Presentation by Andy Zee at the second in a series to dig into the roots of this American fascism, “Why did 74 million people vote for Trump? What is the danger and what do we do about it?” Also see the opening remarks by Coco Das.
Why did 74 million people vote for an open racist, toxic male supremacist, anti-semitic, stunted person lacking any capacity for empathy who caged and separated children from their parents without remorse, a pathological liar and narcissist, who consistently and brazenly opposes science and rational thought at the cost of almost 300,000 lives disproportionally people of color?
Why did 74 million people vote to RE-ELECT such a person to lead through a pandemic, a resulting economic crisis, an existential ecological crisis backed by enormous scientific evidence of climate change imperiling the earth with hundreds of millions of people besieged everyday by catastrophic storm, fire, and drought leading to mass migrations and to extinction of many species including threatening our own?
Why did 74 million people vote for a regime that is packed with Christian fascists who care nothing for the future because they believe in “end times” where only they will raptured to heaven—Biblical literalists, theocrats whose core beliefs demand the subordination of women and the demonization if not elimination of differently gendered people?
Why indeed would 74 million wave their MAGA flags and vote for a demonstrably psychopathic leader who has said if we have nuclear weapons why can’t we use them and vote to keep his finger on the nuclear trigger, a vengeful bully who reportedly two weeks ago had to be talked out of attacking Iran—for now?
Why would 74 million people vote for someone who repeatedly and showed themselves in the wake of the murder of George Floyd to be a vicious white supremacist?
The simple and basic answer: Because they agree with him.
Ron Reagan, the liberal son of President Reagan whose presidency began the reactionary momentum that has built over the past 40 years towards the fascist regime of Trump and Pence, said that people follow Trump because “He hates the same people they do.”
I hear the objection: All 74 million people are racist? Sure, there are those who say they are not. Even Trump says he is the “least racist person.” Bullshit. To vote for Trump means that you’re not just OK with, but are willing to support, collaborate with, and put in power for a second term a vengeful open racist, you knowingly collaborate with concentration camps and a genocidal program against immigrants and refugees.
It doesn’t fucking matter if people say their reason for voting for Trump is because they think he is good for their money, or they identify with his outrageously sticking it to elites. Plenty of Good Germans in the 1930s—including the liberals and progressives, thought they could ignore the ugly parts of Hitler and use him to get policies they wanted … they were not just wrong, but instead, they, in effect, became Nazis at the horrific cost of tens of millions of lives.
To answer the questions of why and what do we do about the 74 million, we must go deeper and pull the historical lens back and apply a scientific method and approach to the underlying structures and dynamics that have given rise to what aspires to be a second coming of the Confederacy.
I will be drawing this analysis from the work of the revolutionary thinker and leader Bob Avakian, BA, who has done deep scientific study of the development of this American fascism as part of analyzing the necessity, the basis, and the strategy for an actual revolution to overthrow the capitalist-imperialist system that has white supremacy and patriarchy woven into its fabric to bring into being a new socialist republic in North America—a radically different and far better system to put humanity on the road to real emancipation. That’s why I follow BA, and its why you should too.
Donald Trump did not create these divisions. The oppression of Black people began with the first slave ship in 1619, slavery was written into the U.S. Constitution, took on new horrors with the betrayal and reversal of Reconstruction with its violent apartheid that permeated every sphere of Black people’s lives under Jim Crow and has continued in new forms with a viciousness woven into every metric of the masses of Black people’s lives today. Women, from the founding of the country through the Mad Men 1950s and much of ’60s, were kept under the thumb of men, with almost no control over their own bodies, their own destinies, even their very lives. And from the theft of the native people’s land down to today the U.S. has marauded all over the world, plundering and slaughtering. All of this is the America that Trump wants to go back to—to Make America Great Again.
Since the Civil War there has been a section of white America, mainly located in the South, but not only, that has created a deadly myth of a lost noble cause and way of life where people knew their place. Through two World Wars, and a depression, this myth persisted and the oppression of masses of people continued in new forms.
Then, comes the 1960s. The civil rights movement developed into a powerful Black liberation movement, with society shaking with uprisings in the ghettos of over 200 cities. Radical and revolutionary forces like Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party emerged to shake the foundations of people’s thinking and awakened aspirations of a radically better world. A powerful antiwar movement deeply questioned the whole “we’re the good guys” myth that lies at the heart of “American exceptionalism.” Responding to all this, and to profound changes in the economy, a youth counter culture arose, women and then gay people rose up to question the whole foundations of society and of gender itself.
One section of the ruling class, represented by the Democrats adopted a policy of concession and “inclusion” on the basis of the same capitalist-imperialist economic system that all these different forms of oppression were tightly tied to in order to bring a section of these rebelling forces back into the system.
