By Sunsara Taylor, from Revolution 5/11/18 |
This is not only delusional, it is deadly. More, it is a viewpoint that many more people than just Matthews hold. So, it is important to dig into.
The Trump/Pence regime has already done shocking damage to lives here and around the world. It is on an aggressive path to do far worse, threatening—without exaggeration—the future existence of humanity on this planet. In the face of this, Matthews’ argument amounts to little more than a powerful demonstration of the truth of this statement from the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA): “The politics of the ‘possible’ is the politics of monstrosity. To adhere to, or acquiesce in, the politics of the ‘possible’ is to support, and actually to facilitate, monstrosity.”
In contrast to Matthews’ advocacy for the politics of the “possible,” we must honestly confront the existential threat now facing humanity and dare to change what seems possible through determined struggle. We must organize in earnest to get in position to launch a sustained campaign of nonviolent protests that starts with thousands and grows to millions and continues day after day, not stopping until the entire Trump/Pence regime has been removed from power.
The Problem Is Not “Dysfunction,” It Is Fascism
Matthews writes: “Most observers acknowledge that American democracy is in a pretty bad way.
“The sheer number of hurdles that reform legislation must pass through, from filibusters to holds to committee votes, have turned the federal government into a vetocracy that stands paralyzed and incapable of adapting in the face of new challenges. Gerrymandering, nonproportional representation in Congress, and the Electoral College lead to a representative government that isn’t very representative at all.” A bit later he adds, “Ejecting [Trump] cannot and will not suddenly cure our political dysfunction.”
But the problem of the Trump/Pence regime is not “dysfunction,” it is fascism. As I write, the state is terrorizing and shattering immigrant families across this country with the logic and momentum of genocide. A record number of restrictions on women’s ability to access abortion and birth control and attacks on LGBTQ people push us ever closer to a real-life Handmaid’s Tale. White supremacists inside law enforcement and outside have taken to heart Trump’s admonition to be “rough” with Black people and others. Trump is both attacking the judiciary and rapidly remaking it with fascist judges. The regime is purging those in the FBI and Department of Justice who are not loyal to Trump above all else. Pence and his network of Christian fundamentalist fascists are embedded throughout the officer corps of the military, taking over schools, purging scientists from Health and Human Services, as well as other agencies. Then there is the team of torturers and war criminals like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and others who only make more real Trump’s threats of war, with potential to spin wildly out of control.
All this is not just more of the same, or even just the worst of a Republican administration. This is a fascist regime step-by-step remaking law and societal norms on the road to establishing a fascist America.
Fascism Must Be Stopped—It Must Be Driven From Power—Before It Becomes Too Late
Like fascists throughout history, this regime has endured temporary setbacks and absorbed separate acts of resistance, only to lurch forward and lash out again, each time closer to all-out consolidation. There can be no “waiting it out” with fascists, no trying to “muddle through.” Unless and until this regime is driven from power, they will continue to launch new, highly repressive measures on many fronts, ultimately remaking the law and clamping down on all dissent. The lesson of history is precisely that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.
But stopping this fascist regime cannot be done by relying on and working through the official political channels. It won’t be stopped by relying on the Democrats or the much-hoped-for “Blue Wave” in the midterm elections. As RefuseFascism.org, an organization I co-initiated which unites people from a great diversity of political perspectives, has written in our new Call to Action: “The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this. They are about maintaining order for their whole set up. For them, order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism. After Trump’s election, President Obama said of Trump, ‘We are all on the same team… We are now all rooting for his success.’ No! If Trump succeeds, it will be catastrophic!”
For over a year, Trump has willfully shattered political norms and procedures, routinely declared his political opponents worthy of prison, and significantly diminished the rule of law and any constraint on his power. It is dangerous delusion to think he will be constrained or removed without unprecedented and truly massive political struggle.
This is why RefuseFascism.org argues that only by driving this regime from power through a massive, sustained nonviolent political struggle—one which starts with many thousands and grows to involve millions who refuse to back down—can the people stop a fascist America. This is dramatic, but it is necessary—it is also possible if we get to work and join with RefuseFascism.org in fighting for it.
Yes, the Problem IS Deeper Than Trump—We Need an Actual Revolution!
Matthews has a point when he argues that the problem is deeper than Trump… but here, too, he misses the essence of the matter.
