As the Senate Impeachment Trial of Donald Trump begins, we need to understand how the Trump/Pence regime is consolidating fascist power
| by Scott Gilbert
Note: This essay is in response to comments recently made by Andy Zee, co-initiator of RefuseFascism.org, on January 6, 2020 . And draws from a presentation from Refuse Fascism to emergency “No War on Iran” protest held in Cambridge, MA.
What is the difference of what we, the #OUTNOW! Movement, are advocating and what others are advocating to stop war with Iran and stop this regime from committing all of its different crimes against humanity? And why is building a mass movement of millions of people in the streets saying, ‘We don’t accept this!’ the correct way to stop the Trump/Pence regime?
The short answer is the change in the form of rule: this regime is fascist, and, without a political crisis from below to stop them, it will hammer in its nightmare vision for society and government. This is an existential threat to the very future of humanity and the planet.
If we are going to build a movement capable of stopping this regime from committing these crimes here and around the world, we need to understand not just what the Trump/Pence regime is doing—the brutal wars in the Middle East, the concentration camps along the Southern border, denying the basic humanity of millions, the wholesale assault on women’s rights to control their bodies, the denial of science and truth, the evisceration of environmental protection laws at a time when the fires raging in Australia only underscore the environmental catastrophe humanity confronts—we need to understand how they are doing it.
It is true that previous administrations have taken similar actions – hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died in a war launched by George Bush that was based on lies. Millions of people from Central America were deported by Barack Obama.
What is different today is that the Trump/Pence regime is replacing the semblance of rule of law with the blatant rule of the dictate of the executive branch. Institutions that once might have provided checks and balances are being hollowed out and gutted.
What is happening is the taking away of the process of rule where the legislature is an independent body.
The department of justice has been changed into the personal law offices of Trump. The judiciary has been fundamentally transformed, filled with right wing Christian zealots who want to see the Bible become the rule of the land. Over 25% of Federal judges have been appointed, life-time appointments, in less than 3 years by the Trump/Pence regime, and the fascists have a majority of the Supreme Court. The Trump/Pence regime is not ruling by the norms of a democracy. And, unlike previous administrations, the Trump/Pence regime is doing it openly and brazenly with total disregard for the rule of law and not apologizing for it.
The rule of law is being taken over by the dictates of the president, the Fascist-in-charge.
The Fascists are throwing out the normal processes of decision-making.
The Trump/Pence regime has been going up against accepted democratic norms of international diplomacy. Trump announced his intention to unilaterally withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on June 1, 2017 at a time when the climate crisis is burning and melting the planet. Trump declared the withdrawal of the U.S. from the Iran Nuclear Deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) on May 8, 2018 going up against the other signatories: United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Iran. When Trump bombed Syria two years ago, he did it without consulting Congress. In early January, Trump and his regime did it again, this time assassinating a leader of another country in a sovereign state, another example that Trump broke the norms of international law, committing a war crime.
This is how Trump and the fascists in the White House have been running society since he became president.
After three years of largely conciliating to the White House and the Republico-fascists, the impeachment by the Democratic leadership for Trump’s thuggish moves against his main electoral rival Joe Biden is an important step, and an opening for the people. In response, the Trump/Pence regime has defied subpoenas, stormed a House hearing to stop a witness’s testimony, amped up vicious rhetoric against the Democratic Party, and called the whole lawful process of impeachment illegal and illegitimate. Thus far, the Democratic Party leadership has not been able to stop the Republicans from continually obstructing the process. In the midst of this fierce impeachment battle, Trump has escalated a volatile situation with Iran that could quickly spiral into an all-out war, with catastrophic consequences for millions of people.
The goal of all this is a dictatorship of a fascist regime, and unless we come to terms with that – even as we come together to oppose it’s war moves against Iran – we will not be able to both mobilize the millions who hate what this regime is doing in a way that can succeed in stopping all these crimes. We must grasp not just what the Trump/Pence regime is doing, but how they are doing it—through the consolidation of their fascist rule. Otherwise, good people will be sucked into day-to-day politics and themselves become part of the normalization of fascism.
It is OK to pressure Congress to vote in a certain way, but that won’t solve the problem we are facing. We are facing rising fascism. Once fascism is consolidated, it won’t matter what anyone thinks or wants fighting for a better world. Society will no longer be going by laws but by the whims of President Trump and his regime. It becomes too late. Fascism is a different form of rule. You don’t have a choice anymore to act in the way you want. The danger of the situation with Iran is that suddenly the fascists can declare martial law and go to war. Fascism is a distinct form of rule that has consequences, and it is ruthless.
And if you don’t think martial law is suddenly possible, think again. Look at what happened August 31st here in Boston, ‘a liberal bastion’, at the Straight Pride parade where police were unleashed and ordered to indiscriminately go after counter-protesters to make it perfectly clear white supremacists will be supported and that there is no real free speech.
If we don’t understand that this is fascism, and the urgency of this, we won’t be able to undo any of the horrors we are confronting. We can’t begin to stop any of these horrors – kids in cages, concentration camps, war on Iran, global climate catastrophe – while this regime remains in power to consolidate its rule. All of the great struggles by different groups and individuals will be for naught.
Refuse Fascism is a minority, but what we are saying is the truth and is correct. The rules of the game have changed. And this understanding urges us to act in a way commensurate with what is required to stop this fascist regime.
Going to a demonstration against a particular atrocity is important, but then people go home. That atrocity goes on and becomes normalized. We have to build a collective effort of millions in the streets, sustained day-after-day actions, to stop the rise of fascism, to drive out the whole Trump/Pence regime, to create such a political crisis, just as we have seen in other countries, that those on the top of society change what they are doing, or get swept aside. We need to vote with our feet in the streets.
If not, we will wake up one day finding out that even our ability to protest specific acts, as we are doing today, will no longer be possible – where even the semblance of the rule of law has been eliminated.
This is why we must act now around this great cause and demand “OUTNOW! The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!” today.
And join the national #OUTNOW movement today as we act in the interest of humanity and the future.
Yes, a better world IS possible if we choose to make it so. Join us …#OUTNOW!