Another section, represented by a section of the Republicans went to work and built a movement within a section of fundamentalist Catholic and Evangelical churches for 40 plus years, said NO!—these changes are too much, too destabilizing to cohere this country and to maintain “our” empire.
The decades since accelerated a fast-paced, globalized imperialism creating a vast network of sweatshops that moved manufacturing jobs out of the U.S. or into low wage areas, hollowing out people’s lives and making them susceptible to appeals to fortify their white privilege and regain the status they once had. These are the foot soldiers both of the Christian fascist and the militia movements, the shouters who fill the quasi-lynch mob rallies of Donald Trump.
This same globalization through which the U.S. exploits people internationally has rendered a whole population of Black people, especially youth, superfluous—condemning them to a life of hustling, mass incarceration and terror at the hands of the police. So too with immigrants—driven from their homelands due to imperialist destruction of the economies of their countries along with “first world” fueled climate change which has driven billions of people into mass shantytown slums and tens of millions to become refugees.
Trump not only amplified all of these preexisting oppressions and sharp divides, but normalized this unabashed vicious racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Trump has cohered diverse reactionary and fascist movements that predated his regime into a force that has now tasted power, is embedded in key institutions especially the courts, and that lives and seethes in its own conspiracy laden universe of victimization that will propel an aggrieved revanchism. This is a movement that is not going away.
There can be no going back to an imagined past. It is not possible. And, not desirable.
We need to go forward. We need to continue, as Coco said, to be vigilant. Now with the electoral votes certified for Biden and assuming that the Trump/Pence regime is out of power on January 20, we need to continue to unite all those who oppose injustice—continuing to rally all the “decent people” to keep this fascist movement on the defensive. But, that must not be the end of it. We got to the fascist Trump/Pence regime through the normal workings of this system, and this system is still in effect with a hardened and expanded fascist movement that runs from the highest court, through powerful capitalist institutions down to the militias and an organized Christian fascist network of churches.
We will not go forward by putting hopes, dreams and work into the delusions of Biden or Bernie. There will be no reaching across the aisle, or healing with fascists. Almost every Republi-fascist in Congress has refused to recognize Biden’s election. Overwhelmingly the Republican fascist base believes the election was stolen. Bob Avakian has made the crucial point that any unity, any reconciliation with these fascists or their program can only be on the terms of the fascists.
As for Bernie, or AOC—dreams of reforming capitalism is an illusion and delusion. A system that functions by maximizing profit through the competition among capitalists over who can exploit more people efficiently cannot be made to serve humanity. And, just as bad, deciding now to go back to political sleep, to “just get on with your life” ignores the reality that the driving forces of this system will continue to produce the conditions that brought Trump to power.
There is a tremendous struggle to be waged for the future. This is a struggle not just to prevent the return of a fascist regime, but, for a radically different and far better world that is not trapped in a system whose very nature sets people against each other competing just to survive—a system whose functioning continually regenerates the oppressive social relations and divisions that torment humanity and will continue to fuel fascism.
This is not just a struggle with those who rule over this system whether Democrat or Republi-fascist, as well as with the fascist base of the fascists, but a struggle amongst ourselves—with everyone who desires a different better future. A struggle to confront the world as it actually is, to consistently apply a scientific method and approach to all of reality—including society. Over the years of Trump, there is a sense among the people who opposed the regime that science matters, especially in the midst of the life and death stakes of the COVID pandemic. But a scientific method and approach needs to be applied to the complexity of society and its transformation. It is not OK to just believe those things that make you feel comfortable and ignore those that discomfort and challenge you. The hour is too late for such indulgence, and worse it selfishly ignores the cost to people here and around the world.
There is leadership, extraordinary leadership for this great struggle in Bob Avakian, and his development of the consistently and thoroughly scientific method and approach of the new communism. There is not only the means to understand the world as it actually is, but a pathway to begin work today to bring forward the people to lead an actual revolution when winning becomes possible. This is a hard road for sure, but there is no future for humanity and earth we live on under this system, yet there is in the new communism a way forward to a radically better world. Here is an invitation. And, it is a serious warning, for failing to even engage this is a choice that has a cost to the future: you are saying to yourself and to the world, “I’m good,” “what me worry” about the earth and the seven billion who live on it.
The fight against fascism is not over. The Refuse Fascism Pledge to the People of the World must continue to resonate far and wide and become not only a needed political and moral compass, but the organized expression of a network ready to act with nonviolent determination to not allow fascism to grow and dominate and terrorize humanity. The next 40 plus days until Trump and Pence are gone from power continue to present real and present danger. Our vigilance matters.
To all who have taken up the call from Refuse Fascism, to my fellow panelists who have exposed the dangers of what we face with 74 million people voting for this regime, Our Pledge remains to “hold firm to our determination to prevail over a regime that imperils the people of the world and the earth itself. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America.”