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(en) Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group: THE TRUMP PUTSCH by ablokeimet
Wed, 13 Jan 2021 10:19:09 +0200
The following statement was released by the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group
on 10 January 2021. ---- It is important to call the events of Tuesday 6 January
in Washington DC in the US by their proper name. It was an attempted Fascist
putsch, consciously incited though not directed by Donald Trump. It was an
attempt to prevent the US Congress taking the final step to authorise the
inauguration of Joe Biden as President a fortnight later. It failed and we're
glad it did. ---- Capitalist media organisations are notoriously unreliable at
estimating numbers at political events, but it's clear that at least tens of
thousands of Trump supporters attended a demonstration in Washington under
Fascist leadership. Up to a couple of thousand people, including organised
Fascist groups and known Fascist identities, stormed the Capitol building (the US
Parliament House). The mob included not a few off-duty cops who were seen
flashing their IDs to the Capitol Police on the way in. The rioters disrupted the
proceedings, which were a certification of the results of the Electoral College,
and took over the meeting chambers and many other areas of the building.
Photographs have emerged from inside showing men in combat gear, carrying weapons
and zip ties for handling prisoners. Eventually, the rioters were forced to
leave. Congress resumed its session and recognised the result of the Electoral
Police treatment of the Washington event was remarkably light, especially
considering that Fascists had been threatening for weeks to storm the Capitol and
that Black Lives Matter protestors have been met with overwhelming and aggressive
police violence. Leftist demonstrators would never have been given the
opportunity to reach the steps, let alone breach the doors and break windows.
Instead, several cops posed for selfies with members of the mob. At a later
point, a woman Trump supporter was shot dead by Capitol Police. Three other Trump
supporters died from "medical emergencies" (only one of which occurred inside the
Capitol) and a cop died the next day.
Trump incited his Fascist followers to storm the Capitol as a last ditch attempt
to prevent Biden's inauguration, following the refusal of Mike Pence (Trump's
Vice President) to prevent it by acting in his role of presiding over the Senate.
This was after a series of attempts by Trump to frustrate the inauguration of
Biden. He called rallies of his supporters outside counting centres; launched
dozens of court cases, losing on all but a handful of minor procedural points;
and tried to heavy various State governors and officials involved in the election
process. His phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State was recorded and
released on the Internet and showed just how desperate Trump was becoming.
The Trump putsch, if it had been successful, would have transformed the United
States into a Fascist dictatorship. Trump's private army would have swept away
the legislative branch of government. To make it stick, he would have been
compelled to sack and/or arrest thousands of public officials - including,
possibly, judges. But to carry through a putsch in defiance of a democratic
election, it's necessary to have plenty of friends in high places. Trump found he
didn't have nearly enough friends. He was beaten by the Deep State.
The failure of the putsch is a major blow to Trump. He has forced many Republican
politicians, including the Vice President, to break with him. Most of the rest of
the country is enraged. He has now been forced to promise a peaceful transfer of
power on 20 January. This is both an admission of defeat and a concession that
his conduct until now has contained an implicit threat of a coup.
There is no precise analogy from well-known history, but the closest one is Adolf
Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch of 1923. A relatively small group of people attempted,
with daring action, to deliver the government of Germany into the hands of a
dictator. The failure of the putsch was a setback for the Nazis, but the Weimar
Republic treated the putschists with kid gloves. Hitler was sentenced to only
five years prison and was released after nine months. Worse, successive Weimar
governments eroded democratic rights with frequent states of emergency and left
Germany's social problems unresolved. Hitler was able to rebuild his political
credibility and then capitalise on the crisis created by the Depression. And we
all know what followed that.
The Beer Hall Putsch analogy contains a lesson. Trump has given his enemies an
opportunity to put him out of business, but the Democrats won't follow through.
The Fascists who stormed the Capitol building are being denounced by everyone,
including Trump, and will probably be hung out to dry, but the consequences for
Trump himself won't be anywhere near hard enough. And the way Biden governs will,
in due course, rehabilitate Trump. Left to their own devices, the Democrats will
pave the way for the revival of Trump's political fortunes.
Democrats will make their own assaults on democratic rights. Already, Biden has
called the people who stormed the Capitol "domestic terrorists" and Democrats
across the board have picked up on his cue. In using this term, Biden isn't
referring to the pipe bombs and the truck full of Molotov cocktails found in
Washington, which have hardly got a mention in the mainstream media. He also
wasn't speaking about the death of a cop, which occurred after his statement. The
"terrorism" he was denouncing was what was on everyone's TV screens - a mob
breaking windows, occupying the Capitol and disrupting a sitting of Congress.
Biden knows what he is doing. By denouncing Trump's foot soldiers as terrorists,
he is preparing for a broader crackdown on political activity outside accepted
political channels. Any new laws or police powers will apply as much to the Left
as to the Right. They will be used by the cops with glee against the Left and not
at all or hardly ever against the Right. And Democrats denouncing (with equal
parts ignorance and malice) the rioters in the Capitol as "anarchists" will have
real consequences for actual Anarchists.
The first lesson to be drawn is that the US bourgeoisie have not given up on
capitalist democracy. It is their preferred form of rule, since there are too
many capitalists to fit inside a single palace. While the capitalists are
prepared to abandon democracy if it is necessary to preserve their power, they
fear that a dictator would rule in the interests of one faction of capital rather
than the capitalist class as a whole.
Secondly, there is nothing surprising about the events in Washington. Not the
Fascist mobs. Not Trump's incitement. Not the complicit approach of the cops. Not
the failure of the putsch. Not the Democrats' turn to "law and order". And not
the liberals' surprise at all of these things except the last.
