By Abayomi Azikiwe
Peoples and governments across the international spectrum have looked aghast at the burgeoning divisions within United States society centered around the legislative and administrative direction of the country.
On January 6, thousands of right-wing, racist, neo-fascist and other assorted political tendencies held a rally in Washington, D.C. aimed at ensuring a second term for incumbent President Donald J. Trump.
After a series of incendiary speeches outside the White House from the president, his lawyers, family members along with elected officials, a crowd estimated at 8,000 marched to the Capitol Building passing through police barricades in order to rally outside while members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate were conducting a debate on the certification of the November 3 election results. Over 150 Congressional Republicans and several Senators were continuing to argue against the validity of the national elections by rehashing unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud. These allegations and legal challenges were all defeated in numerous courts on a state and federal level.
Soon enough hundreds would break down the doors and windows of the Capitol to proceed inside, threatening the lives of hundreds of Congresspersons, their staffs, security personnel and journalists. At least five people were killed in the melee while Congresspersons and others were taken to undisclosed locations which were surrounded by armed Capitol police.
It would take nearly four hours for the local, state and National Guard forces to mobilize and retake the grounds and the interior of the Capitol Building. President Trump then asked his supporters to go home without explicitly condemning their actions.
International Responses to the Attempted Coup
These events were broadcast around the world via television, radio, social media networks, etc. Immediately the actions of the right-wing and their collaborators in the Congress were denounced by leading governments and international bodies.
In the People’s Republic of China (PRC), a major adversary and competitor with the U.S., articles and editorials are pointing to the irony that the Trump administration and others have for years criticized the political system led by the Communist Party in Beijing. Since the advent of the Trump regime, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on China and consistently wages a propaganda campaign related to the purported suppression of the so-called Hong Kong democracy movement.
An opinion piece was published on January 13 in the Global Times by Yu Ning saying of the U.S. political crisis that:
“The Capitol raid, the anti-racism protests that swept the US in 2020, and the fast-growing and uncontrolled epidemic are enough to prove that the US is decaying, and desperately sick. The US, riddled with deep contradictions, is now being plagued by continuous internal crises. It’s fair to say the internal division in the country has reached the level where it’s hard to bridge. Political and social polarization has produced hatred, high risks of violence and riots. Civil unrest could be sparked at any moment.”
Yu Ning even raises the question as to whether the U.S. can survive its present conjuncture due to its incapacity to resolve internal problems. As China has been focused on ending the threat of the pandemic within its borders and internationally, Washington and Wall Street exemplifies the lack of central planning in their approach to curtailing the worst public health crisis in more than a century, making the U.S. the center of the pandemic where the death toll is rapidly approaching 400,000 and the number of recorded infections exceed 29 million.
Tens of millions of people living in the U.S. have become unemployed and underemployed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during the early months of 2020. Thousands of small and medium sized businesses remain closed or operating at greatly reduced levels amid massive evictions looming for households in all regions of the country.
The Global Times article cited above continues by observing and asking:
“Will American society be healed or continue to be torn apart? Will the U.S. see more turbulence or maintain its stability? If the U.S. still can’t figure out the real threat to its national security and fails to recognize that the biggest enemy of the U.S. is itself, the prospects of the country will be even bleaker.”
The South American socialist-oriented state of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which has been subjected to numerous attempts at regime-change directed by the White House, Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has also responded to developments in Washington saying that the Trump administration and the Congress should study their system in order to get some guidance on the resolution of political conflicts. Other states in the region including Cuba, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, among others have been the victims of violent interventions in their internal affairs by the U.S.
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said in response to the attempted right-wing coup that the Bolivarian Republic:
“Expresses its concern with the acts of violence that are taking [place] in the city of Washington, United States. Venezuela condemns the political polarization and the spiral of violence that only reflects the deep crisis that the political and social system of the United States is currently going through. With this unfortunate episode, the United States is suffering the same thing that it has generated in other countries with its policies of aggression. Venezuela hopes that soon the violence will cease and the American people can finally open a new path towards stability and social justice.”
The Republic of Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa decried the events in Washington on January 6 and implored the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Senator Kamala Harris to work towards the normalization of relations with the Southern African state. Zimbabwe has been under the sanctions’ regime of the U.S. and other imperialist governments for over two decades.
According to an article published in the state-owned Zimbabwe Herald by the writer Saxson Zvina:
“The U.S. has been trying to dictate to sovereign nations what they can’t practice. The events of January 6, 2021 should serve as a lesson to those who think that the U.S. is Democratic. What transpired at Capitol Hill has not happened in any third world nation which they portray as being backward. The Capitol Hill event was Stone Age politics which left the world shocked.”
The 14th Amendment and the Class Character of the Security Apparatus
There have been references made by members of Congress to a clause within the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which calls for anyone advocating insurrection to be immediately removed from office and be permanently barred from ever serving again. The second impeachment vote in the House of Representatives where the Democratic Party dominates, evoked the notion that the continuation of the Trump administration even for another week is clearly a threat to the country.
The 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War which was fought over the continuation of African enslavement as a legal economic system. The aim of the Amendment was to prevent the resurrection of the slavocracy which dominated the southern states leading up to the eruption of the secessionist insurrection extending from 1861 to 1865.
Nonetheless, many have surmised that the mob attacks on Capitol Hill on January 6 undoubtedly had tacit support from the highest levels of the administration and Congress in addition to the collaboration of elements within the law-enforcement, intelligence and military structures in the Washington, D.C. area. Even after the attacks on the Capitol by the right-wing zealots resulting in the deaths of five people, 139 Republican members of the House of Representatives and eight Senators still voted to decertify the elections, therefore objectively, enabling the coup attempt by endorsing the threat to disenfranchise tens of millions of the electorate, many of whom are African American, members of oppressed communities and the working class.
European security officials and experts were interviewed by the Business Insider about the January 6 violent attacks at the Capitol Building. The report emphasized:
“The French police official said they believed that an investigation would find that someone interfered with the deployment of additional federal law-enforcement officials on the perimeter of the Capitol complex; the official has direct knowledge of the proper procedures for security of the facility…. The third official, who works in counterintelligence for a NATO member, agreed that the situation could only be seen as a coup attempt, no matter how poorly considered and likely to fail, and said its implications might be too huge to immediately fathom.”
After the disputed national presidential elections of 1876, a compromise was made between the Democratic and Republican Parties to withdraw federal troops from the former Confederate states and other forms of legal enforcement related to Reconstruction. African Americans would spend nearly another century attempting to win recognition of those Constitutional Amendments and Civil Rights laws upholding their rights to the franchise, due process and equal protection under the law.
In 2021 this struggle has not been won by the people committed to full equality and self-determination for the nationally oppressed and the working class as a whole. The security apparatus of the U.S. capitalist state is interwoven with the adherents of institutional racism and neo-fascism. Any purge of these right-wing elements within the military, police and intelligence agencies would not be successful unless the underpinning of the existing exploitative and undemocratic system is thoroughly eliminated.