Radical Labor History in San Francisco

I spent this week at the Union for Democratic Communications conference in beautiful San Francisco where I gave another presentation about my work on the UFCW and the Walmart strikes. In addition to catching up with old friends at the conference I managed to carve out a little time to learn more about the city’s amazing history of class struggle. Click the photos below for larger versions.

Vesuvio Cafe and Jack Kerouac—where beat poetry was invented.



City Lights Bookstore—one of the most important bookstores in the United States. Their cofounder went on trial for publishing Allen Ginsberg. The basement is filled with the best collection of radical politics I have ever seen in a brick and mortar.

My good friend, comrade, and fellow Texan Robert Jensen speaking at City Lights Bookstore on his new book Arguing for Our Lives.

The Condor Club—the birthplace of the world’s first topless and bottomless entertainment. It was the home of American cultural icon Carol Doda.

Japantown pagoda.

Bloody Thursday installation commemorating the deaths of Howard Sperry and Nick Bordoise. The two picketers where shot and killed by police while taking part in The Big Strike of ’34.

Panel from Anton Refregier’s “History of California” mural commissioned by the Works Progress Administration in the 1940s. This particular panel is known as the Torchlight Procession. The picket sign which extends off of the canvas was censored because of fears Refregier was a communist agitator. The sign simply featured an endorsement of the eight hour work day.

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and site of the Preparedness Day Bombing of 1916. Labor activist Tom Mooney was tried and sentenced to hang for the bombing. Mooney served 22 years in prison before finally being pardoned in 1939.

The most dangerous man in the United States Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame speaking at the 2013 UDC Conference.

Campus of the University of San Francisco.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>