The Defeated Fascist Coup, the Battle Still Raging, and the Way Forward Out of This Madness


This article was updated January 16 and continues to be relevant.

On January 6, 2021, a murderous mob—driven by a lie and organized and egged on by the Liar-in-Chief himself, Trump—set off to storm Congress and outrageously, illegally, and murderously overturn the election. They proudly waved the banners of racism, slavery, and genocide. They encountered remarkably little initial resistance from police as they stalked through the halls. They chased, beat, and even murdered those who resisted, while they (unsuccessfully) hunted down their more prominent opponents. Then, when order was restored, both the lie and the liar that animated and led the mob were defended by a majority of the fascist party’s representatives in the House of Representatives. Two-thirds of the Republican representatives in the House voted that very night to support the mob’s demand that Congress NOT carry out its responsibility to certify the results of the presidential election for Biden and Harris.

This was a violent fascist coup attempt—nothing less, nothing else—led by Trump, and supported not just by the rampaging mob but also by his cabal in Congress, the executive branch, the grassroots Republican organizations, sections of the police, etc.

Both the fascist movement and their representatives were defeated that day—which is extremely important. It was and is extremely important that the Democrats immediately pushed forward the demand for impeachment and won the vote on this. And it’s extremely important that Trump has, at least for now, been driven off his social media platforms and prevented—to a degree—from spreading the toxin even further.

But Trump is still in power. The fascist Republican Party and its media mouthpieces, with way too few exceptions, still not only oppose punishing Trump in any way but act as if they (and he!) are the aggrieved party. And the mob they have stoked, shaped, and organized for years is vowing to come back with a vengeance with demonstrations over the next few days. Twenty thousand troops will be deployed to defend the inauguration of Biden and Harris. Threats of reactionary lynch-mob-style violence in all 50 states for this coming weekend echo through the air.

Think about the seriousness of this, the unprecedented character of it.

This must be defeated. The election must be upheld. Biden must be inaugurated. Trump must be impeached, and driven from public life in shame—and to the extent that he has committed crimes against the people, he must be prosecuted. Such a trial, using rules of evidence, must vigorously unearth how such a thing happened and to what extent there was, or was not, collusion between sections of the state (the police, etc.) and the fascist mob.

But even at this early stage of the process, a profound rot and a great danger has been sharply revealed. It is right for millions to feel as if the future is uncertain—at best. It is right for everyone to feel as if profound things about this country have been put into question—and to raise profound questions in response.

The first of those questions must be...

Why Did This Happen?

In brief—and in essence—one of the major parties has for decades now been moving toward a fascist resolution of the deep and intractable problems facing this country economically, socially, politically, and morally. Fascism is not a curse word, any more than a doctor is cursing when she calls the lump you are feeling a cancerous tumor. Fascism,understood scientifically, describes and analyzes one response available to capitalism-imperialism to those problems. This fascist program is rooted in open and vicious racism, misogyny, and extreme national chauvinism. It is a form of rule in which dictatorship is exercised blatantly with no regard at all for democratic rights. It is a moral and epistemological order where Christian fundamentalist ignorance and repression is exalted while the scientific search for knowledge is butchered when it is not outright suppressed.

Fascism is one form of capitalism-imperialism, one option for the rulers who in normal times exercise this rule—this dictatorship—in a more democratic way. But fascism is not same-old, same-old—it is a different form of capitalist rule. And it marks a leap with grave consequences for masses of people, here and around the world. The acutely high-stakes struggle within the ruling class of capitalist-imperialists over whether or not to make that step got concentrated in this past election.

Fascism often comes to power—and generally prefers to come to power—with the trappings of “democratic consent.” Trump and those around him saw this election as crucial to that—and fearing defeat from the beginning, he spread the lie in advance that the Democrats were somehow rigging this... by applying the actual rules of the system to enable people to vote in the midst of a pandemic! Trump said repeatedly, in advance of any votes being cast, that he was going to win and that the only way he could lose was by fraud. Yet despite the efforts to suppress the vote, despite the efforts to illegally use and control government resources to aid Trump’s re-election, Biden won—definitively and, to any person not locked in the insane fascist fever dream propagated by Trump and his allies, undeniably.

