Fellow US-Americans, do you have the strange sensation of still being in the fascistic Donald Trump era during the neoliberal Joe Biden administration?
You are not crazy.
Yes, the president is still Sleepy Time Joe, a Democrat who announced his 2020 campaign with a video (softly) linking Trump to the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany, and the Congress is still run by slim Democrat majorities in both of its houses.
The Big Lie’s Chilling Reach: Merry AR-15 Xmas
But for how long? Under the powerful influence of Trump’s Big Stolen Election Lie (BSEL), a wildly potent evidence-defying deception that Hitler and Goebbels would admire, the Republican Party is rigging the electoral game at the state level. They are working in careful and dedicated fashion to make sure not just that the Democrats are crushed in the upcoming Congressional mid-terms and the 2024 presidential election. They are also and all too “constitutionally” wiring the mechanics so that they can never lose national power again.
It’s not just about gerrymandering and voter suppression. It’s also about popular vote nullification, replete with plans to let right-wing legislatures send Electoral College slates that defy the presidential candidate choices of voters in their jurisdictions.
Consistent with Trump’s hate rally rhetoric and the fascist playbook, right-wingers are threatening violence to enforce this autocratic outcome. Local and state election officials now regularly receive death threats from Amerikaners who buy the BSEL, accepted by more than two-thirds of Republicans.
A key fascist calling card, the embrace and menace of political violence, is alive and well in one of the nation’s major parties. The coming Republifascist majority House of Representatives already includes open violence-promoting white nationalists like Paul Gosar (Rf-AZ, QAnon superfreak Marjorie Taylor-Green (Rf-GA), Lauren Boebert (Rf-CO), Thomas Massie (Rf-KY), and Capitol Riot organizer Mo Brooks (Rf-AL). It will add more AR-toting neo-Nazis in 2023. Gosar recently sent out a tweet depicting him murdering Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and turning to assault Joe Biden. Boebert and Massie have recently posed for photos showing themselves and their families armed with military assault rifles, leaving little doubt about their underlying desire for a bloody civil war against “the radical liberal left.” Massie’s family gun shoot went out as a Christmas card to his tornado-terrorized constituents.
The Hollow Resistance of the Dithering Dollar Dems
As during the (first) Trump administration, the Dems are still playing their usual neoliberal era Weimar role vis-a-vis the radically right-wing GOP. Now as before, even with nominal and power atop the executive branch and Congress, “The Democratic Party will not stop this nightmare. Trump, fascist Fox News, and the Republifascist Party have branded them as enemies and ‘traitors.’ Yet,” Refuse Fascism notes, “the Democratic Party will consistently pull to try to work with, conciliate with and collaborate with them.” This is true with or without the slithering coal-fired reptile Joe Manchin ($-WV), the Build Back Better assassin who has joined with his fellow corrupt Senator Kyrsten Sinema ($-AZ) to help other “moderate” (right-wing) corpro-Dems seem more liberal, progressive, and outraged than they really are.
Anticipating the coming shift of power and the likelihood of Trumped-up counter-impeachments and other harassment from a Republifascist House (and Senate?) in 2023-24, the dithering dollar Biden-their-time Dems are not about to rightly try and convict the Biggest Asshole of All Time and his cronies for launching a racial nationalist coup meant to overthrow what’s left of US bourgeois democracy in 2020 and January 2021. Top Dems don’t want to have to flee the country after the Sleepy Interregnum. They are not about to criminally prosecute the orange fascist insect for, you know, trying to end the American republic and become a dictator, for sparking a fascist assault on the US Capitol to prevent the once normative “peaceful transition of power.”
A Sentencing Disparity
Yes, hundreds of lower-level fascist marauders are being charged, tried, and convicted for trashing the Capitol. But their punishments are minor, nothing like the vicious eight-year federal “terrorism” sentence imposed on Jessica Reznicek for trying to contribute to the preservation of life/livable ecology by monkey wrenching the ecocidal Dakota Access Pipeline. Think about that: six months and misdemeanor marks for engaging in a fascist assault on the certification of a US presidential election vs. eight years of incarceration and a felony record for trying to protect water and climate from the socio-pathological fossil fuel industry, which is actively turning the planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas Chamber.
