January 6 Events in the United States
• Counterrevolution Within the
Pauline Easton -
• What Is Relevant and What Is Not
An Event that Lays the Groundwork
for Increased Police Powers
- Anna Di Carlo -
• What Is an Insurrection?
• The Fight Between "Violence" and
the Democratic Institutions"
U.S. Election Spending
Indictment of U.S. Democracy
Events in the United States
Given the evidence available at this time, what took place
at the Capitol building in Washington, DC on January 6 is a
counterrevolution within the counterrevolution. It becomes
increasingly evident that President Donald Trump staged a coup to keep
the presidency in his own hands but this failed due
to the defection of Vice President Mike Pence followed by others.
Furthermore, due to the way things unfolded with the images of
destruction, intimidation and hooliganism within the Capital
building, Senate Chamber and House Speaker Pelosi's office
broadcast across the world, Trump could not maintain the military
united behind him either. The failed coup was then used by
President-Elect Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others in an
effort to unite the federal policing and military bureaucracies behind
Biden to preserve the union and avert civil war. Pence and other
Republicans, including those like Senator Ted Cruz who stuck to their
stand of questioning the validity of the election, disassociated
themselves from the violence and Trump and have moved to preserve their
own careers and the Republican Party to fight another day.
has deliberately called the rampage which took place at the Capitol, an
insurrection. Social media footage is revealing the extent of the
damage caused by the rampage. Five people died, including a protestor
killed by police and a policeman who was bludgeoned while on duty. It
was certainly no small matter but how does calling it an
insurrection account for the President of the United States assaulting
Donald Trump received some 73 million
votes in the
election, to Biden's 81 million votes. This is thus more than a
criminal "mob" or armed militia on a rampage. When Biden calls it an
"insurrection," he does not define what that is or what makes it so, or
the consequences. He is defining his presidency as the one which will
restore law and order and the values the U.S. stands for, which is
exactly what Trump says. Furthermore, many in the top echelons of the
Democratic Party and media who have long despised Donald Trump are
calling for retribution through impeachment.
FBI are identifying those who broke the law, with federal charges to
date limited to 15 people, for "violent entry and disorderly conduct on
Capitol grounds" and "intent to impede government business." About 40
others face lesser charges of unlawful entry and curfew violations.
Interestingly, despite a Trump executive order imposing a mandatory
10-year sentence for any action that "destroys, damages, vandalizes, or
desecrates" government property, no such charges are being made. The
indication is that the FBI, like those in Congress, are not yet
pursuing more serious charges, including those of insurrection or
sedition. This is likely part of an effort to lessen conflicts
among the ruling factions and avert violent civil war.
rampage describes violent or excited behaviour that
is reckless, uncontrolled, or destructive; a state of violent
anger or agitation. In a limited way it seems to aptly describe
what took place on January 6. The reason we call it a
counterrevolution within the counterrevolution is because we are
not just dealing with two sides -- one side which engaged in an
insurrection and another which defends democracy. The whole
picture is greater than the sum of its parts which cannot be
aggregated in any case.
counterrevolution against the standards and levels
societies had hitherto achieved in the post-World War II period
got underway under U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and British
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) when they unleashed
neo-conservatism and claims that there is no society, just
families, family values and individual right. This put the nail
in the coffin of social welfare states and their institutions and
organizations and set the course to restructure the state to
eliminate any vestiges of public right, the public good or public
authority. It was accompanied by the collapse of the Soviet Union
and the counterrevolution initiated there by Mikhail Gorbachev in
the name of glasnost and perestroika
and restructuring. Counterrevolution and retrogression took place in
quick succession in the former peoples' democracies of eastern Europe
(1989-1990) and the Soviet Union itself collapsed in 1991. An
anti-social offensive and retrogression became
the consequence of counterrevolution and capitalist restoration in
those countries. In the U.S., Britain, countries of western Europe,
Canada and others the trappings of the social welfare state were
dismantled in favour of rule by decree. An anti-social offensive and
retrogression also occurred and continues, often using justifications
to pay the rich.
