The official completion of Robert Mueller’s special-counsel investigation report and the public release of Attorney General William Barr’s summary of main findings marks a significant juncture.
There is much we do not know about the actual findings, and the aftermath is still unfolding. There are demands for the full Mueller report to be unleashed, and there may be more in the report than has thus far been revealed. Further, both Mueller and Barr are long-term ruling class figures, and the report itself may be “less than candid” about some things that may have emerged in the investigation. In short, there is much we don’t know yet, and there may be much we won’t know, at least in the immediate future.
Even while this is the case, the long-awaited report, as reported by Barr, absolves the Trump campaign of colluding with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Barr also took the exceptional step of rapidly following up with an opinion that there was no obstruction of justice in Trump’s actions such as firing James Comey, the ex-FBI director, as well as other seemingly blatant attempts to influence the course of the investigation. This was a charge on which Barr reports Mueller not taking a position.
Nonetheless, on its own terms, the release of Barr’s four-page memorandum and the week that has followed marks a significant juncture. The lingering question marks on the electoral legitimacy of the fascist Trump/Pence regime—which for some time have been wrongly hinged on the question of Russian interference and Trump’s knowledge or coordination with that interference—are now sapped of potency. The regime, which has been constrained up to now and has needed to burst out of those constraints, feels vindicated, triumphant and unleashed to potentially go “full animal” in advancing their fascist program, as Steve Bannon urged. Meanwhile, large swaths of progressive people—whose attention has been narrowly directed to and focused by the media and Democrats on the Mueller investigation as a means to potentially remove or contain Trump—now seem deflated without this savior atop the system.
While this poses key immediate challenges to all those seeking a better world and an end to this nightmare faced by humanity, it is even more incumbent to step back and analyze what is at work. This necessarily involves confronting squarely the history of this country and the nature of this system that has given rise to this fascist monstrosity; it means looking unsparingly at the behavior of the Democrats and seeking the causes for that; and it requires drawing the conclusions that flow out of that, both as regards what must be done in relation to a fascist regime now feeling emboldened and, even more fundamentally, to the system that produced that regime.
Fascism Emboldened and Advancing—the Juncture and Its Immediate Aftermath
From its early days, Trump has labeled the Mueller investigation into his campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia a “witch-hunt” with no legitimate basis. Claiming exoneration, Trump has now gone on the warpath, seizing on this to advance the consolidation of fascism.
Barr’s verdict on the report gives him backing in this. Barr’s opinion enshrines an expanded scope of executive power that suddenly includes firing those investigating the presidency, thereby significantly weakening checks and balances against a presidency, one increasingly monarchist-style and above the rule of law. This itself is consistent with fascist rule that seeks to weaken and increasingly trample civil and democratic rights, the rule of law, and established norms of liberal bourgeois democracy. In increasingly manifesting this blatant dictatorial aspect and shredding its norms, fascism differs from liberal bourgeois democracy, even while both represent the rule of sections of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class over this system and society.
Fascism in imposing its rule must overcome and defeat opposition from other sections of the ruling class like the Democrats, or those opposed in the intelligence agencies, military, and mainstream bourgeois press. This was in full evidence this week, as Trump attacked the Democrats and the mainstream media as being “sick, sick, sick,” and his fascist MAGA audience chanted “Lock Them Up,” a refrain that originally referred to Hillary Clinton but has now expanded to include other “enemies.” In particular, Trump and his Nazi-Republican allies in Congress went full-throttle against Adam Schiff, demanding the resignation of the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who is continuing investigations into the Trump campaign and its acts. The irony of this was in full display as Schiff launched a defense of, and in the terms of, the very norms the Republicans are shredding and show they care little about. Trump and allies in fascist media are seeking revenge against and neutralizing opposition from the mainstream press, saying the New York Times and the Washington Post, two major bourgeois publications, should return their Pulitzers for faulty reporting. Similar attacks were waged against former intelligence chiefs like John Brennan who voiced opposition to Trump, calling on media outlets to censor them. Most ominously, Trump bandied about possible accusations of treason.
As part of advancing the fascist agenda and program, Trump has also moved very quickly to escalate attacks on immigration, threatening to close the U.S.-Mexico border, as an act of collective punishment with disastrous consequences for the regular functioning of the border regions’ people and economy. He has moved to shift monies originally appropriated elsewhere to build his wall. His regime has moved to repeal Obamacare, attempting an end-run around a previous Supreme Court ruling that had affirmed it. As we report this week, there is a wide-ranging and comprehensive attack on women from a Christian-fascist perspective and aims, concentrated in attacks on abortion rights.