Matthews locates the “deeper problem” in things like gerrymandering and the disenfranchisement of Black and Latino voters and others. But these harmful trends are part of the overall fascist movement that has given rise to Trump/Pence, they are not the cause of this regime.
The real deeper problem is not “imperfections” in the electoral process or institutions; it is the fundamental nature of the system that the elections and democratic institutions serve and have always served. As Bob Avakian has analyzed, “The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism.”
In a talk he gave last year that remains highly relevant and timely, BA analyzes how the roots of this regime lie in the fundamental nature of the U.S. and stretch all the way back to the Confederacy as well as to a somewhat more recent (several decades long) build-up of a large and powerfully positioned Christian fascist movement. He examines how this regime is deadly serious about shredding political and social norms that have emphasized diversity and inclusion in recent decades, replacing them with the vicious reassertion of open white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobic nationalism and America First chauvinism—and BA gets into why this is. BA shows how all this has been driven forward by the underlying dynamics of the system of capitalism-imperialism in the U.S. and the challenges it is currently confronting as the sole superpower in an ever more volatile world. And, it must be noted, BA goes deeply into what must and can be done about all this, which only underscores the importance of people watching the talk for themselves.
None of these deeper problems that gave rise to the Trump/Pence regime will be fixed through the reforms Matthews suggests. As a revolutionary and advocate for the new communism developed by Bob Avakian, I am convinced that these deeper problems can only be solved through an actual revolution that overturns the entire system and replaces it with a radically different system rooted in a different mode of production, with a radically different culture and constitution on that basis. This brings me to the one place where I agree with Matthews. Tucked towards the end of his article, Matthews suggests that there should be more open talk of revolution.
Dylan Matthews should learn about and write about the fact that there IS a real revolutionary alternative—one that is very concrete, deeply scientific, and radically liberating. This is the new communism developed by Bob Avakian; it contains the vision, the strategy, and the epistemological method for not merely improving the lives of some, but overturning the whole system of capitalism-imperialism and constructing a new system on the road to human emancipation. More engagement with BA’s new communism and with his analysis of the Trump/Pence Regime and what must be done about it would not only bode well for humanity’s future, it might also have saved Matthews from being trapped within the wrong-headed arguments that lead him to objectively give support to the extreme oppression that so many face today, and which permeate the rest of his article.
But to Get Anywhere Good, We ALL Must Come Together Now to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime
Noting that the problems are deeper than the Trump/Pence regime does not change the existential threat that this regime now poses. If fascism is allowed to consolidate, this will mean qualitatively greater suffering for humanity—potentially the destruction of human civilization as a whole. It would also make it incalculably harder for anyone to advocate and organize for any kind of deeper change. What this means is that people from a great many different political perspectives—whether we see this fascist regime as an extreme expression of the fundamental nature of this system or whether we see this fascism as a betrayal of what America is supposed to stand for—must come together and fight with everything we have got to prevent this fascist consolidation by driving out this regime. Honestly confronting and rising to this challenge is a necessary, immediate task to achieve any future worth living in—whether to you that is an actual revolution, a return to a non-fascist America, or something else entirely.
Matthews suggests that removing Trump from office won’t change anything profound. He is wrong.
When people come together to struggle for a better world, when we get off our couches and out from behind our computer screens to take to the streets to demand the removal of a fascist regime, we change things. We change ourselves—both in what feels tolerable and in what feels possible. We change how millions of others are thinking and acting. If we persist and grow week after week, we change how people and governments around the world see this country. All this changes the political calculus not only of the regime, but also of those sections of the rulers who do not agree with the regime but who right now are being attacked by it and continually capitulating to it. This can create the kind of political crisis that compels them to respond to our demand that this fascist regime be removed from power.
Only in this way can we wrench history off its current path towards genocidal ethnic cleansing, environmental game-over, and/or nuclear holocaust. Only in this way can we preserve the space in society to dream, to strategize, to organize, and to fight for deeper solutions.
So, enough with the grand rationalizations for sitting back and acting like “Good Germans” while lives are shattered and the future of humanity is imperiled! Let’s instead not only imagine—but get out of our comfort zones and fight for—something big and dramatic, something the whole world is counting on us to achieve. Let’s get organized to take up the Call to Action from RefuseFascism.org to make real our demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!