In the U.S., the
that emerged after World War II and further developed in this period is
the merger of the military-industrial complex with the public
authority. There is a
war government, with the development of massive military and
federal policing bureaucracies. Private interests are
increasingly taking over government functions and institutions.
Notions of serving the public good are eliminated. This is part
of the counterrevolution of the period. It also means the problem
of uniting the military and policing bureaucracies as part of
preserving the union and preventing civil war takes on great
The concerted assault by the rulers
on U.S. institutions of
democratic governance was further advanced with the election of Bill
Clinton on a platform of change in 1992. Ronald Reagan introduced a
direction for the economy to pay the rich. This included the war
profiteers and energy moguls. The Soviet Union’s collapse
unleashed the U.S. imperialist striving for world domination. By the
time Clinton came to power this policy was well entrenched.
defeated George H.W. Bush who had launched the first
Iraq war with the stated intent to remove "a regime that
developed and used weapons of mass destruction, that harboured
and supported terrorists, committed outrageous human rights
abuses, and defied the just demands of the United Nations and the
world." This and subsequent wars were no longer politics
other means which would eventually be settled through negotiations and
peace accords. They became desperate efforts to bring spheres of
interest under U.S. control and, failing ready submission through
bribery, threats and killer sanctions, then by means of wars of
destruction. This policy abroad has been combined with increasing
repression at home, including a massive prison and detention
apparatus and efforts to split the polity on the basis of race,
religion or gender to impede the people uniting in action to
achieve their own empowerment.
The assault on
the democratic institutions has led to the
destruction of the political parties which have become cartels
and operate as coalitions. They spend billions and engage in
disinformation to control the police powers of the presidency and
other positions of power. The Congress has consequently also
degenerated, as have elections, with neither serving to unite the
massive military bureaucracy and contending factions vying for
power, with wars no longer serving that purpose. Now we are
witnessing one wing of government, the presidency, attacking
another, Congress, for purposes of strengthening executive power.
Biden, in speaking about the events, has not defended Congress as
a legislative body with powers. He says how he, as President,
will restore law and order, not permit the Justice Department to
act like his personal law firm, and the like. The aim is to
further strengthen the Office of the President and his ability to
use police powers. It is not to provide the change demanded by
the people for rights and empowerment but rather to further the
counterrevolution against the people.
narrow private interests have seized control of the
decision-making powers at both the federal and state levels. Since
Clinton's presidency and call for change, change which favours the
people has been the casualty in the U.S. One president after another
has perfected the use of police powers, using the office of the
president to surpass the bounds of all hitherto permitted conduct. With
9/11 President George W. Bush declared a permanent state of exception
following which justifications for violating civil liberties have
become the norm. Torture, wars of aggression and killer sanctions go
hand in hand with the perpetuation of police killings with
impunity, mainly of Black people, the inhuman treatment of
refugees, undocumented workers, immigrants and children, the
incarceration of ever-larger numbers of people who are criminalized as
a matter of course, along with other crimes the U.S. regularly commits.
The entire Department of
Homeland Security is established with its massive police forces and
bureaucracy, all for purposes of repression and impunity to use force.
Only those who seek to appease the U.S. imperialists repeat the mantra
that the United States is a democracy or a civil society with
For 30 years, all of this
has constituted a counterrevolution
whose results can be seen in the state of the U.S. economy, the
private health care and insurance systems and inability to deal
with the COVID-19 pandemic (with one death for every 1,000
people), the length of the food lines, the treatment of veterans,
seniors, the homeless, women and children, besides Blacks, Puerto
Ricans, peoples of the Americas and Asians as well as the violations of
inherent rights of Indigenous nations. Now, there is a crisis of
confidence in U.S. governing institutions. The many millions who
voted for Trump as well as those voting for Biden are angry with
government failures and express their lack of confidence that problems
will be solved in their favour.
The crisis of confidence in U.S. governing institutions means
the vast majority of people are angry and not in agreement with the
direction of the country. Some 20 million held protests for
than 100 days
after George Floyd was killed, all viciously attacked by police forces.
