Rep. John Lewis’ Stand Against Trump, The Fascism At the Heart of Trump’s Illegitimacy, and the Importance of Splits at the Top

January 14, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


John Lewis, the Democratic congressman and veteran of the historic 1965 Selma march for voting rights, announced on Friday that he would not attend Trump’s scheduled inauguration. Lewis said that Trump was illegitimate due to alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Trump then fired back a typical asinine and racist attack against Lewis on Twitter, followed by several other congressmen declaring solidarity with Lewis, and a growing number of congressmen now also declaring that they will not attend the inauguration. At the same time, some fascist mouthpieces and/or ordinary morons are attacking Lewis for “dividing the country, when he should be uniting it.”

A few points:

Trump IS illegitimate—but NOT because Russia allegedly meddled in the U.S. elections. Trump’s illegitimacy overwhelmingly stems from the fact that he intends to implement a fascist regime—“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.’” (“What IS Fascism?”) Acting on that understanding, the groups and individuals who have come together in have called for millions to act now to prevent Trump from ruling.

Lewis for his part has founded his indictment on what may be Trump’s ties with and intended policies toward Russia. But the heart of the question is not whether or not we should hope for one or another policy toward Russia, nor is it whether the U.S. elections were “compromised.” The argument over policy toward Russia is an argument among the U.S. rulers over how best to dominate the entire world and where Russia fits into that, whether it should be seen mainly as a rival or a possible ally. The argument over the alleged “compromising” of the U.S. electoral process covers over the fact that the whole process itself is a way in which the powers that be make legitimate what is in fact an empire of oppression and plunder by allowing people to choose which of two pre-selected candidates will fill that role.

The point, rather, is this: This election process, whether compromised or not, has yielded as its president-elect someone who intends to take the “normal” horrors of this system and “put them on steroids”—his inauguration portends exactly the change outlined in our second paragraph above, and for that reason is not only illegitimate but must be resisted, NOW, with all our might.

Lewis’ attack on Trump widens the fissures within the ruling structures themselves over this whole extremely intense and fraught situation: the prospect of a blatant fascist assuming power. These splits at the top, if they occur in the context of people not just boycotting the inauguration, but coming together before it in powerful demonstrations and actions, are a big part of what makes possible preventing this regime from ruling. These fissures, in other words, can create openings through which the very correct outrage of the people can erupt.

All this should powerfully argue to those who do oppose and hate Trump to get into the streets, NOW, to actually take advantage of the chance we really have. As we do this, let’s both boldly put forward the real reasons for Trump’s illegitimacy—the leap to fascism that he and Pence embody—and at the same time stretch a hand to everyone who will unite around this goal, even as they come from a whole mix of different reasons and influences.


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