This [6 January] was a “coup” as social media spectacle. In their pseudo-Viking gear and Confederate patches, the far-right rebels were a distinctly unappealing lot. And their rebellion utterly lacked a coherent plan beyond smashed windows and selfies.
Rather than a coup, it was a pathetic right-wing putsch attempt and was put down remarkably swiftly. It was given the green-light by Trump and his inner circle. But it was overwhelmingly condemned by the spokespeople of the capitalist class: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of most major corporations, as well as Twitter and Facebook, which shut down Trump’s accounts.
For all that, there can be no doubt that the sacking of the Capitol happened with the collusion of the administration and police. Compare the police’s muted response to the violence of the far right with their paramilitary response to BLM protests across the country.
The immediate fallout will be contradictory, simultaneously damaging Trump and boosting the movement around him.
The ruling class and its political representatives will call for increased powers for its military and police to surveil, arrest, and detain “extremists.” They will do so nominally to contain and prosecute the fascists. But the left ought to refuse any support for the law and order campaign.
None of these actions will stop Trumpism and its fascist current from growing. They emerged from Wednesday’s actions emboldened. Not only do they believe they are protecting their rights against an illegitimate government, but they have laid foundations for even greater growth.
That said, they are still small and vastly outnumbered by our side when it is mobilised.
Trump’s inner circle and his GOP minions cast their lot with the far right and fascists [on 6 January]. When it came to the choice between capitalising on his presidency to make money or positioning himself as the aspiring Führer of a new fascist movement, Trump chose the latter. But Trump retains support of about 40 percent of the electorate and has the basis to remain a huge force within the GOP, or to build an alternative if the leaders of the latter disown him.
We can give no support to the bourgeois establishment, the new Biden administration, or their state repression at home and imperial reassertion abroad. Instead, we must rally our forces to build anti-fascist united fronts everywhere.
And crucially, we must redouble our efforts to build an activist socialist alternative that fights independently of the Democrats for demands that will address the multiple crises of the capitalist system.
• Abridged from the US socialist website Spectre