January 6, 2021, Washington: a dark day for the Capitol, symbol of American democracy
(«Proletarian»; Nr. 17; Spring 2021)
January 6, 2021: on that day, from the Capitol in Washington where the House and Senate were meeting in plenary session, the Vice President still in office, Mike Pence, upon certification by the Electoral College, could only proclaim John Biden 46th President of the United States of America.
But from the very first results, Biden’s election victory was challenged by Trump, who spoke of fraud, especially in the decisive states; this is why he launched a series of legal actions claiming that he was in fact the winner: my victory was “stolen”, was the accusation; and in support of this accusation, Trump asked his supporters to demonstrate throughout the country. After conducting the necessary investigations, the various courts did not find any fraud, certifying the regularity of the votes and, therefore, the victory of Biden.
But Trump continued to denounce a fraud and he gave his supporters a meeting on January 6 in front of the Capitol to demonstrate their strong protest. “Stop the steal” was the slogan he launched in the White House grounds that morning; at the same time he pressured Republican senators to prevent Biden’s victory from being proclaimed by declaring the vote irregular and then replacing the electors from the elections with others appointed by the vice president.
But when Mike Pence refused to do what Trump demanded, the Trumpist protesters went wild; they broke through the weak cordon of police officers guarding the entrance to the building, and forced their way into the building. It should be noted that in the face of demonstrations against police brutality towards black people, heavily armed riot units had been deployed; but this time to protect the Capitol from the predictable incursions of pro-Trump demonstrators there was only a thin cordon of police officers ... who opened the barriers to let the crowd through...
All the media described what happened next. At the end of the day, there were 4 dead, many injured and dozens of arrests.
Trump rose to prominence in the Republican Party in 2016 as a presidential candidate despite not having grown up politically in the party, nor having had a political or military career beforehand. As a casino magnate and real estate developer, he has always tried to facilitate his business with political support, as do all great capitalists, such as Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. He supported sometimes the Democrats, sometimes the Republicans, according to his schemes, to end up among the Republicans - much closer to his supremacist and racist positions - who, after George W. Bush, were looking for a candidate capable of facing Hillary Clinton. They found it with Trump, who, against all odds, won the 2016 election. He became the first president to be elected in the United States without ever having been a senator or governor of a state, or a senior military officer. From this point of view, he was a kind of outsider who, in the political struggle against other bourgeois factions, could resort to maneuvers and carry out mobilizations that were unpredictable for his opponents - but also for the Republicans.
His different “political” background from traditional politicians, and the exaggerated propaganda of his personal entrepreneurial successes, combined with the American myth that even the “self-made man” can become president, allowed him to attract into his field of influence even a fraction of the working class in the northern states that used to vote for the Democrats, but which suffered a deterioration of their living conditions in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis and continued thereafter. In the bourgeois regime, political parties and their representatives are nothing more than the political expression of specific economic and financial interests; from this point of view it is obvious that the tendency towards isolationist and nationalist policies summarized in the motto “America First” that Trump has constantly displayed, expresses the interests of the American capitalists who are now suffering from international competition, especially from China. These strongly nationalistic interests are generally associated with anti-immigrant and racist positions, which are still present in the United States, but which have been on the rise during Trump’s four years in office.
As it happens especially in times of crisis, when the future becomes more and more uncertain for the great masses, not only proletarian but also petty bourgeois, there are always fractions of the great bourgeoisie who tend to force the situations so that their interests prevail over those of the opposite fractions. This contrast is part of the permanent competition between the bourgeois groups at all levels, economic, financial, political; but it inevitably emerges in a violent form when the economic crisis considerably reduces the cake of profit, also because of the international competition that becomes more and more fierce.
On the other hand, Trump, who is already under investigation by the courts for tax evasion and similar offences, risks a worsening of his problems once he is no longer president: he faces severe economic and personal penalties. He therefore has a vested interest in unleashing the street against an unfavorable election result; even if - after attempts to recount the votes to reverse the result in his favor failed - he knew that he had little chance of winning, he could in any case count on the chaos caused by the mobilization of his supporters on a theme that he will continue to agitate for as long as possible: that of election rigging...
American democracy, torn and trampled, has shown a face - that of disorder, chaos, violence usually hidden under a veil of deception and lies - that undermines its credibility: does this endanger its hold on the masses?
Despite the endless series of economic crises, social catastrophes, environmental disasters, massacres due to wars, misery and hunger, capitalism is still standing and it succeeds in maintaining the political and social domination of the bourgeois class; the democratic system that disguises this domination is still standing in spite of countless demonstrations that it is a political system for the exclusive benefit of the bourgeois capitalist minority. Even when the bourgeois are the first to show that they do not hesitate to trample on their own laws and their own political system for the sole purpose of defending their private interests, the myth of democracy does not fade away, it keeps all its strength to support a political and social system in full decay. The belief in the possibility of an honest, peaceful and egalitarian democracy is hard to get rid of because it is fed by the full force of the media and bourgeois institutions, the school, religious cults, etc.