The Democrats will handle the aftermath of the putsch in a way that will
strengthen the Right. They will pass yet more repressive laws. They will wax
lyrical about the precious institutions of capitalist democracy and vehemently
denounce the invaders of Congress. But when it comes to prosecuting and
sentencing, many of these invaders will get kid glove treatment.
Finally, we need to realise that liberals are not our friends. They are not
quietly on our side while we do the dangerous stuff. When push comes to shove,
liberals want the heavy hand of the State to suppress Right wing dissent. They do
not support working class counter-mobilisation. When the workers of the United
States make a revolution, they will disperse the liberals' precious Congress -
themselves - not to establish a dictatorship, but to allow the mass organs of
workers' democracy to take power. And they will need to be prepared to defend
themselves against a last-ditch violent reaction by the old regime, supported
whole-heartedly by the liberals.
For the time being, Trump is badly wounded and the Republican Party is deeply
divided. The Fascists are demoralised because Trump is dumping on them to save
his own skin. The Democrats are angry and also feel vindicated.
Anarchists in the United States need to ensure that the organisers of the Trump
Putsch are clearly identified as Fascists for the world to see. Anarchists need
to seize the opportunity to break the links that have been developing between
them and the mainstream Right and calling the Fascists by their true name is an
essential part of that. And Anarchists need to run hard against the Democrats'
agenda of righteous "law and order" and neo-liberalism. Biden was always going to
be a bad President. The Trump Putsch means he'll be worse.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Posted on 10 January, 2021 by ablokeimet
This article first appeared in The Anvil, Vol 9 No 6, published 31 Dec 2020.
The US Presidential election is over and Donald Trump has lost. While he has
convinced his hard core supporters than the election has been stolen from him, he
has failed to get sufficient backing from powerful actors to mount a coup. Joe
Biden will take office on 20 January.
Biden will have no honeymoon. The previous two Democratic Presidents faced a
massive Right wing reaction as soon as they took office, although they had no
opposition worth noting from the Left. The Republicans will try a third time to
mount a reactionary movement and Trump will probably lead it. Biden campaigned on
a platform of being a "normal President" - but "normal" politics is precisely
what led to the election of Trump in 2016. Left to his own devices, Biden will
bring the Washington establishment even further into disrepute and set the stage
for Trump to be re-elected in 2024 (health permitting). Biden will rule for Wall
Street, allow inequality to grow unchecked and confine progressive policies to
gestures that will infuriate the Right while not satisfying the burning needs of
the mass of workers in the US.
There is a new factor. Obama took office when the grassroots Left was small, weak
and inexperienced. As a result, there were massive illusions in him, something
that demobilised the Left for some years. Under Clinton back in 1992, the
situation was even worse. The Left was ideologically shattered by the collapse of
the USSR and its organisations were falling to pieces. The capitalists were
celebrating the "death of communism" and proclaiming "the end of history". Now
the grassroots left is confident and growing, having left full or partial
ideological dependence on the USSR behind. For the first time since LBJ, a
Democratic President will take office with a grassroots challenge from the Left.
The social movement in the United States faces a fundamental strategic choice.
Either it works through the Democratic Party or against it. Every movement throws
up a layer of activists who use it to climb into Parliament, but the crucial
issue is whether the movement will follow them and divert itself into
Parliamentary channels. The moment the movement tones down its actions or demands
to suit the fortunes of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's finished
as an independent force. It's not for nothing that the Democratic Party is known
in the US as the graveyard of political movements. It's happened so many times
before that activists have no excuse for not seeing it coming.
Anarchist communists in the United States need to avoid being distracted by the
siren call of demands to change the Democratic Party. The priority must be to
build the grassroots struggle, in whatever sphere it erupts, while engaging
patiently with those who think there is currently no alternative to the
Democrats. And the argument has to be that "We - the grassroots movement - are
the alternative to the Democrats. We're creating facts on the ground to which all
politicians must respond in some way, while the organisations we are building are
the new society within the shell of the old."
Finally, we must consider the fields of struggle available. The struggle against
the police and their racist violence, the struggle for immigrants' rights and
against borders and the struggle to prevent rampant climate change have all
generated strong grassroots movements in recent years. The first of these
struggles is the one that has shaken the United States the most, because US
capitalism is founded on the legacy of slavery. The demand that the State merely
recognise that Black lives matter is enough to undermine the stability of its
order and send the cops into a frenzy of violence.
The militant demonstrations against the police murder of George Floyd, for
example, were entirely justified and spread like wildfire. Demonstrators can be
beaten off the streets, however, as eventually happened in Minneapolis,
Louisville, Atlanta, Portland and elsewhere. What would give this struggle, and
all other struggles, the social weight to win would be bringing it into the
workplace. If grassroots radicals were strong enough in the labour movement in
Minneapolis to force the staging of a one day general strike there, the
capitalists would have been hit where it really hurts. Cutting off the flow of
profits would achieve far more to defund police and change their behaviour than
any amount of reform pursued electorally.
The workplace is the source of the capitalists' power, so the struggle in that
location is decisive. It is the vehicle for fighting the economic inequality that
is driving down living standards for US workers for the first time since the
Great Depression and fuelling the growth of Fascism. It is, though, much more
than that. The struggle in the workplace can unite the multi-racial,
multicultural and gender diverse working class in the fight against all forms of
social oppression and build the solidarity needed to make the revolution to
overthrow capitalism as a whole.
After Trump, the fundamental task is the same as before.
BUILD THE CLASS STRUGGLE
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