One hundred years ago, on July 22, 1916, the San Francisco plutocrats of the day sought to convince a skeptical working class in our city that ramping up armament production in preparation to join the raging European war would be a glorious enterprise. They staged a great civic parade down Market Street.
Someone disagreed, setting off a pipe bomb in the crowd, killing 10 people, injuring 40. Naturally the city fathers blamed anarchists and union leaders. Thomas Mooney and Warren K Billings were labor agitators with a history of knowing how to use dynamite. They were convicted of the crime despite no evidence of guilt. Radical campaigners struggled for decades to save them; they were not released and pardoned until 1939.
Walter Thompson has assembled the story at Hoodline.
After the bombing, Hearst-Pathé newsreel producers made a propaganda film about the events, pitting "anarchism" -- the era's label for terrorism -- against "liberty."
The film remains fascinating. I particularly enjoy the upper class marching ladies in their "liberty" finery. I would recommend running the video at full screen at double-time for the best effect. This having been the silent film era, there is no sound; the movie theater pianist would have provided accompaniment.