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Laborfest: Harry Bridges Trial & Chinese Immigration at Angel Island

Saturday, July 02, 2011
11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Angel Island, SF Bay, Angel Island Immigration Post - Mess Hall - North East side of the island
Please go to the Mess Hall inside the Immigration Post Building
Please wear comfortable shoes as you may need to hike for 30 minutes.

The Trial of Harry Bridges and Chinese Immigration at Angel Island (Free event)
Talk by Harvey Schwartz and Mike Daly
In 1939, the US government held the first of five trials in an effort to deport Australian born ILWU president Harry Bridges for being a member of the Communist Party. The first trial was on Angel Island, which also was an immigration station for newly arrived immigrants and war prisoners. ILWU historian Harvey Schwartz will provide a report on the effort to deport Harry Bridges and Ironworker Mike Daly will report on the history of immigration of this important island, especially Chinese builders of California. Learn about the arrival at Angel Island of the Pearl River Delta Taishan people who were largely responsible for building the early infrastructure of California.

Please go to the Mess Hall inside the Immigration Post Building.
Please wear comfortable shoes as you may need to hike for 30 minutes.
Ferry from San Francisco by Blue & Gold $17.00
From Oakland $14.50 (415-773-1188)
Tiburon Ferry $13.50
Departure Schedule to Angel Island
From SF Ferry Building - 9:20, 11:20 AM
From Pier 41 - 9:45, 11:45 AM
From Oakland - 9:00 AM
From Alameda - 9:10 AM
From Tiburon - 10:00, 11:00 AM
Departure Schedule from Angel Island
To San Francisco - 4:40 PM
To Alameda/Oakland - 3:10 PM
To Tiburon - 3:20, 4:20, 5:20 PM

Information on Harry Bridges and the 1934 General Strike that made San Francisco a union town, which strike this Laborfest commemorates annually.

LaborFest was established in 1994 to institutionalize the history and culture of working people in an annual labor cultural, film and arts festival. It begins on or about July 5th, the anniversary of the 1934 “Bloody Thursday” when two workers, Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise, were shot and killed in San Francisco. They were supporting the longshoremen and maritime workers strike. This incident brought about the San Francisco General Strike which shut down the entire city and led to hundreds of thousands of workers joining the trade union movement.

The organizing committee of LaborFest is composed of unionists and unorganized workers, cultural workers and supporters of labor education and history. We encourage all unions not only to support us with endorsements and contributions but also to include activities about their own union members, their history and the work that they do.

The 1934 strike was a turning point for working people not only in San Francisco but the Bay Area as hundreds of thousands of workers joined unions in the middle of the last great depression. Today, with mass unemployment in California, we face great challenges again.

Labor and the trade unions are under a virtual state of war with one attack after another on labor’s basic rights. The coordinated political corporate propaganda attack on basic worker and human rights continues unabated. Some are even seeking to bring back child labor and the elimination of all union protections and health and safety rights.

The right of public workers to negotiate their working conditions is being challenged not only in Wisconsin, but also throughout the country. Public workers are being blamed for the decline of the economy and the deficits in state and local governments. The right to a decent wage and a defined pension, and even Medicare and social security that allows retirees to live decently is also under threat.

At the same time, the right to public education faces the greatest threat since the 1930’s as thousands of teachers and education workers are laid off, and the privatization of our public colleges and universities continues unabated.

This year, LaborFest will honor not only the San Francisco general strike of 1934 but also the 125th anniversary of May Day, which began in Chicago in 1886 with immigrant workers. At the time, the fight for an 8-hour day took on an international character with actions throughout the world. Today, many US workers including even those with union jobs must work 2 and 3 jobs to pay their bills.

We will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the New York Triangle Fire, where 146 mostly immigrant Jewish and Italian women were killed. The doors were locked to the roof and the lack of strong health and safety laws were a direct cause of the deaths. Today we need to defend and strengthen our health and safety protections as they are under attack as well.

It is also the 150th anniversary of the US Civil War. This war against slavery in the South was not only an issue for the South and the survival of the union, but for California, where some slaveholders sought to make California a slave state. Archie Lee an enslaved African American was brought to California in the 1840’s, escaped, was captured and escaped again to get his freedom right here in San Francisco.

We will also honor the workers who are building the new Eastern Span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with a maritime history boat tour, and will also continue with our walk on the Golden Gate Bridge with the skilled union workers who keep it strong. Without our labor, there would be no bridge, no public education and rights that defend working people.

Only by education, unity and action can labor reclaim its power and rights and LaborFest hopes to contribute to this task. We thank the many unions and members who have contributed to this festival financially and with their labor. We thank the working people of this city and this country whose labor and creativity have contributed to our lives.
Added to the calendar on Sun, Jun 12, 2011 9:50AM
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