The beast on the brink of the abyss: On the 6 January takeover of the Congress building in the USA
The world has watched, only days into the first month of the new year, a series of shocking events unfolding in the very heart of world capitalism: the United States of America. Though in truth these events were anything but a shock to those who are using the Marxist method in assessing the world situation and what has been going on in the USA. Although many in the American left and Democrats were struck with paralysis against storming of the Capitol by fascist mobs, the events were anticipated long before they happened on the pages of DIP’s newspaper Gerçek and in several articles published in Redmed.org. Those who made early assumptions by reading public opinion polls were mistaken while DIP’s analysis of economic and social conditions that shape our epoch made it possible to foresee this chain of events and what led to them. Those who turn their back to Marxism and class struggle are proven wrong once again. And once again, the historical method of revolutionary Marxism proved itself as a compass for our struggle.
The international left in general and the post-Leninist left in particular were totally caught unawares. The majority of left-wing commentators saw the swift transition between the Trump and Biden administrations a foregone conclusion. The background to all this was a total incapacity to understand what Trump stood for at this juncture of history. Some thought his meteoric rise was simply an aberration. Some attributed his unfamiliar politics merely to the idiosyncrasies of a megalomaniac. Some simply saw traces of an ill-defined “populism” in his policies. And many consciously or subconsciously laid their hopes in what they, together with the US bourgeois establishment, characterised as “American democracy”.
In this article, we will show that DIP, thanks to the revolutionary Marxist method, very early on identified the fascistic nature of Trump’s entire political project, warned the international and US left as to the danger, showed the path to be treaded in order to fight this rising monster, unambiguously foresaw the dangers lurking after the elections of 3 November 2020, and kept warning the entire international and US left concerning the growing menace of fascism for 2021 and beyond. Each time we point to a specific analysis regarding Trump’s sui generis fascism, we will refer to an earlier article (some in English, others in Turkish) in which we analysed the issue in question as things were unfolding. The numbers in square brackets refer to the articles listed at the end of this piece.
Depression, crisis and barbarism
First and foremost, even before the surprise election victory for many in 2016, we repeatedly diagnosed the Trump phenomenon as the product of the current capitalist production reaching its historical limits. Therefore, at his candidacy period, we pointed to him as a concrete threat in such an unsettling political atmosphere although many ignored the possibility of his victory in their overconfidence. However there were numerous proofs around the world from Brexit in the UK to Le Pen in France and AfD in Germany. What causes and feeds all these phenomena are contradictions of the third great depression and its barbaric tendencies [14,15]. With this in mind, we never neglected the possibility of Trump’s win in our analyses.
- Our current era has been characterized by a deep economic crisis of capitalism. We refer to this historical era (starting from 2008 financial crisis up until today) as the Third Great Depression of capitalism (first in 1873-1896, second in 1929-1948). The term “depression” does not refer to a macroeconomic phenomenon as in bourgeoisie economics but a state of capitalist overaccumulation. This overaccumulation along with a falling rate of profit causes investment motivation to drop sharply. A deep political change needed to overcome it and recover the capitalist production and its profitability. Since market mechanisms cannot solve the profitability problem by themselves at such times, depressions are excruciating and last long-term. The capitalist economy cannot get back on its feet itself, old political structures become inadequate, hence leaving the stage for the extremes of the political spectrum. How these cracks in established order show up is peculiar to particular geographic, economic and historical conditions of each case. Though in general, fascism and revolution as options emerge as probable and gain popularity. In some cases only one of those, and in some cases together collaterally. During such periods, humanity stands at a crossroads: abolishing the capitalist order by building socialism or letting the capitalist accumulation reestablish itself at the cost of the collapse of civilization with the most barbaric forms. Great depressions polarize political life on one side, reactionist/fascist movements, on the other side political movements based on the tendencies of exceeding the capitalist production’s limits. 