Many millions more supported these actions, as they had previously
joined and supported demonstrations defending immigrants and refugees
and their children. There is a drive among the people to have control
over policing, budgets and for a new direction for the economy and
politics, which will no doubt continue.
forces organized this rampage on the Capitol building on January 6,
including using armed militias, to try and subvert this drive and
divide the people. The failed coup attempt on the part of Donald Trump
and his attack on Congress is a counterrevolution within the
counterrevolution which has now unleashed a wave of revenge-seeking
among the rulers, which will polarize their factions even further.
None of their efforts, including those by Biden, will unite
federal policing and military bureaucracies, let alone the people of
the United States, or solve a single problem facing the U.S. democracy
still touted as the greatest in the world. Only a modern
nation-building project will set the United States on a course which
can unite the people behind a common cause. Led by the U.S. working
class, such a project requires that the democratic renewal of the
political decision-making process be put at the centre of its concern.
It must strive to bring into being a government and institutions of
governance which have a modern democratic anti-war personality and
respect the sovereignty and equality of the peoples of the world. A
modern constitution is required to replace all remnants of the present
constitution which was a compromise with slavery and maintains the rule
of the propertied elite and institutions which favour narrow private
interests over the masses of the people.
at what took place at the Congress in Washington, DC on January 6,
there appears to be both a failed coup on the part of U.S. President
Donald Trump and an effort by President-Elect Joe Biden to use the
events to further strengthen the presidency by uniting the federal
policing and military bureaucracies behind him. Vice President Mike
Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi are acting as enablers in
this effort. Pelosi for example, even though Trump is still
Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces, has publicly said she is
speaking with the military so they keep Trump from the "nuclear
button," as it is called. This is an effort to line the military up
behind Biden. We are
witnessing a counterrevolution within the long-standing
counterrevolution that has been ongoing since the collapse of the
What took place was not Trump vs.
democracy, as it
is being portrayed, as Trump also said he was acting to save the
Republic and its democracy. Rather it was the powers of the presidency
vs. the powers of Congress. It is an effort to further weaken Congress,
which already is dysfunctional and has conceded many of its powers,
such as declaring war and getting significant legislation passed. All
of the presidents since World War II have been increasing the strength
and powers of the presidency against those of Congress. This greatly
increased under Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama and has reached
the point with Trump where a government of police powers has been
consolidated. Such a government has little regard for legislation and
laws and instead uses the Office to act with impunity, through use of
force, executive orders, etc. This is evident at home and abroad, where
Trump has repeatedly acted with impunity. Thus, crucial to
understanding what took place is how the use of force was deployed --
both the initial absence of police forces and their subsequent
People in the
U.S. and worldwide saw thousands of protesters carrying Trump and U.S.
flags and paraphernalia flood the steps of the Capitol building and go
inside, relatively unimpeded, while Congress was in session to certify
the Electoral College vote of the states. Despite the plan for rallies
at the Capitol and White House being known and in fact permitted, there
was an exceptionally small police presence.
for DC demonstrations there is a large police presence, with DC riot
police lining the streets, and streets near the rally points blocked
off. At the Capitol they would be present in lines two deep -- likely
armed with automatic rifles -- with more and heavier barricades, police
tanks, police on bicycles and horseback, a command centre, helicopters
and so forth. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement
(ICE) and other federal forces from the Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) are also usually present. All were absent at the time of the
rally on January 6, even though both Houses of Congress were in session
to certify the Electoral College vote -- something known to be in
contention. The relatively small Capitol Police force (numbering about
2,000) had responsibility to protect all the Congresspeople inside as
well as the building and other matters.
police, federal forces, and in this case the National Guard as well,
could only be absent by design. A decision is made in advance by those
with authority. All of the federal forces are put in action either by
the president himself, or by the head of DHS and FBI, Trump appointees.
