Events in the United States
An Event that Lays the
Increased Police Powers
minutes of the January 6 breach of the Capitol Building by protesters
incited by Trump's claim that victory in the 2020 Presidential Election
was stolen from him, there was a widespread description of the event as
an "insurrection" by media personalities and elected officials. This
represents a departure from the normal vocabulary of the ruling elite
to categorize protests in which violence erupts.
President Biden stated: "What we're seeing are a small number of
extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It's
disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now."
After asking Trump "to demand an end to this siege," he continued: "To
storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of
the United States Senate, rummaging through desks, on the Capitol, on
the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly-elected
officials. It's not protest. It's insurrection."
has not been explained how this protest action amounted to an
"insurrection" as opposed to the traditional terminology used, such as
"violent protest" or "illegitimate protest," "mob action" "extremist
terrorism" and so on, although all of these terms are also being used.
It would seem that the distinguishing feature of the term
"insurrection" is the storming of the Capitol, the over three-hour
lock-down of the Capitol, offices being occupied and ransacked by
protesters, and members of the Senate and the House of Representatives
being forced to shelter.
This adoption of the term
"insurrection" into the ruling elite's lexicon of protest
categorization came just six days after the Brookings Institution
published a report entitled "The Insurrection
Act and Putting Troops on American Streets." Published on
December 30, 2020, the report summarizes a July 2020 study by its
Congressional Study Group on Foreign Relations and National Security in
response to Trump calling in the National Guard and threatening to
deploy the military to quell the protests against the racist police
killing of George Floyd. Oppositional in nature, the report
nevertheless sets out precisely the steps to be taken through the
provisions of the Insurrection
Act to make deployment of the military against the people
Capitol Police are being criticized for not being prepared for the
January 6 attack. The media is interviewing members of the extensive
security and military apparatus as to how this could have
happened. There are a lot of questions being asked about what
being called a "massive security failure." The Capitol Police
answer to Congress. The head of the Capitol Police Steven Sund resigned
effective January 16 and House and Senate sergeants-at-arms quit after
the January 6 events.
In an interview with MSNBC, former Secretary of State and
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell called for Biden to
step-up and put the full force of the state in place. He compared
January 6 with the protests following the 1991 beating of Rodney King
when, under his charge, the military was called in. He asked why the
National Guard was not in place on January 6. "We should have seen what
was happening," he said. "It took hours for them to respond ... it was
a disgraceful performance by our leaders, a disgraceful performance by
our military and our police officials." Stating that Biden "will
address this problem," Powell concluded by saying "I have great
experience with the President and I am sure that he has what it takes
to be on top of the situation."
is certainly a call to check the rallies backed by Trump but it is
equally a call to quell protests in general, to maintain "law and
order." This call comes amidst an intensified and united chorus of the
U.S. ruling elite that its political institutions are thriving and
healthy. The January 6 action has witnessed the doubling-down of the
political elite's defence of the U.S. "institutions of democracy," with
acceptance of the proclaimed "greatness of American democracy"
identified as a criterion of U.S. patriotism.
issue at hand is being eclipsed by the fact that all those who
participated in the protest are being connected with all the hated,
despicable features of Trump's shock troops. Many who were there are
angry and have no confidence government will deal with their problems,
like unemployment, evictions and the pandemic and feel that they have
no means to hold government to account. The effort is to make it appear
all about Trump and to divert from the very real concerns of the people
and their demands for accountability.
Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) has analyzed that the
democratic institutions of the so-called representative democracy are
dysfunctional. While old forms of governance have passed away, new
forms have yet to come into being. It is precisely within this space
which exists that change is called for. Attempts to resolve this crisis
by concentrating more powers in the hands of the presidency and police
are fraught with danger.
this situation, the path that has been taken by those who have usurped
the decision-making power -- the representatives of the most powerful
economic forces -- is a path of controlling and quelling all opposition
both within their own ranks and against the people. The use of violence
is par for the course.
the disconnect between the governing authority and the people is
deepening in an unprecedented manner. The persistence of the
resistance to U.S.
rule shows that the demands for equality, justice and accountability
cannot be silenced or stopped. Everywhere people are making clear that
it is not elections -- including the one that brought Trump to power in
2016 and the one in 2020 that has removed him -- that will decide these
issues; they will be settled by the people and their fight for rights
to be recognized on a modern basis.
