Statement from the League for a Fifth International International and Workers Power USA originally posted at fifthinternational.org
The storming of the US Capitol by a mob of fascists, at the instigation of Donald Trump, was an abortive attempt by the cornered but still vicious President to coerce the Congress (and the Vice President) into abandoning the certification of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
Before, during, and after the election, Trump whipped up his core supporters by claiming that the Democrats were going to ‘steal’ the election, then that they had done so. Small irony then that it was Trump himself who was caught begging Georgia Republican Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,000 votes to grant him victory in the state.
In several tweets he summoned his supporters to Washington on 6 January for a “wild” attempt to halt Biden. On the day itself, he addressed the rally in person, calling on his supporters “to be strong” and inciting them to “walk” down Pennsylvania Avenue to the seat of Congress to support the minority of Republicans attempting to obstruct the certification of Joe Biden’s election. His personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, even called for “trial by combat”.
Clearly it was no accident that the normally heavily guarded Capitol complex was left with only a token police presence to deal with a mass demonstration that had been whipped up into a frenzy by Trump. Indeed, pictures show police opening metal barriers to let the mob through.
Whatever intrigues were behind this highly suspicious disposition of the security forces, contrasting vividly with the heavily armed paramilitary forces that confronted peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators in June last year, the outcome has been the opening wide of divisions within the Republican Party between Trump supporters and much of the GOP establishment. It has also seen the rallying of the capital, if not behind Joe Biden, at least in defence of constitutional order.
For four years, the “respectable” Republican establishment has had to rely on an unstable demagogue to mobilise the vote for them. Many of them were happy to go along with his futile attempt to subvert the result of the election. A large number of GOP Representatives still voted against ratification.
Launching vexatious legal claims, making verifiably false claims of fraud, importuning generals to intervene, and even attempting a brazen vote-rigging, were all apparently acceptable to many of them.
But summoning a demonstration to intimidate the seat of bourgeois representation and interrupting the sacred ritual of the transfer of executive power from one party to another with a violent provocation was going too far, as doubtless the cadres of the “deep state” made clear.
Despite the ignominious collapse of the putsch, its significance is two-fold. Like the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch, it has given a focus to all the white supremacist and fascist groups and it has drawn them into a far-right mass movement. It remains to be seen how this will develop but it is certain that Biden and the Democrats in government pursuing the policies of economic liberalism, will not drain the racist swamp in which they flourish.
Nevertheless, Joe Biden has won control of both houses and now his programme will be put to the test. It is inevitable that he will do little or nothing on healthcare for all, so vital in the pandemic, little to control the killer cops, little to tackle the mass wave of unemployment. Last, but not least, the Democrats will prove totally useless when it comes to defending democratic rights, either against the state forces or the growing forces of the fascists.
The first test, resisting the fascist provocations, might come as soon as Biden’s Inauguration. The labour movement, BLM and youth, the Democratic Socialists, need to mobilise powerful self-defence forces to sweep the fascists off the streets wherever and whenever they appear.
But all the exploited and oppressed need a working-class programme to deal with the linked covid-economic-climate and democratic crises. A programme of hope, based on expropriation of the bosses’ wealth and democratic planning on a world scale, which is the only alternative to the neoliberal Democrats and the far-right politics of despair.
To do this means building a party of the working class, independent of the pro-capitalist fakers Bernie Sanders, and the ‘Squad’, a party whose members organise the working class in the workplace, communities, and streets, as part of the class struggle to overthrow capitalism and inaugurate the socialist revolution.