Walk the Talk

LaborFest is a month-long effort that begins every year on July 5 — the anniversary of “Bloody Thursday,” when two workers were shot and killed in San Francisco while showing support for a longshoreman and maritime workers’ strike. That incident kicked off the 1934 General Strike, which shut down the entire city and ultimately the whole western seaboard. As ground zero for an episode that changed the landscape of labor nationwide, our city boasts a wealth of history, both in the realm of heroism, ingenuity, and community concern, as well as the realm of bigotry, greed, and exploitation. For anyone wondering how it all went down, the S.F. General Strike Walk is a perfect introduction. Led by labor historian Louis Prisco and retired ILWU longshoreman Jack Heyman, this meandering stroll takes folks to key sites of conflict, with discussions on the causes of the strike and, perhaps more importantly, what made it successful. Since being established in 1994, LaborFest has popped up in Japan, Argentina, Bolivia, Turkey, and South Africa, reminding us that the conditions of workers around the world are now inextricably woven together. But understanding conditions in our own backyard is essential for any accurate worldview.
Sat., July 7, 10 a.m., 2012

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