Planet Cooking and Border Sadism Still On
Speaking of ecocide, yes, Trump was a bold agent of environmental destruction, openly dedicated to accelerating the cooking and poisoning of the planet. He was prone to calling climate change a “Chinese hoax.” It’s nice that Biden believes in that the climate is being dangerously altered by human (try capitalist) activity. But so what? Biden has disastrously opened federal lands and reserves for the planet-baking gas and oil industry. The e capitalgoenic climate catastrophe barely makes it onto the list of issues that most concern the US populace under Biden as under Trump – a great propaganda victory for those heating the pot in which humanity is being turned into sitting frog soup.
Republicans and so-called moderate Democrats in Congress have made sure that the federal government won’t pass environmental legislation remotely matched to the scale of the grave ecological challenges facing the US and the world. So what if the climate-driven record-setting wildfires, drought, and other extreme weather of the Trump years has only worsened since Trump left the White House, replete with a giant killer tornado wave through the mid-South in the Christmas season? Never mind that climate change is the biggest issue of our or any time. Who cares?
Then there’s the harsh nativist border policy, also alive and well under Biden, with Mexican and Central American bodies piling up in miserable US detention camps and denied the right to come north to flee US-sponsored state and environmental terrorism. Who can ever forget right-wing Democrat Kamala Harris’s eloquent statement Central Americans desperately hoping to escape Yankee-imposed ecocide, poverty, and repression and to find refuge in the First World: “Do Not Come!”
Right to Life I: Pandemo-Fascist Gilead
Another living Trump legacy is the lethal pandemicist politicization of COVID-19 (another one of Trump’s “Chinese hoaxes”), which has contributed significantly to “the world’s greatest nation’s” shocking inability to properly protect its people as the virus mutates and wreaks havoc within and beyond the USA. A vast Trump-fucked section of the populace refuses to take the killer pandemic seriously, rejecting elementary public health measures and recommendations as liberal and leftist tyranny. Politicians, policy makers, and talking heads aligned with the Trump Cult are openly working to spread the pandemic with measures prohibiting vaccine and mask mandates. We are facing another long dark Covid winter, with hospitals and their intensive care units filled past capacity and medical personnel driven to the breaking point.
It comes in the name of “freedom” from state repression and control of one’s own body– this from people who are happy to enlist the state in making women serve as incubators, from patriarchs pleased to impose female bondage through forced motherhood.
Consistent with Trump’s pandemo-fascist rhetoric, right-wingers are not afraid to threaten violence to keep the United States a Covid Sanctuary state, itself an act of massive epidemiological violence. Public health officials and agents regularly receive death threats from Amerikaners who buy the right-wing covid disinformation that Trump did so much to promote. Even school nurses now report threats of bloodshed from the Trumpist death cult.
Trump continues to rule through a Supreme Court that he and his Republifascist allies in the US senate managed to stock with three vicious right-wingers, producing a 6-3 Republican super-majority far to the starboard side of the US populace. After having approved the right-wing political gerrymandering currently sweeping red state Amerika, the arch-reactionary high court is currently poised (in Dobbs v. Jackson) to boldly defy majority public opinion by reversing its 1973 ruling granting women the right to an abortion. Abortion-providers continued to face right-wing Christo-fascist death threats. And now they face Supreme Court-approved economic terrorism and vigilantism under a Texas measure (SB8) that lets anyone in the nation smack a 10K lawsuit on anybody anywhere who helps a Texas woman get an abortion. This is an open embodiment of Trumpism’s neo-Confederate/neo-secessionist “civil war” sentiment, which harkens back to the Fugitive Slave Act.
Right to Life II: Racist Gunfighter Nation
The court is also poised (in New York State Pistol and Rife Association v. Bruen) to roll back local gun regulations, opening the already gun-saturated and gun violence-plagued nation up to escalated bloodshed. Mass shootings, including school-based ones slaughtering children, continue unabated in armed madhouse that is the USA thanks in no small part to the persistent power of the neofascist National Rifle Association, which was emboldened under Trump to not so subtly threaten liberal celebrities and politicians with assassination. More holy reverence for the “right to life”!
