This article was originally agreed as a Liaison Committee For the Fourth International statement and published on 12 Jan. However since it was published, some differences have emerged with comrades in Latin America about the call for a military bloc with Biden and state forces defending the legitimacy of his election, and in particular the criticism of state forces for not using deadly force against the fascist attackers. So in keeping with our long-standing position of permitting the public expression of differences, two articles now have been published.
The political line of the other article, which is reproduced below ours and linked to in the original Portuguese, is not one that we have major differences with, indeed we would endorse many of the additional points included attacking the Obama/Biden administration about its imperialist wars in Syria. Libya and Ukraine, and its own record of deportations of immigrants. We also agree with its statement that the Trump attack on the Capitol was a danger to the working class and its call for the Trumpists’ defeat therefore. But in our view, this implies a military bloc, but no political support, for the existing Congressional/Parliamentary regime, whose forces are loyal to President-Elect Biden, against the Trump forces, which of course gives the possibility of criticising the forces you are blocking with for not supressing the Trumpists with sufficient deadly force.
We consider our position on this to be the same as that of the Trotskyist movement in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-39l, which gave military support, but no political support, to the Spanish Republic against Franco’s fascist/military insurrection. Of course the whole issue was intertwined with the Spanish revolution that errupted, triggered off by Franco’s revolt, and in betraying the revolution, the Popular Front created the conditions for its own defeat by Franco. Unfortunately today, the US working class does not have the level of consciousness of the Spanish proletariat in 1936 and in particular has no mass working class parties. Nevertheless, key elements exist in common between the two conflicts. A fascist attack on a bourgeois parliamentary regime, in an imperialist country, such as Spain in 1936 or the US in 2021, has to be fought off in any situation of this type.
For those who have not yet recovered from the impact of 2020, a very striking year that began with the assassination of one of the most important military leaders of Iran by the USA in the heart of Iraq, a year that had an economic crisis and pandemic, 2021 began on the 6th January and this unprecedented event will be the hallmark of this convulsive year.
In the fiercely contested November 2020 Presidential election Donald Trump got 74 million votes. This exceeded the votes of winning presidential candidates in all previous elections in the US. But it was far exceeded by his opponent, Joe Biden, the victorious Democratic challenger, who got 81 million votes. Biden’s margin of more than 7 million votes, in terms of US Presidential Elections, is a considerable margin of victory, close to landslide territory both in absolute and percentage terms, not quite up to the level of Barack Obama’s redoubtable landslide in 2008 let alone Ronald Reagan’s super-landslide in 1984, but not far behind those. And on both sides, the absolute numbers involved are far greater, a reflection of the political polarisation fuelled by Trump’s white nationalism and a greater popular resistance to it, that was channelled in the absence of a working- class political pole, into Biden’s Democratic Party campaign.
Trump’s attempted coup was motivated and agitated for based on fatuous allegations of electoral fraud, together with megalomania, and white supremacist politics. He pushed for the invasion of Congress, the parliamentary centre of imperialist democracy, to respond to the pressures of his radicalized base and not appear weak to them.
The race question is key to why Trump lost the 2020 election. In 2016 his semi-fluke victory was gained by mobilising a section of demoralised, mainly white workers from the former heavy industrial rustbelts against ‘globalism’ – immigrants, and jobs going overseas. It was tacit white supremacy and in part directed against Obama as the first black President. ‘Birtherism – the allegation that Obama was born outside the US and thereby ineligible to be President, was key to Trump’s appeal.
Part of Trump’s appeal in 2016 was to national isolationism and weariness of the neocon wars that have been waged by both Democrat and Republican administrations for decades. But the subtext of Trump’s programme was to replace them with trade wars, with China, or with the European Union. Which themselves bring the threat of future imperialist wars. But his supposed antipathy to armed interventionism was shown up for what it was by his attempts at coups in Venezuela, and most notoriously by the murder of Iran’s General Suleimani a year ago. This was personally ordered by Trump and even more brazen than Obama’s drone attacks on Al Qaeda and ISIS militants. It was driven by Trump’s hatred of the defeats Iran has inflicted on US clients in Syria and Iraq. He used Twitter to openly threaten both Iran and North Korea with nuclear attack. His policy towards Israel is an open endorsement of Zionist genocide without any attempt to smooth things over with ‘peace processes’. Its openly ultra-right.
