This weekend, the city of Astoria is commemorating the 100th anniversary of an important meeting. It was a gathering of West Coast laborers, who were committed to no less than the overthrow of what they considered to be an oppressive colonial power. Not the American government, the British. And not in America or Britain. In India.
Indian laborers gathered at the Finnish Socialist Hall in Astoria in May of 1913, and this meeting was critical to the formation of the Ghadar Party. Ghadar means “revolt” or “rebellion,” and this newly-formed Indian nationalist party was instrumental in inspiring West Coast Indians to return to their native land to fight for independance.
This story was not well known until Johanna Ogden got a hold of it. She uncovered the formation of the Ghadar Party in an article she recently wrote for the Oregon Historical Society. Click play, above, to hear Ogden discuss the Ghadar Party in Oregon.