- It is possible to mention many reasons for the case of Trump’s election victory in 2016 but the major reason is the Third Great Depression. After the 2008 financial crash, world capitalism entered into a new decisive period. Donald Trump is the expression of success of a sui-generis fascism or as we called proto-fascism where the left is unsuccessful in creating a possible path as a way out. Though the early examples are found in Europe for this century’s fascist movements, Trump diverges from European examples by having neither an organized movement out of the state apparatus nor a disciplined party that follows him as its sole leader. That's why we call Trump a ‘maverick fascist’. As the latest unsuccessful mob rioting and invasion proved undeniably, this is also Achilles’ heel of Trumpism. A fascist leader without fully loyal and organized supporters. [3,14,15]
- The Third Great Depression differs from its predecessors historically for a few reasons. It does not come after a long period of steady growth as 1st and 2nd but after a long sluggish world economy; therefore catching masses in more miserable economic conditions. Secondly, the unequal character of development between imperialist and so called developing economies which results in an extensively prolonged depression. Finally the collapse of degenerated worker states which causes a setback for Marxism and its historical program. [2,14,15]
- We do not call every repressive movement or form of government fascist, far from it. If we called Trump a maverick proto-fascist as early as 2016, the diagnosis was based on the substance of the MAGA project (Make America Great Again). We explained the incongruence of this policy based on protectionism and the breakup of many international economic flows in the so-called “age of globalization” on precisely its kinship with the classical fascist economic policy in a time of similar economic disruption in the world economy: abandoning all hope of global capitalist salvation in such times, fascism offers certain national segments of the world bourgeoisie salvation through nationalist policies. This was the substance of Trump’s entire approach. 
- The obverse of this policy was Trump’s nationalism being used to divide the working class through unabashed racism. This is the second important axis of fascist policy: to divert the rage building up in the working class and the poor against the system in which they have to suffer unemployment, poverty, and destitution towards a hatred against another section of the working class, in this case not only immigrant workers, but also African Americans and, to a lesser extent Latinos.
Without such clear understanding of the current historical period of capitalism and objective conditions that determine the framework of all the political scene, it is impossible to correctly identify positions in the class war and more importantly immediate tasks of our movement. The Marxist analysis of the concrete circumstances, though many sections of the international left already abandoned it disdainfully, has been the key source for such anticipation capacity.
Rising masses, missed opportunities
- On the other side, as the unity of opposites in dialectical method, these forces also give rise to mass movements, massive strikes, revolutionary movements and people’s rebellions exemplified by many mass movements, uprisings and revolutions in the last decade as well as election achievements of Sanders and Corbyn.
- The 2016 election also witnessed the biggest success the left has ever achieved in the United States. Similar to Trump, Sanders also was a lone ranger. The chance to turn his popularity into an organized and independent political movement was missed by the reformist leadership. [1,3]
- American left also missed a significant opportunity. Given the serious support of the working class, active mobilization of youth, the left preferred to wait-and-see policy. Left should have tried to turn this popularity and energy of millions of votes into a third independent party, a mass Labour Party, without neglecting to fight the reformist tendencies in the leadership and following a nuanced united front tactic. Even if it failed, there can be an active and experienced base against Trump’s reactionism. [1,3]
Trump and fascism
- During his presidency Trump continued to strengthen this premature fascist movement. First milestone was passed in the summer of 2017, Charlottesville when white supremacist thugs confronted with anti-racist, anti-fascist demonstration and a car was driven into the mass rally of blacks and leftist people and a woman died. Those mobs have laid dormant for decades after strong black movements of the 60s but now reactivated under Trump’s administration as we warned our readers several times. In the heart of the top imperialist country, under the wings of Trump, fascism now turned into a concrete threat. Even after that, large sections of American left and surely DSA couldn't understand the seriousness of the problem. These are fascist gangs in flesh and bone; hence the working class and people’s movement need to be prepared for such a threat. Rather delegating all the immediate tasks to the ballot box and globalist wing of the bourgeoisie were preferred. As billions of people suffer from the economic crisis of capitalism worldwide, these gangs will not stop there. Tomorrow they will come for sure to crush the labour movement. 
