Politics & Policy

American Brownshirts

Union thugs unleash violence.

‘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.

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.

“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.”

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.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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