What gave rise to the fascism that brought Trump forward? How do we understand the last election and its aftermath, which climaxed in the fascist, Trump-inspired violent storming of the Capitol and the attempted coup, which was defeated? And what will happen now?
It is imperative that everyone who has agonized over the course of these past four years, horrified at each new outrage, search out WHY these happened, and dig to the roots on the deepest possible level. As you do that, the place to begin is with the synthesized understanding brought forward by Bob Avakian (BA). He has been sounding the alarm and analyzing the underlying causes, driving forces, and key dynamics of fascism in this society and the system underlying it since at least the early 1990s. His analysis has been consistent and at the same time constantly deepened as events have unfolded—and he has led in developing different initiatives, involving a whole range of people, in waging struggle against it… even when that was unpopular, and even when that incurred risk of no small degree. (Go here for this analysis by BA.)
In brief—and in essence—one of the major parties has for decades now been moving toward a fascist resolution of the deep and intractable problems facing this country economically, socially, politically, and morally. Fascism is not a curse word, any more than a doctor is cursing when she calls the lump you are feeling a cancerous tumor. Fascism, understood scientifically, describes and analyzes one response available to capitalism-imperialism to those problems. This fascist program is rooted in open and vicious racism, misogyny, and extreme national chauvinism. It is a form of rule in which dictatorship is exercised blatantly with no regard at all for democratic rights. It is a moral and epistemological order where Christian fundamentalist ignorance and repression is exalted while the scientific search for knowledge is butchered when it is not outright suppressed.
Fascism is one form of capitalism-imperialism, one option for the rulers who in normal times exercise this rule—this dictatorship—in a more democratic way. But fascism is not same-old, same-old—it is a different form of capitalist rule. And it marks a leap with grave consequences for masses of people, here and around the world. The acutely high-stakes struggle within the ruling class of capitalist-imperialists over whether or not to make that step got concentrated in this past election.
Fascism often comes to power—and generally prefers to come to power—with the trappings of “democratic consent.” Trump and those around him saw this election as crucial to that—and fearing defeat from the beginning, he spread the lie in advance that the Democrats were somehow rigging this… by applying the actual rules of the system to enable people to vote in the midst of a pandemic! Trump said repeatedly, in advance of any votes being cast, that he was going to win and that the only way he could lose was by fraud. Yet despite the efforts to suppress the vote, despite the efforts to illegally use and control government resources to aid Trump’s re-election, Biden won—definitively and, to any person not locked in the insane fascist fever dream propagated by Trump and his allies, undeniably.
A section of the fascist party and fascist apparatus may have thought it wiser to not contest this particular election. This included McConnell and Pence, as well as others. They judged that they could better push forward this nightmare “project” in other ways—building on the control that they have seized of large sections of the courts (including the majority of the Supreme Court), the legislatures, sections of the armed forces, and various other elements of the state (the army, police, bureaucracy, etc.)—and on that basis both cripple Biden and re-seize the executive at a later date, without too greatly disrupting the legitimacy of the system in the eyes of the world and the general public within the U.S. and perhaps incurring massive resistance.
Trump violently disagreed—he insisted on putting forward as true a nonexistent world in which he won and was somehow denied by this or that outlandish imaginary scheme. He ranted that this was going to bring an end to “our country.” When he could not get his way in the courts and the legislatures for such a blatant act of thievery, he moved to marshal a mob on January 6 to do it by force.
Fortunately, he has been—for now—set back in this.
The disagreements now between Trump and other figures in the Republifascist Party are important—in the sense that it makes it more possible to administer a decisive defeat to Trump’s attempted fascist coup. But the roots of this fascism go far deeper than Trump, and those roots will continue to assert themselves whatever happens to Trump as an individual. Dreams that this will somehow, on its own, evaporate as the driving force in U.S. political life are dreams with no basis in reality.
Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!