LALIT is perhaps the only political party in the country to have publicly predicted the kind of coup d’état (a failed one, it turned out) that took place yesterday in Washington D.C. when thousands of Trump supporters, on orders Trump gave at a public gathering earlier in the day, marched on and then stormed the Capitol, where the House of Representatives and Senate sit. Yesterday we saw the dangerous descent into rule by a right-wing mob led by a President unable to accept his defeat at the polls. The mob was in a “pincer action”, at that very moment, with over 100 Republican Representatives and a dozen Senators, who were also, at the same time, acting out Trump’s mad scheme of preventing the final step in certifying the election of Biden-Harris as the new Presidential team.
LALIT predicted precisely this kind of coup in an article on our website www.lalitmauritius.org and on our Facebook page as early as 24 November, as well as in our Revi LALIT Number 143 under the title: “Danze ku Deta USA: E si Trump pa ale, Persiste …” (p. 35).
We do not say this to brag.
We say it because the danger is not over yet. And we want you, as a reader, to have confidence in our analysis.
For a start, the system in the USA gives the deranged Trump another two weeks in power, until 20 January. The man is still commander-in-chief. He still has the nuclear button, even. And now he will attack his own Vice President, Mike Pence, who at the eleventh hour distanced himself from the right-wing coup, and who, constitutionally speaking, has the power to lead a move to oust Trump right now. Trump will also turn on Mitch McConnell, the Republican who controlled the Senate majority, but who also turned against Trump at the eleventh hour. The situation remains grave. And the right-wing movement, mobilized and armed as it is, will not die down just because Joe Biden comes to power on 20 January, as he is due to. An awakened fascist mobilization like this one is a force to reckon with, as our prior articles also argued, and demands robust political opposition to it, not the timid politics of a Joe Biden.
At the same time what happens in the most powerful country in the world affects all countries in the world, ours included. So, we need to be aware of the dangers of this rise of a populist, fascist right-wing – in many places in the world, but in particular in the USA. The way to recognize it is that it is typified by a mobilized political force attacking bourgeois democracy from the right. Fascism mobilizes people – but not in order to implement a program for more equality, more justice, more freedom, more democracy. The exact opposite.
So, this is what we said in our articles. Here is a translation of the final one-quarter of the Kreol article on our web site and Facebook page, and which is the whole of the Revi article cited above and published in November, but we suggest you read the entire article when you get a moment:
“The danger of a coup d’état: And what if Trump Digs in …
“And what if Trump persists, digs in and refuses to leave the White House? What if he persists in pretending that he won the election? Here is the kind of scenario that he and his hardcore supporters are already likely plotting.
“Trump has already got court cases in some 5 different States. He has already lost over 20 court cases. [Now over 60!] He has already called for a new recount in Georgia. This won’t most likely bring any change. One of Trump’s allies, Lindsey Graham, has spearheaded another challenge that aimed to disqualify whole sections of votes. This also failed.
“The dates to watch for
“14 December: the Electoral Colleges in the 50 States that make up the USA and the District of Columbia will vote for the new President. If there is any problem – disorder or challenges – there may be an attempt in 4 or 5 states to submit lists that are not those that the electorate in the State voted for, or in some instances we might see two conflicting sets of “lists” submitted. [Trump did in fact try-and-try-again to do this, but ultimately failed.]
“3 January: The new Congress will meet. But remember that there is a run-off election in Georgia which will only be held on 5 January. This means the Senate will still be controlled by the Republicans.
“6 January [yesterday]: Congress will meet in a joint session of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It is not impossible that in 4 or 5 states there are alternative lists of electoral college delegates submitted [this was avoided, in fact, by the integrity of Republicans in the States of Pennsylvania and Georgia refusing to go along with Trump’s plan]. Remember the counting for the run-off election in Georgia will not be over. The Vice President Pence will preside, and he will have certain powers concerning the acceptation of “lists” or not, or whether to go ahead with counting. [In fact, Mike Pence stood up against Trump at the eleventh hour and refused to extend his own powers to not accepting the lists submitted.)”
And our article went on to predict what might happen after this. So bear in mind that the coup of 6 January failed, and that this caused about half the Republican Representatives and Senators who had allied with Trump to begin then to dissociate from him. And after the storming of the Capitol, after the evacuation of all members of both Houses of Congress to the unnamed locations in the depths of the building wearing gas masks, and after the deaths of four people, the right-wing will need to take stock. And we in LALIT, will have to study how the situation unfurls in the USA. But for the record, we continue with our original article’s predictions:
“20 January: Inauguration of new President. The worst-case scenario would be that there are two “Presidents” who turn up to be inaugurated.