The Democrats, for their part, reacted defensively to the attacks and in the main were very eager to change the subject altogether. While Schiff stuck to his theme of Russian collusion, the top Democrats acted almost as if this absolution of Trump hadn’t happened and wanted most of all to talk about “kitchen table” issues—again, during the very week that, as we have shown above, the fascists made huge steps.
Fascism in the U.S.—Arising from the History of this Country, Response to Challenges of Empire
“I think it’s important to identify what we can call the triad of fascism, that is, the unapologetic aggressive assertion of white supremacy, male supremacy and American supremacy (or racism, misogyny and bellicose xenophobic jingoism, if you want to use other terminology), reinforced with defiantly—not apologetically, defiantly—ignorant and belligerent opposition to science and rational thought, combined with equally ignorant and belligerent assertion of the’ superiority of western civilization’…” [emphasis ours]
—Bob Avakian, in The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us
As Bob Avakian has pointed out in numerous works, including the one above and especially in the film THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible, the Trump/Pence regime IS fascist, and is a product and manifestation of the ugly history of this country especially the white supremacy woven into its fabric since its founding and the time of slavery.
The deep and defining contradictions of this system—the oppression of Black, Brown and other people of color, of women, of immigrants, the destruction of the environment and imperialist wars – have found monstrous expressions with the fascist Trump/Pence regime. There is the rhetoric: Trump’s defense of “fine people” in what was a violent Nazi torchlight parade in Charlottesville (even after one of these Nazis ran down and killed one of the demonstrators), his calling of Mexicans “rapists” and insulting millions of immigrants as coming from “shithole nations,” his open calls to the police to be more brutal, and the list grows daily. And there are the acts: the widespread attack on immigrants with separating children on the border and banning immigrants from certain Muslim nations, the Justice Department giving full backing to murderous police shedding any semblance of “civil rights,” threatening war first with North Korea and now with Iran, willfully escalating fossil fuel extraction and getting the U.S. out of the Paris agreement on global warming, and the list grows daily.
In response to these, and other, challenges and centrifugal social forces, fascism has increasingly gained ascendance in the U.S. over the last decades, concentrated among the Republicans. There have been increasing challenges to U.S. domination around the world, especially in strategic areas like the Middle East, with losing wars, and the Far East, with an ascendant capitalist China. The economic workings of imperialism, with intensified globalization and automation, have led to a reconfiguration of the U.S. economy, with manufacturing jobs declining state-side, and with the influx of immigrants, leading to demographic changes in U.S. society. Over the past 60 years, there were both some concessions to the struggles of Black people, women, and other oppressed social groups in American society, coupled with intensified white supremacy and misogyny, in part called forth by those very concessions, in part as responses to the very workings of the system. A Christian fascist ideology and agenda, a key part of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, has grown in influence through successive Republican regimes, and is now launching a comprehensive assault to outlaw abortion, an escalation of male supremacy. The fascist agenda and remaking of society is not a superficial phenomenon, but one with deep roots at the very foundation of this country and a social base including in sections of the ruling class, and represents an openly repressive and even more oppressive approach to these challenges.
We invite all reading this to watch THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. A Better World IS Possible to get a concise but powerfully argued exposition of this from Bob Avakian.
Here we have to ask: Why did the Democrats move so quickly last week to change the subject after the Mueller report came out? Why in the months preceding it did they so steadfastly refused to even use the term “fascism”—and indeed have spoken against it—and hewed so stubbornly to their Russian theme?
The answer is that even with the sharp differences at times, both the fascist-Republicans and the Democrats represent the rule of the same system. And that system, including the Democrats, has NO ANSWER to the deep and defining contradictions outlined above. For example, many of the policies that Trump is carrying out full-force on immigration were initiated by Obama: incarceration of Black and Brown youth became a mass phenomenon with Clinton and police murder continued unabated under Obama—Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and the list goes on. Obama escalated the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, initiating drone attacks in other countries like Yemen.
Republicans and Democrats share the goals of U.S. domination atop the world, with its horrendous inequalities, oppression and exploitation (see this and this) even if the Democrats often (but not always) prefer the “softer” rhetoric of globalization, international allies, and diverse multiculturalism—all the time conciliating with the fascists in keeping the system intact. In actual fact, while the Republicans are indeed a fascist party, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS A MACHINE OF WAR CRIMES AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY… and if you refuse to believe this, please look at this and tell us where we are wrong.
Republicans and Democrats also share the goal of keeping the people within the U.S. firmly inserted into the capitalist system, with all the horrific social relations (white supremacy and misogyny among them) that involves, even if—again—the Democrats may prefer (at times) a “softer” mix or a multicultural veneer on the repressive powers of the state which, no matter the color of the person in office, are brought down with unremitting vengeance on Black, Latino and Native American people.