The Trump movement is a reactionary response to neo-liberalism, not in any sense a class-conscious movement of working-class people. The MAGA people, even when proletarian, are not class-conscious workers. They still must learn some basic political lessons and lose their imperial, racial arrogance. They are the same layer that voted for Brexit in Britain. They are a jealous lumpen layer lamenting that the decline of US/UK imperialism has robbed them of a privileged labour aristocratic status. Hence the appeal of ‘Make America Great Again’ and Brexit.
This movement has considerable similarities in many ways to European fascism and Nazism in its objectives, though thankfully so far it lacks the cohesion and determined cadre that those movements had. This is because it has not been steeled in battle against a powerful workers movement; in the United States, as in Europe, over the last 40 years once powerful trade unions have been gutted by the internal collaboration of pro-capitalist labour bureaucracies that have acquiesced in the attacks of neo-liberalism.
This has led to social discontent, instead of being directed against the capitalist system, being channelled into nationalism and the identity politics of oppressor peoples, such as white US Americans, in some ways apeing the identity politics of the oppressed which has become widespread on the left as a despairing response to neoliberal attacks and the failure of the workers movement to fight them.
But the identity politics of the oppressor is qualitatively worse and more dangerous than the identity politics of oppressed groups, just as in general the nationalism of the oppressor is qualitatively different and more dangerous than the nationalism of the oppressed, and in today’s conditions such movements as Trump’s resemble fascism and contain many outright fascists and Nazis. This is why Zionism is so dangerous and played such an important role in Trump’s movement and his administration, which broke with the subservient but lukewarm attitude of previous US administrations towards Zionism and openly supported Zionist aspirations to simply destroy the Palestinian people.
Zionism is a prime example of the identity politics of oppressor peoples, trading on the history of oppression of Jews to justify racist crimes today. It acts as a kind of junction box for the joining of older fascist-type nationalism with more modern kinds of identity politics. The fact that some of Trump’s prominent white supremacist supporters declared themselves to be ‘white Zionists’ is highly significant. It can also happily coexist with fascists and neo-Nazis who still espouse anti-Jewish hatred – the pro-Zionist Trump tweeted support for the Proud Boys far right group some of whom sported the acronym ‘6MWE’ (“6 million [Jews] were not enough”) at Trumpist demonstrations against Biden’s election victory in December. The aim of fascistic Zionism in such things is to prove to the old far right that other groups, not Jews, should be the target of their hatred, and that Jews are among the ‘superior races’ who should be doing the oppressing and massacring.
From the point of view of black US Americans, notwithstanding the fact that the Trump movement was not steeled in conflict with a strong militant workers movement, the overthrow of constitutional government in the US by Trump’s movement is a potentially deadly threat. Which all leftists and class-conscious militants need to resist with all the military force they can muster. The fascistic intention was clearly there even if the execution was weak, precisely because Trump’s movement has not been steeled in struggle as Hitler’s was.
To all intents and purposes the events of 6 January should be regarded as a failed insurrection by something approximating to a ‘soft’ fascist movement. It is not likely to stay ‘soft’. The push by Congressional Democrats for Trump’s impeachment, which is obviously supportable, for inciting insurrection, is aimed at precluding his running again for the Presidency by banning him permanently from running for office. It does appear that Trump’s hold on the Republican Party itself may have burst, as some leading figures are supporting impeachment and when the question is put, those who do not may find themselves in an untenable position, defending a man who orchestrated an attack on the US political system from above.
A major split in the Republicans now looks highly likely since the hardened lumpen elements in Trump’s base will not disappear. Sarah Palin is calling for a right-wing split from the Republicans and this may well come to pass. It could conceivably break up the two-party system in the US which may also advantage the left, though this situation also poses the danger of the emergence of a mass fascist movement or party. It could also conversely lead to the fragmentation and dispersal of Trump’s movement under fire. The consequences are not yet clear.
