This has been a busy week in US politics. On the same day that results from Georgia’s elections confirmed that the Democrats will take a narrow majority in the Senate, thousands of Trump supporters rallied outside of the US Capitol, with some eventually entering the building itself while police officers stood by and watched, interrupting the proceedings to ratify the results of the presidential election.
Statement by Workers’ Voice Central Committee
Jan, 7, 2021
Earlier this week on Monday, Nancy Pelosi was re-elected to her position as House Speaker, winning near unanimous support from Democrats, including DSA-backed representatives such as Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
The Democrats are thus poised to preside over their strongest government since they lost control of the House of Representatives in 2010. This is little cause for celebration in itself, because the Democrats, a party of capital through and through, are unlikely to pass even minimal reforms, and the supposedly dissident members of Congress have failed to mount even the most meager challenge against the party’s center-right leadership. There is a silver lining, however, as the Democrats will no longer be able to hide behind Republican vetoes as a reason for their government’s unwillingness to pass reforms. Now is the time for working people, labor unions, and Black and Brown community organizations to go on the offensive, as we will either successfully force the Democrats’ hand or else expose their conservatism, raising people’s consciousness and bringing more of the working class into the fight for socialism.
Wednesday afternoon, a large crowd of President Trump’s supporters stormed the US capitol while the Senate debated the ratification of the 2020 presidential election results, forcing the evacuation of members of congress and the interruption of the proceedings. In stark contrast to the brutal repression of Black Lives Matter protests last spring and summer, police forces put up little to no resistance as a far right mob swarmed the US capitol. This docile police response only confirms what we have witnessed so many times in the streets: the police stand ready and equipped to terrorize working people, especially Black and Brown communities, and to crush progressive challenges to capital and the state, but will ignore (and sometimes actively protect) far right groups as they break down “law and order.”
The events at the capitol also confirm that the threat posed by proto-fascist groups—which have been endlessly praised and encouraged by Trump during his four years in power—will continue into the Biden era, now stoked by their leader’s conspiracy theories about election fraud. This far right threat predated the Trump administration and is made up of a convoluted mix of groups and factions with a wide range of political ideas—from White supremacy, anti-Marxism and Western chauvinism to Qanon conspiracies, anti-science denial of the COVID-19 pandemic, and libertarian individualism. While not all pro-Trump demonstrators are part of proto-fascist groups, and while these groups remain relatively small, they have grown larger and more militant over the past four years. This was evidenced by the wave of protests to “open the economy” at the expense of human lives and by the murder of protestors Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum at the hands of a far right militia member during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of last year. The fact that by and large the bourgeoisie is turning away from Trumpism and continues to support liberal democracy and Biden’s project to restore the status quo ante does not in any way negate the real threat of an incipient fascist movement with ties to the Republican party and the police.
Since the early days of the Trump administration, our party has been clear about what is necessary to defeat these neo-fascist gangs: they must be confronted, outnumbered, and overwhelmed by an organized, militant working class movement. We put this approach to practice during the August 2017 anti-fascist demonstrations in the Bay Area. In response to repeated marches and provocations from out-of-town neo-fascist groups, Workers’ Voice joined forces with other socialist and leftist groups to create the Solidarity Against Fascism East Bay (SAFEBay) coalition, which built its own security operation and mobilized thousands of workers, students and community members in a counter-demonstration that far outnumbered and humiliated the fascists. Similar anti-fascist mobilizations took place in Charlottesville, Boston and other cities. Together, these actions led to a political crisis for the far right, with several groups disintegrating or reducing their public presence. During this struggle, we also confirmed that, when faced with a far right challenge, liberal political leaders will call for us to ignore white supremacist demonstrations, respect their free speech rights, and trust the cops. The police, in turn, repressed leftists and protected the fascists. Neither the state nor the liberal establishment can defeat the threat of a growing far right. We need defense through a strategy of mass action. This means organizing anti-fascist and security committees in our unions and workplaces, building democratic coalitions between socialist, labor, anti-racist, and other working class groups, and outnumbering the fascist threat in the streets.
Although we take the rise of an active far right very seriously, today’s events at the capitol were not a coup and, at their current stage, neofascist groups pose no threat to the bourgeois-democratic regime (indeed, the interrupted Senate session resumed later in the night). On the contrary, Mitch McConnell’s wing of the Republican party and a chorus of business groups are openly denouncing Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the election, a clear sign that, as a whole, the US bourgeoisie remains committed to liberal democracy. Thus, in the short term, we anticipate that rather than seizing state power, fascist gangs will directly threaten people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ people, and leftists in general, while the incoming Democratic administration will likely use far right militias as an excuse to strengthen the surveillance and repressive apparatus of the state. We must never forget that the rise of the far right around the world is inextricably linked to the capitalist crises generated by the Liberal, establishment politics championed by Joe Biden. The only way to defeat the fascist threat is by simultaneously combating proto-fascist groups and the incoming neoliberal regime through militant mass action in our workplaces and the streets.