PoliticsNation | December 12, 2012
>>> welcome back. now, you and i may think the big story in the michigan union fight is that more than 12,000 people turned out in the freezing cold to peacefully prote protest the republican powergram taking away worker's rights. but the folks over at fox news have a different version. to them, the real story is that one guy took a swing at another guy. here's the video they've had on a loop in the last 24 hours . aparentally, showing a protest to hitting a man who turned out to be a fox news contributor.
>> now, there is no excuse for violence. but there are some important things to know about this. one, the video has been edited and we don't know exactly what happened before the incident. two, it happened at a tent set up by the coke brothers, americans for prosperity. why did an anti- union group set up a tent in the middle of a pro-union rally? we don't know. but we do know that over on fox news they went crazy using this to cover up the real story .
>> now, you can see on the screen left is a fox news contributor. and he was in lansing today. he was viciously assaulted by a union member. a punch in the face.
>> repeatedly punched in the face.
>> punched in the face.
>> including that assault by union thugs.
>> the guy there punched in michigan . he's going to join us here next.
>> don't be distracted. and don't think for a minute this fight is over. the battle, the peaceful battle for workers' rights has just begun. joining me now is former u.s. congressman mark shower, democrat from michigan and a member of laborer's local 355. he was pepper sprayed by police during those peaceful demonstrations right outside the state capital . also with me, joy reed, managing editor of the the grio.com and managing msnbc contributor. thank you for being here.
>> thank you for having us.
>> congressman, what happened with you yesterday?
>> well, i was proud to help lead a demonstration outside of a state house of representatives , you know. i worked in that building for 12 years. and i knew the best place to stand to give ourselves an opportunity to express to the house of representatives a voice of michigan . there were hundreds of us there. we were loud. we were expressing our displeasure with this terrible legislation. expressing the frustration that we've been completely shut out of the process. and, initially, mounted sheriff's deputies lined up to create a barrier from the building, which was fine. and then state troopers lined up to create another barrier. and then they began to push us. and i tried to negotiate with the state trooper . i said, look, i used to work there. what's your objective? they said to protect the building. i said let's just draw a line here that we won't cross. at that point, after the answer was no, i was hit with pepper spray in the side of my face in my left eye . others got it much worse than i did. it was unnecessary.
>> but the fact of the matter is whether this incident, whether it was clearly, as you say, should be dealt with and the altercation that fox is running, they were not representative of the day. moe most of the day, 99% of the day was peaceful, would you say?
>> reverend, i'll tell you, i couldn't be prouder of the conduct, the behavior, the messages of over 12,000 men and women from organized labor and beyond. there were, you know, pro-choice people, social justice people, faith community, environment lists there telling the legislature that right to work is bad for michigan , will hurt our families and hurt our state.
>> now, joy, the fight ahead, because i wanted to establish there was incidents, but it was mostly peaceful. and the fight ahead must be peaceful. michigan 's gop and the union challenges recalls ballot initiatives. where does the fight ahead lead?
>> i think that the unions are obviously squaring for a fight. just real quickly, rev, it is ironic to me that fox news, which is a network that claim that had the tea party was mischaracterized because people showed racist signs that were actually there is trying to refrain this entire fight to fit their old narrative of unions being political thugs. i think what unions are going to have to do now is use the infrastructure that they built for the 2012 election. and, more effectively, deploy that infrastructure in a midterm. that's been one of the failings, really, of democrats, typically. but really with the labor movemeunion movement, in midterms u it tends to fall off. not this time. it looks like in michigan , you're going to have unions organizing to, number one, combat the way the law was pushed through. but, also, to go after those politicians that voted for it.
>> congressman, not only in michigan , this year, you saw a lot of people despite some very clear voter suppression strategies come out even though they cut some of the early voting in half, even some states had photo id, came out anyway, stood in line and turned it around. some nonpartisan groups did the sa same and had people make their own choice. will we see this happen around the country with the midterm elections now becoming a new point of organizing and people come out in a surprising number. you have in 2014 what you have in governor wisconsin, pennsylvania and, scott, in florida. it could be a very decisive year if people do what they don't always do. and that's come out during the midterm election year.
>> we've seen the right wing's play book. we've seen governor snyder's true colors . i warned -- i predicted to organize labor that if we failed to amend our constitution, to preblgt for right to work and other attacks on labor, that the legislature would quickly enact this anti-worker legislation. they did. i was right. we are energized. i'm ready to go. i know my brothers and sisters are ready to go and hold those who -- and activists, accountable. it will be a broad coalition. it will be a people's movement. we will work until this is undone.
>> all right, congressman. joy reed, i'm going to have to leave you there. thank you both for your time tonight.