How has the turmoil of Jan 6th and talk of coups affected American ability to control global events, especially as regards to China? The basis for fascism exists in the U.S. as a significant number of people who voted for Trump support a more racist and repressive state. Historian Gerald Horne on theAnalysis.news with Paul Jay.
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The events of Jan. 6 have exposed the naked truth about American democratic institutions. The United States as the global model of democracy is a fairy tale that decades of Cold War education and propaganda have created in the American public mind. The reality is a system in turmoil maintained by violence. Four years of Trump, ending in an attempted coup and the storming of Congress on Jan. 6, have shown how easily this model of democracy can unravel, how it teeters towards fascism. Now, joining us to discuss the global consequences of Jan. 6 and the mass basis of fascism in the United States is Gerald Horne.
Gerald holds the John J. and Rebecca Moores chair of history and African-American studies at the University of Houston. He’s the author of many books, most recently “Storming the Heavens: African-Americans and the Early Fight for the Right to Fly” and “The Apocalypse of Settler Colonialism: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, and Capitalism in 17th Century North America and the Caribbean.” And also, and most recently, “The Bittersweet Science: Racism, Racketeering, and the Political Economy of Boxing.” Thanks for joining us, Gerald.
Thank you for inviting me.
So, Gerald, let’s start with some of the international consequences of what happened on the 6th, and then let’s dig in more into this idea that there’s a real mass basis for fascism in the United States. And I’m going to ask you what you make of this Senate impeachment. But let’s start more internationally with a particular focus on China.
Well, appropriately enough for a pandemic, I think the events of Jan. 6 unmasked, to a certain extent, the United States and the state structures. There are so many questions that need to be answered. However, what we do know already is quite disturbing. For example, we do know, according to Yahoo! News, that just before Jan. 6, there was $500,000 worth of Bitcoin cryptocurrency transferred into the virtual wallets of some prominent right-wingers in the United States from sources in France.
And this points up to these transatlantic, indeed global networks of white supremacists and neofascists, which should not come as a surprise, since those of us like myself who’ve studied the United States relationship with apartheid South Africa, recognize that during that pre-1994 era there was a ramified network supporting apartheid South Africa in some ways with headquarters right here in the United States. And so some of the reportage that’s emerging points to the United States being sort of an exporter, not only of right-wing ideology but capital to support right-wing forces across the globe, particularly in Western Europe, who in return scratch the back of the United States of America.
That’s where Steve Bannon has been very active.
Well, of course, Steve Bannon has been ultra active with regard to this. But I think with regard to the unmasking, it’s delivered a stinging black eye to Washington. That is to say, how can Washington credibly criticize other countries for so-called democracy violations in light of Jan. 6? There was an article in the press the other day about how Biden had this concoction, this plan for a so-called D10, Democracy 10, Democracy 12, which is sort of an anti-China cabal, including the G-7 and then other nations like South Korea.
But that, I hope will be put on ice because how can the United States credibly begin to give lectures about democracy in light of Jan. 6? And then the One Percent, the economic royalists, it seems to me, have been placed in a corner. That is to say, they had an electoral contraption which worked quite well for them. There was a sort of united front of Euro-American working class, middle class casting their ballots for the GOP, who then go to Washington and have giveaways for the One Percent and tax cuts like December 2017.
Obviously, the foot soldiers were not doing as well. And so, voilà, you have this attempted insurrection, this coup on Jan. 6. And so it seems that the One Percent either need a new electoral coalition or something else. And the something else, of course, is the Biden coalition, which relies heavily upon 90% Black votes.
The problem from our point of view, or from my point of view, is that because the Black community in this leadership and organizations have been hounded and harassed into not engaging in foreign policy. Martin Luther King denounces the Vietnam War one year, is assassinated in the next. Paul Robeson takes the United States, the United Nations in 1950, and then has his passport taken, driven into seclusion, into virtual bankruptcy. And so the Black community in 2021 is not as engaged on the foreign policy front, which gives Mr. Biden and his team more latitude in that sphere, which makes the Biden coalition quite useful for the One Percent.