The bible of white supremacist fascism in the US is the 1970s novel The Turner Diaries, which envisages an armed assault on the Capitol, the terror bombing of government buildings, the hanging of politicians who resist, and the erection of a white dictatorship in the US seeking, and carrying out, a worldwide genocide against blacks. Many of the themes and activities of the supremacists who attacked the Capitol consciously evoked and mimicked that. Previous acts of white supremacist terrorism such as the 1995 bombing of the Municipal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, by Timothy McVeigh, were inspired by the Turner Diaries.
The left in America needs to be rearmed politically and physically. Politically it needs to break with the Democratic Party. Giving the thoroughly bourgeois Democrats political support when they have been responsible for many of the most egregious neoliberal attack over the past 30 years and have in fact been in power for more than half of those years, is an invitation for politics to radicalise to the right, not the left. As Trumpism shows.
The USA claims to be the guardians of bourgeois democracy on the planet and that would politically justify Yankee expansionism. However, today’s imperial “democracy”, indirect voting, electoral college as in various dictatorships, confused and invariably defrauded (as we saw several times, as in the Bush election and reelection) by the economic power of big capital, has nothing to do with the conquest of for each man a vote, obtained by the French bourgeois revolution. Revolutionaries should not be able to defend imperial democracy or the imperialist democratic party. No political support for the Democrats does not however mean neutrality in situation like Jan 6th. Working class forces should have fought the Trumpists themselves: the campaigns initiated by various small leftist groups in the US for an anti-fascist united front were correct.
The bourgeoisie is usually quite condescending to the right-wing and uncompromising reaction to the oppressed and its left-wing fighters. This was what Marx noticed when he recorded in his work “The Civil War in France” (1871), about the bloodthirsty persecution against the fighters of the Paris Commune accused of arsonists. But, as Marx points out, the same bourgeoisie and its public opinion did not call British troops “incendiary” when “for fun, British troops set fire to the Capitol in Washington” in 1814, in the second war of independence, during the so -called Battle of Washington. We should also condemn and expose the fact that sections of the state and the cops allowed the Capitol to be attacked and the forces engaged in an outright armed attack on the parliamentary centre of the United States took only token casualties. These people should have been subject to live fire and a shoot-to-kill response. They ought to have been massacred. If the insurgents were black, leftist, or anti-racist forces attacking the legislature, they WOULD have been massacred. There are legitimate grounds in terms of working-class interest for condemning the US state for NOT massacring these white fascists.
Trump’s action bore a resemblance to the Beer Hall Putsch launched by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich in 1923. It was also possibly the most serious attack on a bourgeois parliament in an advanced capitalist country since the attack on the French Chamber of Deputies by Royalist and Fascist forces in February 1934. It would have been in the interest of the working class for these forces to have been massacred, and the leaders executed. This is a crucial point that the left should be making in terms of its propaganda: these types are capable of genocide and it would have likely saved the lives of millions if Hitler, for instance, had been executed after Munich. Making such a point about Trump will no doubt cause apoplexy among his supporters and apologists, and upset liberals, but the point is obvious. This is not about supporting the racist US death penalty, but a matter of civil war against its most ardent, far right advocates.
The question of liberation of the black population from the race-caste system is strategic in the US. It plays a determining role in every major political and social conflict and is the contradiction that is gnawing away at the stability of US capitalism. It is the black and immigrant proletariat, currently the social base of the Democrats mainly, who will be the layer in which political class consciousness comes to be embodied. We do have to take sides with this social base of the Democratic Party, without politically supporting the Democrats, precisely in order to split this potentially class-conscious force from the Democrats and build a mass party of Communism in the United States.
Statement from LCFI comrades in Latin America (translated here)
Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)
Trump’s “beer hall putch”
1. For those who have not yet recovered from the year 2020, 2021 started on January 6 with an unprecedented event, indicating how much can be a convulsive year. We recall that, from a geopolitical point of view, 2020 started with a US drone attack that murdered Iran’s top military chief in Iraq, Qasem Soleimani, an event of great regional repercussion that was followed by the global economic crisis and the pandemic.