Speaking of gun violence, racism, and fascism, we recently saw an openly biased right-wing judge oversee a farcical trial leading to the exoneration of the teen-fash killer Kyle (KK) Rittenhouse, who executed two Black Lives Matter protesters with a fully loaded and illegally owned AR-15 in Kenosha, Wisconsin in late August of 2020. The junior Trumpist Rittenhouse has recently travelled to Mar a Lago to break bread with the orange fascist himself, who made a special point of visiting Kenosha on the very last night of the 2020 presidential campaign. KK has also appeared on Fatherland News host Tucker Carlson’s nightly white nationalist Hate Hour and even on Charlie Kirk Show, hosted by the racist lunatic who is leading a white supremacist movement that has pushed numerous “red” states to criminalize teaching the truth about the central role of white systemic racism in US American history past and present.
The Republifascists are a Better Match to Late-Stage Metastatic Capitalism
What are Joe “Nothing Would Fundamentally Change” Biden and his fellow dismal, dollar-drenched Democrats doing about the nation’s collapse into open neofascist rule? Despite all their bleating (accurate enough) about the “existential crisis of [unmentionably limited-because-bourgeois] democracy,” not much. True to hollow form, they have surrendered pathetically on the once ambitious if inadequate Build Back Better bill, on voting rights legislation, on the minimum wage, on student debt, on DC statehood, on expanding the Supreme Court, the environment (the biggest issue of all), and (relevant to all of the above) on ending the arch-reactionary, reform-blocking filibuster. They have handed the keys to the dying republic to the GOP via the fetid claws of the so-called moderates Manchin and Sinema. They refuse to call masses into the streets and public squares to protect women’s reproductive rights, choosing instead to falsely claim that abortion pills and elaborate foundation-backed underground railways to abortion “sanctuary states” can get the job done.
Even as they observe that voting rights are being stripped, the only “solution” these corporate-bought electoral sheepdogs have is for people to vote harder. It’s absurd but also unsurprising. The Democrats are a ruling class party whose owners and managers have little if any interest in waging the sort of epic and sustained mass social and political struggles required to beat back the new US Amerikaner fascism. And here’s a cold fact: their overseers sense correctly that the underlying class rule system – US capitalism-imperialism – today cannot meet the needs and aspirations of the Democrats’ supposed popular base. The US-American capitalist simply order lacks the capacity and resources to overcome racial oppression and oppression based on gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity and nationality status. It lacks the ability to move off fossil fuels (to which it is deeply addicted) and stop murdering livable ecology. It cannot dismantle its giant military empire, which drains resources from the potential meeting of human needs while concentrating wealth further upward and poisoning the Earth between and during its recurrent wars, occupations, and other crimes against humanity. It cannot and will not meaningfully and democratically distribute wealth and power downward.
These are not achievable things under the American order. The goals of the far more unified Republifascist Party, though, are, by contrast, quite doable under US and global capitalism. Rolling back and even cancelling hard won democratic, civil, human, and environmental rights, pulling up the ladder of minority advancement, deepening apartheid, putting women “back in their place,” sharpening borders, advancing vengeful and mythical nationalism, and re-valorizing whiteness are all quite attainable goals under the zero-sum game of chaotic and competitive global capitalism. As much as many “progressive neoliberal” wings of capital might prefer to retain the cloaks of bourgeois democracy and politically correct multicultural and cross-gender “diversity” and “tolerance” atop their class dictatorship, the Republifascist project and base is far better matched than the Democratic Party’s constituency and politics to the harsh realities of late-stage metastatic capitalism. And it promises to bring down an iron heel on those who oppose class rule.
The most menacing fascism of the perversely ongoing Trump era is not that of Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Boys, Three Percenters, and other thugs and militia types lurking in the rural and exurban hinterland and the dodgier parts of suburbia – the “far right” folks who neo Black Blocy-“Antifa” sorts like to doxx and otherwise harass (also the only people that DSA’s “Anti-Fascist Working Group” can understand as fascist). No, the real fascism that matters most is about the politics and ideology that has taken over the most structurally, institutionally, and constitutionally empowered of the nation’s two major political parties: the Amerikaner Party of Trump, also knows the Republican Party. That party’s remarkable minority rule power continues to cast a fatal shadow over the nation despite Democrats’ fleeting slim presence atop the nation’s executive and representative branches.