And already we see what’s happening, because if you look at the climate-change agenda, which I do not quarrel with, what it also has is an ancillary aspect, which is that there can be less of a focus on nations like Saudi Arabia, perhaps even Iran, that have fossil fuels; let’s hope Venezuela as well. And you already see in the National Security Council staffing in the White House that, the Biden team, they’re downsizing the analysts with regard to the so-called Middle East, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, etc., and exponentially expanding the analysts with regard to China.
So that then has a sort of circle of virtue for the Biden administration. They can put on their green credentials of clean energy when actually part of the agenda is to have this focus on China. So Jan. 6 in some ways, I think, will be seen by future historians as a hinge moment, a turning point in terms of the evolution, if not devolution of U.S. imperialism.
Well, last time we talked, we ended by saying we were going to talk more about China. So let’s do that.
I was struck both by positive and negative in terms of the signals coming out of the Biden appointees. And, during the election campaign, Biden’s rhetoric on China, he was practically trying to outflank Trump with the anti-China militancy of his rhetoric. But I’ve noticed something which to me is a glimmer of something constructive, which Avril Haines, Jake Sullivan, even (Tony) Blinken, when asked is China an adversary or not, their answer was President Biden is framing this, that China is a competitor, a global competitor. And I thought that’s a better way to frame it than adversary. On the other hand, when you actually read the climate plan that Biden had on his website just before the inauguration, he positions reducing subsidies for fossil fuel as a way to encircle China.
In other words, get all the countries that are buying into the, that might buy into the Silk and Road Initiative and offer them American financing instead of Chinese financing, and then use that as a leverage against China on fossil fuels, as if the Americans have some moral high ground on climate stuff over China, which is kind of, at least so far, rather funny.
Well, what’s interesting, the Financial Times of Feb. 1st, 2021, carries an intriguing article that suggests that China is engaged in this chess match, so to speak, and is trying to move the price and the valuation of barrels of oil from the dollar to the renminbi, to their own currency, which could be potentially a game changer if they move in that direction.
And obviously they do not necessarily accept with naivete this green agenda.
But I think that with regard to China, it was quite extraordinary, was it not, that on Jan. 20th, the day of the inauguration, that a representative of Taiwan, the rebel province off the southern coast of China, which Beijing claims as its own, was prominently seated at the inauguration right behind Mr. Biden.
This was something extraordinary.
We also know that under Mr. Trump, the predecessor, that Taiwan Semiconductor, which is a major producer of these chips which go into our smartphones, our laptops, and increasingly into our automobiles, that Taiwan Semiconductor has decided to build one of its biggest plants in Arizona.
At the same time, it is being pressured to break relations with the People’s Republic of China, which will not be easy, but is not impossible. At the same time, you see Beijing shoveling billions into trying to develop its own indigenous chip industry. And I would be the last person to bet against the success of that venture. I also took note of the fact that at the virtual Davos summit, the World Economic Forum, President Xi Jinping spoke at length about the virtues of multilateralism.
Chancellor Merkel of Germany then followed and echoed his words about multilateralism and slapped down the idea of go it alone as represented in America First. I’m sure that the Biden team took note of that. And this comes in the wake, as I think we’ve talked about, and, if not, less mentioned it here, the extraordinary multibillion-dollar investment deal between Beijing and the European Union inked in late December of 2020. The Biden team objected. Apparently, it’s going to go forward. Apparently, there is going to be increased investment of China in the German economy in particular, which, of course, is the locomotive of the entire European Union. Now, there is some loose talk about the European Parliament trying to slap down this deal, but I don’t think that that’s necessarily going to happen.
And, hovering above it all, literally, if not figuratively, is the specter of these U.S. planes buzzing the southern coast of China in the channel between Taiwan and South China. That’s a very ominous signal. How would Washington like it if Chinese planes were buzzing San Francisco, for example?
And then, if you look at the confirmation hearing of the presumed incoming U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, she was grilled relentlessly by Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans because she gave a paid speech at Savannah State College in Georgia on behalf, or at the behest of the Confucius Institute, which, of course, has entities from the Atlantic to Pacific in various colleges and universities. She apologized for giving the speech and taking the money. This may be used to deep-six her nomination.
