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Fascism rises as imperialism declines

Written by: Nick G. on 9 January 2021


Mussolini’s 1922 March on Rome it was not, but there were loud echoes of fascism in the storming of the US Congress by Donald Trump’s angry supporters.

The existence of fascist or neo-Nazi elements in the US has become more pronounced since it became apparent thirty or so years ago that the US was in decline as the world superpower.

These elements pre-dated Trump’s presidency, but saw in him a champion of the causes they espoused: white supremacy, imperialist “patriotism”, small government, anti-immigration, anti-China – and all wrapped in the reverse-the-decline slogan to “Make America Great Again”.

These same groups, and the extreme right-wing and fascist ideologies that sustain them, will continue so long as US imperialism continues its decline.

The chaos in the US Capitol on Wednesday unfolded after President Donald Trump spent weeks whipping up his supporters with false allegations of fraud in the Nov. 3 election, and more recently denouncing the Democrat victories in the two run-off Senate elections in the state of Georgia as yet another electoral theft.

Trump called for a “wild” event

Trump urged his supporters to converge on Washington DC to frustrate the certification of the results of the Electoral College that had declared Biden the winner in the Presidential election.

“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” Trump tweeted on Dec. 20. “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

By anyone’s definition, “wild” usually implies something rough and stormy, potentially violent and out of control.

But Trump’s promise of a “wild” event did not draw the crowds he was hoping for.  The biggest estimates say that up to 30,000 people rallied for Trump.  This may have reflected divisions in the Republican Party and the conservative movement generally over the direction in which Trump was seeking to turn the disillusioned and “cheated”, those who are the core of the movement that still believes Biden’s victory was because of electoral fraud and electoral theft.
Typically, Trump refused to concede that the numbers were smaller than he had expected.

He accused the media of turning their cameras away from the crowd: “…you don’t see hundreds of thousands of people behind you because they don’t want to show that. We have hundreds of thousands of people here.”  And in his concluding remarks, this had grown to a quarter of a million: “Despite everything we’ve been through, looking out all over this country and seeing fantastic crowds, although this I think is our all time record. I think you have 250, 000 people. 250,000.” 

Wanted the armed forces of the state on his platform

It was not enough for Trump to regurgitate all the lies about electoral malpractice that he has been using to explain his loss to Biden – he openly called for the support of the violent apparatus of the state machine, saying “I’d love to have, if those tens of thousands of people would be allowed, the military, the secret service, and we want to thank you, and the police law enforcement. Great. You’re doing a great job, but I’d love it if they could be allowed to come up here with us. Is that possible? Can you just let them come up, please?”

Giuliani calls for combat as crowd prepares to march on Congress

Trump’s caricature of himself, ex-New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani, further encouraged the crowd towards violence by repeating claims of electoral fraud, and then dismissing investigations into those claims, calling instead: "Let's have trial by combat!" Although few in the crowd would have known that this was a term from ancient Germanic law in which people settle disputes through armed duels, the incitement to aggression and conflict was plain to all.

Let’s march!

Trump’s January 6 speech was very long.  Most of it was a dissection of the alleged electoral fraud that saw him cheated of the Presidency. Having whipped up the crowd, he called on them to head off to the Congress to try and prevent the certification of Biden’s win, and in particular, to intimidate and force the Republican waverers to line up behind Trump.

“Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy” he said. “After this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down. We’re going to walk down any one you want, but I think right here. We’re going walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

Of course, Trump didn’t quite make good on his promise to “be there with you”.

But the message that the infuriated mob had to “take back the country” was clear.

“And we fight. We fight like Hell and if you don’t fight like Hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.

“So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue, I love Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… The Democrats are hopeless. They’re never voting for anything, not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones, because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

When the fascist Enragés stormed the Congress and began their ransacking of offices, destruction of property, theft, and physical intimidation of members of Congress and its staff, Trump was nowhere to be seen.

And his later half-hearted separation of himself from their violence might just be an indication of how the fascist movement in the US will develop.  It can cut its ties with the loser President, regroup under a better organised and more centralized leadership, and continue to try and “take the country back”, both in the sense of a claim to ownership, and to a historically regressive period of “American greatness”. Already former Trump supporters and Congress rioters have denounced his about-turn over their violence.

The task of the American people will be to combat this fascism with an independent, politically progressive, and ultimately revolutionary agenda.

The defeat of fascism in the US will require nothing less than the defeat of the imperialist US ruling class by the people of the US.


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