Letters From a Reader: There Is No Santa Claus, and the Democrats Cannot Be Relied on to Drive Out Trump

Part 4: Gallagher, Graham, and Barr: How the Fascists Intend to Fight to the Finish

Updated | revcom.us


This is the fourth in a series of letters on the struggle around the impeachment of Trump. Last week’s letters covered the refusal of the Democrats to use the word “fascist” in describing the regime; their focus of the impeachment process on U.S. “national security interests” and, secondarily, obstruction of justice, while ignoring the crimes against humanity and moves toward fascism this regime has already carried out; and, finally, their refusal to fight this all-out and their strong tendency to concede defeat in advance.

In turning to the Republicans, the contrast couldn’t be sharper. They have refused to cooperate with the process itself—which is an actual violation of the Constitution and unprecedented. They have turned it into a circus and tried to shift the whole thing into an attack on the Democratic candidate Joe Biden. They aim to win—and three incidents in the past ten days bear this out and show just how dangerous this is.

Defending A War Criminal—The Threat, The Pander And The Message To The Military

First, there is Trump’s pardon of the convicted war criminal Edward Gallagher of the Navy SEALs, along with other convicted war criminals. When the Navy nevertheless still tried to discipline Gallagher, Trump went further and forced the firing of the secretary of the navy. Just to be clear, as we have documented in numerous articles in the series “American Crime,” the whole “American way of war” rests on war crimes and crimes against humanity, including using anti-personnel ammunition that has been outlawed and renounced by the vast majority of countries on the planet. (See the “American Crime” series on My LaiFallujah, and “Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity: A Chart”)

But Gallagher went a step beyond. A number of people in the squad he commanded accused him of committing multiple war crimes. He went to trial for murdering a helpless captive and then posing for a picture holding up the corpse. He was acquitted of the murder charge in a rather suspicious trial featuring a surprise courtroom confession by a friend of his who had been granted immunity. But someone like Gallagher was so over-the-top that he threatened what is called “the good order and discipline” necessary for military units to function efficiently. The top officers moved to punish him (again, lightly) to at least preserve some semblance of discipline.

In pardoning Gallagher and then championing him against the Navy command, Trump had four aims: 1) make clear to the world that America would be even more unrestrained in its barbarism during war; 2) whip up his fascist political base and reinforce their notion that only white Americans possess human dignity, while intimidating those (here and around the world) who oppose this fascism; 3) work on winning a base within the armed forces loyal to Trump himself should circumstances arise, whether through impeachment or the loss of the election, where Trump is ordered to leave office and he decides to resist; and 4) finally, to bring the high military officials who oppose him to heel, or to clear them out altogether.

The Fall Offensive Of The Nation’s Top Law Enforcement Official

Next, there is the continued political offensive of Attorney General Barr. In October, Barr gave a speech at Notre Dame Law School that attacked “secularism” as the cause of a host of evils in U.S. society. Secularism is the principle that church and state should be separate, and that the American government is in fact supposed to be neutral in regard to religion. Coming from the nation’s top law enforcement official and spoken at a law school, Barr’s attack implies, at least, that the U.S. government is not a secular institution, and that it should enforce religion. Barr also accused progressives of shredding norms and the rule of law. 

Barr followed this the next month with a speech to the fascist legal group the Federalist Society claiming that presidential power was too limited. Barr laid out a vision and conception of vastly expansive powers for the president, claiming that this is justified by the Constitution. In actual fact, the Constitution came as a break with the tyrannical authority of the king. But Barr argues instead that the “real miracle” was the “creation of a strong executive, independent of and coequal with the other two branches of government.” In this context, Barr railed against a situation especially since the sixties where the president’s “discretion has become smothered by the encroachments of the other branches.” In actual fact, contrary to Barr, since at least the Great Depression the executive has greatly expanded its authority in virtually every realm. Barr criticizes what are, within the context of the U.S. Constitution, legitimate and legal checks and constraints on executive authority as unacceptable “encroachments” on the president’s constitutional authority. This was nothing less than a sweeping legal defense of fascist norms with virtually unchecked power of the presidency, even while viciously attacking “the Left” for undermining norms. Hence, Barr’s unprecedented defiance of any congressional prerogative to subpoena the executive branch or any of its members during the impeachment process. Note well: establishing unimpeded power of the executive branch (the president) is a key element in consolidating fascism as a more “blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class...”1

Finally, this past week—at an awards ceremony for police—Barr said that “certain” communities have to “start showing... more... respect and support” for the police—and if they don’t, “they may find themselves without the police protection they need.” Translation: “If you in the Black and Latino communities do not bow down and cease all protest, we fascists in power will unleash and foment criminal activity in your community even more than we already do.” 