But it also points up this increasing sort of tension between Beijing and Washington. And then capping it all off, in the negotiations for the stimulus, the pandemic relief package, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, Republican, who is one of the moving forces behind this so-called compromise agreement to cut in half the $1.9 trillion that Mr. Biden has proposed, has suggested that it doesn’t make any sense to continue borrowing money from the People’s Bank of China to fund these relief packages and then simultaneously having agenda where you’re trying to overthrow the Communist Party of China.
And, I have to say, I think that Mitt Romney has a point. The United States is going to have to fish or cut bait. They’re either going to have to raise taxes on the One Percent and stop borrowing so much money from the People’s Bank of China and then go all in with regard to this encirclement plan, which already includes the so-called quad: Japan, Australia, India, then the United States.
And, from Mr. Biden’s point of view, would also include the so-called D10, D12, the Democracy 10, the Democracy 12. And, by the way, myself and friends have a pool going as to when Vice President Kamala Harris will be jetting off to New Delhi, playing her ethnic heritage in India, which, of course, is going to be a key link with regard to any reasonable plan to encircle China.
Well, I think there is no reasonable plan to encircle China in the sense that when push comes to shove there is no way that American corporations are going to give up on the Chinese market. On the other hand, it’s not just the labor they’re getting in the manufacturing. Probably more important to them is the ability to sell into the Chinese market. If things get too hostile with China, they’re going to get frozen out. And I think they’re actually even concerned that it goes further than that, which probably explains the tension over Taiwan and the overall tension, which is, I was reading an article in Foreign Affairs that the real fear is that over the next decade or two, China will so dominate Asia that China will start pushing the U.S. out of the entire Asian market, not just the potential of being frozen out of China. But what the hell can they do about it? I mean, the Americans simply can’t do anything about it.
And even the saber rattling over Taiwan, I talked to Larry Wilkerson a few times about this. He says they’ve done war games when he was at the Pentagon and he knows of others since; every single war game that begins with any level of military confrontation with China always ended in nuclear war. They had to call off the war games.
I actually don’t think there is a policy that the United States can win at. On the other hand, I think the best way usually to start with analyzing foreign policy is domestic politics. And, you know, maybe a lot of this rhetoric and positioning and all this waving their hands around is because they don’t want to be outflanked by the Republicans on China. But the reality is, what the hell can they do about it?
Well, I tend to agree with you. I don’t see any way out. But then again, I’ve been wrong before, so don’t necessarily bet on my prognostications.
Having said that …
And me, too.
Having said that, it is striking, not only this investment deal, which you just made reference to with regard to the European Union, but leading up to the investment deal, China had this strategy of the 16 plus one, 17 plus one, that is to say, all the smaller Eastern European members of the European Union, Croatia, Hungary, etc., they meet on a regular basis with envoys from Beijing. It’s the analog to how Beijing meets on a regular basis with leaders from Africa, for example, or leaders from Latin America, for example.
And so, in other words, China has its foot in the door with regard to the European Union, which tends to lead me to believe that it’s going to be very difficult in the European Parliament to reverse this investment deal, even if you grant that they have the power.
Then there’s the regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes many of the nations of the Asian Pacific. It’s China’s obvious response to what Mr. Obama had called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which Mr. Trump scuttled almost on Day One, if not on Day One of his administration in January 2017.
And this creates one of the largest free-trade agreements that we now have on planet Earth. And then, of course, the United States is disadvantaged with regard to trying to twist the arm of the European Union, because its chief ally in the higher councils, London, has just engaged in Brexit, which is removed it from the higher councils and therefore strengthens the hand of France, which is talking about, quote, strategic autonomy, unquote, well, quote unquote, which they not only mean in terms of economics and this investment partnership, but also it would not surprise me if it posed a threat to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, dominated by the United States, particularly since the Europeans and France, not least, have not forgotten the anti-NATO rhetoric of Mr. Trump.
And, unlike many of our friends on the left, they cannot afford to be naive or unrealistic about U.S. politics. And so, therefore, I think that they suspect that in 2022, if not 2024, there could be a return of Trumpism, if not Trump himself, a Trumpism with a youthful face in the form of Josh Hawley of Missouri, one of the people who instigated the tumultuous events of Jan. 6, or Ted Cruz — Trump’s policies, but engineered in much less shambolic fashion.