- All this happened against the background of Trump “keeping his promises”. Protectionist measures in international trade were imposed not only on China, but also on the closest allies of the US, on the one hand the European Union and, on the other the two NAFTA countries, Canada and Mexico (and the NAFTA agreement was renegotiated later). In another domain, the savage attack that Trump directed on would-be immigrant populations, reaching beastly proportions in the case of the forcible separation of young children from their parents, accompanied the struggle for building the notorious war along the US-Mexican border. Trump also used all of these occasions to pose as the president of “American workers and farmers”. All of this won him new popular support and deepened the sympathy felt for him among common folk.
2020: George Floyd upheaval and coronavirus
- After the murder of George Floyd by a cop, American people rose up. The US witnessed weeks of mass protests with historic levels of participation. Also we emphasized that the people’s rebellion revealed the monstrous fascist character of Trump since he pushed his efforts to arm gangs against protestors and even tried to deploy the army. [7,10] Yet the revolt fought bravely against state violence, defied the racist nature of the political system and won a few significant victories on its way. The demands of the revolt, like police defunding and reallocation of budget sources were met in some big cities, not because the Democrats were for the rights of Black people, but because the power of the masses forced their hands to do so. Yet one of the biggest mass movements the country had seen possibly in all its history failed to produce a leadership of its own, independent from the Democratic Party.
- Capitalism’s brutal assault on workers and their economic conditions during the pandemic fan the flame of a substantial rage in American working class. Many are joining the class war in their workplace during the pandemic year. During people’s rebellion and working class struggles at such scale, what is missing from the picture is a mass vanguard. AFL-CIO is in a state of hibernation, waiting for White House handover, deserving its duty of fidelity to Democrats. 
- Trump spent his first term to prepare America for fascism. By calling armed gangs to streets, trying to put the army in Washington DC up against the peaceful protestors, carried it one step further. Trump declared a war against “far-left fascists” quite conscious of its class position. Fascism was getting ready for a civil war while the American left was still busy with dreams of a new Sanders (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez being the main candidate for that position) for 2024 elections waiting for Biden to take over White House. [8,11]
- Even though Trump failed to put the army against protestors in July 2020, we immediately identified that the Trump administration decided to make a way for a semi-military regime. American top brass rejected Trump’s project because they were afraid to lose the people’s hard-won confidence they had fought to regain after the Vietnam debacle. As we analysed Trump as a maverick fascist before, what we tried to describe is these vital contradictions in the Republican Party. He was not a fully-fledged fascist since American right still not in full support of Trump. Though it seemed to relax the majority of American left, we still pointed to his calls for would-be militia MAGA gangs and warned that the danger still was going on. [9,10]
2021: New year, new troubles
- Just before the election we said that even if Trump would be defeated in elections, Trumpism still has a strong base in American society. American bourgeoisie is divided into two separate wings. On one side a section leaned toward protectionist policies of Trump, on another a more globalist wing whose interests and excess profits are tightly coupled with international investment, finance and trade. Not just his popularity in large sections of the American petit-bourgeoisie but this rift in ruling classes along with intensified contradictions of capital have a potential to bring forward Trumpism again to the American political scene. 
- We proposed three main possibilities as post-election scenarios. The third one is the possibility of Biden’s slight victory hence ending up in “courts” or “police stations” (the Turkish expression implies things turning violent, precisely as they did). We predicted that the Trump supporters could take to the streets not as peaceful protests but as armed bands. While highlighting that possibility, we still pointed to the highly disorganized character of these mobs, hence making the likelihood of success for them quite low. 
- American left failed in a few ways. First there was no serious preparation against these armed bands, not even for the post-election scenario hoping that by voting for Biden they can defeat fascism in the ballot box. Second, while American working class was quite energetic during 2020 against the attacks in the pandemic, the left still followed Democrats, Wall Street's political party. American workers naturally voted in favor of Trump since his economic policies make concrete promises for their interests against competition from international markets. 
