BY EDITORS OF WSWS.ORG
Dateline: 2 June 2020
In an act unprecedented in American history, Donald Trump has repudiated the Constitution and is attempting to establish a presidential dictatorship, supported by the military, police and far-right fascistic militia acting under his command. The Socialist Equality Party appeals to the working class and all those committed to the defense of democratic rights to oppose this criminal action.
Speaking on national television, Trump proclaimed: “I am your president of law and order… Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, arsonists, looters, criminals, Antifa and others.”
Trump’s fascistic rant came only minutes after he ordered massively armed military police to launch a violent attack on citizens engaged in a lawful and peaceful assembly outside the White House to protest the police murder of George Floyd.
ABOVE: The vassal (in this case British) media is not loving Trump's pronouncements about using the army to repress protesters and the left ("terrorists") much more than their liberaloid counterparts in America, but this only reflects a momentary rift in the global ruling class, not a principled stance. Watch Trump in his usual bizarre, quasi-effeminate manner proclaiming that he's the "law and order" president.
The cowardly and vicious assault by military forces on unarmed citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in Washington DC will live in infamy as the beginning of a coup d’état by a criminal administration.
“These are not acts of peaceful protests,” Trump said, “These are acts of domestic terror.”
Trump is enraged by the most significant display of multi-racial, multi-ethnic unity of workers and young people in opposition to racist police violence in the history of the United States.
Trump declared that he will deploy the military, in violation of the Constitution, to suppress protests. Referring to a conference call with governors that he held earlier in the day, Trump said that “a number of state and local governments have failed to take necessary action,” and that he had “strongly recommended” that they “deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers so that we dominate the streets.”
He then issued the following criminal threat: “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the US military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
Trump also announced he was using the nation’s capital as a staging ground for a national military deployment: “I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capital, Washington DC. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement to stop the rioting.”
Trump declared that protesters “will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence. One law and order is what it is. One law, we have one beautiful law.”
Obama's typically treacherous dismantling of Posse Comitatus was a gift to de facto fascistoid swamp creatures like Trump.
These are the threats of a would-be tin-pot military dictator. Trump provided no legal or constitutional basis for his unprecedented actions. His invocation of the 1807 Insurrection Act is historically fraudulent and legally invalid. The Act does not allow him to deploy the military in cases where the governors of the states refuse to request intervention.
In his earlier call with state governors, Trump demanded that they violently suppress protests against police violence. “This is a movement, and if you don’t put it down it will get worse and worse. You have to dominate, and if you don’t dominate you are wasting your time. They are going to run all over you, and you’ll look like a bunch of jerks.”
Trump called the governors “weak” for failing to mobilize tens of thousands of national guardsmen against the demonstrators, saying they must “wipe them [the protesters] out.”
To oversee the domestic deployment of the military, Trump announced that he was appointing General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to be in charge of the government response. Trump did not explain on what legal basis he made this decision, which violates the Posse Comitatus prohibition on the domestic use of the military.
In the call with governors, Attorney General William Barr also explained that federal prosecution of demonstrators had been placed under the Joint Terrorist Task Force, a multi-department military-intelligence agency in charge of prosecuting combatants captured in the wars in the Middle East and Central Asia. Trump demanded that the Department of Justice “put ‘em in jail for 10 years.”
The president’s congressional ally, Florida Republican Matt Gaetz, called for widespread assassination of political opponents: “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?”
A turning point in American history has been reached. Trump’s efforts to establish a personal dictatorship on the basis of military rule is the product of a protracted crisis of American democracy, under the impact of extreme social inequality and endless war.
The defeat of Trump’s attempted coup d’état depends on the intervention of the working class, which must take the lead in the defense of democratic rights.
No serious opposition to Trump’s actions can be expected from the Democratic Party. It has responded to Trump’s proclamation with characteristic fecklessness. The favored response of Democrats to Trump’s illegal actions is that “the president is not being helpful” by inflaming social tensions. As if “being helpful” was part of Trump’s political agenda!
