In May of 1970, in what later became known as the “Hardhat Riot“, a group of New York City construction workers organized by the AFL-CIO lashed out against a group of anti-Vietnam-War hippies in lower Manhattan. Seventy people were injured in the two-hour melee.
One wonders if such an occurrence is not possible in lower Manhattan now as the Occupy Wall Street protest stretches into its third month. People are getting sick of Occupy Wall Street, as this NBC News 4 story about a plan by some lower Manhattan residents to “Occupy the Occupiers” illustrates. What began as a protest has turned into an unqualified, unfocused freak show and an “enough-is-enough” sentiment can be heard every day on New York City buses and subways.
I wouldn’t expect union workers to go after the protesters this time, though. The dominant unions in New York today are public employee unions – AKA New York’s Working Family Party — and they are helping drive the OWS show. But one can feel reactionary anger building in the air nonetheless. Something to watch.