Mr. Trump’s ‘Sixth of January’ 2021

First internationalist statements on the failed coup attempt by a political adventurer (Extracts)

The assault on the Capitol on January 6 by an extremist mob of Trump-fanatics in a stillborn last ditch attempt to “subvert” the outcome of the US presidential election of November 3 – the clear loss for the ‘Republican’ candidacy to that of the ‘Democrats’ – and the prompt initiation by the US Congress, on January 13, of a second impeachment procedure against its main instigator for “high crimes and misdemeanors”, mark the end of a rogue presidency bent on undermining the institutional framework of the worlds’ most powerful bourgeois democracy. These events highlight the rifts within its ranks, first of all within a ‘Republican Party’ exposed for enabling a political adventurer to surf on the tide of right-wing populism and extremism.

Whereas the security precautions for the certification ceremony on January 6 had appeared to be surprisingly weak and inefficient (entailing casualties in the row on both sides), one week before the inauguration of the Biden-Harris presidency Washington D.C. has been turned into an armed fortress, and the country as a whole has been put on alert against further disruptive actions expected from the right-wing extremist spectrum and its militia.

The hallucinating events have led to a number of first statements and communiqués by internationalist groups and individuals that we document by extracts, in chronological order.

(Last updated: February 11, 2021)

Assault on the Capitol: Questions and Answers

«We are neither facing an insurrection, nor facing a coup d’état nor the start of a civil war. Trump was sticking to López Obrador’s (AMLO) script: refusing to acknowledge his defeat in order to, on the basis of the denial of reality, maintain leadership over the mobilized masses… and to build a victimizing discourse that would allow him to continue as leader in successive elections. (…) Trumpism is Dorian Gray’s picture of the American bourgeoisie, the symptom it refuses to see of its own decay as a class, of its inability to sustain its dominance over society without fracturing it and confronting it at every turn. And that is scary because it is neither an exclusive disease of the Republicans, nor is it limited to the U.S.»

Communia, January 7, 2021

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Washington: black day for the Capitol, symbol of American democracy

«The assault on the Capitol, initiated and organized by the supporters of a bourgeois faction, that of Trump and the senators and governors who support him, was not at all an attack on democracy in general; it was a violent demonstration by a crowd that was given a material target against which a mass of petty bourgeois dissatisfied with their lives could vent their discomfort and anger. And like any objective to be achieved even with violence, an easy motive was provided: theft, in this case the theft of an electoral victory presented as the victory of this mass elevated to the rank of patriots. Unsurprisingly, after the assault on the Congress building and its vandalization, Trump tweeted: “This is what happens when victory is snatched from patriots”.

The bourgeoisie will have to witness a very different assault tomorrow; the day the proletarian masses, back on the revolutionary ground and led by their class party, will set themselves the same objective as the proletarians of Petrograd in October 1917: the Winter Palace.»

Parti Communiste International (Le Prolétaire), 8 January 2021.

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Trumpist coup reveals fascist threat and Left’s philosophic void

«The violent far-right coup that failed on Wednesday, Jan. 6, was the predictable – and pre-announced – outcome of a campaign of lies, propaganda, and incitement by Donald Trump, most of the Republican Party, media such as One America News Network, and innumerable far-right groups and individuals. The coup’s amateurish incompetence and Trump’s slippery leadership did not negate its deadly intent and fascist content, where Nazi swastikas, T-shirts proclaiming a new Civil War and “Camp Auschwitz,” and Confederate and Trump flags mixed with zip ties (recalling the plot to abduct and execute Michigan’s governor), a gallows, pepper spray, pistols, pipe bombs, and Molotov cocktails. (…) What sort of banner has been raised by the Left that would show the masses a true alternative to both fascism and the crumbling capitalist society that fascism pretends to be an answer to? In truth the Left has mostly failed to raise a clear banner at all; a vocal segment is more interested in supporting “anti-imperialist” monsters like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad than addressing or listening to the U.S. working class, and a great deal of the Left is more interested in unity of the Left as the supposed answer to the Right than in unity of the movement from theory with the movement from practice, and thus accepts the pro-genocide Left as a legitimate part of their “unity”—just as they often end up capitulating to the Democratic Party in practice, even moments after intoning that there is no difference between the two big capitalist parties. The fact is that the Left in general has no confidence in the self-activity of the masses reorganizing society, which is unseparated from their lack of confidence in the power of the Idea, that is, of philosophy of revolution.»

F.Dmitryev (News &Letters Committee), January 10, 2021

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Assault on the Capitol in Washington: the USA at the heart of the world-wide decomposition of capitalism

«These clashes between different sectors of the bourgeoisie are not new. But in a “democracy” like the US, and in contrast to what goes in in the countries of the third world, they normally take place in the framework of the institutions, with a certain “respect for order”. The fact that they are now taking this violent form in a “model democracy” testifies to a spectacular aggravation of chaos within the political apparatus of the ruling class, and this marks a significant step in capitalism’s slide into decomposition. (…) There is nothing to hope for in the “return to democracy” in America. The working class must not let itself be lulled and trapped by the siren songs of the democratic factions of the bourgeois state. It must not forget that it was in the name of the defence of democracy against fascism that the ruling class succeeded in mobilising tens of millions of proletarians into the Second World war, to a large extent under the leadership of the left and the popular fronts. Bourgeois democracy is just the hidden, hypocritical face of the dictatorship of capital!»