And so, therefore, the European Union might decide that it’s time to go its own way. And they may decide, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make that much difference if you’re playing No. 2 to Washington or No. 2 to Beijing; you’re still No. 2. And at least with Beijing, you get a kind of normalcy with regard to policy and not the frenzy of the Trump years.
And, in fact, you get to do what countries like India used to do when the Soviet Union was more of a presence, you know, play the big powers off against each other. There’s an interesting piece, a research paper done by BlackRock, who I always keep talking about, the big asset management company. And they had a research paper which said that no matter what administration is coming, going to be in power —this is prior to the election, Nov. 3rd election — the rivalry between U.S. and China is going to intensify, and countries around the world are going to have to pick sides, says BlackRock. Maybe that’s what the Americans think, but I don’t think so. I think what you’re saying is more correct. Europeans and others, they’re going to play the two off. And if China’s easier to deal with, especially if there’s another crazy back in the White House, then, yeah, it’s going to, they’re going to get closer to China.
I think in the long run, American finance, capital and corporate tech, super-tech companies and such, they got to maintain the access to the Chinese market. It’s actually worth more, or will be worth more to them, than the American market is, certainly in terms of growth.
So, as I said, they’re kind of boxed in. And people like Cruz and these guys, they can mouth off a lot, and they represent a domestic mass base for a kind of fascist movement in the United States. But, in terms of real influence on U.S. foreign policy, other than Biden having to worry about the domestic implications of all this, they don’t have any real clout. So, I think Biden, what Biden’s saying, I think is actually the only thing they can do is treat China as a competitor, but not a total antagonist. Only the U.S. loses from that.
Well, the United States is in a corner. I found it very interesting that President Xi Jinping has enlisted Howard Schultz, the founder and leading stockholder of Starbucks, which, by the way, has thousands of cafes on the Chinese mainland, to be a kind of intermediary between himself and Washington. In other words, he’s recruiting a card-carrying member of the One Percent to carry water for China in Washington. I would also point your listeners and viewers to a recent Businessweek article about Tesla.
Elon Musk, one of the reasons why Tesla stock has been bid up into the stratosphere is because, in some ways, investing in Tesla is a way to get a piece of the Chinese economy, because he’s heavily implanted on the Chinese mainland. And the article suggested that he’s ultimately going to get his pocket picked, in so far as there will be an intense study of his engineering operations with regard to those Tesla plants, and then there will be a kind of reverse engineering, and then a Chinese competitor like NIO will then emerge.
And, so those who were shorting Elon Musk’s Tesla on Wall Street just months ago, which raised his ire and consternation, I think we’re on the right track and the bidding up of his stock making him supposedly the richest man in the world, I’m not so sure that’s going to last. And you can say the same thing for General Motors, which has just decided, as you know, that it’s going to go all electric within about 15 years, it, too, is heavily invested on the Chinese mainland.
And I suspect that what’s going to befall Tesla is also going to befall General Motors in terms of having their pockets picked, reverse engineering, and all the rest.
But one of the things I haven’t been able to figure out, although I have some speculatio, is regard to Apple, this supposed trillion-dollar corporation, which is now in the midst of a battle royal with Facebook. Now, Apple is heavily invested in China.
Facebook thus far, despite the fact that Mark Zuckerberg has tried to learn Chinese, and all the rest, Facebook is generally absent. And so I’m wondering what kind of leverage that that will give Apple in terms of this showdown with Facebook. And, to come full circle, there has been a lot of talk, as you know, about the de-platforming of Mr. Trump in the wake of Jan. 6 by Facebook and Twitter and all the rest. And some of our civil-liberties friends are suggesting that this provides a dangerous precedent for the rest of us, although I know, and perhaps you do, too, people who have been placed in Facebook jail and Twitter jail. In fact, I have Black-nationalist friends who say that when they want to talk about white supremacy, they don’t write a W, they write two Vs to circumvent the algorithms that search for white.