“In the meantime, Vice-President Mike Pence has all sorts of unexpected powers as President of the Senate. He can take certain decisions about which lists from the States he accepts. [This was where Mike Pence left the coup movement, and refused to do this, stating that he did not have the power. Trump actually had him taken to Court to attempt to force him to use this power. But Pence refused, saying the Constitution did not allow him to. So, a lot was on the shoulders of Pence. Who ever thought democracy would be grateful to a Mike Pence, or for that matter a Dick Cheney, the extreme-right former Secretary for Defense who took the initiative of getting all 10 living former Defense chiefs to sign a declaration against this kind of coup before it happened?] Nancy Pelosi as Leader of the House of Representatives has the power to get members to boycott the session, thus making it inoperative. The trade union federation, the AFL-CIO has announced a nation-wide strike, something that has never been done in the USA in all history, if Trump refuses to leave office.
“All this shows the real dangers of fascists like Trump and his supporters. All this also shows that any written Constitution relies upon traditions and upon consensus, until such time as it is amended – and that this kind of consensus is not easy in a class society. Raw interests tend to get the upper hand when conflicts get very serious.
“We hope all this does not happen. If it doesn’t happen, it is only because of the very big difference in the vote outcomes between Trump and Biden, in both the popular vote and the number of Electoral College votes. This makes the Trump attempt at a coup d’état more difficult. At some point the Republicans close to Trump will start to abandon him, and at some point his family members will start to advise him to concede defeat. But the problem is that [he and] so many of his family members and his advisers have criminal charges waiting for them the minute he leaves power. They do not want him out of power. Right in the middle of an epidemic, there is a conflict that is moving towards riots, and this makes it all the more serious. All this shows how a huge, huge empire like the American one can cascade into a fall, and do so very fast. But the disorder that will occur as this empire collapses will be extreme.
“The only power that can match this kind of right-wing mobilization is grassroots mobilization – mobilization in neighbourhoods and on worksites – against it. And it is still the case today that an organized working class [whatever the particular nature of the working class today] behind a socialist program is the only power that can hold up against the right. On their own, Biden-Harris and their kind of politics will not be able to face up to the kind of violence that Trump is unleashing amongst the despairing petty-bourgeoisie. And the dire economic situation in the USA is making the petty-bourgeoisie fall into despair.”
In LALIT, we were able to make this kind of prediction for the simple reason that we use the tools of analysis that expose the big social waves that are crashing around, as the struggle wages, and we thus avoid getting hypnotized by the surface chop of “petty politics” and “scandals”, and we do not get confused by the mere ripples of intellectual “fashion” that blind so many in the intelligentsia to the underlying forces at work. All these surface manifestations of problems are mere symptoms, however serious, of the underlying huge clashes within a capitalist system under the pressure of its own internal contradictions. The rise to political power of the extreme right nationalists with fascist tendencies in America (as indeed in India, the Philippines, Hungary and Russia) is one of the manifestations of the coming to power of finance capitalists (relative to other capitalists, like industrial capitalists) from 1990 or so onwards. When finance capitalists came to power for the first time over one hundred years ago (again, we mean relative to other capitalists, like industrial, agricultural and mining), they produced the rise to political power of the extreme right nationalists with fascist tendencies in Europe – in particular, dictatorships in Germany (Hitler), Spain (Franco), France (the Vichy regime), Portugal (Salazar) and Italy (Mussolini). These regimes were only defeated by means of a massive war, coupled with a Europe-wide resistance movement. And finance capitalists remained shell-shocked by the brilliance, courage and determination that the organized working class in Russia had shown in 1917 – and they, the finance capitalists, were thus able to be kept on a tight leash by the State apparatus, and its nationalized sectors (banks, transport, telecommunications, often insurance, and even production, like mining and oil, in many countries) world-wide. All these “gard-fu” on finance capital were swept away in the 1990s, when there was the triple political collapse of Soviet-style anti-capitalism that had defeated the workers’ state after the Russian Revolution, of the kind of Fabianism and New Deal politics in Europe and the US, and of third world post-colonial anti-capitalist nationalism. Finance capital has reigned supreme once again, and once again produced the despair and nationalism that in turn engenders fascist movements. But, finance capital’s rule is extremely unstable, because this sub-group of capitalists is particularly insensitive to humanity or to anything other than its private profit. Finance capitalists make money, after all, out of money. So, they are heartless. But then again, you cannot make money out of money for any length of time indefinitely. It is doomed. The value of money (the essence of it, its value for exchange) is related to the amount of human work involved – humans, thinking and acting together. And so, that is the challenge for us today: to think and act together – all of us in the interests of all – everyone working for the common good. We have to get beyond capitalism, not just finance capitalism – which always ends up dominating other forms of capitalism, unsustainable though it is – because capitalism as a whole fragments humanity into conflicting classes, and cuts out the thinking contribution from most of humanity, and it is this that then allows a tiny minority class to ransack the planet in so uncontrollable a way.
We live in interesting times. But, the stakes are high. Humanity is at risk. And the solution is political.