The revolt of 1958

About Eritrea - History & Culture

During this stage the workers’ movement got momentum with the increasing awareness of the workers. The 1958 revolt of workers and the other uprising that follow, whoever influenced them, were very well organized movements. The uprising also included students. The shortcoming was that these workers uprisings were not properly documented. No one could talk about the event that took place then because no one took the responsibility of documenting the events for later use. On the other hand the narrations from individuals regarding their place in the movement are often biased and self centered.

There are many questions to ponder regarding this stage that we are talking about. Some are documented and others rely from people talking about them as they see and interpret it. There should have existed free and formal documentation of the events.  And when we try to document the events the source should not be from one or two individuals but from many as possible.

However all agree that during that time suppression was on its highest stage and establishing open political organizations impossible and unthinkable and workers were compelled to forming clandestine organizations.

The workers uprising had clandestine cells. They had programs and regulations. There was regulation on with whom one should talk, with whom one should not talk, how to keep secrets, how one should diligently implement orders, and accountability. Talking many things into consideration the organization was on its highest form. The workers movement was equally progressing with that national movement. The political organizations that were established then were the outcome of such movements. The main players in those political parties were also workers.

The workers movement aligned with that of farmers and shepherds movements created a big organized force. The experience they gained from the progressive movements that have been witnessed in the 50s during the Cold War is also to be noted. The Eritrean experience is, however, unique. It had to go through different challenges including religious and ethnic differences. That experience had a big role to play for the launching of the struggle for independence in the 60. The workers’ movement that has been witnessed to influence sectors of the society including students and farmers has eventually become national struggle with the dynamic nature of its vision.