So, in any case, I’m wondering whether the focus should be on whether or not these platforms like Facebook should be a kind of utility, a public utility with much more public input in terms of their operations that people are concerned about Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey controlling the public square.
And, I think as well, people need to think about why is it that when there were complaints from Myanmar about Facebook being used to rouse antagonism against the Muslim minority, the Rohingya, that Facebook gave this traditional, classic, free-speech line: Well, it’s free speech, we can’t interfere. But, at the first sight of violence on Jan. 6, Jan. 7, they deplatform Mr. Trump, took away his megaphone, took away the Amazon Web Services, basically ran Parler, the right-wing version of Twitter, out of business.
It seems to me those sorts of comparisons should be made. Why is there one rule for countries like Myanmar and another rule for the United States of America?
I want to switch gears a little bit here, which is, there is clearly and you’ve been making this point that the left in the United States has to really kind of face up to the fact that there’s a mass basis, in terms of large numbers of people, that are the basis for a fascist, racist movement. And, you know, they’re clearly more visible now. And Jan. 6, you could see this sort of organized vanguard of it. The more militant, organized form of it did not show up nearly as strongly as I think the Steve Bannons of this world expected.
Not only did they expect more people on The Hill on Jan. 6, but they also thought there would be similar things at state Capitols across the country. And it’s very interesting, Steve Bannon’s YouTube show — before he got thrown off — the next day, on Jan. 7th, started with one of his co-hosts saying, he’s asked by Bannon, what do you think of what happened yesterday? And his words were: disappointed, disappointed, disappointed. And the word disappointed came up about 30 times over the course of that episode of the Bannon show.
But, that being said, 74-75 million people voted for Trump. A large section of that, I don’t know the numbers, are voting for something that is a form of fascism, really.
So, you’ve talked before about the historical, or the origins, the development of this. But let’s talk a little bit about that, but more, what do you think should be done about it?
Well, that’s the $64 question. I mean, I have a number of remedies, but I don’t want to sound like some of my liberal friends who always make these proposals with little possibility of these proposals being implemented. But, having said that, to go directly to your point, people need to realize that mob rule, mob-ocracy has been a central feature of the United States for at least 250 years. That is to say, most folks, I assume, know about mob rule after the U.S. Civil War, when Black-influenced governments were overthrown by mobs such as the Colfax Massacre in Louisiana in the early 1870s, and the overthrow of the Wilmington Black-influenced government in North Carolina in 1898.
But, even with that, of course, if you look at how the Native Americans were expropriated, oftentimes they were expropriated by mobs, by mobs of poor and working-class settlers, I’m afraid to say.
And so if you fast forward to 2021, Jan. 6, I found it striking to look at the class makeup of the invaders of the Capitol. It was the typical sort of multi-class formation that was essential to the construction of settler colonialism in the first instance in North America.
What I mean is the Jan. 6 mob included CEOs; included Olympic athletes; small-business persons; a number of military veterans, which I would urge our journalists to look into in more depth; a number of Republican Party officeholders, from the Atlantic to the Pacific; a number of police officers, firefighters, lumpen elements, working-class elements, etc., almost all of European descent.
And I found it remarkable that so many of them, including the now notorious congresswoman Marjorie (Taylor) Greene of Georgia, the QAnon sympathizer, spoke about the 1776 moment that was embedded in Jan. 6, along with her fellow Georgia congressperson Jody Hice.
And so these folks were not just out for a Sunday afternoon or Wednesday afternoon gambit. I mean, if so, why did they bring bear spray and pepper spray? Why did they have firearms? Why did they have handcuffs, these plastic ties? Why did they construct a gallows on the grounds of Congress? Why did they have gas masks, riot helmets? Why did they have napalm, firearms, etc.?
And if you look at the Luke Mogelson video — he’s the gentleman from The New Yorker magazine who wrote the article based upon his video, based upon his being in the Capitol with the invaders — it’s apparent that they were seeking the box that contained certification that Mr. Biden was the victor. And it’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where the box could have been snatched. Fortunately, it was ferreted out of the room before they could capture it.
