So it is not like violence by union members in Michigan against pro-right-to-work activists came as any big surprise to me … or should have to any other sentient being. I mean, this comes after a couple of years of incidents involving members of the SEIU – better known as the Purple People Beaters – and Tea Party protesters going at it. Not that our gutless establishment press organs ever seemed to take notice … or as little notice as they can and still retain a few lingering shreds of credibility, while they remain prostrate and adoring the mighty figure of Ozymandius … sorry, Obama. And in pop-culture circles, historically unions seem to enjoy at least a token respect, for which I hold Hollywood responsible. Why the entertainment industry adores unions, as they are full of plucky, honest blue-collar laboring types, and if it weren’t for unions, why we would be working seven days a week, up to our knees in toxic sludge, owing our soul to the company store, and breaking rocks in the hot sun … oops, sorry, flashback there to about a million Phil Ochs pseudo-folk songs.
This sentimental fondness persists to this day, even though it would appear that most people in the here and how who have had any personal encounters with any sort of union, either public employee or the private sector do not seem to have been left with a good impression generally, either as a consumer, a customer, a worker, manager or business owner. I’d venture to guess that most of the public also do not have a terribly good opinion of the senior management cadre of unions like … say, the Teamsters. Theoretical good will towards the historical struggle for the rights of working men and women is balanced against a present-day monstrous, self-serving, and possibly criminal – or criminally incompetent reality.
Anyway – the kerfuffle in Michigan will resolve itself one way or the other. My own personal hope is for criminal prosecution, or a civil suit, but in this current atmosphere, I am not holding my breath. No, what concerns me about this is something a little deeper … the willingness to do violence against the ‘other’ and a perfect willingness to do it in public, before cameras, and apparently in the assurance that there will be no repercussions … ever. Shades of the brown shirts and black shirts of the twenties and thirties in Italy and Germany, energetically going after political opponents and even relatively uninvolved citizens … because it is perfectly OK to bash opponents over the head and beat them bloody. Why … oh, just because they deserve it, because they don’t agree enthusiastically with the prevailing and carefully-cultivated orthodoxy. And because they disagree, and because they have been effectively ‘othered’ or ‘monstered’ it is thus perfectly OK, even laudable to beat them up, shout them down at public speaking venues, harass their families, sneer at them on television, flame them on the internet, libel them in publications and movies, ‘swat’ them, and trash whatever area they might be using for a meeting place or headquarters, vandalize their motor vehicles and other property … all that and more is legitimate and acceptable.
I have noted this going on increasingly since 2004, and picking up steam in 2008, although certain elements have been in play for longer than that. I watched it happen close up when posting at Open Salon over the time that I was blogging there, although I tried to avoid the more fetid depths of political nutbaggery on offer. I had the disconcerting experience of being active in a local Tea Party from the earliest days of that movement, and then observing how easily and efficiently – and without any basis in fact at all – that the meme of Tea Partiers as racist-stupid-red-necked-reactionaries was perpetuated in the general public by a consortium of the mainstream press, on TV and among the commentariat. Now that vicious meme is embedded in a good segment of the public like an impacted wisdom tooth – even among people whom I would have thought might know better. It was frustrating and frightening to me, how thoroughly it took hold among the OSers and in the general public who had never, ever actually gone to a Tea Party meeting or rally – and just about all of it without a single element being true (at least in the case of the Tea Party I belonged to and the ones that I had direct knowlege of). Now and again I did try to point out the dangers of reducing people with whom one had political differences to a caricature and then metaphorically burning the caricature at a stake. That way leads eventually to burning real people at a stake, or consigning them to reeducation camps. I don’t know that I had any success in making this plain with any but the most thoughtful and philosophically-inclined.
And very likely it is too late to make this clear to those who are already ready, willing and eager to work out their frustrations by beating up on the ‘other’ – as has been demonstrated in Michigan this week.
(Cross-posted at www.ncobrief.com)
20 thoughts on “See the Violence Inherent in the System!”
Good post. This is all very, very frightening.
Your corporate masters have waged war against the union concept for many years. As they control most of the media the common theme of brutal union minders has been driven into the American psyche.
The tea party managed to make it’s self ridiculous and to partly fill congress with perhaps the dumbest group that has ever been there.
I have been both a Teamster and a member of the SEIU. No problems with either group as a worker.
Wrethcard just laid down a good one on this subject:
“The beating of journalist Steven Crowder by union supporters in Michigan highlights once again the role that extra-judicial intimidation plays in politics.
* * *
“It is often argued that the radical left is but one part of the spectrum of democracy. That is incorrect. Democracy is really a completely different thing from it. In the end Mao Tse Tungs vision of power must either be defeated by representative democracy or consume it.”
“Your corporate masters have waged war against the union concept for many years. As they control most of the media the common theme of brutal union minders has been driven into the American psyche.”
