My path towards socialism started when I was 18. I had grown up in a poor family with my parents working multiple jobs but we were still living in poor housing and unable to ever get ahead. Growing up I had always heard that in the USA the hardest workers were rewarded with their hard work by moving up the "ladder" and thus achieving "the American dream".
Before I even became a teenager I knew the American dream was a lie. My dad never was home except to sleep then he was off to another job. By the standards of "the American dream" we would have been millionaires but we weren't. We never even made it to the "middle class". This helped me come to the realization that capitalism was only a system of exploitation at a very young age.
I became a socialist after a trip I took to the south west. While down there I saw things that I never would have believed existed in the US. I went to lunch lines where I ended up giving all the food I had with me in my back pack to a guy who was living out of his car with his 9 year old child. This touched me deep down in a place I didn't know exited inside myself.
I also saw thing such a shanty towns and people living in 3rd world like conditions. One thing I couldn't help but notice was that I was the only person that was white in that whole shanty town. People living in the worlds most gluttonous country should not be living in houses made out of gardening sheds and trash metal etc. After talking to some of the residents of this place One person told us he works for dollars a day sometimes only making 10 to 15 dollars a day. But because they were here "illegally" they couldn't report their conditions.
This kind of exploitation is what lead me to eventually through self education and research become a self proclaimed Marxist. As one could imagine it didn't take me long to tie together imperialism and capitalism as soul mates. I soon would come to call myself a Marxist Leninist.
From M-L to M-L-M
When I first stared on the road to socialism, Maoism was still a bad word to me. The way I understood Maoism was that one person took power and exploited the masses to their benefit. I thought it to be a "capitalist state" idea. I also had the influence of some Trotskyist in my ear telling me that Maoism was only Stalinism. Which now I realize that they only wanted to scare me away from Maoism and for me to join their org.
About 2-3 years ago I tried to learn whatever I could about Chairman Mao. It was very hard to find anything that wasn't severely anti-Mao in my library and or book stores. So I tried to do some self research and asked people not only about Mao but about Maoism as an idea. Then one of my brothers sent me a link to the little red book. I was captivated by the whole book and was appalled that anyone had ever told me that Mao never contributed to the furtherance of socialism.
I started reading more and more, then I was sent a link that would change my life forever. It was the most helpful thing I have ever applied to my actions and ideas. It explained the mass-line and how to apply it to everyday situations.
(this is the link I was sent) http://freedomroad.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=705%3Athe-mass-line-what-it-is-and-how-to-use-it&catid=182%3A21st-century-socialism&Itemid=235&lang=en
Ive since been growing my knowledge about my local population and interjecting revolutionary ideas and actions whenever possible. I now have the strongest faith in the working class poor people to be the ones to carry the masses to the proletarian revolution. I am now a Maoist!