The mobilisation in Washington DC by far right protesters on Wednesday should be a spur to working class struggle.
It is not a reason to huddle around the Democratic Party, venerate the institutions of US democracy or seek to reconstruct some alleged “centre ground”.
Thousands of Donald Trump supporters marched and then hundreds stormed the Capitol building. They forced the temporary abandonment of the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
As they swept through the hallways of Congress, they marched with a flag of the pro-slavery Confederates from the US Civil War.
This should not be seen as the “revolt of the working class”. Many of those involved were quite well-off, with the money for cross-country travel and military gear.
The day was prepared for by Trump.
His four years in office has seen systematic scapegoating of migrants, black people, Muslims and other minorities.
This has encouraged racists. They felt one of their own was in the White House.
That has been followed by vicious denunciations of the Black Lives Matter movement, the left and socialism that have fuelled far right groups.
Trump defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a militia-supporting man who shot dead two anti-racist protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last September.
Ever since the voting on 3 November, and despite irrefutable evidence of his defeat, Trump has insisted that he won and that the election was stolen through fraud.
This was partly a desperate move to overturn the result through the use of state politicians and the Supreme Court.
But it was also delivering a message, a sacred myth, to sustain his supporters. It was that their cause had not been defeated but thwarted by the swindling and cheating of their opponents.
This is the belief that helps encourage the bands of racists, white supremacists, fascists and others. It was what led to the targeting of the meeting of the Congress to ratify Biden’s electoral college majority on Wednesday.
Trump tweeted on 20 December, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election, Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
As they marched Trump professed his “love” for his supporters, describing them as “very special”.
Many of the right wingers who now say they are horrified by what happened have previously fawned over Trump and his type of politics.
Theresa May rushed to pay court to him immediately after his election. Boris Johnson arranged a state visit to Britain so he could be pampered and praised.
Home secretary Priti Patel who on Thursday said Trump’s words had “directly led” to the storming of the Capitol wants Trump-like anti-migrant laws in Britain.
In the US there was wide knowledge of the potential for a far right move.
Last week all ten of the living defence secretaries wrote a piece arguing, “Efforts to involve the US armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory.”
These loyal servants of US imperialism and capitalism called on the military to “refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team”.
Such sentiments were not accidental. They reflected a broad understanding in ruling circles that events such as those on Wednesday were coming.
The former defence secretaries’ calculation was that the health of their system was better served, at this time, by allowing Biden to become president.
Had this been armed Black Lives Matter protesters there would have been at the very least mass arrests and probably a massacre
But they did not unmask the depth of the possibilities that had unnerved them.
And the far right protesters had special treatment, at least initially, from the cops.
As the Washington Post wrote, “In a city on high alert, in a building with its own 2,000-officer police department, people forced their way in with nothing more than flagpoles, riot shields and shoves.
“Nobody stopped them—and some officers were captured on video appearing to stand back as rioters streamed inside.”
As many people have pointed out, had this been armed Black Lives Matter protesters there would have been at the very least mass arrests and probably a massacre.
The federal law enforcement agencies and the National Guard—ever present during the protests this summer following the police murder of George Floyd—hung back.
This was not a coup. To achieve success it would require a much larger street army, significant support from big business and wider support in the ruling class and its repressive state forces.
Some of Trump’s supporters would welcome such an outcome.
As the march took place in Washington, Republican congress representative Mary Miller told a rally, “If we win a few elections, we’re still going to be losing unless we win the hearts and minds of our children. This is the battle.
“Hitler was right on one thing. He said, ‘Whoever has the youth has the future.’”
Much of the commentary now suggests that there has to be a “defence of democracy” centred on support for the Democrats.
But Biden will be no obstacle to the growth of far right forces.
As Trump’s supporters went on the rampage, Biden called for action—by Trump. He begged the president to appear on national television to “demand an end to this siege”.
Biden has never raised the alarm about Trump’s manoeuvres. He had only pledged his support for the US political system and the capitalists that benefit from it. This is the system that produced Trump and boosted the far right.
In fact we need more of the militant protests against Trump and racism that have taken place in the US and across the world.
In office Biden will continue with the pro-business policies that have led to massive poverty and bitterness.
The lesson from the 1920s and 30s is that to stop the growth of any fascist forces workers need to forge an active movement centred on the streets and workplaces.
When workers trusted mainstream politicians they found that those same politicians eventually elevated the fascists to power.
The US ruling class that now condemns Wednesday’s events think nothing of bombing and murdering millions in order to advance imperial interests. They would do the same at home if they thought it necessary.
For now the bosses don’t need the far right. They like the present system that has delivered record stock market gains amid the mass death and suffering of the pandemic.
And real power lies in the boardrooms and the state, not government buildings.
This is not the final act of Trumpism.
As his supporters dispersed, Trump tweeted, “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.
“Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
It is a warning of what could happen if the working class does not mobilise.
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