Manufacturing labor-union ‘thuggery’

In its losing battle to destroy labor unions (right after it promised the nation to get the jobs back), the Repugnican Tea Party is using the same old tattered page from its playbook: Play the victim (while being the victimizer).

Drunkard Repugnican Tea Party leader John Boehner proclaimed yesterday in typical Repugnican Tea Party rhetoric, “We’ve given them [unionized public employees] a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials, and they [the local officials] really have their hands tied.” (I am a unionized public employee and don’t own a machine gun, nor am I into bondage. Just sayin’.)

The wingnuts employ the term “thug” (as in “union thug”) and its derivatives and synonyms ad nauseum in their current campaign of union-bashing.

Of course, it helps if you provoke the members of the pro-labor side. You know, to “prove” what “thugs” they (we) inherently are. Which is what I watched a bunch of “Tea Party” traitors do here in Sacramento at the California state Capitol on Saturday (on which there were pro-labor gatherings of various sizes in all of the states’ capitals in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin).

I estimate that on Saturday there were at least 1,000 pro-labor protesters at the California Capitol in the second pro-labor rally there within the same week, and about 100 “Tea Party” traitors who also were there, across the street, for no other apparent reason than to provoke the pro-labor side.

(Anticipating the presence of the “Tea Party” antagonists, I brought a sign with me that on one side read: “‘Tea Party’ Traitors’ ‘Founding Father’ is BENEDICT ARNOLD!” with a portrait of the infamous traitor below, and on the other side was featured a graphic of a coiled rattlesnake under which were the words: “DON’T TREAD ON THE WORKING CLASS!”)

From across the street, the “Tea Party” traitors, one of them in a three-cornered hat with a tea bag hanging from it, and at least two of them with bullhorns, heckled us pro-labor protesters for more than an hour and a half. Among many things, they repeatedly played that song with the lyric, “Na na na na hey hey hey good-bye!” (you know, in celebration of their anticipated destruction of the labor unions), rubbed their eyes in order to call us crybabies, and in general acted like the right-wing fucktards that they are.

We on the pro-labor side, among other things, chanted at the “Tea Party” traitors that they are “fascists!” (because they are), chanted “Shame on you!” (for their treason against the working class), and, when the “Tea Party” traitors quite stupidly chanted, “The party is over!”, those of us on the right side of the debate chantingly responded: “The Tea Party is over!”

(At one point, one of the “Tea Party” traitors with a bullhorn actually informed us that we “are living in the past.” Which is pretty fucking funny coming from a “Tea Party” dipshit whose cohort is wearing a three-cornered hat and who [by definition] wants to drag us back to the Dark Ages.)

I don’t assert that the “Tea Party” traitors don’t have the First Amendment right to attend pro-labor gatherings. They do.

But what they do is intentionally provoke the pro-labor side with the hope of getting photos and/or videorecorded footage of someone on the pro-labor side getting physical — and then they post this on the Internet as “proof” of “unprovoked” “union thuggery.”

Which is exactly what they did on Saturday.

Again, I watched the “Tea Party” traitors bait those of us on the pro-labor side for more than an hour and a half, and apparently at one point a member of the Teamsters got into a very brief shoving match with a “Tea Party” traitor.

One of the “Tea Party” traitors captured video of this and put the video clip on YouTube, and the shoving match happens so quickly that if you blink, you’ll miss it.

Of course the “Tea Party” traitor who posted the brief altercation on YouTube posted it without any fucking context whatsofuckingever. You don’t see any footage of the “Tea Party” traitors there relentlessly baiting the pro-labor side. You see only the altercation itself, as though it had occurred in a fucking vacuum. Because if you saw the context within which the altercation happened, the right-wing claim about those “union thugs” would lose its strength.

The mainstream media, too, though, love conflict.

A photographer for the Sacramento Bee managed to get this dramatic photo just before the aforementioned brief shoving match began:

Protest photo.jpg

The guy on the left is the Teamster and the guy on the right is the “Tea Party” traitor. Their brief shoving match happened in my vicinity, and I didn’t even witness it, that’s how brief it was; I didn’t even learn of it until after I went home and saw the photo on the Bee’s website (and then the wingnut’s short videorecording of it on YouTube).