In these three speeches Barr laid out a fascist program of an unchallengeable executive power, a state religion, and a threat against oppressed communities to unleash crime if they persist in not just protesting brutality and murder by police, but not being “properly respectful” in the eyes of these pigs. 

And now, remember this: Barr, as top law enforcement official in the nation, will have much to say as to what is, and is not, legal in the upcoming presidential election.

The Sad Story Of Lindsey Graham

Finally, there is the saga of Lindsey Graham. Graham, the Republican head of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Graham is usually a reliable attack dog for Trump, but he made the mistake of telling an interviewer that if new evidence came to light, he could support an impeachment inquiry against Trump. He also privately said that he did not want to use his committee to investigate Joe Biden (whom Graham once called “as good a man as God ever created”). 

Then Donald Trump, Jr., along with the FOX News attack dogs, went after Graham. In days, Graham totally reversed himself. Now he promises to investigate Biden and his son for corruption, to take the heat off Trump. He has become part of the fascist effort to reset terms through the constant repetition of utter lies that are favorable for their fight.

Graham is a warning to the rest of the Republicans: if you do not toe the line, you will be forced to.

These Fascists Are Playing For Keeps And The Democrats Are Not—The Question Is What Will WE Do

In stark contrast to the Democrats, the fascists are making it very clear: they do not intend to give up power. Indeed, they assert they would rather die. These are people who, before the 2016 election, compared themselves to the passengers on Flight 932: they would rather “go down with the ship” and die, than see another Democrat assume the presidency. They saw the stakes then, and they see it now, as their last chance to nail down a fascist social order.

They are making it clear as well that the world they insist on welcoming in January 2021 will be one with an unchallengeable executive, above the rule of law; a theocracy (rule by religion) in all but name; police power unconstrained by law or even protest; and a military force absolutely unconstrained by law or morality.

The question is: what will WE do? Go along with this, continuing to hope for some painless and chimerical way to avoid the duty to humanity that so clearly calls? Or learn from, follow suit, and take further what people around the world have been doing this past year in face of intensified oppression?

Creep and huddle and hide... or take the streets in massive numbers, refusing to leave until this regime is OUT?!?

The choice is yours, and you are making it every day. 

Previous: Part 3: Playing to Save the System, Not Trying to Defeat Fascism


1. See, “What IS Fascism?”  [back]

2. Flight 93 was hijacked on September 11, 2001. After passengers had heard of the other hijacked planes being flown into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, they decided as a group to storm the cockpit and succeeded in crashing the plane before it could do damage similar to those earlier planes.  [back]

See previous parts of:

Letters From a Reader: Why Getting Involved With the Democrats—Even to 'Take Them Over From Within'—Will Wind You Up in the Arms of Fascists

Part 1: A Liberal Democratic Politician and a Fascist Functionary Walk Into a Bar... But What Happens Next Is Not Really a Joke

Part 2: The Democrats’ Impeachment Strategy: Whose Interests?

There Is No Santa Claus, and the Democrats Cannot Be Relied on to Drive Out Trump

Part 3: Playing to Save the System, Not Trying to Defeat Fascism

It has to be bluntly said: For the millions, and tens of millions, who say they hate everything Trump stands for and what he is doing but who, after all this time, have still not taken to the streets in sustained mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must go, this makes them collaborators with this fascist regime and themselves guilty of the egregious crime of tolerating this regime when they still could have the possibility of achieving the demand that it must go, through such mass mobilization!

To paraphrase Paul Simon: They are squandering their resistance for a pocketful of mumbles—and worse—from the Democratic Party.

It is long past time—and there is still time, but not much time—for this to change, for masses of people to finally take to the streets, and stay in the streets, with the firm resolve that this fascist regime must go!

Bob Avakian,
from Hope For Humanity On A Scientific Basis:
Breaking with Individualism, Parasitism and American Chauvinism

See the full film, excerpts and Q&A of this film




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