‘Every once in a while, you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Michael Capuano (D., Mass.) told a February 22 union rally in Boston. Even if union members and their supporters missed Capuano’s call to mayhem (or his subsequent tepid apology), many of them are on the same brutal wavelength.
Although Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) still is recovering from a January 8 assassination attempt, the Left’s post-Tucson civility campaign has vanished like gunsmoke in a desert breeze. Rather than make nice, labor activists and fans star in YouTube videos, preaching and perpetrating violence.
On February 23, unionized government employees held a Providence, R.I., “solidarity rally.” As columnist Michelle Malkin reports, a local TV cameraman named Adam Cole was recording the event. After about seven and a half minutes, a YouTube video shows a pro-union thug screaming at Cole, “I’ll f*** you in the ass, you faggot!” whereupon he forcefully smacks Cole’s camera with his right hand.
Holding a sign that reads “CWA — Taking a Stand for Justice,” a Communications Workers of America member protested that day at the Washington, D.C., offices of pro-market FreedomWorks. As its employee Tabitha Hale recorded him exchanging words with an opponent, the CWA member physically attacked her, as her iPhone video confirmed.
Tea Party Express activist Rodney Stanhope, former executive director of the El Dorado County, Calif., Republican party, was among a group of limited-government advocates who rallied at the state capitol in Sacramento on February 26. MoveOn.org members, Teamsters, and other Big Labor types gathered across the street. For about an hour, Stanhope says, the tea partiers yelled, “We pay your salaries,” while the unionists replied, “Fascists, go home!”
YouTube shows a young, bullhorn-wielding Teamster heading menacingly toward Stanhope.
“I told this guy, ‘You need to leave,’” Stanhope recalls. The Teamster then “took a punch and knocked me back about two to three feet. I felt my hand was in pain. I stepped back up, and he threw another punch at my throat.”
After eventually getting local police to issue a battery citation to Teamster Richard Andazola, 28, Stanhope received first aid for his swollen hand and headed for a hospital.
“I went to the emergency room and got X-rays,” Stanhope says. “It was not broken, but I had contusions.” Four days later, his hand still hurts after a few hours of typing on his computer keyboard.
In Atlanta that day, Dr. William Greene and several other free-marketeers protested near the Georgia state capitol in favor of Gov. Scott Walker (R., Wis.). According to Greene, two pro-union activists at a competing MoveOn.org demonstration crossed their anti-union picket line.
“Out of nowhere, all of a sudden, I get slammed to the side against a wrought iron fence and down onto the pavement, by one of these guys who wanted to push through,” Greene said online. “The guy came through and cold-cocked me from behind,” Greene recalled, and the blow slammed him into an older woman who stood nearby. “When he shoved me, he shoved her, too.”
“I have been involved in activism at the grassroots level for many years,” Greene added. “This is the first time that I have ever been physically assaulted personally at a protest or counter-protest.”
At another protest, an interviewer asked what should be done with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “Put him back in the fields,” suggested Don Wallace, former head of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles. And what about the leader of Fox News? “Roger Ailes should be strung up,” Wallace proposed. “Kill the bastard.”
Like a Labor Day parade in reverse, unions are losing ground. They represent a shrinking share of America’s workforce. When their Democratic allies in state legislatures decide to show up for work, they have started losing votes to right-size their privileges. The “labor” movement looks like a leisure movement, given union activists’ evidently infinite time to abandon their classrooms and other work sites so they can scream in the streets. And now they have revealed themselves as the Brownshirt element in America’s public life.
— New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.