HOW WILL THE PROLETARIAT COULD FREE ITSELF FROM THIS?
By defending itself above all as an independent class, as a class fighting not for a “true”, “honest”, “liberal” democracy, but against exploitation, against the constant blackmail for jobs (and wages) which makes it accept the conditions imposed by the employers, against all oppression, social or racial; as a class that does not give in to the sirens of conciliation and collaboration between classes, but confronts the bourgeoisie and all its supporters - be they Democrats, Republicans, supremacists, racists or “socialists” - in an open and general struggle.
The conditions of existence of the proletarians in the bourgeois system are imposed by the capitalists and in situations of economic crisis or health crisis like the present one, they tend to get worse; only a hard, tenacious and intelligent struggle against the capitalists and their state can limit the deterioration of these conditions. If it is the bourgeois themselves, the billionaires, the rulers who trample their democracy, why should the proletarians defend it, want to repair its cracks, embellish it? Whether they are white, black, Asian, Latino or mixed race, proletarians have never obtained any real social and economic advantage from bourgeois democracy; it is only at the price of very hard struggles that they have wrested social improvements, or obtained the recognition of civil rights. And at the first crisis these improvements and rights are called into question. The bourgeoisie, which tramples on its democracy and its laws, nevertheless demands that the great masses respect the laws and believe in democracy!
Today, in the United States as elsewhere, the proletariat is not an independent class. The unions are corrupted to the core, the parties that claim to defend the workers are in reality organizations of collaboration between the classes, thus serving bourgeois and capitalist conservation. The proletariat is a prisoner of a political and social system which, on the one hand, crushes it daily to exploit its labor power and, on the other hand, deceives it with the illusion that the democratic mechanism is the means of its emancipation. But democracy has never succeeded in avoiding economic crises, in eliminating social inequalities, in eradicating poverty and hunger, in overcoming wars and their ravages.
Democracy is nothing more than the ideological cover for the domination of the bourgeois class, which has no intention of abandoning the privileges that derive from the capitalist relations of production and property.
The proletariat is the only dominated class in society that has demonstrated that it has a program and a historical objective totally antagonistic to bourgeois interests and objectives; it is the only class whose social and political strength the bourgeoisie, in the U.S. as everywhere, fears. It does not fear it as an immediate danger, since the proletariat has not yet expressed that strength which only its independent organization can give it and which only the political leadership of the class party can assure. But historical experience has taught the American bourgeoisie, too, in the wake of the proletarian revolutions that broke out in Europe and Asia in the last century, that revolutionary class struggle, especially in an age when international contacts are much easier than in the past, can be very contagious.
Thanks to the work of political and trade union collaborationism, bourgeois democracy has demonstrated that it is a very effective bulwark against the proletarian class struggle; these methods of social control disorient the proletariat, make it take the bourgeois objectives for its own objectives, make it consider the interests of the bourgeois enterprises as its own interests, make it take the country where it is exploited, brutalized, massacred by exhaustion, marginalized, killed, as its “homeland” that must be defended against “foreign” aggressors, whereas the first aggressor of its conditions of existence is in “its” country: “his” bourgeoisie.
It does not matter if the bourgeoisie quarrel, if they scramble the cards or tamper with the ballots, if they fight violently among themselves to obtain an agreement or an additional privilege. They are all interested in keeping the proletariat in total confusion, in bending it to the demands of the smooth running of business and the national economy. And while the proletariat feeds on ... democracy, the bourgeois feeds on its sweat and blood.
The assault on the Capitol, initiated and organized by the supporters of one bourgeois faction, that of Trump and the senators and governors who support him, was not an attack on democracy in general at all; it was a violent demonstration of a mob that was given a material target against which the disgruntled petty bourgeois could express their discontent and anger. And like any objective to be reached even with violence, an easy motive was provided: the theft, in this case the theft of an electoral victory presented as the victory of this mass elevated to the rank of patriots. Not surprisingly, after the assault on the Congressional building and its vandalization, Trump tweeted: “This is what happens when victory is taken from patriots” (1).
But it is a very different assault that the bourgeoisie will have to witness tomorrow; the day when the proletarian masses will be back on the revolutionary ground and led by their class party, they will set the same objective as the proletarians of Petrograd in October 1917 attacking the Winter Palace: the taking of power.
Revolutionary communists are working for this historical event, with the certainty that the bourgeoisie is not as invincible as it shows. Preparing for this historical appointment is not a simple task, neither for the proletariat nor for its class party, but it is inevitable and the bourgeoisie cannot escape it. There will be no democracy, no government, no president or general able to stop this future red tide. The class of the unqualified, the class of the proletarians, whatever the color of their skin, their gender or their nationality, will rise up in all its power. The governments of the whole world will then tremble because the proletarians will finally have become the masters of their own destiny: they will no longer be wage slaves, but fighters for a society without oppression and without slavery, for a classless society, for communism.
International Communist Party