- After the election results became apparent in mid-November, vote counts displayed unambiguously that those who put their trust in the alleged Blue Wave and up to 10 point lead of Biden in polls (the result was 52 per cent to 48 per cent discounting minor candidates) were under a delusion again. We continued to warn after the election by taking into account the replacement of several high-profile security positions including dismissal of Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. Since it was obvious at that point that the army would not support him in his plans for overturning election results considering clear rejection of duty against protests in July, these steps were taken to prevent the army from ruining his plans by taking a clear stance. 
- At this point it should come as no shock to anyone who has correctly followed these developments when, six days into the new year, Trump’s loosely organized fascist thugs by the name MAGA (Make America Great Again) stormed the capital in the name of their leader and occupied Capitol Hill. Although Trump was impeached a week later and Biden took the presidency, the MAGA fascists are still united under his name, their forces still intact even if not yet organized and powerful enough to seize power. More importantly the conditions that have brought the rise of proto-fascism have not changed, the depression, the political and economic crisis not yet resolved.
- The same conditions that paved the way for proto-fascism to rise, will also keep provoking upheavals, revolts and revolutions throughout the world. The USA is not immune to such effects, as the revolt after George Floyd’s murder has proven. However, under no circumstances should we place our trust in Biden and Harris’ rule to defeat the fascist movement. Not only are they unfit to fulfill such a role, there is every reason to think that they would easily turn against the masses. The Domestic Terrorism Bill of Biden could so easily be used against Black Lives Matter protestors or striking workers if need be. Tailing after one section of the American bourgeoisie, the Democratic Party, only paves way for the defeat of the working class and the toiling masses, as their history has proven so. Biden himself was vice president during the presidency of Obama, the first Black president of the USA who did nothing for the black people’s rights during his years in power, who engaged in well-known drone wars and imperialist crimes in Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan. With Biden’s return to the leading role of the US in NATO, we will probably observe more intervention of the US in a broad geography from Latin America and Balkans to the Middle East and Central Asia with the aim of subjugating primarily China and Russia but Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran, as well. We are warning again those waiting for an effective fight against Trumpism from the Biden administration. Democrats already declared their door will be wide open for the same reactionist right under the name of “national reconciliation”.
Identity politics versus class struggle
- In the last few decades, socialists and workers’ organizations in general moved away from class politics to channel themselves completely into the realm of identity politics. Worldwide but especially in imperialist countries, class politics was condemned as impossible and old fashioned. Politics was abandoned totally to feminist, LGBTi+ and environmental movements. This wide variety of movements occupied a major place in the so-called socialist movements’ agenda while class and class struggle was largely dismissed, any effort to organize the working class has been absent for decades. There is no doubt that struggle for all the oppressed is a must. However, the central orientation towards the proletariat was replaced with “escape from class”. [2,6]
- Starting from the 1980s, the left in imperialist countries associated itself with market reforms, human rights obsession while integrating its policies into imperialist structures with the make-up of “contemporary” ideologies. This integration, with pure admiration to European Union as the main pillar of faith, came at the cost of total abandonment of anti-imperialism. This transition came along with the absurd reduction of anti-imperialism to nationalism. While an abstract cosmopolitanism was championed, proletarian internationalism was fully forgotten. This escape from class politics gave protofascist and fascist movements the opportunity to place themselves as the opposition to current neoliberal, globalist economic policies. [2,6]
- When the left abandoned class politics, rising proto-fascist movements focused their efforts to become the so-called spokesperson of the working class. Trump owes his 2016 victory to the votes of white working class, especially in the “Rust Belt” of America, from western Ohio through Michigan, and Wisconsin, all the way to eastern Iowa whose votes for Obama turned toward Trump in 2016. The unemployed and people hard-hit by neoliberal policies in these Midwest states were positioned in favor of Trump due to a reasonable rage toward the process of deindustrialization. From this point, the treatment must be obvious: regaining the working class and rebuilding the labor movement just like in the 30s, while fascism was rising in Europe, the US was witnessing a wave of strikes and new gains for the working class. It won't be achieved by dealing with oppression of Blacks, women, LGBTi and others one by one, but by putting the class problem straight into the center of politics, by organizing and protecting the working class whose life turned into ruin not just in Reagan and Bush terms but also in Obama and Clinton terms under the neoliberal attack. 