Republicans and Democrats both suppress those sections of people broadly constituting what the mainstream considers the “left” side of society, and their interests and concerns—the masses of Black people, of women, progressives who oppose U.S. domination around the world, who agonize over the destruction of the environment and the persecution of immigrants. Democrats by corralling these into the dead-end electoral channels of this system and through pacification, tokenism and petty bribery of some, and Republicans through intimidation and disenfranchisement when it matters, like the suppression of voting rights for Black people. And both resorting to open repression when faced with serious challenges and threats to the system from this section.
What Is to Be Done—an Actual Revolution, Mass Resistance
Two critical conclusions flow from the above:
First, the problem is systemic. It is not Trump per se. It is the fact that this is a system that in extreme times can be driven to a fascist approach to resolving its contradictions.
“This country and this system is most emphatically not a force for good in the world, but on the contrary the greatest cause of unnecessary suffering for the masses of humanity.” [emphasis ours]
–Bob Avakian in The Problem, the Solution, and the Challenges Before Us
This system cannot be reformed, it must be overthrown! What is needed is sweeping away this system at the soonest possible time with an ACTUAL revolution. There are only two choices: either we live with this system, with its horrors going on and on … or we make an ACTUAL revolution.
While this revolution necessarily requires the meeting and defeating of the forces of violent repression of the ruling class, its goal is the bringing forward of a whole new and far better world—where the contradictions that do chain down the masses today are overcome and resolved as part of a worldwide process. How that would happen is beyond the scope of this article, but we urge all to read the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, by Bob Avakian, to see the vision and concrete plan laid out there.
Making revolution (see HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution)—bringing forth the forces for revolution and hastening the time when such an all out struggle for power is possible—is occurring in the context of and on terrain that is increasingly sharply polarized, bringing to mind the period prior to the Civil War in the 1860s, and with fascists like Newt Gingrich openly evoking a coming civil war. While the fascists openly evoke such imagery, and are willing to go to extremes to impose their agenda onto society, the Democrats and their media mouthpieces, even while sharply opposing this, will do anything but acknowledge and call out this white-supremacist fascist remaking of society. As Bob Avakian points out, both for what it calls into question about the underlying system that produced this through its legitimate channels and elections, and for what is required, calling the masses of people into the streets, to go all out to prevent the consolidation of fascism, risks the very legitimacy and stability of the system itself. Instead, they oppose and seek to resolve this by upholding the norms of bourgeois democracy even as they are trampled upon and shattered by the fascists, a losing proposition.
Very immediately, in dealing with the now-intensified threat posed by the regime, what is needed is mass sustained nonviolent mobilization—aiming to drive out this fascist regime. Broad masses of people, in their millions, will have to be broken from just relying on the Democrats, their institutions and their leaders, their corralling and domestication of anger and dissent into the next election, to break out of the terms of this system—its rules, its functioning, its “normal channels”! This is the re-alignment and resistance needed on a societal basis. It’s up to US, not relying on THEM! Much needed mass resistance can be spurred by sharpening splits, conflicts and developments on the top of society—even while contributing to that. While being tense to these developments, it means reaching out very broadly and challenging many who are not convinced yet of the need, viability or desirability of revolution, and may never be won to it, to nonetheless live up to their convictions, without illusions and with effectiveness.
The relation between the movement for revolution urgently required, and the also very immediately required movement of nonviolent, sustained and massive demonstrations to drive out this regime can and must be one of a positively reinforcing dynamism. Bob Avakian has put it this way:
“It is crucial to unite and mobilize people, from different perspectives, very broadly, around the demand that this regime must go, but it will be much more difficult to do this on the scale and with the determination that is required to meet this objective if there are not, at the same time, greater and greater numbers of people who have been brought forward around the understanding that it is necessary to put an end not only to this regime but to the system out of whose deep and defining contradictions this regime has arisen, a system which by its very nature has imposed, and will continue to impose, horrific and completely unnecessary suffering on the masses of humanity, until this system itself is abolished.
“And the more that people are brought forward to be consciously, actively working for revolution, the growing strength and ‘moral authority’ of this revolutionary force will in turn strengthen the resolve of growing numbers of people to drive out this fascist regime now in power, even as many will not be (and some will perhaps never be) won to revolution.
So, both to meet the immediate challenge of creating a political situation in which this regime will be removed from power – and in which the political initiative has been seized to a great degree by those who are determined to turn back the assault on humanity that is being carried out by this regime and to strive for a better world, however they understand that – and to advance toward the fundamental goal of revolution, it is vitally important that all those who have come to understand the need for revolution actively contribute to building the movement to drive out this regime, and do so from the perspective and in the overall framework of building for revolution.…” [emphasis in original, paragraph breaks inserted]
Originally published at revcom.us
Revolution newspaper/revcom.us, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.