A section of the fascist party and fascist apparatus may have thought it wiser to not contest this particular election. This included McConnell and Pence, as well as others. They judged that they could better push forward this nightmare “project” in other ways—building on the control that they have seized of large sections of the courts (including the majority of the Supreme Court), the legislatures, sections of the armed forces, and various other elements of the state (the army, police, bureaucracy, etc.)—and on that basis both cripple Biden and re-seize the executive at a later date, without too greatly disrupting the legitimacy of the system in the eyes of the world and the general public within the U.S. and perhaps incurring massive resistance.

Trump violently disagreed—he insisted on putting forward as true a nonexistent world in which he won and was somehow denied by this or that outlandish imaginary scheme. He ranted that this was going to bring an end to “our country.” When he could not get his way in the courts and the legislatures for such a blatant act of thievery, he moved to marshal a mob on January 6 to do it by force.

Fortunately, he has been—for now—set back in this.

The disagreements now between Trump and other figures in the Republifascist Party are important—in the sense that it makes it more possible to administer a decisive defeat to Trump’s attempted fascist coup. But the roots of this fascism go far deeper than Trump, and those roots will continue to assert themselves whatever happens to Trump as an individual. Dreams that this will somehow, on its own, evaporate as the driving force in U.S. political life are dreams with no basis in reality. As Bob Avakian has written:

Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!

Second Question: What Now?

It is imperative that all of you who were shaken, upset, infuriated, anguished, kept awake for hours and even days, or all of the above by the events of January 6 search out WHY these happened, and dig to the roots on the deepest possible level. As you do that, the place to begin is with the synthesized understanding brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA). He has been sounding the alarm and analyzing the underlying causes, driving forces, and key dynamics of fascism in this society and the system underlying it since at least the early 1990s. His analysis has been consistent and at the same time constantly deepened as events have unfolded—and he has led in developing different initiatives, involving a whole range of people, in waging struggle against it... even when that was unpopular, and even when that incurred risk of no small degree. (Go here for this analysis by BA.)

Beyond that, BA has, during this whole period, developed a way out of this madness—a strategy for an actual revolution, and on that basis the vision of a new society, concretized in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, which BA authored. It is a fact that, nowhere else, in any actual or proposed founding or guiding document of any government, is there anything like not only the protection but the provision for dissent and intellectual and cultural ferment that is embodied in this Constitution, while this has, as its solid core, a grounding in the socialist transformation of the economy, with the goal of abolishing all exploitation, and the corresponding transformation of the social relations and political institutions, to uproot all oppression, and the promotion, through the educational system and in society as a whole, of an approach that will “enable people to pursue the truth wherever it leads, with a spirit of critical thinking and scientific curiosity, and in this way to continually learn about the world and be better able to contribute to changing it in accordance with the fundamental interests of humanity.”

At a time in which the structures and dynamics of this system—of capitalism-imperialism—have shown their utter and dangerous bankruptcy in dealing with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and fascism, there is an actual alternative founded in a deep understanding of the real-world dynamics of how societies can be fundamentally transformed through revolution, and humanity can emancipate itself. That is a huge source of real hope—on a scientific basis.

It is also imperative for all those shaken, and wakened, by the events of the past months to seek out and join a community of resisters who, from a range of viewpoints, recognize this as a phenomenon that is not going away and that must be defeated, through mass, nonviolent action. That community is Refuse Fascism, which is currently organizing roundtables and other forms that bring together people from different perspectives to dig into the issues this raises. Go here for those roundtables, and here to read and sign the Pledge to the People of the World initiated by Refuse Fascism and find out about different forms of resistance.

* * *

Sleepless nights pose a question: Do you find out why you toss and turn, and set to work on understanding and transforming what keeps you awake, and seek out and engage those who have put forward a path out? Or do you seek a return to numbness and accommodation?

Humanity—and the generations yet to come, if there are to be generations at all—counts on your choice.

MAGA rioters occupy the West Front of the Capitol before storming the building, January 6. Photo: AP

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