San Diego Free Speech Fight Commemoration

02/08/2012 6:00 pm

Commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Free Speech Fight at the original site of the struggle, 5th and E downtown San Diego.

As part of our month-long celebration of the fight for free speech, we will be re-enacting speeches from the original confrontation between authorities and protesters, complete with soapboxes, music, performances, and special guests -- in the very place where it all began.

2012 is the 100-year anniversary of the San Diego Free Speech Fight, one of the most important moments in the history of the city of San Diego. During the winter and spring of 1912, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and their allies in labor and the community engaged in a pitched battle against a city ordinance that banned public speaking in the area around 5th and E Streets in downtown San Diego.

During the course of this struggle, many were arrested, beaten, and even killed for asserting their rights to public speech and assembly—for the simple right to stand on a soapbox and speak. The response to what started as an organizing drive for the local IWW turned into a national cause to defend the rights of ordinary working people and citizens of all classes to free speech, with thousands of people flooding into San Diego, defying the ban, and filling the jails in protest.

Read more about the Free Speech / IWW Organizing Fight,

Free Speech Fight Exhibit @ the Centro opening night coverage,
Free Speech Fight @ City College coverage,

Event Location: 
5th and E downtown San Diego