The Attempted Coup d'état and the Future

The Attempted Coup d'état and the Future

In the days following the failed fascist coup d’état on Capitol Hill an endless panoply of political commentators on the 24-hour news channels have offered their opinions. Two prevailing schools of thought have become dominant. First, the violent, fascist insurrectionists were the final act of a dying political aberration represented by Donald Trump and his unthinking cult of supporters. It was the failed final spasm of the corpse of Trumpism. Second, political figures came forth, from all sides of the political spectrum, to insist that “this is not America.”

The truth is very different. First, this is very much what America is, revealed time and again when political, economic and social pressures build. And second, this is not the end of Trumpist, Proud Boy, Turning Point fascism.

The first recent wave of incipient fascism, from groups like Turning Point, was the well-funded, media-promulgated “alt-right.” But the events of Charlottesville, replete with fascist violence and murder blunted that attempt to create an “acceptable,” phony intellectual, version of fascist discourse by spokespeople like Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk and Tucker Carlson. As the “alt-right” receded, an opportunity was created for a more virulent and “in your face” fascist movement. That movement brought together the racism, paranoia, and hopelessly confused thinking of the Proud Boys, QAnon, Confederates, and neo-Nazis into a loose confederation of ultraviolent cults all pledging allegiance to Donald Trump. Those loose alliances began to develop into a more solidified fascist base, fueled by the Trump administration and ultra-conservative, neo-fascist members of Congress. The result was the assault on the Capitol.

President Biden promises unity, healing and tranquility the wake of the Trumpists. He speaks of a resurrection of democracy. But the fascists who attacked the Capitol don’t believe in any of that and to assume that such pleas for civility will fix the problem is naïve at best. Subversion of democracy by Republicans takes place daily, in state legislatures, in the courts and, among their neo-fascist storm-troopers, in the streets. It is important to recall the simple fact that the United States was never intended by its founders to be a democracy. It was a Constitutional Republic in which a limited vote was restricted to property-owning white males. It is that vision of a republic that far-right Republicans and their fascist allies are trying to restore.

To some degree that vision was reflected by the official response to the insurrection. Considering the massive display of violence by a heavily armed mob, the police and the national security apparatus were surprisingly deferential. Police abandoned barricades and offered minimal resistance to the rioters, at least initially. One excuse was lack of planning and preparation. The police simply didn’t think these “respectable” insurrectionists would turn as violent as they did.

The truth is very different. First, this is very much what America is, revealed time and again when political, economic and social pressures build. And second, this is not the end of Trumpist, Proud Boy, Turning Point fascism.

The official response bore no relationship to the massive use of force used during the Summer during anti-Trump and BLM protests, which were far more subdued and clearly did not attempt to seize the Capitol, the White House, or any other government building. What is designated as a peaceful protest in the planning stages is obviously based on law enforcement and their affinity for the protesters. The fact that repressive tactics vary related to the politics of the protesters isn’t an oversight or a coincidence. The repressive state coddles and cares for those who they believe pose no threat to the ruling class. That same repressive state shows unbridled brutality to those perceived as a threat to that same ruling class.

The irony, of course, is that while the repressive arm of the state initially showed deference to the rioters, that soon turned to surprise and confusion when they became the targets of those who they wrongly believed actually meant “Blue Lives Matter.” That same confusion was among the fascist intruders, who also truly believed that their vocal pro-police rhetoric would result in law enforcement joining their coup d’état. They felt betrayed and began viciously attacking the cops. Violent ethnonationalism, hidden behind phony claims of patriotism, created cognitive dissonance for both the police and rioters. “Back the Blue” quickly mutated into a view that police were an impediment to a white nationalist power grab.

So here we are. Despite Biden’s calls for unity and despite his support of the police and military the simple fact is that the influence of the fascist right, now advocating the acceleration of violence to reach their goals, will grow. There will still be violence directed toward the left and the non-white citizenry. But there will also be increasing violence directed toward the government and the state as opportunity arises. In leaving office, Trump told the insurrectionists “We love you. You’re very special.” Even moderate proposals from the Biden administration will be seen as betrayals, the same way modest proposals were seen prior to the Civil War.

A wave of fascist violence is coming, even if it takes a short break to lick its wounds and get its minions out of jail and prison. Those fascists still have their collaborators within the government and the police. It is only a matter of time until they attack again.