After Trump’s conference call with governors, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker meekly called for Trump’s removal at the ballot box in November, while former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton urged the population to “vote.” But Trump may not plan on holding an election at all. If an election is held, it may be under conditions of martial law, with massive intimidation by the military, police and right-wing paramilitaries. Such were the conditions under which the Nazis presided over the last legal election in Germany in March 1933, six weeks after Hitler had become chancellor.
For the past three-and-a-half years, the Democrats have worked to suppress mass opposition to the Trump regime and direct it behind their own reactionary anti-Russia campaign, channeling the demands of dominant sections of the military and intelligence agencies. The Democrats are no less terrified than Trump of the emergence of a mass movement of the working class.
Trump’s authoritarian moves cannot be separated from the broader crisis facing the entire ruling class. With the support of both parties, the corporate and financial oligarchy has utilized the coronavirus pandemic to hand trillions of dollars to itself. It is now implementing a homicidal back-to-work policy that will ensure a massive expansion of cases and deaths.
Already more than 100,000 people in the US have died from the pandemic, while more than 30 million workers are unemployed. The pandemic has triggered growing opposition within the working class to social inequality, of which the mass protests against the murder of George Floyd are an initial expression.
If demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd are illegal, how will the government respond to strikes and demonstrations of tens of millions of workers that threaten the survival of capitalism? It was the growth of the class struggle that Trump had in mind when he told the governors that protests movements must be suppressed before they get “worse and worse.”
There can be no greater mistake than believing that Trump’s threats are not for real, that the crisis will quietly fade away, and that everything will return to normal. In fact, this crisis is just getting started.
American democracy has exhausted itself. It cannot be reconstituted on the basis of the existing capitalist social structure.
Trump’s threats must be countered by a massive movement of the working class. It is clear that the fight against police brutality, inequality and authoritarianism is inseparable from a fight by the working class against the government. As the WSWS wrote in its June 1 statement, “Trump incites violent police rampage against protesters”:
The working class—upon which the functioning of society depends—has the power to stop the assault on democratic rights, create a massive political movement to drive Trump from power, break the back of the corporate-financial oligarchy and begin the restructuring of economic life on a socialist basis.
Moreover, the power of the working class in the United States is vastly augmented by the opposition of the international working class to the Trump administration, which is seen as the unvarnished expression of the brutality of American capitalism. During the past week, there have been mass protests around the world over the murder of George Floyd. Trump’s attempt to establish a dictatorship in the United States will vastly expand the scope of international working class protests.
The Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality have immense confidence in the power of the American working class. We will continue to provide working people with the information, analysis and perspective they require in developing a strategy to defeat Trump’s bid for dictatorship and advancing the fight for socialism.
—Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (US) (A Trotskyist formation)
By Andre Damon
Dateline: 3 June 2020 Following Trump’s announcement that he would deploy the military to crush protests against police violence throughout the country, the Democrats are working to cover up and downplay Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional coup d’état.
Trump has operationalized his efforts to establish a presidential dictatorship, based on the military and the police, through a massive military deployment in Washington, D.C., which is under his direct control. He is also escalating pressure on states to crack down on demonstrations after his threat on Monday to send in the military if they do not respond aggressively enough.
Late Tuesday night, Trump singled out New York City, writing on Twitter that “New York’s Finest are not being allowed to perform their MAGIC but regardless, and with the momentum that the Radical Left and others have been allowed to build, they will need additional help”—that is, the deployment of the military, under the president’s control.
In innumerable public statements, Democratic members of Congress, governors and mayors commenting on Trump’s actions ignored the fascistic and authoritarian character of Trump’s actions, focusing instead on declarations that Trump is not being “helpful” in controlling the demonstrations.
“Let’s not overreact,” said Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, calling Trump’s statements “bluster.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was asked if she would request military intervention, replied that this would only be necessary “because they’ve [the Trump administration] thrown a lot more gas on a fire that was burning.”
In contrast to the heroism of the demonstrators, who showed up by the tens of thousands in defiance of Trump’s threats, the Democrats have responded with their typical display of fecklessness, cowardice and complicity.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden delivered a 30-minute address on Tuesday full of mournful moralizing. He declared his wish that Trump had read the Bible, as he “could have learned something” and criticized Trump for fomenting “fear and division.”
