7 January 2021 — PSL
Today, a fascist mob — called to action by Donald Trump and acting in obvious collusion with elements of the Capitol Police, the Department of Defense, and possibly other armed forces — stormed the U.S. Capitol building and dispersed Congress. Trump himself spoke at today’s main protest rally outside the White House as part of his campaign to desperately hang on to power. The extreme right wing that assaulted the Capitol today is united above all by the figure of Trump. Shortly before the mob marched on the Capitol he declared, “You’ll never take back the country with weakness. You have to show strength.” Trump more than anything else wants to avoid criminal prosecution once out of office, and retain his political control of the Republican Party.
The heavily armed Capitol Police put up almost no resistance as the fascists pushed over barriers, smashed windows and invaded the chamber of the Senate. One woman was shot and killed inside the Capitol Building. But at the end of the mayhem, after they had accomplished their goal, the mob was calmly escorted out of the building instead of being arrested. If an action remotely like the pro-Trump mob’s dispersal of Congress had been attempted by anti-racist protesters this summer, for instance, they would have undoubtedly been met with deadly and overwhelming force.
Today’s events could not possibly have transpired without some level of cooperation between the fascists and the police. It is inconceivable that the police were not monitoring the communications of the pro-Trump protesters traveling to D.C. and that they were simply unaware that there was any possibility that an assault on the Capitol Building was being discussed.
The role of the Pentagon in this crisis is another central question. The National Guard in Washington, D.C. is under the control of the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Army, not the mayor of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested yesterday that the Department of Defense deploy the D.C. National Guard, but her request was ignored. Now the Guard is reportedly being sent into the streets, but only after the fascists succeeded in storming the Capitol.
The conflict within the ruling class
The Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, is not an independent figure. He was a relatively low-ranking Special Forces officer before being elevated to a place of central importance by Donald Trump, who he owes completely for his current position of authority. Last Sunday, all 10 living former Secretaries of Defense issued a joint op-ed in the Washington Post demanding that the military not intervene in the transition of power to Joe Biden. They wrote that “Acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and his subordinates” must “refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team.” The group of co-authors includes figures like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Mark Esper — who served as Secretary of Defense until less than two months ago. There must be a profound reason why a group of highly influential figures from disparate ruling class factions united to put out this remarkable statement. It suggests that they already were aware of discussions within sections of the state about precisely this type of plot or action.
The events that transpired today are a serious embarrassment for the U.S. ruling class on the world stage and weaken the global position of U.S. imperialism. Governments that have traditionally played the role of junior partner to the United States, including Germany, the UK and Canada, have issued statements condemning the mob that stormed the Capitol building. Jen Stoltenberg, the head of NATO, said, “Shocking scenes in Washington, D.C. The outcome of this democratic election must be respected.” A broad ruling class coalition could come together to take down Trump, who has trampled on a key pillar of the stability of capitalist class rule in the United States — the “peaceful transfer of power”. Key CEOs, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Business Roundtable, and other pillars of corporate America have spoken out condemning Trump. Congress reconvened several hours after it was dispersed by the fascists, and the pro-Trump mob was condemned by Mike Pence and Mitch McConnell at the re-opening of the session.
In a brief and weak statement today, Joe Biden made an appeal to the fascist mob to withdraw and offered empty platitudes about patriotism. What really must happen is that all those responsible for today’s historic act of fascist aggression be brought to justice. This especially includes Donald Trump, and those in the military and police hierarchy who used their positions to facilitate today’s events. A coalition built on collusion between the police, elements of the Department of Defense, and a fascist mob has launched an unprecedented attack. The menace of the far right can only be decisively defeated by a militant, united front of the multinational working class.