PenGun, my faith in your intelligence is shaken. I was also a Teamster and I wonder if you ever attended a strike vote. I did and it affected my beliefs about unions.
Thanks Sgt Mom – this is sad but perhaps not surprising. We’ve seen it on campuses and the waterfront. And we know why Hollywood glorified unions – Reagan knew who he was dealing with; The Waterfront[‘s villains were rightly seen as conflating the unions and the Party which stood behind them, guiding the plots of scripts and hiring of directors. A movie like America, America (also by Kazan) shows what the rule of law offered to his immigrant uncle. But Kazan was a beleagured exception.
The lighting around the worker’s camp in The Grapes of Wrath (as well as around Henry Fonda, that Nebraska boy whose beauty almost mitigates an irritating self-righteousness) distracts us from asking how that idyllic camp was created in the midst of depression poverty. At points last fall I wondered if Romney was going to be defeated by all those villains – the businessmen of countless movies and television and novels, then of endless classrooms. And maybe he was.
In the plains, we had a different perspective. I suppose the unions did good. I don’t know. But I do know featherbedding doesn’t just kill industries, it kills spirit. The very phrase “that isn’t in my job description” (usually from someone from the East, someone whose culture was influenced by unions and the stratifications of old-line companies) was a sign an employee wasn’t just lazy, but also incapable of pleasure from finding solutions to customer’s problems.
As in Wisconsin (and on any campus where a conservative comes to speak), these Michigan people seem barbaric, but they also seem, well, dead – unable to come up with an argument, unable to put together a reason why requiring union membership is a good idea (hell, I can think of a couple and I’ve always hated unions). They just foam.
Good to know you’re okay with beating people PenGun.
Did you miss PenGun’s apologia for the Canadian firebombers in the recent thread? “They just wanted the [outsider] to leave.”
“As in Wisconsin (and on any campus where a conservative comes to speak), these Michigan people seem barbaric, but they also seem, well, dead – unable to come up with an argument, unable to put together a reason why requiring union membership is a good idea (hell, I can think of a couple and I’ve always hated unions). They just foam.”
Bingo. Mike Kennedy pointed this out in my thread about how it was the same ‘ol same ‘ol re Wisconsin vs. Michigan “protests”. It is all about keeping what they have (at least for the longer tenured union workers), and that is going away. The model simply isn’t competitive. They have no original ideas and never, ever march because unions do better quality work, or because they have solutions to, well, anything.
Back to the original point of the post – of course that guy(s) should be prosecuted, and absent that, the guy who got hit should sue the attacker(s). The left loves to use the courts, no reason to use their own playbook against them. I am sure that the guy could find a blood sucking lawyer who will do it for free or for a settlement portion so he wouldn’t have too much out of pocket.
The Unions are an organ of the Progressive State, and hence the State.
So there is little refuge in the Law, some but not much. At the State level perhaps.
So if that’s the limit, and your frightened…well…give up.
If not; what, who? WHAT?
Do you see PenGun giving up, being frightened, or hestitating to endorse violence? [I doubt employ personally].
Are you going to be enslaved by those weaker than you?
Taking refuge in traditional politics, of course it’s ugly as it’s a street fight over scraps of wealth that *do not exist*. As they are all well aware, they ran the enterprise into bankruptcy. This is a mad scramble for chairs before the music stops.
Now if we were governed by democracy – we are not – the course of the public sector unions would be to organize their own permanent ruin, along with all connected to them as happened with the British Coal miners. This is exactly what they are doing.
I think you’re mistaken however if they are going to be stopped by democracy when their factions power comes from HAVING POWER not granted by the voters.
Shady Doc will come through for them if he judges them worthy. There’s always welfare, and pension$.
I’m certain they’d love to have the ratification of democracy but it’s not the core of their actual power – which they will never surrender in a thousand elections.
But if they at the critical moment suffer a fatal lack of will – cowardice really – the people might prevail. That’s not much to bet on. East Germany would have been unlikely to collapse absent West Germany in sight, the American Military, Pope John Paul II, Thatcher and Reagan. Also none of them believed it anymore, and they were bankrupted.
That set of circumstances is unlikely to re-occur. So if it doesn’t…??
THIS really needs to make the main thread.
Union Thugs Demolish Lansing,Michigan Hot Dog Vendor Clint Tarver’s Equipment, shouting “N*Gger, Uncle Tom”
Yeah, Republicans and Tea Party types are the racists in America….
“Yeah, Republicans and Tea Party types are the racists in America….”
We are in a strange period in American history. What we have now is worse than the “yellow journalism” of the Spanish American War era. We have an ascendency of a left wing party that has some connections to radical ideology which includes violence in its tactics. We have a “journalism” that is uninterested in describing activities of that party which might break the laws. I see a growth of real conspiracy theories that may have some rational basis, such as vote fraud, but there is no source of reliable information to dispel such theories that are excessive.
