1848 is long gone obviously, so is Marx and its call for all the workers of the world to unite. Labour day has changed and so have all the workers in the world, globalization and worldwide media have put another comma to a paragraph in the history of worker’s rights that once began with social security and the provision of a safety net for the poorest, the most unfortunate and the forgotten… Well, that is of course, the case in developed countries.
In my no so vast experience, Sweden is perhaps one of the most, if the THE most, advanced country on what worker’s and union’s rights concerns. Ever since early in the XX century, Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia passed laws to protect those who spent their lives in factories and workshops across the untamed north, the bar in protection and care was raised and life quality soon followed. As the scars of WWII healed and the fog of war dissipated, workers turned to soldiers laid down their weapons and stopped driving tanks to grab hammers again and operate cranes and trucks. They were heroes, of course, and they wanted something better, they were trained men, eager for work, anxious to get a better life for them and their families, they wanted health, they needed food, they wouldn’t settle for few.
Those were huge conquests, as big as one can imagine, only a century ago slavery was legal in many countries. Unfortunately, although it is de jure prohibited everywhere in the world, slavery is a de facto situation in many, too many, places where people have not started the struggle developed world workers already have done, and it seems it won’t come as easy as wishing it.
The world has praised China’s economic success, it has praised Brazil and Russia too, south east Asian countries are set as an example to the world, but a few remember the millions of people who engross the workforce of those countries and regions and live with miserable wages, sweat blood everyday for a dismal dollar, spent their time as children sewing fancy bags and sneakers instead of playing outside.
Union leaders and politicians around the world praise on Labour day everything they do and have done for workers, many of them in Latin America and Europe still grab the worker’s cause as political platform, but we have still very few Scandinavias, we have still too many Chinas and Latin Americas, and for that, well, in this globalized and intercommunicated world… For everybody’s future and better life… Workers of the world unite… this time for real.