Working Class History: Everyday Acts of Resistance and Rebellion
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History is not made by kings, politicians, or a few rich individuals—it is made by all of us. From the temples of ancient Egypt to spacecraft orbiting Earth, workers and ordinary people everywhere have walked out, sat down, risen up, and fought back against exploitation, discrimination, colonization, and oppression.
Working Class History presents a distinct selection of people’s history through hundreds of “on this day in history” anniversaries that are as diverse and international as the working class itself. Women, young people, people of color, workers, migrants, Indigenous people, LGBT+ people, disabled people, older people, the unemployed, home workers, and every other part of the working class have organized and taken action that has shaped our world, and improvements in living and working conditions have been won only by years of violent conflict and sacrifice. These everyday acts of resistance and rebellion highlight just some of those who have struggled for a better world and provide lessons and inspiration for those of us fighting in the present. Going day by day, this book paints a picture of how and why the world came to be as it is, how some have tried to change it, and the lengths to which the rich and powerful have gone to maintain and increase their wealth and influence.
This handbook of grassroots movements, curated by the popular Working Class History project, features many hidden histories and untold stories, reinforced with inspiring images, further reading, and a foreword from legendary author and dissident Noam Chomsky.
- “This ingenious archive of working class history, organized as an extended calendar, is filled with little and better known events. Reading through the text, the power, fury, and persistence of the working-class struggles shine. ‘Working class’ is broader than unions and job struggles, and rather includes all emancipatory acts of working-class people, be they Indigenous peoples fighting for land rights, African Americans massively protesting police killings, anticolonial liberation movements, women rising up angry, or mass mobilizations worldwide against imperialist wars. It is international in scope as is the working class. This is a book the reader will open every day to recall and be inspired by what occurred on that date. I love the book and will look forward to the daily readings.” —Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
- “One thing most people in the world have in common—whatever our gender, race, age, culture, or condition—is that we have to work for a living, and most of us have to work for someone else. That means either we have to obey their will or find ways to resist it. This book provides a panoramic compendium of that resistance. I’ve been studying and writing about labor history for more than half a century, but I’ve never even heard about most of these thousand or more strikes, uprisings, protests from around the world—or about the violence that was so often used against them. I’ve found this book an easy and fun way to fill that gap.” —Jeremy Brecher, author of Strike!
- “The WCH project has hit upon a novel way to communicate our shared history to a new generation of budding radicals and working class revolutionaries and, with this book, has laid out centuries of solidarity and rebellion into an easily digestible (and endlessly engrossing) catalogue of dissent. They make it clear that today’s victories build upon yesterday’s struggles and that, in order to push forward into the liberated, equitable future we want, we must remember how far we’ve come—and reckon with how much further there is to go.” —Kim Kelly, journalist and labor columnist at Teen Vogue
- “A perfect present for busy activists. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes to learn fascinating and often poignant facts about working-class history. As I’ve come to expect from our friends at WCH the content is global, diverse and clear; bringing to our attention OUR history which has so often been ignored, neglected or misrepresented. Buy a copy for yourself too!” —Mike Jackson, co-founder Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners
- “I’ve learned so much from reading Working Class History. It’s a fountainhead of vital and inspiring information about the international class struggle. WCH is a crucial antidote to the twenty-first-century post-truth right-wing media blitz 24/7 assault on our senses. It’s important to have revolutionary heroes and knowledge of past struggles to inspire the rebel souls of the future. Long may WCH inspire!” —Bobby Gillespie, lead singer of Primal Scream