2. In the November 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump won 74 million votes. This outpaced the votes of winning presidential candidates in all previous elections in the United States. But the Republican candidate was outnumbered by the victorious Democrat, Joe Biden, who won 81 million votes. On both sides, the absolute numbers involved are very large, a reflection of the deep political polarization fueled by Trump’s white nationalism and greater popular resistance to him after the immense march march against the assassination of George Floyd, which was channeled to the Democratic Party, in the absence of a political pole of the working class.
3. Trump’s coup attempt was motivated and agitated based on allegations of electoral fraud, along with megalomania and white supremacy policy. He encouraged the invasion of Congress, the parliamentary center of imperialist democracy, to respond to the pressures of its radicalized base and not to appear weak by peacefully surrendering the presidency after refusing to accept the electoral result.
4. The proletarian vote of the so-called “Rust Belt” was essential for Trump’s victory in 2016. Frustration on the part of this electorate promoted Biden’s victory in these states in 2020. The racial issue is also key to explaining why Trump lost the 2020 election, after the country’s largest mass demonstrations in protest against racist police violence. In 2016, the Republican victory was achieved by mobilizing a fraction of workers impoverished and demoralized by the deindustrialization of the United States, as part of the financialization of the West and industrialization of the East in recent decades. The transfer of entire industrial parks to China by the Republican and Democratic governments fueled the recent reaction of workers, mainly whites, against ‘globalism’,
5. Part of the Trump platform in 2016 relied on national isolationism and economic protectionism, on the tiredness of the wars unleashed by the neocons that were carried out by Democratic and Republican governments for decades. Within this programmatic platform was the replacement of military wars with trade wars, with China or the European Union, elements that in themselves bring the threat of future imperialist wars. But US imperialist state policy has often contradicted Trump’s dislike of armed interventionism. Despite his words, the White House promoted coup attempts in Venezuela, the assassination of Suleimani in 2020 and spurred Israel’s massive wave of air strikes against Syria and the Iranian military in January 2021. This was personally ordered by Trump and was even more blatant than Obama’s drone attacks on al Qaeda and ISIS militants. It was driven by Trump’s hatred for the defeats that Iran inflicted on the U.S. and its allies in Syria and Iraq. While he still had his Twitter account, he threatened Iran and North Korea with destruction by nuclear attack. His policy towards Israel is an open endorsement of the Zionist genocide, without any attempt to smooth things over with ‘peace processes’.
6. The Trumpist extreme right movement is a reactionary response to neoliberalism as opposed to the evolution of working class consciousness. The MAGA (‘Make America Great Again’) movement, even when defended by proletarians, is not a class-conscious workers’ movement. They still need to learn some basic political lessons and lose their imperial and racial arrogance. They are the same class layer that voted for Brexit in Britain. They are an envious lumpen layer lamenting that the decline of US / UK imperialism has robbed them of an aristocratic status of privileged work. Hence the appeal of ‘Make America Great Again’ and Brexit.
7. This movement has considerable similarities in many respects to European fascism and Nazism in its objectives, although fortunately it has not yet had the cohesion and decisive frameworks that these movements possessed. This is because it was not hardened in the battle against a powerful labor movement. On the contrary, in the United States, as in Europe, over the past 40 years, powerful unions have been destroyed by the internal collaboration of pro-capitalist labor bureaucracies that capitulated to the attacks of neoliberalism.
8. This led to social discontent, instead of being directed against the capitalist system, it has been channeled to nationalism and to the politics of identity with oppressors, such as white Americans, is a discontent that mimics the struggle of the oppressed and which became widespread as a desperate response to neoliberal attacks due to the failure of the workers’ movement to fight them.
9. But the oppressor’s identity politics is qualitatively worse and more dangerous than the oppressive groups’ identity politics, just as in general the nationalism of the oppressor is qualitatively different and more dangerous than the nationalism of the oppressed and, under current conditions, movements how Trump’s resembles fascism and contains many self-proclaimed fascists and Nazis within it. That is why Zionism is so dangerous and played such an important role in the Trump movement and its administration that it broke with the servile but timid attitude of previous US administrations towards Zionism and openly supported Zionist aspirations to simply destroy the Palestinian people.