For DC, the National Guard is also put in action by Trump, who for many
hours blocked their deployment, and they were finally called for by
Pence, not Trump. Orders go via the head of the Department of Defense
who, in this case, then
orders the Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy. McCarthy reported, "We
are in close contact with local and federal law enforcement agencies to
review potential additional support requirements for the DC National
Guard." All of these federal forces can act, and commonly do,
independent of the Capitol Police.
surge of Trump supporters breached the building, each House was in
their chamber in the process of debating the vote from Arizona, which
had been challenged by Senate and House members, led by Senators Ted
Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Vice President Pence, as
president of the Senate, was presiding over the Senate debate. Vice
President-Elect Kamala Harris was also present. Both were quickly
removed, likely by their own Secret Service details. Other
representatives were escorted out, many resorting to the "doomsday"
corridors -- the name referring to their intended use in the event of a
nuclear attack. Others were trapped inside the House chamber or their
offices with their staff. Video footage shows hundreds of protesters
wandering the chambers and halls, occupying offices, taking selfies
with police and seizing trophies. Still, reinforcements were nowhere to
Coup Attempt Unravels
Earlier that morning, thousands had rallied at the White
House, where Trump spoke. He said those present were "American patriots
... committed to the honesty of our elections and the integrity of our
glorious Republic... We will never give up. We will never concede." He
called on Pence to act, saying "All Vice President Pence has to do is
send it back to the States to recertify, and we become president." He
told protesters "You have to show strength" and then urged everyone to
march on the Capitol.
It is evident that to be
successful, Trump needed the support of Pence and other Republicans,
who he also urged to not certify the vote, as well as the armed forces
to not intervene. It is also evident that he and his cabinet provided
conditions for the protesters to march on the Capitol and enter it and
remain for several hours. The live test of support for the coup and a
readiness to use force as Trump commands unravelled throughout the day,
beginning with Pence declaring he could not use his position in the
Senate to call the election in Trump's favour, following which various
defections took place of those who, instead of supporting Trump, joined
Biden in calling on the President to re-establish order. This included
Chad Wolf, head of DHS, and National Security Adviser O'Brien, as well
as Senator Cruz and more and more Congresspeople. O'Brien said,
speaking of the protesters, "Violence has absolutely no place in our
democracy. Our country is better than what we saw today at our Capitol."
The Governor of Texas and the Texas District Attorney, both
major backers of Trump's efforts to overturn the elections, also
opposed. Former President George W. Bush represented the views of many
elected officials saying, "This is how election results are disputed in
a banana republic, not our democratic republic. I am appalled by the
reckless behaviour of some political leaders since the election and by
the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions
and our law enforcement." He emphasized that it is the "fundamental
responsibility of every patriotic citizen to support the rule of law."
Texas has significance in that the Governor has sizable
policing forces of his own and it is considered the tenth largest
economy in the world. The Bush family still has significant influence.
For Bush, the Governor and Senator Cruz to oppose Trump's action,
alongside Wolf of DHS, meant Trump could not succeed. The facts would
indicate that the military began coordinating with Pence. Acting
Defense Secretary Miller said, "Chairman Milley [of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff] and I just spoke separately with the Vice President and with
Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Senator Schumer and Representative
Hoyer about the situation at the U.S. Capitol. [...] We have fully
activated the DC National Guard to assist federal and local law
enforcement as they work to peacefully address the situation."
For any coup effort, the monopoly on the use of force is
essential. Trump made use of this and attempted to stage the coup with
the backing of the military and DHS, who coordinated with the DC
police, who follow federal commands in these situations. DC police are
not the ones in charge. This was evident when Police Chief Robert
Contee spoke hours after protesters were inside, with Army Secretary
McCarthy also present. As well, Contee reported that the DC police
responded to federal requests for support. That indicates the same
federal forces told them support was not initially needed.
Demand to End All Police Violence and Put Control
There is a
deliberate effort to promote the problem with policing as a double
standard by police. Media repeatedly showed pictures of the National
Guard in full military gear guarding the Lincoln monument during
protests against police killings and impunity over the summer, along
with shots of tear gas and other state violence being used against
Black Lives Matter protesters and their allies. They also kept
repeating that the police were "caught by surprise" and were
"unprepared" while others said they should not have been unprepared
given foreknowledge of the rally.
approach to the problem of double standards ignores that the key
problem is the monopoly on the use of force by state authorities to act
or not act -- and do both with impunity. While the people's movement
for justice is opposed to police impunity, the problem of police
violence is not that pro-Trump protesters should be treated with the
same violence as those fighting for justice.
was a double standard evident with racist police violence against
resistance over the summer. Indeed, there is a double standard whenever
the state is protecting private interests while repressing those
resisting, whether African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Indigenous
peoples, workers, women or youth. The answer is not "equal" use of more
police state violence but an end to all such violence and control of
policing and monopoly on the use of force, and to put decision-making
power in the hands of the people themselves.
