Street Demonstration, SW 4th & Oak, 1932

From the police historical “Red Squad” archives is this 1932 image of anti-war protesters purportedly outside the Japanese consulate on SW 4th Avenue. The view is to the north and the first cross street is SW Oak.

A2001-074.92 Anti-war march-Japanese Consulate SW 4th Ave 1932(City of Portland Archives)

18 thoughts on “Street Demonstration, SW 4th & Oak, 1932

  1. For Fourth Avenue, a surprising number of these buildings still exist.

    It’s interesting seeing the Lincoln Building to the immediate left in its pre-remodeled state. This quarter’s Oregon Historical Quarterly features a couple of articles about the 1938 replacement of the state Capitol building. I wonder if some of the facelifts (or strips) were inspired by the minimalist approach to the Capitol building.

  2. communist party in the 30,s was well-organized and funded.
    most of those folks would be disillusioned after WWII. just saying
    no coincidence that the signs were professional. occupy was so amateur by comparison

  3. I like the sign saying make the rich bankers pay the service members bonus referring to the bonus army I think. Also the sign about troops in the phillipines. That war was brutal and bloody.

  4. While the Japanese Consulate may have had their offices there, I find it more revealing that the protesters are outside the Board of Trade Building. I’m not familiar with the War of the Phillipinnes, but I don’t see why the protesterrs would be petitioning the Japanese Consulate for withdrawal of forces from Latin America and the far East. Perhaps someone with more knowledge can answer that question.

    Also, it just makes more sense to me that members of the Communist Party would be making their views known outside Portland’s center for international commerce.

    Finally, like the Occupy protests, this seems to be a diverse comglomeration of many different interests; not just those of the Communist Party.

  5. IN 1932 Japan wasn’t even really doing anything other than random skirmishes with China. The second war between China and Japan started in ’37. We supplied Japan with oil and other important resources up until the start of WWII.

    I really like the one sign that “We will fight the enemies of the Soviet Pioneers.” Hard to imagine such a sign today. I wonder if it was sensational at the time, or just a reasonable alternative in political leanings.

  6. The Communist Part protest wasn’t about Japanese troops — this is 1932 well before the war. They are protesting the presence of US troops in those locations.

  7. There were Japanese troops in in China at this time no US troops. From wiki ” Japan invaded Manchuria outright after the Mukden Incident (九一八事變) in September 1931. After five months of fighting, the puppet state of Manchukuo was established in 1932, with the last emperor of China, Puyi, installed as its puppet ruler”

  8. What you see here is one of the local demonstrations leading up to and in support of the “Bonus Army” movement that would culminate in the disgraceful actions of the Hoover Administration and General MacArthur in Washington DC later that summer. That other political factions and causes would seek to attach themselves and take advantage of such a movement is unsurprising. Also unsurprising is the discovery of this photo in files of the reactionary red under every rock squad. Keeping the Bolshies down was their answer to the horrors of the Depression.

    For further information search Bonus Army and watch also the excellent Ken Burns Documentary.

  9. @ Mike: From wiwi: 1932 – China. American forces were landed to protect American interests during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai.

    Clearly the Japanese didn’t have troops in either Latin America (ever) or the Philippines (for almost another decade) so I think it’s clear the gripe the CPUSA has is with the US Government (“Bonus Army”, bankers, war preparations, etc.)

  10. Several posters are assuming this is purely a Communist demonstration. If that were so, you’d see a hammer-and-sickle or two — they were never shy about displaying it. Certainly some of the demonstrators must have been Communists since the Party was big at the time, but those signs show Socialist and Pacifist slogans. The Red Squad may not have cared much about such fine distinctions, but differences in ideology — and mutual animosity — was pretty extreme between the Communists and other movements.

    And of course there were “Worker’s” movements that were right-wing, isolationist, and even racist. In 1932, there was full-scale fighting between China and Japan. One didn’t have to be a leftist to believe that this war was not a U.S. concern.

    Forgive the plug, but here’s a review I wrote on “The Sand Pebbles”, a novel about U.S. sailors in the China river patrol. Set about 10 years earlier, but not without relevance.

  11. excellent book called “reds’ goes into detail about communist party in america,very real reasons for its popularity during the great depression.they had a lot of front groups too,many people involved were unaware of who was really backing these groups.portland cops back then more interested in graft than politics

  12. another relevant called i believe imperial voyage delves into our misadventures in the phillippines and the far east. book is by same author as letters from iwo jima.teddy roosevelt and arthur macarthur, douglas’ father do not come across very well. also reference “the damned human race” by mark twain. he was there
    for the spanish american war and was disgusted by what he saw……

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