Patxi Abasolo: Workers are an essential key in history too
2017•02•11 Article d'opinió. Patxi Abasolo López. History teacher Workers have started a thousand initiatives throughout history, with the intention of promoting deep changes. Lots of initiatives. And for that, we have offered many means to ourselves. A lot and varied.
How can the 1789 French Revolution be understood without female workers’ protests? And the democratic rights later obtained without the initiatives encouraged by the popular sectors (sans culottes)? A new protagonist appeared in the historical process started, the working-class; from then on, both female and male workers have been acting in favour of a fairer society without a rest.
How could we understand the social and political reform started by the Paris Commune in 1871 without the workers’ movement? In addition, they legalized worker’s wages and organizations, they froze house rents and confiscated the empty ones, and education became free and lay, among others.
What would have happened if the workers of the countries that took part in the 1st World War had refused to take part in that unfortunate massacre? What would have happened if the hearts of millions of workers had been infected by an attitude against war?
How can the foundations for gender equality established by the 1917 Revolutionary Russia be understood without the work and effort carried out by female workers? How could women’s right to vote, voluntary marriage, maternity pay, divorce or the right to free abortion have been attained?
How could we understand the international support received by the Spanish republican regime in 1936-39 without all those workers who organized speeches in many places around the world, fundraisings and brigades?
How could we comprehend the colourful initiatives created in the dark years of Francoism without those small-big gestures of solidarity started in workplaces?
In fact, workers’ achievements in history aren’t limited to workers’ lives and conditions. Our ability to influence has spread to all areas of life, creating or completing vey enriching fight-areas: in favour of linguistic rights, together with the environmentalist and feminist movement, the anti-repression movement, and so on, both here and in every territory in the world. All those fights haven’t been organized by workers; but workers’ participation has always been decisive; after all, the number will never be big without us. There are many of us. And, if wanted, the ability to change things will be even bigger.
By realizing that the key is in our hands, we will have a thousand opportunities and one more to spread hope. As mentioned in all the previous examples, the impulse of workers will be crucial to lead to deep changes. To bring Basque prisoners and refugees home too.