Crucial Issues of Who Decides and How
Decision-Making Power Is Wielded
and ever more brutal use of police powers has characterized one
presidency after another, culminating with the Trump presidency, which
has gone beyond the pale for even his own supporters. What is at stake
in the current situation is who decides and how the decision-making
power is wielded. This is what is in dire crisis in the United States.
That private propertied interests control the use of force and all the
police powers that reside with the presidency is being systematically
is notable that "both sides" -- Trump and the forces coming forward to
oppose those involved in the rampage -- all claim to be defending the
Constitution and put it forward as a solution to the present crisis.
Far from it, the Constitution and all its governing arrangements are
what have failed. U.S.-style democracy no longer functions to hold
anyone or anything to account. This is more than evident with this
immediate situation as well as government failures concerning COVID-19,
widespread unemployment, growing poverty and homelessness with more
evictions and job losses coming. U.S. democracy does not and cannot
provide for the rights of the people, including these most basic human
rights to housing, health care and a livelihood. Solutions cannot lie
with the governing arrangements that gave rise to the crisis in the
first place and that guarantee inequality and a lack of control over
decisions impacting the lives of the vast majority.
is also worrisome that Trump and Biden both try to define who is and
who is not a patriot. Such efforts in the U.S. have a long history as a
means to target people fighting for rights as being "unAmerican" and
unpatriotic, words often used as synonyms to describe a terrorist.
Biden, like others, claims that what occurred is not "who we are." He
says, "For nearly two-and-a-half centuries, we, the people, in search
of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good.
America is so much better than what we've seen today." The reality is
that what everyone witnessed is exactly what the U.S. of the rich gives
rise to. Throughout those two-and-a-half centuries there have always
been two Americas contending -- that of the people against that of the
owners of private property who have concentrated power in their hands.
The Constitution is designed to keep these private interests in power.
The people have repeatedly fought against enslavement and inequality
and the "union" as defined by and for the propertied interests which
have seized control over the monopoly on the use of force.
is clear that once the attempted coup failed, Biden, Pence, Cruz and
others in Congress sought to unify the contending forces within and
between the Presidency and federal policing and military bureaucracies.
This is necessary to preserve their "more perfect union" and is a
problem Trump failed to solve during his presidency. The numerous calls
for unity are part of this. Biden again reiterated his refrain that
anything can be done if "we do it together." He is seeking not only to
unify the contending forces among the rich but also to bring those
demanding equality and rights behind him. Nonetheless, the same
problems will haunt his presidency which will provide further proof
that the material conditions do not fall in line with the authority the
rulers wish for.
the vote was certified and
Trump now says there will be a "peaceful transition," there is no basis
to think the source of conflicts and dysfunction of the system has
disappeared. The conflicts among the private interests exist as all
have self-serving interests and have made clear that the "common good,"
or "public good," is not to stand in their way. Further, it cannot be
said that the U.S. has been a "peaceful" force. There is instead a
history of wars, genocide and aggression. There is a war government and
war economy that cause grave harm and violence to the peoples at home
and abroad. What does occur is the transfer of power from one president
to the next, each more powerful than the last. Certainly the people are
accepting conditions where their rights are even further trampled and
where more violence and wars threaten. Their striving is for a peace
economy and anti-war government where the people decide.
Necessity for People's Empowerment
recognition that for change that favours the people to take place, all
those responsible for creating the problems -- including Biden -- will
not be capable of providing solutions. Social responsibility rests with
the people as they step up their organizing efforts, within the many
collectives fighting for rights and more broadly within society as a
whole, to be political themselves by focusing on bringing into being a
decision-making process which is independent of the obsolete liberal
Biden claims the next four years are about the "the restoration of
democracy" -- that same failed democracy that is in tatters, the people
fighting for rights are making clear that what is needed is a people's
democracy, designed by the people themselves that empowers them to
govern and decide. Empowerment and control over decisions is being
taken up for solution, as collectives defending rights organize to
themselves make collective decisions, implement them and together
assess results. This struggle is altogether missing from the accounts
of the January 6 events.