10. Zionism is an excellent example of the oppressors’ identity policy, exploiting the history of Jewish oppression to justify today’s racist crimes. It acts as a kind of connector box for the junction of an old fascist-type nationalism with more modern types of identity politics. The fact that some of Trump’s prominent white supremacist supporters declare themselves to be ‘white Zionists’ is highly significant. It can also happily coexist with fascists and neo-Nazis who still espouse anti-Semitic hatred – pro-Zionist Trump tweeted support for the far-right group “ Proud Boys ”, some of whom sported the acronym ‘6MWE’ (“6 million [Jews] were not enough ”) in Trumpist demonstrations against Biden’s electoral victory in December.
11. From the point of view of US blacks, despite the fact that the Trump movement was not formed in conflict with a strong militant workers’ movement, the overthrow of the constitutional government in the US by the Trump movement is a potentially deadly threat, against which all left-wing and class-conscious militants must resist with all the military force they can muster. The fascist intent was clearly there, even if the execution was weak, precisely because the Trump movement was not enriched in the struggle like Hitler’s.
12. For all intents and purposes, the events of January 6 must be considered as a failed insurrection by something that resembles a contained fascist movement. It is not likely to remain contained. Congressional Democrats’ push to impeach Trump for inciting insurrection aims to prevent his running for president again in 2024 by permanently banning him from running for office. Trump’s control over the Republican Party itself has been compromised, as some key figures are supporting impeachment and when the question is posed, those who don’t can find themselves in an untenable position, defending a man who orchestrated a summit attack. of the US political system. The reprisals against Trump can make him a martyr to his movement, strengthen him,
13. A major internal disruption in Republicans now seems highly likely, as the radicalized elements and lumpens at Trump’s base will not go away. Sarah Palin is calling for a rupture of the Republicans’ right and that can happen. It can conceivably break the bipartisan system in the United States, which can also bring benefits to the left, although this situation also poses the danger of the emergence of a fascist mass party or movement. It could also lead to the fragmentation and dispersal of the Trump movement under pressure. The consequences are not yet clear.
14. The white supremacist fascism bible in the USA is the 1970s novel The Turner Diaries, which provides for an armed attack on the Capitol, the terrorist bombing of government buildings, the hanging of resisting politicians and the construction of a white dictatorship in the USA and a worldwide genocide against blacks. Many of the themes and activities of the supremacists who attacked the Capitol have consciously evoked and imitated this. Previous acts of white supremacist terrorism, such as the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City Municipal Building, which killed 168 people, by Timothy McVeigh, were inspired by The Turner Diaries.
15. The left in America needs to be rearmed politically and physically. Politically, he needs to break with the Democratic Party. Giving political support to the completely bourgeois Democrats, when they were responsible for many of the most egregious neoliberal attacks in the past 30 years and have been in power for more than half of those years. For decades, the communist left also renounced all work within the American proletariat movement, in order to privilege purely identity-based political actions, struggles against special / secondary oppressions, abandoning all class struggle against the exploitation of labor, which is very good for capital. This renunciation of the communist left to proletarian militancy in the USA, which has been in existence since the times of Stalin and Earl Browder, free of charge to the hard core of the US proletariat for the Democratic and Republican right. This policy is an invitation for the policy to be radicalized to the right, not the left, as Trumpism shows.
16. The USA claims to be the guardians of bourgeois democracy on the planet and this would politically justify Yankee expansionism. However, the current imperial “democracy”, the indirect election, through the electoral college as occurs in several dictatorships (including the Brazilian one from 1964-1985), confused and invariably defrauded (as we have seen several times, as in the Bush election and reelection) due to the economic power of big capital, it has nothing to do with winning one vote for each man, obtained by the French bourgeois revolution. Revolutionaries must not be able to unmask imperial democracy and the imperialist democratic party. No political support for Democrats, which does not mean, however, neutrality in relation to the January 6 putsch. The working class forces should have fought the Trumpists themselves:
17. The bourgeoisie is generally quite condescending to the reaction of the right and uncompromising to the oppressed and their left-wing fighters. This was what Marx realized when he recorded in his work “The Civil War in France” (1871), about the bloodthirsty persecution against the combatants of the Paris Commune accused of arsonists. But, as Marx points out, the same bourgeoisie and its public opinion did not call British troops “incendiary” when “for fun, British troops set fire to the Capitol in Washington” in 1814, in the Second War of Independence, during the so-called Battle of Washington. We must also condemn and expose the fact that sectors of the state and the police allowed the Capitol to be attacked and that the forces that participated in the direct armed attack on the United States parliamentary center suffered only symbolic damage. This fascist mob should have been subjected to a real fire response from shooting to killing, it should have been slaughtered. If the insurgents were black, leftists or anti-racist forces attacking the legislature, they would have been slaughtered.
