The raging union-led protests in Wisconsin have resulted in many Americans taking a closer, more critical look at labor unions and their political clout and influence in shaping policy. With the ubiquitous announcement from AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka that he is granted an audience at the White House “nearly every day,” the American people have become more skeptical of unions and the role that they play in the political process.
Spawning this renewed attention to organized labor are reports that Democratic politicians have been endorsing violence as a legitimate means of protest and political expression. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) has gone as far as telling a crowd of protesters at a union rally that they should be unafraid to “get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” and several other protesters took Capuano’s advice to heart, as former Tea Party Republican congressional candidate Marty Lamb, who ran against Democrat Rep. Jim McGovern in the 2010 elections, was reportedly brutally pummeled to the ground by union operatives at the same rally where Capuano issued his charge to violence.
However, the events that are unfolding now across the country must be placed within the context of organized labor’s broader history of violence and its historical embrace of brutal physical force as a means of legitimate political expression (which crosses the line into what is commonly defined as terrorism). The violence surrounding the various labor uprisings across America is part of a broader culture of bloodlust and savage turbulence within organized labor that has marred the movement since its inception in the late 19th century. It has clear roots in violent, anarcho-communist ideology that lacks any regard for natural rights of life, liberty, and private property — and it threatens the very foundations of our constitutional republic.
Under the presidency of Grover Cleveland, organized labor began to gain clout, and also assumed a bloody persona, as evidenced by the willingness of unions to use savage force to get their own way. The first tragedy to put labor unions squarely within the national consciousness was the Haymarket Square Massacre of May 4, 1886, in which striking union workers threw a bomb at Chicago police, killing eight police officers and countless civilians, after being incited to their lethal rampage by socialist Samuel Fielden (not unlike how Marty Lamb was beaten after the crowd of unionists was inflamed to violence by “progressive” Rep. Capuano).
Similarly, whenever labor unions perceive any threat to their hegemony and dominance in the workforce, they have a propensity to react with bloodshed. On July 6, 1892, union workers at Andrew Carnegie’s steel plant in Homestead, Pennsylvania were enraged when after going on strike, Carnegie hired non-union strikebreakers, resulting in the Amalgamated Association of Steel and Iron Workers union battling private Pinkerton guards and the Pennsylvania militia. Likewise, on May 11, 1894, 4,000 employees of George Pullman’s railroad company erupted into violent riots, sabotaging the delivery of mail (interstate commerce) to innocent Americans, and forcing President Cleveland to send in federal troops, declaring: “If it takes the entire army and navy of the United States to deliver a postal card in Chicago, that card will be delivered.”