Biden effectively equated the actions of protestors with the actions of the fascistic president and the police rampage he has incited. “There is no place for violence,” Biden said. “No place for looting or destroying property or burning churches, or destroying businesses. … Nor is it acceptable for our police, sworn to protect and serve all people, to escalate tensions or resort to excessive violence.”
Biden avoided the central political issue—that the president is engaging in illegal actions and seeking to overthrow the Constitution of the United States.
“At a time when our country cries out for unification, this President is ripping it apart,” they said. “We call upon the President, law enforcement and all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans.”
Mirroring Trump’s own photo-op in Washington following his speech, Pelosi clutched a Bible before cameras while giving a two-minute address Tuesday morning. “We would hope that the President of the United States would follow the lead of so many presidents before him to be a healer-in-chief and not a fanner of the flame,” Pelosi concluded.
Only six months ago, the impeachment campaign of the Democrats concluded in the House of Representatives, which was presided over by Pelosi. The House approved articles of impeachment against Trump for “high crimes and misdemeanors” that centered on a phone call with the president of Ukraine and allegations that Trump withheld military aid to the country in its war against Russia. Trump was ultimately acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate.
While the Democrats considered the Ukraine call a basis for removing the President, they pass over in silence the attempt to deploy the military on US soil against domestic protests. Neither Pelosi nor any other Democrat has called for a reconvening of the House and the introduction of a new motion for Trump’s removal from office.
Trump’s demands that opposition to his government be “put down” by deployment of active duty military personnel is blatantly illegal. As Yale Law Professor Bruce Ackerman commented last year:
From the founding onward, the American constitutional tradition has profoundly opposed the President’s use of the military to enforce domestic law. A key provision, rooted in an 1878 statute and added to the law in 1956, declares that whoever “willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force” to execute a law domestically “shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years”—except when “expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress.”
As the WSWS has noted repeatedly, the aim of the Democrats in their opposition to Trump over the past three-and-a-half years was to carry out a palace coup. From the beginning of his administration, the Democrats worked to suppress and derail broad-based mass opposition to Trump’s fascistic policies, channeling it behind their own reactionary, anti-Russia campaign.
Now when there is a mass popular movement against Trump, the Democrats devote themselves to the futile effort at calming the situation. When they criticize Trump for “fanning the flames,” they are expressing their fear of a massive social eruption in the working class.
For the past three-and-a-half years, the Democrats have worked with Trump on the essential elements of the domestic policy of the financial oligarchy. Amidst the expanding coronavirus pandemic, they unanimously endorsed the multitrillion-dollar bailout of Wall Street and are helping to enforce the back-to-work campaign spearheaded by the Trump administration.
Absolutely nothing good will come from the Democratic Party. It is a party of Wall Street and the military-intelligence agencies. It is thoroughly hostile to the sentiments that are animating the massive and expanding protests against police violence and the broader social anger among workers that is behind them.
The struggle against the Trump regime can be taken forward only through the independent political mobilization of the working class, in opposition to the Democrats, Republicans and the entire political apparatus of the corporate and financial elite. The fight against police violence and Trump’s moves to presidential dictatorship must be fused with the struggle against inequality, exploitation and the capitalist system.
Puke if you must
This bloodsoaked monster is probably the most evil person on planet earth https://t.co/nGq2H1EPHt
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) April 9, 2020
^5000The mainstream imperialist media lie CONSTANTLY. Literally 24/7. And it's getting worse.
All of them do it: radio, tv, the newspapers, the movies. The internet. No exceptions.
The corporate Big Lie is pervasive and totalitarian. CBS does it. NBC does it. ABC does it.
CNN does it. FOX does it. NPR does it. And of course the NYTimes and WaPo do it.
Thousands of "diverse" voices telling you the same lies. Enough to convince anyone.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
ALL CAPTIONS AND PULL QUOTES BY THE EDITORS NOT THE AUTHORS