While admittedly it’s a great news photo, it certainly isn’t representative of the events on Saturday. I never witnessed anything like this in the more than an hour and a half that I was there.

I don’t know the Teamster who is photographed above, but I do remember seeing him at the pro-labor gathering on Saturday. He did strike me as somewhat of a little pit bull whom you wouldn’t want to mess with, but I have no clear idea of what happened between him and the “Tea Party” provocateur.

And to be fair and balanced, I will report that some on the pro-labor side shouted some things at the “Tea Party” traitors that they (probably) shouldn’t have, such as “cocksuckers!” and (via a bullhorn) an unfunny empty threat that the “Tea Party” traitors had five minutes to clear out (a thinly veiled threat of violence, even though no reasonable person would have taken it seriously).

But as much fun as it might be, you cannot, in fairness, paint all of the members of a group as the same based upon the actions of a few members of that group. Every group of size has its outliers.

Further, when someone’s livelihood is threatened (or he perceives it to be threatened), and you then heckle him about this fact, oh, guess what? He just might respond physically — especially if he is prone to physically acting out when he is angry.

But you don’t get to intentionally provoke someone and then, when he finally snaps and gets physical, claim that he inherently is violent or unhinged or the like and that you are as innocent and pure as the driven snow! Which is what the “Tea Party” traitors have done in this case.**

Frankly, the “Tea Party” traitors who did their best for more than an hour and a half to enrage the pro-labor side were lucky that all that happened was a brief shoving match that they then got to post on YouTube wholly out of context. At one point on Saturday, I truly wondered whether or not the pro-labor side might actually surge across the street and attack the “Tea Party” traitors who were baiting them/us, but alas, they/we did not, and overall, those on the pro-labor side showed remarkable restraint (to the disappointment of the camera-wielding “Tea Party” traitors [real “warriors” for their “cause”], I’m sure).

Tip: If you have a videorecording device (I don’t), it wouldn’t hurt to bring it with you if you anticipate a contingent of “Tea Party” traitors showing up at your event (and if your event is about promoting the public good, then you probably will see some “Tea Party” traitors there to promote their agenda). You at least could show that the “Tea Party” traitors do their damnedest to try to get a violent response to their venom and bile from their opponents.

Many if not most of the “Tea Party” traitors I saw on Saturday were taking photos or video, primarily in order to intimidate us, from what I could tell (it didn’t work), but also they probably hoped to be able to post any photo or video footage of a “Tea Party” traitor being attacked/“attacked” by a “union thug” — you know, like obtaining a scalp.

In a court of law, however, I don’t know how you could claim to be an innocent victim after you first had provoked your attacker relentlessly in the hope that he would attack you. (Judge Judy would slap you upside the head for that kind of shit, methinks.)

And in the court of public opinion, the members of the jury need to know that the “Tea Party” traitors are doing their best to capture photographic “evidence” of all of that supposed unprovoked “union thuggery” out there in order to support the Repugnican Tea Party’s national propaganda campaign that unprovoked “union thuggery” is rampant — very apparently in order to turn the undecideds against members of labor unions.

Just don’t expect to see any of this “evidence” of “union thuggery” presented within its context of the relentless baiting by “Tea Party” traitors that precedes it.

Because that would fuck up the fairy tales that the treasonous wingnuts are trying to sell.

*The Bee’s crappy “reportage” of Saturday’s event undercounted the pro-labor side at only 400 people and overcounted the “Tea Party” traitors at 150. No way was the actual ratio anything like 400:150. It was much more like 10:1. (As I noted recently, it seems to me that the mainstream media don’t hesitate to undercount the center-left, anticipating no real backlash, but probably are terrified to undercount the center-right, and thus inflate their numbers in order to be safe from right-wing backlash.)

**And in others. See Salon.com’s Alex Pareene’s recent reportage on this phenomenon here and here.

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