- A danger foreseen is half avoided. Therefore understanding the risk facing the world and the treatment required is essential. Unless we wage a war against left liberalism jointly, we shall not be ready for the rising civil war. Any unity with or trust put in a so-called “progressive” wing of the bourgeoisie against organized fascist threat only causes the people to be caught asleep when the doomsday arrives. The history of the 20th century is a graveyard of such delusions and its fatal outcomes from Germany to Italy. Biden-Harris government is no different. Any class collaboration and inter-class alliance would again lead to bourgeois hegemony with its all barbaric forms. Only with class politics, we can win the proletariat. We need Leninist parties based on the class-conscious proletariat vanguard and revolutionary programs of Marxism. To fight against capitalism as a world scale system we need to build a revolutionary Communist International. [2,14,15]
- Sungur Savran, Bernie Sanders ve ABD seçimleri üzerine tezler (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/bernie-sanders-ve-abd-secimleri-uzerine-tezler)
- Sungur Savran, The great challenge: winning the working class back from ideological irredentism (http://www.devrimcimarksizm.net/en/sungur-savran-great-challenge-winning-working-class-back-ideological-irredentism)
- Sungur Savran, Serseri mayın faşizmi! (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/serseri-mayin-fasizmi)
- Gerçek, Kapitalizm Trump’la ray değiştirirken devrilir mi?, (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/kapitalizm-trumpla-ray-degistirirken-devrilir-mi)
- Gerçek, Ku Klux Klan’ını, neo-Nazilerini, Ortadoğu’daki despotlarını al da git! (https://gercekgazetesi.net/karsi-manset/ku-klux-klanini-neo-nazilerini-ortadogudaki-despotlarini-al-da-git )
- Sungur Savran, Trump, kürtaj hakkı, kimlik politikası (https://gercekgazetesi.net/kadin-hareketi/trump-kurtaj-hakki-kimlik-politikasi)
- Gerçek, Trump’tan faşizme doğru açık adım! (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/trumptan-fasizme-dogru-acik-adim)
- Gerçek, “Yağma başladı mı, yağmacılara ateş de başlar” (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/yagma-basladi-mi-yagmacilara-ates-de-baslar)
- Sungur Savran, Trump’ın bozgunu: Ulusal Muhafızlar Washington’dan çekiliyor (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/trumpin-bozgunu-ulusal-muhafizlar-washingtondan-cekiliyor)
- Sungur Savran, The peoples’ rebellion comes to the belly of the beast: 20 theses on the George Floyd rebellion (https://gercekgazetesi.net/english/peoples-rebellion-comes-belly-beast-20-theses-george-floyd-rebellion)
- Sungur Savran, From “Nazionalsozialismus” to “far-left fascism” (https://gercekgazetesi.net/english/nazionalsozialismus-far-left-fascism)
- Sungur Savran, ABD seçimleri sonrası… tufan! (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/abd-secimleri-sonrasi-tufan)
- Sungur Savran, ABD: Fırtına öncesi sessizlik (https://gercekgazetesi.net/uluslararasi/abd-firtina-oncesi-sessizlik)
- DİP'in 5. Kongresi: Savaş, faşizm ve istibdada karşı sürekli devrim! (https://gercekgazetesi.net/dip-bildirileri/savas-fasizm-ve-istibdada-karsi-surekli-devrim)
- DİP 4. Kongre Belgeleri (1): Üçüncü Büyük Depresyon, Üçüncü Dünya Savaşı, Üçüncü Dünya Devrimi (https://gercekgazetesi.net/dip-bildirileri/dip-4-kongre-belgeleri-1-ucuncu-buyuk-depresyon-ucuncu-dunya-savasi-ucuncu-dunya)