I’ve been picking through the backlog of the Working Class History podcast for a couple months. The folks behind the podcast have put a ton of work into getting out the stories of people who struggled and improved our world.
History is not made by the actions of a few rich and powerful individuals, like so much of the history we learn in school. History is made by the combined everyday actions of hundreds of millions of us: women, men, youth, people of colour, migrants, indigenous people, LGBT people, disabled people, workers, older people, the unemployed, housewives – the working class.
It is our struggles which have shaped our world, and any improvement in our conditions has been won by years of often violent conflict and sacrifice.
About Working Class History
This project is dedicated to all those who have struggled in the past for a better world, and who continue to do so now. To help record and popularise our grassroots, people’s history, as opposed to the top-down accounts of most history books.
I’ve especially enjoyed the WCH episodes that highlight the Industrial Workers of the World. “The Industrial Workers of the World in the US, 1905-1918” kicked off the coverage, “The Industrial Workers of the World in the US, 1918-1950s” carried on and then “Women in the early IWW” and “The IWW in Australia” fleshed out the history of the union.
The inclusive stance of the early IWW is impossible to overvalue; the willingness of unions to fight for social justice today so often is drawn up from that example. These episodes are a good introduction to one of the most important organizations of the 20th century.