The Labor moves continued to expand during the Great Depression, but more successfully in the North in areas like the steel mills of Pennsylvania. As opposed to the sharecroppers or tenant farmers, these tended to be voters (this was before civil rights), and they organized voting campaigns to both influence New Deal politicians as well as change the elected officials within their area.
Often union organizers would come in and march and picket for increased wages. As you can imagine this became very volatile as most of the country was out of work, but since steel was crucial for many industries, they still were working some. So while factory conditions were bad (even terrible at times) those folks were making far more money than much of the country. Wealthy owners of factories hired security, hired police as security, and bought weapons and ammunition. During protests, some organizers created a family atmosphere, and union members brought their children in some cases. Shootings occurred with some deaths and many injuries both from the rush as well as the bullets. You can imagine the chaos. Union organizers were accused of being communists. It is true that communists did make up a portion of the unions, and that they were very vocal. All of these sorts of activities continue today. As many of these factories have shut down, but seeing the organized union activities as well as the OWS movement, we could see similar strikes occur and continue and get stronger.
One wonders if we go to war with Iran and Syria, and if we have to re-tool the factories to create more armaments locally, then if this will be allowed to happen at all?
Because many states are bankrupt, and city workers as a result end up losing their jobs (like policemen or troopers), but since security will always be needed in some capacity, we very well could see a transition to private security firms, but possibly at much lower wages and benefits. The very people who work as public servants might transfer into these roles. The impact of security versus policemen would mean a strong armed force but without the restrictions instituted by being a representative of the government for law enforcement. I find this a very plausible but troubling potential issue. As more and more clashes occur, and people being human, misunderstandings and some people (not most law enforcement as they honourable) could lose their ability to act in controlled ways and terrible violence could occur.
Historically soldiers have been used “to kill people and break things”. If they are asked to be peace keepers (law enforcement) but because they are not trained in this, really terrible use of force could occur. There are reasons that our military is not asked to perform in this capacity. As the military may be called in an emergency, and because they must justify their budget, and because of recent legislation, we could betray the sacrifice we ask of our soldiers and sailors by demanding that they do law enforcement of our civilians. Either soldiers could be killed by hesitating in treating citizens as the enemy, or they could repel citizens as the enemy. This must not happen. Because of Afghanistan and Iraq, we have many soldiers who've been trained to be an occupying stabilizing force due to a lack of reliable police and military in those countries. Those soldiers could end up occupying US states to bring order...and this should make us all shudder.