the dark shadow of the rampage January 6 breaching the Capitol and the
depraved ravings of a president refusing to accept the results of the
election, the facts of life in this period and the main trend of the
opposition of the peoples has to be brought to the fore. If today, the
ruling elite speak of "insurrectionists" attacking the "bastion of
democracy" and the need to enforce the rule of law against those who
stand against this bastion, it is clear that the call will hold in all
instances. There are now already 6,200 National Guard on duty in DC,
850 of them guarding the Capitol.
situation in the U.S. and all over
the world is on a perilous course with the ruling circles and the
objective workings of the capitalist system incapable of addressing the
serious problems that are demanding resolution, be it the growing
impoverishment and devastation of the living conditions of the people,
the increasing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of fewer
and fewer, the danger of war and aggression, the continued destruction
of the natural environment, or the mishandling of the pandemic.
Missing in all reporting on the events of January 6 is the
people's striving for empowerment, for an end to racial injustice, for
humane relations and an end to the exploitation and humiliation of the
working class and peoples. The democracy being praised is not a
people's democracy. Everything being said about
"insurrectionists," about how U.S. democracy must not be defiled and
the need to uphold rule of law and "law and order" is setting out the
underpinnings for Biden's presidency.
elite, in their declarations about defending the completely exhausted
and corrupted institutions of democracy, are hitting at anything and
everything that does not fit the mould of what they declare to be
legitimate and in step with the "values" of their defunct system. This
is a universal cry, as seen in the desperate international chorus of
calls for the restoration of order in the U.S., which is supposed to
stand as a symbol to the world of the highest stage of democratic rule.
The danger of January 6 is that it will mark another restructuring of
the state to further eliminate obstacles that stand in the way of using
the full force of the police powers against the people.
the Biden forces the efforts are now to portray the events of January 6
as an "epiphany," a revelation. January 6 is the Christian celebration
of the Epiphany that ends the 12 days of Christmas with the coming of
the three wise men, the Magi. "On this day of revelation, let us pray
that this instigation to violence will provide an epiphany for our
country to heal," said Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of
Representatives. President-Elect Joe Biden also spoke of an epiphany
after the November election.
These statements and many others like them are an
attempt to suggest that this is just about Trump, and to suppress the
demands and fight of the people for new arrangements. It is to convince
people that the current electoral system and democratic institutions
are not broken, and that renewal is not the order of the day and the
urgent task facing the people. It is all to stop people from keeping
the initiative in their own hands, an effort that will no doubt fail.
The Brookings Institution is a Washington think-tank comprised of over
300 government officials and academics from around the world. It traces
its origins to the 1916 formation of the Institute for Government
Research, "the first private organization devoted to analyzing public
policy issues at the national level." The Congressional Study Group on
Foreign Relations and National Security is described as "a program for
congressional staff focused on critically engaging the legal and policy
factors that define the role that Congress plays in various aspects of
U.S. foreign relations and national security policy."
Sund joined U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) in 2017 as its Assistant Chief
of Police and Chief of Operations. He became its Chief of Police in
Prior to those roles, Sund served more
years with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.,
retiring as the commander of its special operations division, according
to a biography of him on the USCP website.
Sund coordinated a number of National Special Security Events by the
Department of Homeland Security, to include the 2001, 2005, 2009, and
2013 Presidential Inaugurations," it said.
Sund is a
recognized expert in critical incident management and active shooter
preparedness and response," the biography continues. "His experience
involves being the on-scene incident commander on the 2009 shooting at
the National Holocaust Museum, the 2012 shooting at the Family Research
Council, and the 2013 active shooter incident at the Washington Navy
Yard. In addition, he has handled dozens of criminal barricade and
hostage situations with an impressive record of zero fatalities."
say Sund also has instructed the U.S Secret Service "in the area of
major events planning and has taught Incident Command System at the
George Washington University as an adjunct professor."
received his Bachelors and Masters of Science degrees from Johns
Hopkins University and a Master of Arts in Homeland Security from the
Naval Postgraduate School, it adds.
This article was published in
51 Number 2 - January 10, 2021
Event that Lays the Groundwork for
Increased Police Powers