A caustic commentary on U.S. policy that circulated on social media worldwide within 24 hours of the Jan. 6 events at the U.S. Capitol was: “Due to travel restrictions this year, the U.S. had to organize the coup at home.”
A domestic coup on the U.S. government was indeed attempted Jan. 6 — using the false claim that the November presidential election had been “stolen” from Republican President Donald Trump. This claim was so far from reality, even in a bourgeois framework, that judges rejected it as a challenge 60 times, including twice in the Supreme Court.
Since he could not win legally, Trump rallied an uprising of extralegal and paramilitary, white-supremacist neo-fascist troops tied into a network of far-right legislators, government officials, police, military veterans and reportedly active military, as well as business owners. These insurrectionists attacked the Capitol building at the moment that the U.S. Congress, sitting in joint session, was beginning to certify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden as winner of the election.
The U.S. has called on similar fascist forces and employed similar tactics to discredit elections before — in other countries worldwide — in order to further U.S. “interests.” Both Republicans and Democrats, including Biden and now Trump, have used this ploy of “regime change” for decades, to overthrow governments and further imperialist capitalist schemes.
Every U.S. regime change operation begins with U.S. officials repeatedly calling a country’s election fraudulent, refusing to accept or acknowledge its legitimacy and then backing or importing far-right and neo-fascist elements to start violent disruptions. The U.S. always calls these fascist forces “democratic forces.”
This was Washington’s tactic of choice in Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria, Libya and Bolivia, just to name a few recent examples.
U.S. coup attempts using ‘election fraud’ charges
In Kiev, Ukraine, in 2014, armed fascist forces marched with Confederate flags and Nazi insignia to seize the parliament, while Biden cheered the overturning of that country’s elected government. The U.S. media called this the “Euromaidan Revolution.”
Washington attempted to do the same in Venezuela, claiming that the 2018 election of President Nicolás Maduro was a “fraud.” Hostile to the continuation of former President Hugo Chávez’s Bolivarian Revolution, the Trump administration immediately recognized right-wing oppositionist Juan Guaidó, nominal head of the National Assembly, as the “interim president” in January 2019. The U.S. showered that farce with billions of dollars in seized Venezuelan assets.
In 2011 in Libya, a small force of monarchists led what the imperialists called a “democratic uprising” — backed by seven killing months of U.S. and NATO bombing and the assassination of the leader Moammar Gadhafi. Libya’s popularly supported government was torn apart, and access to the country’s oil and strategic position were guaranteed to capitalist interests.
In 2014 in Syria, despite hundreds of election observers, the U.S. declared the reelection of President Bashar al-Assad to be a “fraud” and spent billions of dollars to fund military mercenaries to destabilize and occupy the country. When a “government in exile” was established, Washington recognized it at an international conference in Geneva. Syria — which was striving to maintain its political and economic independence from U.S. domination — has been bombed repeatedly by the U.S. Air Force since 2014, allegedly in support of the “democratic resistance.”
In Bolivia, the 2019 reelection of Evo Morales, the country’s first Indigenous president, was declared by the U.S. to be “fraudulent.” Fascist forces seized the government, again with Washington’s full support. Morales was forced to flee. But united resistance by Indigenous peoples, members of labor unions and other progressive forces returned Morales from exile in 2020, after his party, the Movement for Socialism, won the presidential election in a landslide victory.
The U.S. constantly propagandizes about the lack of “democracy” in Hong Kong, and tries every tactic — including Congressional legislation and undercover operatives in mass demonstrations — to destabilize conditions in what is part of the People’s Republic of China. Geng Shuang, a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative, exposed these tactics and denounced “the shocking hypocrisy of some in the U.S. on human rights and democracy, and their malicious intention to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability [in order] to contain China’s development.” (scmp.com, Oct. 16)
These are only a few of the U.S.-supported regime-change operations that were based on declaring “election fraud” and attempting to overturn other governments through extralegal military and fascist forces.
For the Jan. 6 coup attempt in Washington, D.C., Trump simply consulted a well-established U.S. playbook for how to destabilize and dominate a country’s government using neo-fascist forces.
Eventually, U.S. wars always come home.