Edited by Working Class History
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.
Be sure to check out the companion Working Class History 2021 Wall Calendar.
“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!
About the Contributors:
Founded in 2014, Working Class History is an international collective of worker-activists who launched a social media project and podcast to uncover our collective history of fighting for a better world and promote it to educate and inspire a new generation of activists. They have grown to become the most popular online people’s history project in English, reaching an audience of tens of millions.
Noam Chomsky is a lifelong activist and laureate professor at the University of Arizona and professor emeritus in the MIT Department of Linguistics and Philosophy. He is widely credited with having revolutionized the field of modern linguistics and is one of the foremost critics of US foreign policy. For decades he has organized in antiwar and international solidarity movements in addition to writing numerous groundbreaking books, articles, and essays on global politics, history, and linguistics.