18. Trump’s action was similar to Putsch at the Beer Hall launched by Hitler and Ludendorff in Munich on November 9, 1923. It was also possibly the most serious attack on a bourgeois parliament in an advanced capitalist country since the attack on the French Chamber of Deputies by monarchists and fascist armed forces in February 1934. It would be in the interest of the working class that MAGA be slaughtered and its white supremacist leaders, direct heirs to the KKK, executed by the working and black class. This is a crucial point that the left should make in terms of its propaganda: these types are capable of genocide and would probably have saved the lives of millions if Hitler, for example, had been executed after Munich. Making such a statement about Trump will undoubtedly cause apoplexy among his supporters and apologists, and irritate liberals, but the question is obvious.
19. As we said on a premeditated basis in the CLQI statement “ No political support for Biden / Harris! Break with the Democrats! ”Of October 13 on the US elections:
“If Trump tries to maintain power against his electoral defeat, the left and the workers’ movement must oppose street mobilizations equal to or greater than the current ones to defeat the coup and fight for their own exit in the midst of civil war, for a workers’ government. Workers must take part in the front ranks of any struggle to defeat such a Trumpian coup, up to and including the use of large-scale armed actions and civil war, although a large-scale civil war seems unlikely. In immediate terms, this would mean the tactical defeat of a reactionary and anti-democratic coup by a bourgeois figure whose views and actions are fascist and represent a serious threat to our class. The participation of the left and organized workers in such a battle,
20. The issue of liberating the black population from the racial caste system is a strategic one in the United States. It plays a determining role in all major political and social conflicts and it is the contradiction that is eating away at the stability of US capitalism. It is the black and immigrant proletariat, currently the social base mainly of the Democrats, that will be the layer in which the political class conscience will come to be incorporated. We have to take advantage of this social base of the Democratic Party, without politically supporting the Democrats, precisely to separate this potentially class-conscious force from the Democrats and build a mass communist party in the United States.
21. Racist politics is not exclusive to Trumpism. A review by Univisión Noticias of the numbers of deportations recorded over the past 30 years showed that Obama was the mandate that most people expelled from the country in recent decades, more than Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton or Bush Filho. According to data published by the Department of National Security (DHS), between the fiscal years of 2009 and 2015, the number of deportees was 2,571,860. Neither is neo-Nazism an exclusive feature of the Trump movement. In the Democratic governments that arose since January 2009 – of which Biden was an active vice president, the cycle of coups d’état in Latin America resumed, starting with Honduras in 2009, followed by coups in Paraguay, Guatemala, Brazil. In addition to Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State in this cycle of government and Democrats, there were warmongering campaigns by imperialism in Libya and Syria. In 2014, a bloody neo-Nazi coup was dealt in Ukraine, followed by the massacre of dozens of trade unionists in Odessa in the service of imperialism and directly linked to the enrichment of the Biden family.
22. Because of the danger that the Trumpist coup poses to the workers and because all imperialist fractions are responsible for the crimes of imperialism itself, we call on the workers of the United States to defeat the Trumpist coup without putting expectations on the imperialist institutions, the Democratic Party or in any of the authentic imperialist factions, tormentors of the international proletariat and the oppressed peoples of the world. So the Vermont AFL-CIO comrades are correct in approving since November 22, 2020 the call for a general strike against any Trump coup threat and they are also correct in saying:
“In our times of social collapse, a Labor Party founded and controlled by the workers themselves is more necessary than ever. The two bosses ‘parties are conspiring to take everything we have. Move on to an independent workers’ party to confront them! “