It is Happening Here

My thoughts about the historical moment:

June 1, 2020 was one of the most significant days in the history of the United States.  In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, with over 104,000 dead and counting; 40 million people unemployed; an economy that is collapsing, and an unprecedented nation-wide (multi-racial, ethnic and class) uprising against not only the police killing of an African-American man, Mr. George Floyd, but also a generalized repudiation of the American political-economic system as a whole the President of the United States, Donald Trump, initiated an attempted fascist coup d’état.

Stating that he was the “President of law and order,” Trump declared that if the governors and mayors around the country would not the stop protesters and the accompanied violence he would take the matter in his own hands and send “thousands and thousands” of United States military to “dominate the streets” and end the protests. This was not an idle threat, what Presidents say have to be taken very seriously.   Also, by standing in front of the boarded St John’s Episcopal Church across from Lafayette Park near the White House, Trump held up a bible for a photo op. CNN and MSNBC hosts and reporters claimed that they did not know what that action meant, but it was very obvious to me what it meant:  It was a call to his Christian Right and neo-fascist shock troops to mobilize to defend (and follow) “him” even if it means a civil war.

The United States is in extremely serious trouble:  its 244 year-old “democratic experiment” and Empire is hovering over an abyss.  While the ruling class and its political establishment have no answers as to how address this situation.   In fact, there are no answers within the framework of the existing Capitalist order.  Certainly electing Biden as an alternative would abort the madness coming out of the White House, but the Democrats serve the same corporate masters as the Republicans do. Thus, they have no solutions either.   Furthermore, the current uprising is only a prelude to what is yet to come.  Sometime this summer millions and millions of desperate and angry unemployed workers are going to take to the streets; with possibly many millions heading directly to the White House. Then what happens?

The political, economic, social contradictions that have come to the surface since Covid-19 emerged have been congealing for decades, beginning with deindustrialization, the introduction of monetarism in the late-1970’s and the institutionalization of bi-partisan Neoliberalism under Reagan. Moreover, the socio-political configuration of this crisis exists because the Democrats and Republican arties have crafted “electoral coalitions” that eliminated any sense (and structure) of working class solidarity and mobilization, while causing the appalling polarization that divides the working class.  This reality has also been facilitated by union bureaucrat’s complicity with the Democratic Party’s Neoliberal attack on the working class.  This process started with Richard Nixon crafting the so-called “Southern Strategy” aimed at making the Republican Party all-white; while in the early 1970’s the Democrats put into place “Identity Politics” while looking at the white working class as “deplorables.”

What I am also looking for in the immediate future is will the ruling class, Republican establishment and/or the military remove Trump from office in a futile attempt to appease the mass anger and contain the direct actions of the working class. The options to remove Trump are multiple; some of them include: 1.) imple-menting the 25th amendment; 2.) staging a military coup d’état; or, 3.) forcing his resignation by familial threats. If he is not removed soon he will declare martial law as a response to the mass uprising and cancel the General Election in November; or if he does not cancel the election he will refuse to leave the White House if he loses.  If that happens all bets are off as to the countries’ future.  I am still amazed that it only took a lethal virus to be the catalyst to expose the contradictions, fragility (and possibly collapse) of the “Exceptional Nation.”

George V. Wright is professor emeritus from the Department of Political Science at California State University, Chico. He also sits on the Editorial Board of the United Public Workers for Action based in San Francisco.