Press Releases

LaborFest Commemorates 1934 Strike with Films, Music By CASSIE NORTON

Tuesday July 05, 2005

A film festival today, Tuesday, July 5 in San Francisco marks the beginning of LaborFest, a month-long celebration of working people and a commemoration of the 1934 general strike, when the businesses of San Francisco shut down in support of the striking dockworkers. 

The International Working Class Film and Video Festival at the Four Star Theater begins at 6 p.m. with a reception and features the premier screening of The Concrete Revolution, directed by Xiaolu Guo, who will be in attendance. It focuses on the construction boom in China and the workers who make it possible. Mardi Gras: Made in China, directed by David Redmon, depicts the contrast between the Mardi Gras partyers who display the familiar, brightly colored beads, and the sweatshop laborers who make them. Mardi Gras starts at 7 p.m. and The Concrete Revolution at 8 p.m. The event costs $8.50. 

Though most of the events taking place from July 5 to July 31 are in San Francisco, several are in Oakland and Berkeley. 

On Wednesday, July 6, Humanist Hall in Oakland hosts a viewing of two movies: Il Effecto Iguazu, by Pere Joan Ventura, and Bloodletting: Life, Death, Healthcare, by Lorna Green. The first is a documentary of the 2001 struggle by 1800 Spanish workers who were laid off by the national telephone company. The latter follows a filmmaker who travels to Cuba to explore its healthcare system, only to return home where two family members, uninsured by their employers, have developed illnesses. The show begins at 7 p.m. and costs $5. 

Another movie night takes place the following Wednesday, also at Humanist Hall. The Latin American Working Class Film and Video Festival screens RAYMUNDO: The Revolutionary Film-Makers’ Struggle, about the life and work of Raymundo Gleyzer, one of the most important Latin American filmmakers, kidnapped and murdered by the Argentina’s military dictatorship in 1976. It is directed by Ernesto Ardito and Virna Molina and is in Spanish with English subtitles. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. and costs $5. 

Movie nights continue on subsequent Wednesdays until the end of July. All are at Humanist Hall, begin at 7:30 p.m., and cost $5. Most are in Spanish without English subtitles. For more information see 

On Thursday, July 14, La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley celebrates Bastille Day with a concert. Bastille Day is the French Independence Day, a commemoration of the beginning of the French revolution. On July 14, 1789, French citizens stormed the Bastille, a prison used to hold political prisoners. This year, “From Bastille to Bush” features international labor musician Anne Feeny and others, as well as videos about labor movements. It begins at 7:30 p.m. and has a $10 - $12 entrance fee. 

Cody’s Bookstore in Berkeley hosts a reading from Wobblies: A Graphic History of the Industrial Workers of the World, edited by Paul Buhle and Nicole Schulman on Friday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. Labor historian Buhle will talk about the history of the Wobblies through the use of art and stories from the book, published this year for the anniversary of the founding of the International Workers of the World. Cody’s Bookstore is located at 2454 Telegraph Ave. 

That’s it for events outside San Francisco, but for those willing to travel, there’s at least one event every day in the city. Other highlights include a Monday, July 11 rally for a contract by the San Francisco Chronicle workers at noon at the Chronicle building, and a workshop by local labor writer and historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. “Writing Workshops for Working People” on July 23 at 1 p.m. at the EXIT Theater encourages workers to write about their lives to defy the corporation-controlled media’s attempt to prevent a growing consciousness among laborers, according to LaborFest’s website. 

For more information on any of these events and those in San Francisco, see or call (415) 642-8066.›