“Imagine Competing Commanders in Chief”
If its all-too constitutional means of taking back and keeping full national power prove insufficient to guarantee the desired outcome in 2024 and 2025, moreover, the Republifascists may get some help from fascists in the military in the distinctly possible event of a contested election. Three retired US Army generals recently took to the editorial page of The Washington Post to warn about the “very real… potential for a military breakdown mirroring societal or political breakdown.” Further:
“The signs of potential turmoil in our armed forces are there. On Jan. 6, a disturbing number of veterans and active-duty members of the military took part in the attack on the Capitol. More than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attacks had a service record. A group of 124 retired military officials, under the name ‘Flag Officers 4 America,’ released a letter echoing Donald Trump’s false attacks on the legitimacy of our elections…Recently, and perhaps more worrying, Brig. Gen. Thomas Mancino, the commanding general of the Oklahoma National Guard, refused an order from President Biden mandating that all National Guard members be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Mancino claimed that while the Oklahoma Guard is not federally mobilized, his commander in chief is the Republican governor of the state, not the president…The potential for a total breakdown of the chain of command along partisan lines — from the top of the chain to squad level — is significant should another insurrection occur. The idea of rogue units organizing among themselves to support the “rightful” commander in chief cannot be dismissed…Imagine competing commanders in chief — a newly reelected Biden giving orders, versus Trump (or another Trumpian figure) issuing orders as the head of a shadow government. Worse, imagine politicians at the state and federal levels illegally installing a losing candidate as president…All service members take an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution. But in a contested election, with loyalties split, some might follow orders from the rightful commander in chief, while others might follow the Trumpian loser. Arms might not be secured depending on who was overseeing them. Under such a scenario, it is not outlandish to say a military breakdown could lead to civil war… As we approach the first anniversary of the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, we — all of us former senior military officials — are increasingly concerned about the aftermath of the 2024 presidential election and the potential for lethal chaos inside our military, which would put all Americans at severe risk. In short: We are chilled to our bones at the thought of a coup succeeding next time.”
Feel free to laugh this off, faux left pretend-workerite Trumpenlefties, but we are long past ridiculous “boy who cried wolf” charges of “undue hysteria” one year out from January 6
(Of course, constitutional rigging and political violence may not be required to oust the Democratic Party from the White House in 2024-25. With his pathetic failures to fight on behalf of the people and what’s left of bourgeois democracy, Sleepy Time Joe Biden could well lose the old-fashioned way, through an unmanipulated Electoral College. Biden’s current approval rating is incredibly low, at 44%, with a good chance of staying that way as the epically uncharismatic octogenarian POTUS fumbles his way through Covid-19’s resurgence, inflation, and the coming constant harassment he can expect from a Republifascist House of Representatives [and perhaps Senate]. The man is a joke. Thanks, again, Obama.)
One Million Cases Per Day?
Speaking of total breakdowns, Dr. Francis Collins, the retiring director of the National Institute of Health, has just projected that the USA could soon see 1 million daily infections “if Americans don’t take COVID-19 seriously.” One million cases per day is very possibly collapse: collapse of the health care system, collapse of the economy, and perhaps collapse of civil society. With untold tens of millions of Amerikaners just too “sick of the pandemic” to follow Collins’ advice and with the Republifascist party and its manufacturing absurdity media machine perfectly happy to fan mass death to help “own the libs” and the “radical Left” (“LOL”) Democrats in 2022 and 2024, collapse is not off the table. This and other factors make one wonder if The Man Who Faced Down Corn Pop will stay in power (much less stay alive) through January 20, 2025.
Radical Change is Coming
A radical “resolution” of the deepening systemic contradictions and deepening social crisis and related divisions within both the general population and the ruling elites seems inevitable. The only question is whether the “resolution” will be the revanchist resolution of radical right reaction (fascist/capitalist) or the liberating resolution of radical left (socialist) revolution. Given the current balance of forces, all indications are pointing to the starboard “resolution,” to say the least. Only a mass and sustained popular rebellion and uprising – something on a revolutionary scale not yet seen in US history – could change the equation. Such an uprising would have to confront not just the Republifascist party and movement but the underlying class dictatorship that gives rise to neofascism and is predisposed to ultimately choose explicitly authoritarian rule over time-limited and always-contingent bourgeois democracy. We have one critical ingredient of the revolutionary situation required – massive social division and crisis reflected in and reflecting major divisions within the ruling class on how to rule. But the other two key essential parts of the mix, mass revolutionary consciousness and a revolutionary movement and vanguard, are woefully absent. The only thing crazier than trying to change this situation not trying to do so. Given the inner authoritarian and eco-cidal logic of capital, the suicidal path is to reject the revolutionary path, not to take it.