The box is captured, destroyed. Then a compliant Supreme Court rules that the, where’s the evidence of Mr. Biden’s certification, or whatever. And this shambolic coup attempt could have been successful.
And, speaking of which, it brings me to some of our friends on the left, where you began, who spend a lot of time, it seems to me, talking about how this was just another expression of discontent on the part of these folks who invaded the Capitol, even though, of course, as I said, it included CEOs; I’m not sure what a CEO is discontented about. But I think this is part of the underestimation of the strength of the right that you made reference to and also not understanding the U.S. history that I just made reference to. Which then brings me back to the One Percent, because the point that I was making a few moments ago is that I do think that the One Percent may be re-evaluating its electoral choices.
And I think you begin to see a glimpse of this with regard to what’s happening in the culture.
Charles Murray, a social scientist who was a co-author of the book “The Bell Curve,” which suggested that Black people are genetically inferior — he was part of a cabal, but not so long ago — had said that the alleged pathologies of Black America was leading to what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the late senator from New York, called speciation; we’re becoming a different species.
His latest work attacked the so-called white working class in similar terms. This has been followed up by another conservative, Kevin Williamson of the National Review, founded by the patron saint of conservatism, William F. Buckley, his latest book, “Big White Ghetto,” basically trucks in the same sort of misinformation and disinformation.
And, interestingly enough, Joe Scarborough, of Morning Joe fame, MSNBC, the former Republican congressman, now a kind of center-rightist and never Trumper, he read one of Kevin Williams’ essays word for word on his program, excoriating the Trump base in no uncertain terms. And then, from Hollywood, you see the recent movie “Hillbilly Elegy,” starring the megastar Glenn Close, which is sort of a cinematic depiction of these alleged pathologies of the Euro-American working class.
And so this dumping on the Trump base, and I think Charles Murray, is the clearest example, he moves from dumping on Black people, now dumping on the white or the white working class, may be a signal of where the One Percent is going with regard to their renewed electoral strategy.
So, meaning what? So where does that lead them?
Well, that means the Biden coalition, which is noted, is only relying, or the Georgia Senate victories, where there was a stunning Black turnout, getting 90% of the vote, getting a minority of the white vote, and that was enough to push both Ossoff and Warnock over the top.
Obviously, the same thing happened on the presidential level, but that presupposes something that I’m not sure is in evidence, which is that there will be a massive effort that will be bankrolled by the One Percent to keep the Republican legislatures from gerrymandering the congressional districts and engaging in other kinds of dirty tricks to suppress the vote.
Now, in that regard, note that the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund just got a $40 million anonymous gift. Keep in mind as well that George Soros has been quite active in backing Black Lives Matter, for example, something that I don’t frown upon, although some of my friends do.
And so, I think that that may be straws in the wind in terms of where the One Percent might be going, but I’m not sure if that will be enough, because the Trump base seems to be sticking. They seem to be maniacally wedded to their man. And that, along with dirty tricks, may be enough to allow for a comeback by them in 2022 or 2024.
I think there’s another factor to add to what you’re saying, and I don’t think it’s been talked about maybe enough. The digital revolution has, I think, transformed the world in many, many ways, including globalization on tech hyper-steroids. But it’s also American politics, American political parties, the whole process of what’s called democracy in the United States. It was never expected that people could, that candidates could raise money without billionaires. Now you’re in a situation, both on the left and the right, but perhaps more on the right, where a small number of billionaires, combined with mass fundraising over the Internet, could really change who can be a viable candidate and how much money can get raised. Like, what is it Trump just raised? What is it, $250 million, after he lost the election. Seventy-four million people is a lot of people to donate money.
I think the American political system, to some extent, is out of the control of the One Percent. You know, the time when in the back room, what did they used to call it, I can’t remember the name of the backroom where they would smoke cigars and pick the candidates, and it’s not so easy to arrange everything right now. And, you know, we may well see a real split in the Republican Party if the old guard really tries to retake control of the Republican Party, and (Mitch) McConnell and (Liz) Cheney and those people certainly were, although I don’t know, it’s already looking like they’re failing. And if Trump forms another party, and then we’ll see what happens with the Democrats if Biden winds up Obama-esque, who knows what will happen. Because if the right fractures enough, then the left in the Democratic Party doesn’t have to have quite the same fear that if they split and run against the Democrats, that they’ll automatically elect Republicans. I’m not saying this is going to happen, necessarily, but the system’s in chaos. And I think one of the reasons it’s in chaos is the whole financing has changed, because you can get this mass fundraising going, which never existed until just a couple of decades ago and even recently to have this kind of effect.
