This Week in the News: Even More Than Ever, The Urgent Need to Drive Out This Fascist Regime
Updated as of February 20, 2017 5PM EST | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Trump’s performance at his Thursday press conference shocked millions. Mainstream commentators described it—and him—as “unhinged.” Trump convened this press conference on the heels of a string of major developments including: the resignation of his national security advisor Mike Flynn; defiant mass protests and court rulings against his executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries (see “Trump Attacks Middle Eastern and North African Immigrants... People Fight Back... TAKE IT HIGHER!“); growing criticism from a section of the mainstream press of what they termed the “dysfunction” of this regime; and widespread outrage over the blatant lying of the regime’s minions like Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway. Flynn’s resignation occurred in the midst of, and reinforced a cloud of allegations of close links between Trump, his campaign and Russia.
In the face of all this, Trump doubled down. He went on the offensive, making an aggressive defense brief for the “achievements” of his administration. And he ominously promised that “[W]e have not even started the big work yet.”
Beyond that, Trump let loose an extended, vitriolic and unprecedented attack on the press, on individual judges, and the courts which ruled against him and other institutions of liberal bourgeois democracy. A day later, he tweeted: the press is the “enemy of the American people.”
This marked a leap in the fascist trajectory and dynamic of this regime.
As the new updated call from Refuse Fascism states, “There is method to Trump’s madness that echoes Hitler. Fascism advances in stages through outrage, shock and intimidation, followed by brief periods of normalization where people accommodate to the new situation the regime has imposed.”
The Trump/Pence regime IS a fascist regime, qualitatively and rapidly recasting societal norms and unleashing horrors upon the masses of people—here and around the world. Imposing this fascist program on society and implementing these extreme measures requires steam-rolling, intimidating, threatening, silencing and suppressing those who pose obstacles.
It’s NOT Dysfunction, It’s Fascism
All this is not mainly a question of Trump “unhinged” or “under the influence” of Russia, nor is it of an administration “finely-tuned” or in “dysfunction.” This IS fascism!
Fascism is the exercise of blatant dictatorship by the bourgeois (capitalist-imperialist) class, ruling through reliance on open terror and violence, trampling on what are supposed to be civil and legal rights, wielding the power of the state, and mobilizing organized groups of fanatical thugs, to commit atrocities against masses of people, particularly groups of people identified as “enemies,” “undesirables,” or “dangers to society.”
At the same time—and this can be seen through studying the examples of Nazi Germany and Italy under Mussolini—while it will likely move quickly to enforce certain repressive measures in consolidating its rule, a fascist regime is also likely to implement its program overall through a series of stages and even attempt at different points to reassure the people, or certain groups among the people, that they will escape the horrors—if they quietly go along and do not protest or resist while others are being terrorized and targeted for repression, deportation, “conversion,” prison, or execution.
This is what we are witnessing with the Trump/Pence regime in its dynamics, including this very week.
Just This Week...
Let’s sift through the madness and identify themes, patterns, and where all this is leading, fast.
Threats of mass deportation of undocumented immigrants have escalated causing terror among millions. Right now they are being justified in the name of removing “criminal” elements. Far beyond that, immigration raids and arrests have targeted people with no imaginable connection to any criminal activity. The net has been cast wider.
Trump reiterated his threat to bring “law and order” to the inner cities, singling out the inner city of Chicago and saying “that’s worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East.” If you think about what Trump is threatening to do to the Middle East, there is a sharp genocidal edge to statements like that—reinforced by Trump’s unequivocal backing of the police and the confirmation of white supremacist Jeff Sessions as the attorney general.
Trump’s promises of “education” in the inner cities, with the Christian fascist Betsy DeVos as education secretary, as the statement “From the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party to ALL People: WHAT THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME WILL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE—AND WHAT MUST BE DONE ABOUT IT, NOW!” states, is but a recipe of training Black youth as Christian fundamentalist robots, unable to think critically or resist.
Internationally, the Trump administration is seeking to hammer, to bludgeon, a new world order into existence. This was evident with regard to qualitative changes in U.S. policy on Israel and the Palestinians, bellicose anti-Iran declarations in Trump’s press conference with the Prime Minister of Israel, Trump’s continued threat to “eradicate” ISIS from the face of this earth, and with potential changes in U.S. alignment with China and Russia and their consequences. This is potentially incalculably dangerous and threatening to humanity, both in its coherence and as a reckless “work in progress.” Factoring in the potential use of nuclear weapons, by accident or design, this represents potentially catastrophic consequences for humanity.
Assault on the Press and Courts
Historical institutions and norms, the basic rights which liberal bourgeois democracy says it is about are under assault; Trump’s fascist juggernaut is moving full steam ahead to replace these norms with the iron fist of fascism, new norms which serve his program. And as he does this, a key front is forging and mobilizing his fascist social base.
“The American people,” in the eyes of Trump, are the people who are blindly loyal to him and hang on his every lying word—a thoroughly reactionary white-supremacist social base. This is a play from the classically fascist playbook, rallying a fascist social base against liberal bourgeois democracy whose norms need to be trashed for fascism to consolidate, reign and impose its program on society. Right after his press conference, where did he go? To rally “the people.”
