One year after fascist attack: Capital and the Capitol
January 6, 2021. This date is etched in our collective psyche as the day a violent, white-supremacist, misogynist mob — instigated by then-President and still bigot-in-chief Donald Trump — invaded the U.S. capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.
This brazen act was carried out with the backing of 147 Senators and Representatives. Those in the Trump wing of the Republican Party, once deemed “extremists” or “fringe elements,” now dictate that party’s policy. The Liz Cheney types are demonized as traitors for clinging to what was once “mainstream” conservatism.
The fascist wing of the ruling class, and the disaffected middle-class people used as cannon fodder, were pushed back following January 6, 2021. Embarrassed corporate funders soon cut off donations to ultraright politicians. “There are some members [of Congress] who, by their actions, will have forfeited the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full stop,” said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer for the big business consortium. (tinyurl.com/5xh432nu)
But this did not last long. Within two months the Chamber reversed its position, opening the financial spigot to the very legislators who voted against accepting the election of President Joe Biden. Boeing, Pfizer, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, AT&T and UPS and over 700 other companies gave close to $18 million to reelect 143 of these politicians in the past year. Trade groups including the Chamber donated $7.67 million to political groups affiliated with the lawmakers who voted to overturn the election and their PACs, and businesses that had pledged to stop donations have since given almost $2.4 million to their campaigns and political action committees.
Trent Perrotto, a spokesman for the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, explained his company’s practice of putting profits over principles: “Our employee PAC program continues to observe longstanding principles of nonpartisan political engagement in support of our business interests.” The company gave $145,000 to 72 members of the “sedition caucus.” (New York Times, Jan. 6)
Apparently the “business interests” of over 700 large corporations direct them to curry favor with the most vile, Klanlike elements of society.
Fascism, democracy and capitalism
Why is it even legal for corporations to fund these ultraright insurrectionists?
The old adage goes “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” Maybe it’s not mathematically exactly that. But the possessing class has the power to spend “its money” — really the surplus value created by the working class — as it sees fit.
The capitalist class and the state have always maintained a relationship with the fascist right, from the KKK to the Proud Boys.
As Workers World Party founding member and late Chairperson Sam Marcy wrote in “The Klan and the Government” in 1983, “Even in the so-called best of times, the capitalist government not only tolerates terrorist organizations like the Klan, but once the class struggle of the workers and oppressed people takes on the character of a genuine mass upsurge, the capitalist government is more likely than ever to encourage and promote the likes of the Klan and other mediums of repression.”
Support by part of the ruling class for Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley and their ilk is not occurring in a vacuum. The Black Lives Matter upsurge of 2020 and the strike wave of the past few months have shaken their confidence. Some of them worry whether a Democratic administration can contain the class struggle within peaceful, legal, nonthreatening channels.
Capitalism is an inherently violent system of global exploitation. This is a fundamental truth, even under a parliamentary democracy such as exists in the imperialist U.S., Western Europe or Japan. The entire history of the U.S. is one of brutal white supremacy, from the theft of Indigenous lands to the enslavement of Africans to the lynchings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and countless others.
This is true regardless of who gets elected to office and what their strategy is to protect the profit system — more repression or more concessions to the working class. Just look at how the liberal politicians and media are gushing with praise for Liz Cheney, a militarist who favors cutting food assistance programs to funnel even more dollars to the Pentagon!
Fascism, historically, represents the annihilation of any organized expression of working-class and oppressed people’s power – first and foremost the unions. The danger is a built-in feature of capitalist class rule. The Democrats, beholden to the ruling class, cannot be relied on to defeat it.
But the working class can defeat fascism. Some activists are now advocating a “united front against fascism.” In November 2020, when it appeared possible that Trump would not leave the White House when his term in office ended, calls emerged for a general strike to “defend democracy.”
Class struggle is the best medicine to the MAGA goons’ poison.
Ultimately it will take a working-class revolution that overthrows capitalist rule altogether to end the fascist threat once and for all.
Yes — another world is possible!
‘The Klan & Government: Foes or Allies?’ by Sam Marcy is available in free PDF download at workers.org/books.