The point is well taken. I’d add another factor, however, and this is a structural issue of enormous importance, if I may. And that is that is is apparent and evident, the GOP does not shun those to their right, no matter if they’re QAnon supporters or Oath Keepers, Three Percenters. Stand by Proud Boys, as Mr. Trump said during the debate with Mr. Biden in the fall of 2020.
And right now, as you know, there’s this battle as to whether or not they’re going to sideline the QAnon sympathizer, congresswoman Marjorie Greene, who had an encouraging phone call from the former president, Mr. Trump, just a few days ago. And, if I were a betting man, I would bet that she will keep her seat on the Education and Labor Committee, despite protestations coming from different Republican and Democratic circles.
By way of contrast, the Democratic Party ignores, if not undermines, those to their left. And that suggests that the Democratic Party is still trying to carry out the playbook of the late historian and JFK acolyte Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who in his book in the height of the Cold War, “The Vital Center,” suggested that Republicans should ignore those to their right, the Democrats should ignore those to their left, and just go down that highway of the center. Well, of course, the Democrats held their end of the bargain; Republicans, of course, have reneged. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re in this dilemma right now where we can credibly speculate on a party that was engaged in an insurrection making a comeback in 2022.
Because make no mistake, I think that a further reportorial investigation will show much more complicity of the Republican Party in the seditionist events of Jan. 6.
We already know about the participation of congressman Mo Brooks of Alabama and Andy Biggs of Arizona and Paul Gosar of Arizona. We know about all the Republican legislators and other politicos arrested in the Capitol on Jan. 6.
And, with regard to funding, I find that we’re only beginning to learn that, for example, the heiress to the fortune created by Publix supermarkets, which is ever present in the South, was a major supporter of the Stop the Steal movement. And we already know from past investigations about the Mercers and their supporting for the ultra right.
But I think that in terms of third parties, we can only encourage Mr. Trump to embark upon forming a third party, the Patriot Party.
Our strategic objective should be to foment a split in the ranks of the Republican Party. It seems to me that in terms of guaranteeing the health and well-being of the masses of people in the United States, fomenting a split in the Republican Party is a condition precedent to that. And I would also say not only the health in the general sense, but perhaps in the literal sense, because I think your audience should take seriously the remarks a few days ago of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, with her ominous references to the enemy within, speaking of her colleagues in the Republican Party in the Congress, some of whom have tried to smuggle guns onto the floor of the House for reasons that remain unclear. You may know that the incoming congresswoman from St. Louis and the Congressional Black Caucus, Cori Bush, has asked that her office be removed from proximity to that of congresswoman Taylor Greene of Georgia because of discomfort of her team and her staff.
We know that in the run-up to Jan. 6, interestingly enough, the panic buttons in the offices of Ayanna Pressley, the Black congresswoman from Boston, and Jamaal Bowman, the incoming Black congressman from the Bronx, were stripped out mysteriously, for whatever reason.
And so, there is reason to suspect that the Republican Party has not only become a refuge for white supremacists and neo-Nazis, which, of course, was the testament, the words of congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, who argued just a few days ago that this year’s Republican caucus is far to the right of last term’s Republican Party caucus, believe it or not.
And so, it seems that the United States is barreling down a very dangerous highway with the destination where we’re headed being unclear. But certainly it seems, as of today, we’re headed for trouble.
I don’t think either of us are going to come up with the magic solution here. But I think it’s important to note that this mass basis for fascism ain’t new. I’m watching, I’ve been interviewing Matt Tyrnauer, who was the director of the series “The Reagans,” on Showtime. People should watch my interviews with him and try to watch the series. You know, Reaganism wasn’t so different than Trumpism — the amount of racism, the support for the same kind of Make America Great Again, chauvinist, fascist ideas.