Trump’s attack on the press—at a press conference—was both an escalation of this regime’s assault on truth and the press, and unprecedented in various dimensions. From—and wielding—the bully pulpit of the highest office of the land, with its enormous executive and repressive powers, Trump slandered and dismissed a large section of the mainstream press including CNN and the New York Times as “fake news.”
He repeatedly used terms like “discredited” and “dishonest media” to refer to any stories critical of him and his administration. Trump accused the press of misleading the public, saying he is there to “take the message straight to the people” and laying the groundwork for casting them as “the enemy of the American people.”
The “intelligence community” is an instrument of the U.S. empire, carrying out spying, torture, instigating coups and invasions. But these agencies are supposed to be above partisan politics. Trump has taken on sections of the intelligence community that may pose obstacles to this regime’s program. He threatened to hunt down and prosecute those sources in the government providing information to the reporters.
As a whole, these attacks were such an egregious departure from the normal way presidents act that Republican Senator McCain publicly commented that dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”
Trump went after the courts that ruled against his “Muslim ban,” claiming they made Americans “unsafe.” While the judiciary is part of the capitalist state, it has exercised certain “checks and balances” on the power of the executive and legislature, the other branches of government. Rulings from the federal Ninth Circuit Court have temporarily blocked the enforcement of Trump’s executive orders on immigration. Trump not only trashed this Circuit, but also effectively threw to the side the actual objection of the courts, saying he will implement the same measures by revising the orders to meet legal technical requirements.
Pulling the Lens Back
Institutions and norms such as freedom of the press, and the independent role of the judiciary, such as they are, pose some obstacles to Trump/Pence in their effort to implement their all- round fascist program. While the press and the judiciary are NOT fundamentally challenging the legitimacy of the Trump/Pence fascist regime, they are acting according to what have been their roles historically and this is unacceptable to this regime.
The momentum and dynamic of fascism necessitates either remaking these institutions to be loyal and compliant to the Trump/Pence fascist regime, or silencing and suppressing them, by force of state, and by rallying the fascist social base against these institutions. This is behind what is going on with Trump casting them as “the enemy” of the people as Trump did with the press.
Again, and to be clear, these institutions (the judiciary and the press) are in fact, part of the ruling structures of society enforcing this system. But the attacks on them for even the slightest opposition pave the way for this regime consolidating its rule and committing even greater horrors for humanity. Even as the press in this country has long been a propaganda organ for the imperialist ruling class, the attacks on them quash even more our ability to learn the truth about what is happening in the world, including the criminal acts of this regime.
Further, attacks on the press and courts further pave the way for an even greater erosion of basic formal democratic rights for wide swathes of society, such as freedom of speech and assembly, even if for oppressed sections of the people, these rights—even in the “normal” workings of bourgeois democracy—exist more in a formal sense rather than in actuality under this system.
Overall, it is important to recognize that while fascism and liberal bourgeois democracy (represented mainly by Obama/Clinton) both represent the rule of the bourgeoisie, or the capitalist ruling class, fascism is qualitatively worse, an even more grotesque and murderous form of this system and horrors for the masses of people, here and around the world. Liberal bourgeois democracy does need to be replaced, not by a more grotesque and murderous form of the same system, but a radically new and far better society—as manifested in concrete and visionary form in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian.
To get a scientific, historical and materialist understanding of the rise of fascism and its underlying causes, drivers, and expressions such as Christian fascism, why the liberal democrats are no answer to the oppression and exploitation of humanity and people in this country, and what is to be done for the emancipation of humanity, we highly recommend the following works by Bob Avakian: (a) “The Truth About Right-Wing Conspiracy... And Why Clinton and the Democrats Are No Answer“ (b) “The Fascists and the Destruction of the ‘Weimar Republic’...And What Will Replace It“
Even More Than Ever, The Need to Drive Out This Fascist Regime—Now!
While this week represented a demonstration and defiant escalation of fascism on the march, it portends greater danger and horrors—and calls forth even more the need to oust this regime as soon as possible, drawing upon millions of people, who hate what Trump/Pence represent, and their anger and protest at the various outrages of this regime.
The Trump/Pence regime is backed by powerful sections of the ruling class, from most of the Republican Party to law enforcement and sections of the national security establishment and finance capital. They have their reins on power—and those who think they will just “go away,” or more rational “grown-ups” will prevail are just deluding themselves into fantasy, at the expense of the 7 billion people of humanity who are at greater risk from this regime and its hands on the nuclear weapons.
It will not be easy—but it is possible, at this moment, before it is too late and their regime is consolidated—to drive them out of power, but only if we act, commensurate with the necessity and urgency to do so. In doing so, we have to build on and draw from the righteous protests that erupted right after the inauguration and continue against his diktats. As the Call from Refuse Fascism points out:
This resistance is righteous and necessary, but it is not sufficient. We must recognize that the character of fascism is that it can absorb separate acts of resistance while continually throwing the opposition off balance by rapidly moving its agenda forward. The Trump/Pence regime will repeatedly launch new highly repressive measures, eventually clamping down on all resistance and remaking the law... IF THEY ARE NOT DRIVEN FROM POWER.
For the future of humanity and the planet, we, the people, must drive this regime out.
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