In 1934, a strike started by longeshoremen up and down the West Coast escalated into a general strike involving 150,000 workers, shutting down the city of San Francisco for four days. On July 5, or “Bloody Thursday,” police fired into a crowd of picketing workers, killing 3 and injuring 115. When unions called for a general strike, the mayor declared a state of emergency and police raided the homes and meeting places of suspected “radicals,” “subversives,” and “communists,” arresting 300 in one day. The general strike of 1934 brought the city of San Francisco to a boiling point of class struggle, and would have a pivotal impact in the growth of a militant labor movement across America during the 1930s and 40s.
I’ll be using pages from FoundSF.org to illustrate the epic battle, the context, and what happened afterwards..