Photo: Trump Supporters at the US Capitol amid smoke (Source: Reuters)
By the Editorial Board
On the afternoon that the US Congress was scheduled to certify the election of Joe Biden to the presidency, a mob of thousands of Trump supporters descended on the US capitol in Washington DC and were allowed to breach the building by law enforcement, paralyzing the certification process and putting the politicians under immediate evacuation orders as the Capitol was overrun by Trump’s belligerent loyalists.
A majority of the US imperialist ruling class has united against Trump in the aftermath and claimed the events on Wednesday were an ‘attack on democracy,’ with President-elect Biden, and the monopoly media framing it as a “coup” or “insurrection” and its participants as “domestic terrorists.” These labels serve the ruling class’s demagoguery to hysterically defend US imperialism.
This was no insurrection but a riot stoked by Trump and his reactionary followers, who themselves seek to defend the US imperialist system, merely opposing the wing of imperialism led by the Democrats and his rival representatives of finance capital.
The riots will cost him the support of a large portion of the Republican Party leaders, but he has sent a strong message to the rest of the bourgeoisie that he commands an active and energetic base willing to engage in armed mobilization for the time being.
The events began on Wednesday morning, when Trump addressed a large rally of his supporters, telling them, “You’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to be strong,” and encouraging them to march on the Capitol building following the rally.
As the crowd swelled and advanced on the Capitol steps around 2PM eastern time, DC Metro police and US Capitol police, the main law enforcement agencies active to monitor the protests, allowed the breach, pulling back as the Trump crowd marched through. Some videos show police shaking hands with protesters just prior to the riot.
Local police forces form an important part of Trump’s base, and it should be understood that the police unions would offer tacit support for any type of mobilization against the Electoral College certification. Ironically, the roots of the DC Metro police are in response to a reactionary riot that overran the White House which occurred in 1841.
As opposed to the situation in past months, during the protests for Black lives and other progressive events, there was a minuscule police presence—police were mainly in basic uniform with almost no riot control apparatus. In addition, bourgeois media reported that President Trump had blocked attempts to bring in the National Guard throughout the day, ensuring favorable tactical conditions for his followers.
As the reactionary protesters reached the Capitol doors, they broke windows and smashed locks, flooding inside while carrying Trump banners and American flags as well as clashing with Capitol police. Some protesters went to the offices of politicians, sitting for photos at the desks of leaders such as Nancy Pelosi.
Both the House and Senate chambers were evacuated, and the doors of the House barricaded with furniture. Capitol police defended the doors with guns drawn as politicians sheltered on the ground. Protesters were able to enter into the Senate chambers and roam freely among the desks.
Five people are reported to have died during the events, including one Capitol police officer. Three Trump supporters are said to have died from “medical emergencies” and one female Trump supporter was fatally shot by Capitol police during the incursion. She died from her injuries in the hospital and will likely become a martyr for the Trump movement, while the reactionary liberals will will cite the occurrence to call for more support for police.
Praise for the police has been unanimous from all members of Congress, especially Democrats, who have ridden to electoral victories on the backs of the protests against police violence and in defense of Black lives without ever changing their loyalty to the police, who murder the working class and defend reactionary bourgeois democracy and private property.
After the mayhem started to subside, the National Guard was authorized to deploy by Vice President Mike Pence, despite Trump’s role as commander in chief. As the crowds departed the Capitol, Trump called his supporters “great patriots” and told them to “go home in peace.” He continued to claim that the election was stolen from him, resulting in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram taking the step of locking his accounts and preventing further posts, possibly indefinitely.
The House of Representatives and Senate reconvened around 8PM to continue the certification process, and Pence received a standing ovation from all members of Congress after condemning the violence. The politicians made grandstanding speeches about how ‘American democracy’ would not be stopped. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stated, “The clockwork of our democracy has carried on,” and that, “Criminal behavior will never dominate the US Congress.”
Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer celebrated law enforcement and called the Trump supporters “domestic terrorists,” and that they “do not represent America,” despite Trump supporters’ total devotion to US chauvinism and their willingness to swarm the Capitol in what they see as a patriotic defense of the US electoral process.
Both Democratic and Republican politicians in Congress used the reconvened session to praise the police officers who they say defended the Capitol, but all objective facts show that they were a nearly negligible force and took a passive approach to the incursions until it reached heightened states of conflict inside.
In the monopoly media, former Trump officials have been paraded out to condemn him. Trump has lost nearly all the imperialists’ tacit support, but even after the riots which attempted to stop the electoral process, many politicians voted to support the objections to vote certification in a nod to Trump and their political futures. Ultimately, the Electoral College votes were certified late Wednesday evening, paving the way for Biden’s inauguration on January 20.
The far right has pushed a narrative that the most violent elements in the riot were in reality ‘antifa’ provocateurs. Republican Matt Gaetz, a representative of Florida, claimed “some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters, they were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact were members of the violent terrorist group antifa.” These claims are baseless and are made without any evidence.
This obfuscation will be utilized by the bourgeoisie. The Democrats will increase their calls for policing and ‘law and order,’ while the far right still catering to Trump’s base will be able to claim the propaganda victory of a necessary incursion to defend the ‘democratic’ process—simultaneously dumping the blame for the most aggressive acts on their ‘antifa’ bogeyman.
Trump’s most reactionary supporters will not be quelled, and Trump can be expected to continue kicking and screaming at the prospect of leaving the White House in what amounts to little more than a publicity stunt. However, he lacks any official support to preserve his position there, and will leave as expected—he lacks the clear support of the military and other important control over the repressive state. On Thursday morning, Trump’s office issued a statement declaring that while he still doesn’t agree with the results, he promises an “orderly transition” regardless.
Reports are incoming that multiple White House officials have resigned, but so far, there has not been a massive abandonment by the officials of Trump’s administration. On Thursday, Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ramped up calls for invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows for administration officials to declare a sitting president unfit for duty. She threatened that if there was no concrete action, she would press for an accelerated impeachment process.
The outraged liberal bourgeoisie seem to have the backing of the monopoly capitalists behind them, as the CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, the country’s largest organization representing capitalist manufacturers, issued a statement, saying, “The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power,” and called for his ousting.
Up until now, the association has been a key backer of Trump. Representatives of finance capital also weighed in, with the CEOs of Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Goldman Sachs all making similar statements denouncing the Trump. It appears that Trump has outworn any official or tacit support from the highest levels of US imperialism and will be left to build a path on his own in the short term if he continues in politics.
As the inauguration approaches, it remains to be seen how Trump will utilize his final week to mobilize his base and make any final propaganda, but a stronger law enforcement presence can be expected in the Capitol, composed of a National Guard who will exhibit less tolerance for the Trump supporters, now backed by the Democrats and a more united imperialist bourgeoisie who are ready to enforce ‘law and order’ as Trump plans his exit.
In this great chaos, these are the times for the people and working class to unite further, strengthen organization, and learn to fight by fighting for a new society, to overthrow this decrepit imperialist system which only decays further day by day and is on no other path but to ruin.
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