Let us continue to unite in
identify the problems which we think require solutions and how to
provide them with solutions!
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.
Biden, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck
Schumer -- who will soon replace Mitch McConnell as head of the Senate,
have all termed the protest at the Capitol building January 6 an
insurrection. It is reported that articles of impeachment being drawn
up by Pelosi charge President Trump with "incitement to insurrection."
So far no such charges are being levelled against the Senators, such as
Josh Hawley of Minnesota and Ted Cruz of Texas, who also could be said
to have "incited" protesters. These two Senators and the six others who
joined in challenging the certification of the vote for Arizona and
Pennsylvania, are now being referred to by some U.S. Representatives as
the "Sedition Caucus." But there is no call for charges to be laid,
only for resignations.
The term insurrection has
also been widely used by media, pundits and government officials.
However, what constitutes insurrection has yet to be defined or
explained by any of them. Why does this protest and all that happened
at the Capitol on January 6 constitute an insurrection?
January 6, President-Elect Joe Biden first called the actions an
"unprecedented assault" on "our democracy." "This is not dissent. It's
disorder. It's chaos. It borders on sedition, and it must end now,"
Biden said. "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," he
saying that what took place was an "unprecedented assault" to saying it
"borders on sedition" to concluding that it is an "insurrection" what
are we to think? These are three separate things: an assault, an
insurrection, and something which "borders on sedition" but is not
sedition. What then does it mean to call it an assault and an
insurrection, but not sedition?
From a legal
standpoint, it is useful to refer to Title 18 U.S. Code Chapter 115 --
TREASON, SEDITION, AND SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES. Sedition, and
conspiracy are defined as follows:
If two or more persons in any
State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the
United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force
the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to
oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder,
or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to
seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to
the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or
imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
five Puerto Rican patriots and independence fighters entered the
Capitol building in 1954 while armed and managed to reach the gallery,
they were charged with "assault with intent to kill" and "assault with
a dangerous weapon" and given decades-long sentences. Later, in 1981,
many fighters for Puerto Rican independence, a right sanctioned by
international law as part of ending colonialism, were charged with
sedition and seditious conspiracy and also given decades-long and even
life-sentences. Not so in the present case. Despite the presence of
weapons, police can be seen on video footage actually escorting some
people into the building and taking selfies with them. Charges are
Sedition also brings to the fore civil war, something the
rulers are trying desperately to avoid. So while reference is made to a
"Sedition Caucus," and claims of treason are also being thrown about,
no serious action is being taken. It should be remembered that after
the Civil War, the main Confederate Generals involved were not charged
with treason or sedition.
Still, why then does the
event "border on sedition," but is an "insurrection"? By law,
insurrection requires arrests and prosecutions. The same portion of the
Chapter 115 law, under "rebellion and insurrection," says:
Whoever incites, sets on foot,
assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the
authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or
comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more
than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office
under the United States.
Does this mean charges will
be laid against those who incited insurrection? Is this the
aim of calling it an insurrection? Or is it mere rhetoric on Biden's
part in an effort to unify the very divided ruling factions?
The way Biden speaks, it appears that an insurrection involves
"a mob" threatening the safety of elected officials, which was indeed
the case, but it is important to stress that beyond the rampage, there
is a serious problem of a President assaulting Congress. There are no
limits to the presidential powers. The assault on Congress was not by
an "external enemy" or a problem of "racist militia" per se.
Despite revenge-seeking which targets Trump, the
issue is not Trump but presidential authority to use force and to
punish. It also serves to make it far easier to make use of such a
claim in the future against demonstrations in front of federal
buildings and authority.
matter how Biden uses the word insurrection, images from the past of
what constituted an insurrection will not suffice to describe
is taking place in the United States today, nor provide insights on how
to analyze unfolding developments or provide the problems with
solutions. It is bound to add fuel to the fire of the
and violence taking place in the United States today.
The Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated
to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code,
U.S.C., or USC) is the official compilation and codification of the
general and permanent federal statutes of the United States. (Wikipedia)
Things are moving fast in the aftermath of the January 6
Washington, DC. The Democrats are circulating articles of impeachment
of President Donald Trump, which give as an argument for impeachment
"incitement of insurrection." They claim to have the support of close
to 190 Democrats in the House of Representatives for these articles.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that unless Trump resigns
immediately there is going to be a move to force him out either through
impeachment or through the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which
would require that Vice President Mike Pence and half the Cabinet
declare that Trump is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his
office." So far, Pelosi has not given her blessing to the motion of
impeachment, but the media expect that the articles of impeachment will
be presented to the House of Representatives.
saying that Pence is not in favour of pursuing efforts to get rid of
Trump as President before President-Elect Joe Biden is sworn in on
January 20. Biden says the country must heal and unify under his
presidency. If the motion of impeachment is adopted by the House of
Representatives, the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the
Senate to convict. The penalty for an impeached official upon
conviction is removal from office.
There is even
discussion that because the Senate is not
planning to meet before January 19, the vote on impeachment in
the Senate could be held after Trump finishes his term as president. A
president convicted of impeachment no longer qualifies to run for
office. There is clearly lots of behind the scenes manoeuvring
to achieve some sort of resolution to the crisis.
Twitter has forever banned Trump's personal account, Facebook until
January 20 and Amazon Web Services has banned social media app Parler
(similar to Twitter) because, Amazon says, it advocates violence. This
feeds the debate about freedom of speech versus prohibition of
incitement to violence. Meanwhile, police forces are said to be combing
media footage in preparation for laying more charges against those who
breached the Capitol building on January 6 and were seen to commit
can see from these facts is that the conflicts between
the factions of the imperialist elite are continuing
relentlessly, while further deployment of police powers is
provided with a justification through the discourse on insurrection,
violence and the need to protect the institutions of
Despite talk about defending the
democratic symbols and
institutions, a problem discussed without the seriousness it deserves
is the humiliation the revenge-seeking will cause to what is called
"the Trump base" which is far from being limited to the racist militias
said to have broken into the Capitol on January 6. There are 73 million
people who are reported to have voted for Trump, many of whom simply do
not trust the government to help them deal with the serious problems
they face. The cartels and coalitions trying to use these events as a
way to line up workers and the people behind themselves are sowing the
wind and are sure to reap the whirlwind sooner rather than later.
Attempts to divert the peoples' consciousness into believing it is a
fight between "violence" and "defence of the democratic institutions"
seek to cover up that this violence within the ruling class is what is
left when the democratic institutions, including elections, do not
function and serve as a block to people's empowerment.
U.S. Election Spending
November 2020 U.S. elections broke all previous records according to
the U.S. Federal Election Commission. The two main cartel parties, the
Republican and Democratic parties, spent the bulk of the total $14
spending during the presidential election cycle included spending to
win the White House, 35 Senate seats and 435 seats in the House of
The presidential candidates of the
two cartel parties spent $6.6 billion, which far exceeds the $2.4
billion in the 2016 presidential race.
presidential candidate Joe Biden was the first candidate in history to
raise $1 billion from "donors." Incumbent President Donald Trump raised
$596 million. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, national
groups organized as Political Action Committees (PACs) were behind much
of the spending. Spending by PACs on advertising during the month of
October alone was $1.2 billion, with more of the money going to Biden
Sarah Bryner, research director
at the Center for Responsive Politics, said that with the creation of
Super-PACs 10 years ago, those connected with the Republican Party
"were the quickest to jump on the newly permissible outside groups as a
way to facilitate huge donations."
In the recent election, groups
associated with the Democratic Party "have more than made up the
difference," Bryner said. The Democrats overtook the Republicans in the
"money race" in the 2018 election cycle and increased their domination
in 2020. PACs alone spent $5.5 billion for the Democratic Party and
$3.8 billion for the Republicans in the recent election.
went increasingly online to Facebook and Google with over $1 billion
spent on the 2020 election to advertise on those social media
platforms, according to OpenSecrets' online ads database, which is
connected with the Center.
