have not progressed with inflation, rising credentialing requirements, and more. I saw that it would never be “the right time,” and so I reached out to ISG to get involved.

Since then, I have stood in solidarity with workers in a variety of fields, and have built on my knowledge of the works of Marx and others. Knowing a better world is possible and helping to build that world has greatly improved my mental and emotional health—I finally feel like a part of the fight. 

ISG is an organization that connects you with excellent people, opens you up to socialist ideas through reading and discussion, and actually takes the fight to the capitalist class by supporting unions, helping organize local rallies and protests, and more. We are not armchair philosophers–we value the study of the knowledge of those who came before us, but we actually get out there in the community and fight for workers’ rights. And so I say, “Join the fight back! Join the socialists!”