By Abayomi Azikiwe
A highly contested presidential election on November 3, coupled with the outcome of the runoff poll in Georgia which is determining the power relations within the United States Senate, has undoubtedly prompted further desperate acts by the supporters of outgoing President Donald J. Trump.
In Georgia, both Democratic candidates, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, won the elections against Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, sending the first African American and Jewish American to the Senate from the southern state.
Official results indicate that the elections were extremely close leaving about one percent differences between the contending candidates. Such a narrow margin of victory was predictable considering the significance of the race to the overall political character of the administrative and legislative branches of the U.S.
The Georgia senatorial race was a focus of attention both nationally and internationally. When the two elected officials are sworn in the composition of the body will be 50-50, divided evenly between Republicans, Democrats and at least one Independent, Bernie Sanders, who typically votes with the Democratic bloc, while running for president twice on the Democratic ticket.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would serve as president of the Senate and would be in a position to break any numerical ties over legislation within the structure. With this set of circumstances, many people believe that measures needed to provide relief to millions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and working families in general, could be adopted. For example, The Heroes’ Act, passed last year by the Democratic-dominated House of Representatives, would allocate much larger stimulus packages for the working class and small business interests.
Legal challenges aimed at defeating voter suppression efforts in Georgia were key to the victories of Ossoff and Warnock. The turnout among African Americans was critical to the defeat of both Republican candidates as they refused to denounce the Trump administration and its attacks on the electoral process in the state, which is administered by officials belonging to the same party as the president.
Two organizations behind the record turnout among African Americans and other members of the electorate in Georgia were Black Voters Matter (BVM) and the New Georgia Project (NGP). Black Voters Matter was formed in 2016 by Latosha Brown and Cliff Albright who waged a struggle to ensure that African Americans previously stripped from electoral rolls got an opportunity to cast their ballots.
The organization claims that it is not an electoral group. They say that BVM is a power-building organization which views the electoral process as one of many mechanisms utilized to build political strength within the African American communities long ignored and disenfranchised.
In addition, BVM notes that the pursuit of political offices is inadequate absent economic power. The group targets existing organizational structures within the community to promote voter registration and long-term political participation. BVM goes directly into urban, suburban and rural areas to advance its program of political education and empowerment.
2020 was a conjunctural period for African Americans and other oppressed peoples in the U.S. The failure to convict Trump after he was impeached by the House of Representatives emboldened the president and his supporters. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted the African American and Latin American communities while many were left jobless, without health insurance and facing foreclosure and eviction. During subsequent months, the country erupted in protests and civil unrest against racism and police brutality.
In a recent interview with Latosha Brown, she noted that:
“I think it’s quite simple. I mean, I think the name of my organization says it all. It’s three words: Black Voters Matter. And I think that after we saw a state like Georgia, that had been solid Republican, flip in November, I think it opened up an avenue for people to see what was possible, that it was no longer a question or a debate whether Black voters, in fact, matter. People felt a sense of momentum, that part of that win opened up this space around what would be possible. … We wanted people, we wanted Black voters in particular, to feel a sense of their power and their agency, and in spite of all odds, what we could do in pushing this country forward.”
Right-wing Zealots Storm Capitol in Washington Attempting to Overturn Presidential Election Results
On the same day that it was announced that Ossoff and Warnock were winners in the Georgia senate races, thousands of supporters of Trump were already in Washington, D.C. in a failed attempt to force the House and Senate to nullify the votes of millions of people across several key states in the U.S. From its inception the rally and march were designed to stifle the democratic process and to literally deny the legitimacy of African American and other members of the electorate.
A rally at the White House addressed by Trump, members of his family and his chief legal representative Rudolph Giuliani, incited the crowd to march on the Capitol. Trump then returned to the White House while his supporters headed to the Capitol breaking through police barricades and storming the building.
The Senate was undergoing what is considered a ceremonial process of certifying the votes of the Electoral College. Soon, the chambers of the House and Senate were ordered evacuated while neo-fascists agitators broke down doors, assaulted security and law-enforcement personnel, ripped down entrances to Congressional offices and stole federal property.
Four people were reported killed in the melee which lasted for hours. One woman was shot to death reportedly in an attempt to break into the House of Representative chambers. The circumstances involving the other three deaths were not immediately clear and attributed to medical issues. Later one member of the Capitol police force died of injuries sustained in the fascist assault.
Many people within progressive communities throughout the country, corporate media anchors and commentators, members of law-enforcement agencies outside the Capitol, former U.S. military officials, among others, asked important questions about events on January 6 in Washington. Where were the Capitol police, federal law-enforcement agencies, the National Guard and intelligence officers who were warned weeks in advance that Trump supporters, many of whom have a propensity for racist and neo-fascist violence, while stating emphatically that they were committed to descending on the nation’s capital to stage a coup against the electorate and members of Congress, when these same groupings attempted to carry out such a putsch?
It has been the reality of U.S. political culture that right-wing racists and neo-fascist groups overlap with law-enforcement. Trump has empowered police agencies across the country to ruthlessly suppress anti-racist demonstrations which swept the U.S. during the last few months in the aftermath of the brutal police and vigilante killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others. Over two dozen people were killed during the mass demonstrations and rebellions during the spring, summer and fall. Thousands of others were injured and arrested while federal forces were ordered into municipalities throughout the U.S.
Numerous state and federal courts dismissed the false claims of the outgoing Trump administration that the elections were rigged in favor of the Biden-Harris ticket. Nonetheless, the baseless claims of systematic voter fraud are still being perpetuated by Trump and an assortment of right-wing news agencies and social media outlets.
Implications for a Post-Trump U.S. Society
At present it appears as if the attempted coup by the right-wing elements has failed leading up to the inauguration of the incoming administration on January 20. However, the threat of the organized racists and neo-fascists remains while the U.S. is facing the worst public health crisis in more than a century.
The public health crisis has spawned a precipitous economic downturn for millions of working class and oppressed peoples within the U.S. Notwithstanding the performance of the stock markets on Wall Street which are yielding huge profits for the top echelons of the ruling class, many people are left without funds for housing, food, healthcare, and other essentials required in a modern capitalist society.
Of course, the masses of working people and the nationally oppressed will have to organize independently to ensure their future amid the existing calamitous situation. The majority of people in the U.S. cannot rely on the Democratic Party leadership to carry out the necessary reforms needed to stabilize their lives.
Questions related to the pressing basic economic and social needs of the people within a capitalist system are without definitive answers under the status quo. The role of the police, military and intelligence forces in the perpetuation of class exploitation and national oppression cannot be effectively addressed by the incoming administration since the Biden-Harris ticket rejected the demands of the Black Lives Matter Movement in regard to the defunding, dismantling and restructuring of law-enforcement in the U.S.
The only real solution lies within the capacity of the masses to organize in their own interests. There is no future for the majority of people in the U.S. under capitalism. The transformation to a socialist system provides the only possibility for an end to economic exploitation, national oppression, institutional racism, political repression and for the realization of economic justice and social emancipation.