The Center reports that
out-of-state donors were important in certain congressional races. In
the so-called swing states of Arizona, North Carolina and Iowa, the
vast majority of election money came from outside those states. The
Center writes, "In the South Carolina Senate race, where the candidates
have spent a record-smashing $164 million (since calculated upwards to
$275 million), Democrat Jaime Harrison brought in 93 per cent of his
money from out of state, while Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) raised 87 per
cent from other states. The North Carolina Senate race was the most
expensive congressional race of all time, with $265 million (now
calculated at $300 million) spent between candidates and outside
groups. The Iowa Senate race claimed the No. 2 spot with $218 million
in total spending (now exceeded by South Carolina). When all is said
and done, at least the top four most expensive Senate races of all time
will have taken place in the 2020 election cycle."
Center says much of the funding for PACs comes from "dark money," which
it describes as "spending meant to influence political outcomes where
the source of the money is not disclosed." For example, it says,
"Future Forward, a relatively new hybrid PAC that has spent $106
million to back Biden, got $33 million from dark money groups."
According to the Center, the Senate Leadership Fund raising
money for Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate
Republicans, "received nearly $63 million from its allied dark
money group One Nation. This phenomenon means spending by groups that
only partially disclose their sources of funding is at record highs.
Meanwhile, only 30 per cent of outside spending comes from groups that
fully disclose their donors, an all-time low. These big money groups
are typically funded by ultra-wealthy individuals. The top 10 donors
combined to give $642 million in 2020."
writes, "Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam, a
physician, have given $183 million to GOP (Republican) candidates and
groups, the largest sum any couple has given in a single election
cycle. The billionaire couple made most of their donations in the final
months of the election, including $75 million to pro-Trump super PAC
"In a repeat of the 2018 cycle,
former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is the second most
generous donor. He's given $107 million to Democratic committees in
addition to his billion-dollar self-funding effort in the presidential
race. Bloomberg sent $30 million to his flagship super PAC,
Independence USA. In the final week of the election, Bloomberg
announced he'd spend another $15 million to boost Biden in Texas and
The Center continues, "Other deep-pocketed
donors have worked their way into the top 10 for the first time.
Wyoming investor Timothy Mellon gave $65 million to GOP committees in
2020 after giving $10 million in the 2018 cycle. Republican donor
Jeffrey Yass gave $25 million, up from less than $8 million last cycle."
The Center also breaks down the donations by economic sectors
writing, "Several industries have flipped over to the Democrats' side
under Trump's presidency, including the well-funded miscellaneous
finance and securities and investment industries. Real estate is one of
the few major industries to stay in the Republicans' corner during the
Trump era, giving slightly more to GOP committees than Democrats.
"Given their overall fundraising advantage, it's not
surprising that Democrats have gotten more from powerful industries.
While Biden's campaign is partly powered by small donors, it's also
boosted by Wall Street donors. The securities and investment industry
has given $74 million to Biden's campaign and allied super PACs,
compared to $18 million for Trump's re-election effort.
interests have given nearly $4.6 billion, up from $3.4 billion
throughout the entire 2016 election cycle. Labour, meanwhile, has seen
its giving power decline. Through mid-October, labour groups donated
$175 million, accounting for a tiny fraction of campaign money."
Georgia Run-Off Senate Elections
the window of time since the November election to the January 5 run-off
for the two Georgia Senate seats, spending on advertising alone by the
Republican incumbents and Democratic challengers totalled $486 million
with the bulk ($458 million) going to TV ads. The Democrats outspent
the Republicans marginally $249 million to $237 million.
to Ad Impact, most of the half billion dollars came from the two
national parties and "outside groups such as super PACs to run ads."
From the Center for Responsive Politics Website: “Super PACs
are a relatively new type of committee that arose following the July
2010 federal court decision in a case known as SpeechNow.org v. Federal
known as independent expenditure-only committees, super PACs may raise
unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and
individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or
against political candidates. Unlike traditional PACs, super PACs are
prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates, and
their spending must not be coordinated with that of the candidates they
benefit. Super PACs are required to report their donors to the Federal
Election Commission on a monthly or semiannual basis -- the super PAC's
choice -- in off-years, and monthly in the year of an
access articles individually click on the black headline.)
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