It is a very dangerous time. The economy is weakening and the ability of the US government to borrow is dependent on the rest of the European world being in even worse shape. China is weakening and has a ferocious history of government oppression that killed about 50 million of its citizens only 50 years ago. The 1930s in the US was a time when undemocratic ideologies were being experimented with. We will see that time again. The political left is playing with fire. When Obama has a Supreme Court appointment, he will try to reverse decades of judicial precedent. The Second Amendment will be high on his list., That will fuel the most dangerous of the conspiracy theories. There is a sort of racial triumphalism going on right now.
This will not end well.
Definitely, they should be prosecuted, sued, and the legal system should be operating in an unbiased fashion. The question is whether it is still capable of operating in that fashion. Given recent history, it does not look like it is. I would find it somewhat heartening [and the Left disheartening] if the assailant whose pictures are out there committing the act, and whose union local jacket with his name on it is clearly visible in the pictures, was arrested and prosecuted for the felony he committed on camera. What odds do you give that of happening? You reach a point where “should happen” has to yield to “this is the way it is going to happen, regardless”.
Our political/legal system gives every sign of breaking down. The structures are there, but have been re-purposed. Politics are how a society allocates power and resources short of brute force and murder. It can be any form, according to the culture, from pure democracy to a god-king, but it is the accepted structure/means. When a political system fails, or is deliberately broken, matters default to brute force and murder until a new system predominates.
If the old system is not successfully defended, then the period of violence is inevitable. And what arises will be in part based on that period of violence.
The “canary in the coal mine” is on life support, and the Left is unplugging the ventilator.
I have more thoughts on the subject at the Richard Fernandez post cited above. I am not optimistic. I try to be realistic.
“I have been both a Teamster and a member of the SEIU. No problems with either group as a worker.” –Pengun
That’s because you were paying them to leave you alone.
You should know that in southern California, where Wal-Mart has attempted and recently made progress in competing in the grocery market sector, SEIU members, dressed incognito, have been known to enter Wal-Mart stores and filled up shopping carts with refrigerated perishables (dairy, eggs, meats). They then hide these perishables underneath clothing and other non-refrigerated merchandise to spoil.
I’m sure you’re simpatico with that too. You beautifully minded Canuck you.
While deaths in Civil Wars have been great and many see wars as evil in themselves (whatever the causes on either side), more deaths in the twentieth century were citizens killed by their own governments. Over a decade ago, the Atlantic published a chart of the twentieth century – towering over deaths from war were the graph points for such internal murders (only one year – one year’s trench warfare in WWI – were deaths in wars larger than internal ones). Democide casts a darker, longer, and more pervasive shadow than does war. But still, faced with Saddam’s mass murders, some see the American army as the greater killer.
It certainly takes a lot of optimism to think this will end well. The lawless are encouraged by the government, the violent by the press – we’ve seen that (whether it was the fear as well as hatred Stalin engendered or that of . . . well, we have so many to choose from) and when the government’s power and the press’s voice serve to split a nation & marginalize the opposition, we have reason to fear. The least bad thing that can happen is our spirit will be squashed. People who loved their children and wanted them educated did not speak out, for instance.
If you are with the OWS crowd, or part of a black lynch mob, or a blue-collar union worker, you can openly break the law and commit felonies with impunity. The dinosaur media will dutifully dip its head and soft-soap the entire affair. And the police will give you a de facto armed escort, but will not arrest you, because to do so would ‘escalate the situation.’
You know where we’re headed, folks. The Vigilance Committees are coming back, just as sure as God made little green apples. It’s an autoimmune reaction when they people we pay to enforce the law won’t. It’s not a liberal or conservative thing. It’s an American thing. For Chrissake, there’s a small contingent of aggressive sociopaths in the Castro District in SF who are parading around naked, and arch-liberal City Hall won’t prosecute them, and the cops won’t arrest them, and who’s up in arms about this? Practically the entire gay community in the Castro. And the rest of the city is backing them up. We are Americans; we DEMAND you enforce the law in our public spaces. And ultimately there is only one thing a beleagured, frightened, disgusted community of Americans can ultimately do when the state drops its end of the load on our foot.
I can see why cops might not want to be grabbing naked gays in SF. They might spit or bleed on them.
If someone punches you, punch back. Then let the lawyers work it out.
The Law is simply the will of men. Other men preying on you in this case.
The relationship of the Unions/OWS to the government is the relationship of the Tonton Makoutes to the Duvaliers. It’s not as bad because they’re ultimately afraid – of us – and not as bold.
wait I forgot the next one: GET YOUR OWN GANG.
“I’m sure you’re simpatico with that too. You beautifully minded Canuck you.”
I actually think using Walmart is treason. You betray your local businesses for a few $s in savings. I will never enter a Walmart.
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