Here is something I recently wrote to my 4000+ “friends” on so-called social media:
I had NPR on this morning while making coffee and heard some talking head say basically that the Build Back Better Bill (B4) is now completely dead. That diseased capitalist insect Joe Manchin ($-WV) stuck the last nail in the coffin on (how perfect) Fatherland (FOX) News. I guess the initial progressive instinct of not signing on with the capitalist infrastructure bill until B4 was guaranteed/passed by Senate was correct. Not that B4 was adequate but there was some decent shit that people need in it.
It’s just total sadism now. “I trust Joe Biden to get B4 through” – I heard some leading Congressional Dem (I’m pretty sure it was Ro Khanna) say that on MSNBC last fall. Right. Why? Seriously, why? Are there no limits to progressive gullibility? It sounded laughable at the time. It was laughable. It is laughable.
I have been screaming from the rooftops for years that there is no percentage in trying to get big change through this system and the Democrats. You won’t do it. You will not win, not even something as limited as B4. Not even an increased minimum wage. Not even student debt abolition. Not even voting rights. No even labor law reform. Not even basic gun control. Not even…you fill in the blank. Forget about it. It’s over. Stop trying to “speak truth to power.” Stop believing in this system. Stop appealing to your owners and masters.
Stop being owned. They own you even worse than Aaron Rodgers owns the Chicago Bears (ignore that comment if you don’t follow sports).
You are their playthings. You are things to them, to the ruling class — not people, things. Stop placing hope in the dismal, dithering, dollar-drenched Dems. Stop thinking voting will fix anything beyond a desperate and occasional and very brief act to try to get some breathing space by keeping fascists out of office for a bit. Get serious about revolution. Join a serious socialist or communist organization. Get it that bourgeois democracy is over as a path to anything more than a hint of fading and transient protection from fascist consolidation and drastically accelerate your commitment to the theory and practice of socialist revolution.
+1. Just one among thousands of examples: on December 1, 2020, Donald Trump’s right-wing, Christian nationalist Attorney General William Barr went public with his finding that there was, in the words of Associated Press reporter Michael Balsamo, “no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election.” The deeply conservative Barr was subsequently called into the orange-faced lunatic’s personal White House dining room, where the following dialogue occurred:
Trump: “I think you may have notice I haven’t been talking to you much. I’ve been leaving you alone.”
Trump then turned to Barr’s observation that the Justice Department had found no fraud that could have changed the election outcome and said, “did you say that?”
Trump: “How the fuck could you do this to me? Why did you say it?”
Barr: “Because it’s true.”
Trump, screaming and red-faced: “You must hate Trump! You must hate Trump!!”
Barr resigned two weeks later, pleasing his maniacal overlord with a resignation letter that ridiculously lauded Trump’s “many successes and unprecedented accomplishments.” Trump went on to double and triple-down on his insane fraud claim, enlisting a substitute “kitchen cabinet of crazies” (including the sinister psychotics Sidney Powell, Mike Lindell, Michael Flynn, Rudy “Four Seasons” Giuliani, and John “Roadmap for a Coup” Eastman) that reinforced his BSEL even as it was shot down by one court after another. He would go on to criminally ask Georgia and Michigan Republicans to illegally grant him popular and Elector votes he lost. He would spark an actual mass fascist assault on the US Capitol, trying to suspend Congress’s certification of his Electoral College defeat and to provoke an emergency permitting him to declare martial law. Along the way, thousands died daily from a pandemic to which Trump paid no attention while spending his post-election days on golf, working up pardons for criminal allies, and working to overthrow the 2020 election. Today, more than two-thirds of the nation’s Republicans believe the BSEL. State-level Republican officials are rigging an already right-tilted electoral system further right in the name of the BSEL. Fifty million US Americans have still yet to get vaccinated as Covid-19 moves into another one of its mass-killer waves, threatening to cripple hospital capacity. The vast unvaccinated population is in part a reflection of Trump’ presidential politicization of the pandemic, which would likely have ended his miserable and toxic life after he pathologically infected a significant number of his own staff and allies but for his access to the best socialized health care on Earth in the fall of 2020. For an attempt to itemize and catalogue the Trump’s crimes as president, see the third chapter, titled “A Fascist in the White House, 2017-2021,” in my new book This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (New York: Routledge, December 29, 2021).