And Reagan won in a landslide, more or less. That social basis for that far-right politics is, as you’ve pointed out many times, you know, this is, it’s a line you can draw from the slave system going forward. And we got to come, you know, really face up to that. But I also think it’s important that it’s not monolithic.
If you look at Trump’s support, there’s various segments of that Trump support, including workers who actually voted for Obama in ’08 and then later voted for Trump. You have hardcore racists and fascists. You have evangelicals, some of whom got disillusioned with Trump by the end and others who believed Trump was chosen by God. Anyway, it’s not monolithic, and how we approach it, which I just personally, just to throw some things out there just near the end to talk about, I think number one, we need to, Trump and other of his associates need to be charged criminally with sedition and treason.
It’s not enough to have some censure in the Senate, and the impeachment he’s not going to get convicted there anyway, probably. But, what he did, what he and others, including people in Congress did, was sedition and treason. And it’s somewhat akin to the war crimes of Bush and Cheney that Obama should have charged them with, and I think would have helped bury the Republican Party for a while. Same thing goes now. And if they don’t charge Trump and some of these people in Congress and outside Congress, like Steve Bannon and others, with sedition and treason, it’s a real sign of the weakness of the liberal elites.
On the other hand, finance capital, all they care bout is they want to show stability. So charging these guys ain’t going to look like stability. So, even in the press now, and the Democratic Party, too, like all the focus is on conviction in the Senate. When I’m with you, I don’t think, I don’t want them to convict him in the Senate if it precludes him from running again. We want him to run again.
For the third party.
For the reasons you gave.
Well, either way, third party, or even if he runs in the Republican Party, there’ll be a war, because they’re going to be afraid they’re going to see another Georgia in the elections.
So, a lot of the normal Republican funders are not going to want another four years of Trump, even though they enriched themselves during the four they had. But I don’t think they want the crazy man back. But I agree with you, third party would be better. Anyway, the political system is really, is quite chaotic; it’s very dangerous. And so, I guess, what we’re already getting close to an hour here.
So, we’ll do another session maybe next week where we talk about just what the heck to expect from the Biden administration. But, just to end up, go ahead, last comment.
Yeah, just a few comments.
One, I agree wholeheartedly we need criminal charges against all the seditionists and insurrectionists, not least because it’ll introduce further strains in the Republican Party, which hopefully will help to foment the split.
Second of all, by any means necessary, up to and including getting rid of the filibuster, we really need D.C. statehood. That will introduce two more senators who will be to the left of anybody in the U.S. Senate today, which will further weaken the Republican Party caucus.
With regard to this question of fascism, I agree wholeheartedly. I think that one way to describe the United States for a good deal of its history is that there was a kind of protofascism directed against Black people, indigenous people and people of color in general, with many others exempted.
And it seems inevitable that, with the coming of desegregation in a kind of move away from the more egregious aspects of that protofascism, that a Jan. 6 would erupt with the Congress, which after all, was behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, would be attacked as it was. And then, with regard to Ronald Wilson Reagan, obviously he bears a certain amount of responsibility and complicity, not least because of his now notorious speech in August 1980 in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the home of the site where the civil-rights workers were slain in 1964, with him preaching obliquely, and sometimes obviously and explicitly, about states rights, and letting Mississippi do its dirty business without interference from Washington. And, of course, Mississippi certainly proceeded to do so.
So hopefully, when we talk about the Republican Party being brought to account, not only in terms of the courts for sedition and insurrection, but also at the ballot box, where they’ll be forced to engage with the so-called Patriot Party of one Donald John Trump. Hopefully that will bring them to account.
I know we can’t get into this right now, but if people at state levels can’t deal with the amount of legislatures that are in the hands of the far right, I don’t know how you begin to deal with this issue of the fascistization of America, because so much of this is happening out of state legislatures. And the Republicans, in spite of, you know, four years of insanity with Trump, actually, picked up state legislatures, and they picked up House seats.
Well, speaking to you from the state of Texas, I can only say, hear, hear.
All right, well, we’ll do this again soon. Thanks a lot, Gerald.
Thank you. Good luck.
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