"Dig Where Your Stand", Swedish rallying cry for workers, translated into English for the first time

I believe that learning comes from life and living. Life and living can lead to a classroom or workshop, a fascination with reading, movies, or documentaries, or the joy of listening to others' stories. Learning is living life with others, acting and thinking, creating and loving, lamenting, working, sleeping, being, and surviving.

To beleaguer the obvious point, a classroom is not necessary to learn and can, in fact, hinder learning. Or, as Naeem Inayatullah proposes, perhaps "teaching is impossible, and learning is unlikely" – in the classroom.

Popular education, learning from life, where everyone is a researcher, asking questions about how to make tomorrow different, asking questions about how today came about, asking questions about who created the conditions inherited when born, is the type of learning I appreciate and look for.

Exterminate All the Brutes, the four-part HBO-produced documentary by Raoul Peck, is based on Sven Lindqvist's book of the same name. Exterminate All the Brutes "is a searching examination of Europe's dark history in Africa and the origins of genocide." Yet, before Lindqvist's research was transformed into a incite-ful and insightful documentary, Lindqvist started the "Dig-movement."

Linqvist's first book, Dig Where You Stand: How to Research a Job, has been published in English for the first time forty-five years after its initial publication in 1978.

"Dig Where You Stand is a rallying cry for workers to become researchers, to follow the money, take on the role as experts on their job, and "dig" out its hidden histories in order to take a vital step towards social and economic transformation. A how-to guide that inspired an entire movement, it makes the case that everyone – not just academics – can learn how to critically and rigorously explore history, especially their own history, and in doing so, find a blueprint for how to transform society for the better. In a world where the balance of power is overwhelmingly stacked against the working-class, Dig Where You Stand's manifesto for the empowerment of workers through self-education, historical research and political solidarity is as important and relevant today as it was in 1978."

In the introduction to the English edition, Andrew Flinn and Astrid von Rosen explain, "The central idea underpinning Dig Where You Stand is that doing history work is a necessary and significant contributory factor in achieving social, political and industrial change, and indeed fashioning a new world…. It instructs the reader how to formulate and pose urgent and critical research questions – questions about power and the lived legacies of the past in the present still relevant today – and provides the researcher with the tools to research and answer those questions."

The book honors the power of history from below. It narrates an accessible and collective process that was part of a public education and research movementduring the late 1970s and 1980s in Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Intended to create counter-histories to elite capitalist narratives, "The Dig-movement" or Grävrörelsen also created study materials for producing local history. "The Dig-movement consisted of thousands of local study circles aimed at fostering local democracy, conducting local and industrial historical research, producing worker's theatre and lots of other aesthetic activities resulting in exhibitions, oral history sessions and writing workshops."

At a time when university education is under attack by right-wing ideologues; when dedicating four, five, sometimes six years to college often has the consequence of piled-on, trauma-inducing lifetime debt; and when workers organize unions in new labor sectors and across national borders, learning and researching should be democratic practice worth recovering.

By democratic, I do not mean voting or partisan ideas. Instead, the emphasis is on the root of radical democracy, the democratic living of collective participation in understanding and impacting the world through open-source TOR-inspired technology and research projects by emerging unionized workers, to abolitionist-inspired after-school skateboard programs, and everything and all in between. Democratic living is not having to make oneself available for authoritarianism and the censored historical narratives proffered by fascists – and their politicians – from Florida.

Lindqvist was a prolific writer and public intellectual. Many of his thirty-five manuscripts of essays, history, travel literature, aphorisms, and other presentations were translated into more than ten languages. Lindqvist prose transcended, melded, and split genres, while his handbook for research empowered working people to tell their own stories.

On the occasion of Lindvqist's death in 2019, The New Press released this excerpted statement, quoting writer Adam Hochschild, "Like many of the most original writers, Sven Lindqvist is hard to pigeonhole. He is not exactly a historian, for his graduate degree is in literature. He is not exactly a travel writer, for he has little interest in the colorful details that make a place seem exotic; he always wants to direct our attention back to our own culture. He is not exactly a journalist, for when he travels to far points on the globe, he is less likely to interview anyone than to tell us about his own dreams." Hochschild continues, "Lindqvist's work leaves you changed . . . [he] opens a world to us, a world with its comforting myths stripped away. You read him at your own risk."