by Coco Das |
Thursday, October 13th was what may be the last January 6th Committee Hearing. From the testimonies heard, it was clear that Donald Trump knew that he lost the election, but was determined to remain in the White House by hook or by crook – to declare himself the winner, to spread the big lie among his base, to stoke violence, even against his own vice president, and to use the violence of that day to further consolidate his brand of 21st century American fascism. Now, no one on the January 6th committee presented all this as a fascist coup attempt, preferring the less controversial descriptor “attack on our democracy”, but this is in fact what it was – a fascist coup attempt -dress rehearsal -ongoing spearhead for consolidating fascism. The compelling way that the January 6th Committee compiled and presented the evidence is important.
But on its own, or left to the will of voters, it will not be enough. First, look at recent history. The Mueller report and two impeachments were not enough on their own to remove Trump from office. Instead, they became half-hearted showpieces and dead ends to lull people into thinking there could be an “institutional” solution to the problem of Donald Trump. But these same institutions will not and cannot correctly diagnose the problem. Trump is a fascist, the leader of a fascist movement decades in the making, forged from the very fires of this so-called democracy, lifted to power through the very mechanisms of this system, and a grotesque but nevertheless consistent representative of the most virulent white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia deeply rooted in the history of this country. What the committee does grasp, in its limited way, is that the reign of Donald Trump is also abnormal, and represents a giant leap of a vicious and revenge-filled movement strong enough to galvanize a mass base and seize power, to tear up all the norms and begin to rule in a way that is a significant departure from the normal form of rule since the time of the civil war. In fact, these fascists are itching for a new civil war to eliminate and subjugate everyone they hate – including liberals and the Democratic Party.
This fascist leap is evident in the way commentators talk about these hearings. There is no expectation of any real accountability. At the end of the hearing, the committee voted to subpoena Trump. Besides the fact that Trump has made it a sport to defy subpoenas, at this late stage, this vote is mainly symbolic. Over and over you hear commentators saying the best we can hope for is not accountability but a shift in public opinion that will become apparent in the ballot box. But this does not remotely grasp the reality that this country is full of fascists. Almost half of the electorate, to whom truth and evidence doesn’t matter. Truth is what Trump says it is, and the whole point of #TheBigLie is to stay in power despite elections. Another art the Republi-fascists are refining. As Kaleigh Rogers wrote in the FiveThirtyEight: “While past congressional hearings have swayed public opinion, that largely hasn’t been the case for the Jan. 6 committee. Polling of Americans before, during and after the hearings this summer showed negligible movement in opinions on the attack and Trump’s role in it.”
Rogers also demonstrates the deadly logic that grips the Democratic Party and those aligned with it. She wrote, “And while today’s hearing might not have changed how people plan to vote, it was a reminder of the ugly reality of what could happen after they do.”
So despite the evidence, there is no will to actually name fascism, let alone stop it. Not if it means a society-wide upheaval that might bring into question the whole system the Democrats also represent. And too many liberals and progressives are okay with their sights being lowered again and again. Don’t be deluded. Stopping fascism is going to require more than lifting one finger to vote. It is going to take real struggle, fierce struggle, blunt truth-telling, and non-violent mass opposition in the public square. We have a fight on our hands, and this fight needs you.
Speaking of fighting, a clip of Nancy Pelosi went viral in which she says, about Trump marching on the Capitol grounds, “I’m gonna punch him out. I’ve been waiting for this, trespassing on the Capitol grounds. I’m gonna punch him out, I’m gonna go to jail, and I’m gonna be happy.” And look, I can relate. Millions can relate. From the moment he hit the campaign trail, there has been righteous hatred of Donald Trump, but this was never channeled into the mass movement against fascism that was needed to stop him in his tracks. In fact, that fury was suppressed and diverted by the very likes of Nancy Pelosi. You know what would have been better than punching out Trump? Calling people out into the streets to DRIVE him out, repudiating & publicly refusing the fascism of his regime instead of normalizing it. On the other side, the mass fascist movement has hardened in the wake of their January 6 coup attempt and has won huge victories, including the overturning of Roe v Wade which has now reduced millions of women and girls to second-class citizens. To quote from the Refuse Fascism mission statement, the election of Biden has not eliminated the danger, it has only bought some time.
Time that we are quickly losing as we avoid the fierce struggle that is needed. If this fascism continues to gain ground, it is not only the people in this country that will suffer. In the name of humanity, all of humanity, we must make real our pledge to refuse a fascist America.