ICC, January 10, 2011

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Storming of the Capitol: The Working Class Has its Own Battles to Fight

«The picture we’re getting from the US is shocking and serious. The formal institutional events are the least important. Only two things matter. The first is that, even knowing that there’s no possibility of invalidating the election, Trump has fully mobilised the worst of the American reactionary world which has always seen him as the strong man: the “leader” who would restore the US to its rightful position as number one in the world, ready to fight not only in the Middle East but against real enemies such as China, Iran and North Korea. (…) The second factor is that, in the midst of so much collapse (general economic crisis, the political crisis of the state, businesses and families, which the pandemic has only exacerbated) and which is without parallel in recent American history (not just in recent decades), the proletariat is absent, unfortunately not only in the US.(…) Against all this there is only one way out: either the American working class emerges from the intoxication of a clash between the “good” and the “bad”, between “freedom” and the supremacists, between “democracy” and “fascism”, by recognising that these apparent political divisions are two sides of the same coin, albeit with different images; or it will continue to be the same hell for millions of the exploited.»

Internationalist Communist Tendency, January 11, 2021

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Heart of Democracy: The Riot at the United States Capitol

«The riot at the United States Capitol on January 6 was the convulsion of a dying social system. The deep crisis of capitalism became a political crisis in the leading power of the bourgeois world. The U.S. has not seen an emergency like this one since the outbreak of its civil war in 1861, before it rose to become the leading capitalist power. The extent of its fall – from the triumph of the Union in 1865 over the slaveholders’ insurrection to the seizure of the Capitol by the MAGA mob – seemed unthinkable even a few weeks ago. (…) Anti-communism was a strong influence on the rioters. One person at the vanguard of the push into the Capitol held a sign that read “Communism Is the Real Invisible Enemy.” There were other banners depicting Trump beheading Karl Marx, and communists being thrown out of helicopters in Pinochet’s Chile (with the slogan “Anti-Communist Action”). These statements and symbols are evidence of the contemporary U.S. far-right’s lineage from the Red Scares of the 1920s and 1950s. Their real enemy has always been freedom for the working class! (…) Meanwhile – just because the ghost of democracy is useful to delude the working class and the ruined petty bourgeoisie – the representatives of the bourgeoisie feign outrage at the riot. As with any parent, the big bourgeoisie sometimes needs to discipline its unruly children. So they condemn the rioters and claim that Trump, in his final days in office, represents a threat to democratic values and bourgeois political civilization (some civilization!). The right and “left” deprecate this farce as “an attack on our democracy.” (…) Even supposed “Marxists,” who recognize that the revolt arose from the founding characteristics of the United States, particularly racism, remain subservient to it, although they recognize it as reactionary. We revolutionary communists will certainly be compared to the rioters of January 6 by our opponents, because we dare to fight back against the bourgeois state. We are not the “opposite extremism” to the fascists who rallied on January 6: all of them want to be part of this state; we will abolish it! »

International Communist Party (Florence), January 15, 2021

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« The relief that Trump is gone is palpable, but there is a danger that the focus on Trump will not just burnish Biden’s credentials and credibility, but also obscure the culpability of capitalism itself. Its imperatives will shape the Biden administration’s policies. That sense of relief that many now feel will help pursue capital its domestic and foreign policy goals; and Biden will execute those goals more intelligently than Trump did. An intelligent steward of capitalism is no less dangerous, indeed more dangerous, than an incompetent one. Those who dream that the Biden government will be a step to a more peaceful world will be in for a rude awakening. The deepening of capitalism’s crisis, the impoverishment it entails, will continue to foment social conflicts, the scarcity of profit will inflame inter-imperialist tensions. The main threat to the power of US capital is China, that focus doesn’t change from Trump to Biden. But confronting China will require mobilizing allies in Europe and Asia, in contrast to the Trumpian America first, and most of the time America alone, vision of foreign policy. The renewal of American commitment to global alliances and renewed American participation in multilateral agreements and agencies, will put real teeth in the global alliance to confront Beijing. Trump’s foreign policy was heavily based on rhetoric, but Biden’s foreign policy may very well be more confrontational in reality. »

Sander (Internationalist Perspective), January 15, 2021.

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The Coup That Wasn’t

« The conspiracy enthusiasts, the mini-militias, the militants for the right to reopen small businesses and demonstrate their individual liberty by courting illness — these represent reactions to the more important abyss that has opened up before America, and the world: the abyss of economic stagnation of a depth and duration suggesting an acceleration of capitalist decline. (…) Characteristic institutions of present-day society, such as electoral democracy, are breaking down along with the foundations of that society. Neither the backward-looking celebration of individual initiative (…) nor the equally backward-looking revival of anti-fascism, demanding a renaissance of the New Deal, will lead to a way out of this abyss. In contrast, last spring’s demonstrations, demanding something new — the end of the systematic oppression of some people by other people and an end to the state’s policed defense of the status quo — showed the possibility of a way forward, just as did the attempts of people all over the world to meet the challenge of COVID-19, in the face of government incompetence, by their own efforts. Now apparently exhausted not just by disease and death but by the failure of the Movement for Black Lives to make much headway against the forces of order, that movement will have to revive and reconfigure itself as a struggle for mass survival if the abyss is to be traversed. In the current chaos of information, misinformation, fear of disaster, and desire for life, it is on attempts to create a new way of life, not to preserve or revive an old one, that we must focus. There is no going back, only forward, into the abyss or across it. »

Paul Mattick, January 20, 2021 (Brooklyn Rail Field Notes, February 2021)

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Illustration copyright: “Alcatraz Island photo D Ramey Logan.jpg from Wikimedia Commons by D Ramey LoganCC-BY-SA 3.0