Pete Buttigieg: Fuck You for Your Service!

On the Elections: the Auditions for the Next “Lincoln”

From a member of the Revolution Club, LA



Editors’ note: We received this correspondence from a Revolution Club member. Particularly with Buttigieg now being promoted, the reader raises some timely observations and questions.

During the March 10 CNN town hall with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, we were assaulted with a barrage of military worship and a complete papering over of the massive war crimes and crimes against humanity that this system, and the military which serves this system, carries out all over the world, as well as an illustration of the bankruptcy of identity politics and the inability of the Democrats to mention, let alone confront, fascism.

Buttigieg, who entered the 2020 presidential election process openly in January, is a veteran of the U.S. imperialist war on Afghanistan and is peddling an inane form of homonationalism, which, as opposed to the fascist “Gays for Trump” phenomenon, has more mainstream appeal. The grift, in essence, is this: support the U.S. empire and we will protect your rights while the system grinds up people just like you here and all around the world.

To the masses of LGBTQ+ people: don’t be fooled by imperialist sharks that tell you that the U.S. empire will advance your interests. The masses of humanity can only get free, and the oppressive patriarchy and its myriad forms of gender oppression can only be abolished, through an actual revolution against this imperialist beast, the defeat and dismantling of their armed forces of repression, and the establishment of a new socialist state power that will enforce fully in law the complete equality of women and all LGBTQ+ people in all spheres of life. We cannot vote in our freedom, or anyone else’s. We need to get organized for an actual revolution.

To Pete Buttigieg: FUCK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. There is nothing “honorable” about serving, advocating for, and celebrating as “greatness” a system of terror, mass slaughter, and environmental degradation. As Bob Avakian said this past summer,

...there is nothing heroic about being part of the mechanized and digitized machinery of death, devastation, and degradation that is the U.S. military, or the missions they carry out to violently enforce the dictates of the system this military serves. What is truly heroic, and what will represent a great service to humanity, is standing up against this system and its unending war crimes and crimes against humanity—and, when the time comes, going up against and defeating the violent force that is used to maintain this system. (From Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution)

The Topic Not Raised—the Reality of a Fascist America

Tellingly, Buttigieg refused to call for Trump’s removal now, toeing the Democratic Party line that Trump must be removed through the election, and that the normal channels of the system must be the form by which there is any resistance. “I would like to see this president and the style of politics that he represents sent off through the electoral process, decisively defeated at the ballot box. ... Because I just don’t think that’s what America is. I understand how it happened,” he said.

Nowhere in the town hall was fascism raised, even as it is posed sharply that we are living in a modern-day Weimar Republic, with an unrepentant fascist regime barreling ahead and making real headway in ramming through its white supremacist, male supremacist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-immigrant, imperialist gangster program. That said, we cannot confine ourselves to defending “the Weimar,” which itself is a daily nightmare for the masses of humanity. The reality of imperialism in “normal” times is utterly intolerable, and fascism itself is another form of (openly dictatorial) rule of the same system. As recently printed, “[fascism] is one form of rule—one option—that capitalist ruling classes (or sections of those rulers) may feel compelled to resort to when they confront extreme contradictions, as they do today.” Working within the confines of the capitalist-imperialist system, even with the best of intentions, only makes certain the horrors bound up with this system’s further existence (what is concentrated in the Five Stops) will continue, and with that the possibility of fascist movements and regimes escalating these atrocities.

Auditions to Be the Next “Lincoln”

When asked what former U.S. president he most admired, Buttigieg provided an answer, which, under different circumstances, might be very unremarkable. “Whenever I worry about our country, I remember that at one time, part of our country broke off and declared war against the other part. And President Lincoln led us through that; brought us together, and did so with a spirit, I think, of service and empathy that I certainly aspire to emulate.” This invoking of the Civil War was no accident, but a deliberate stance that the other imperialist contenders will have to orient themselves around: How are we going to lead through what might be coming soon?

The fascist section of the ruling class and those masses under its wing have been talking about civil war for decades, and have it on the mind with great frequency now. On Saturday, March 16, white supremacist congressman Steve King of Iowa posted a meme to Facebook that openly invoked a coming civil war. According to the Los Angeles Times, the meme featured “two fighting figures, one red and one blue, each an amalgamation of states based on their political leanings.” The text read: “Folks keep talking about another civil war. One side has about 8 trillion bullets, while the other side doesn’t know which bathroom to use.” The post has since been taken down, but the fact that a sitting imperialist representative laid this out in such stark terms should not be taken lightly. Despite its tone and anti-transgender “joke,” the meme does speak to the very negative polarization that exists, with reactionaries, fascists, and Christian fascists maintaining and seeking to expand their grip on power, by force of violence if necessary (that is, force against the “liberal side” of the “Pyramid of Power” Bob Avakian has referred to, aside from the daily violence that the system employs against the masses and anyone who challenges their legitimacy), and the non-fascist, mainstream section of the ruling class both opposing them to a degree while seeking to keep the masses under their wing in a position of weakness, compromise, and capitulation to the fascists.

Let’s not forget: those sections of the people who are the most hard-core fascists DO have a lot of weapons, many of them being military and ex-military. These fascists, emboldened and unleashed by the Trump/Pence regime, are deadly serious, and deadly period. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. It won’t stop them from organizing online, preying on the young, vulnerable, and alienated. It won’t make them stop forming militias, terrorizing immigrants and Black and Brown people, or from shooting up synagogues and churches, leaving carnage and terror in their wake. All of this is happening right now.

The question remains: Will the revolutionaries be able to wrench something positive from all this—or will this fight be confined to a choice between different forms of imperialist rule?

With this in mind, the shadow that fascism is casting over this election cycle makes this, in a certain sense, auditions among the imperialists for who can be the next “Lincoln”—a process to see who can lead through the struggle among the two sharply opposed sections of the rulers and the broader populace while maintaining their monstrous, unreformable, criminal system. Buttigieg thinks he can be that next “Lincoln” (and it should be noted that in the weeks following his town hall his popularity has grown), and in this first stage of 2020’s “America’s Got Imperialist and Wannabe-Imperialist Talent,” who’s to say which BEB the ruling class will favor as the winner? In the midst of all this, and cutting through all the bullshit, increasingly large numbers of people need to be fighting for our, that is humanity’s, highest interests; they need to see that this system has no future for them, whether it is a slow, orderly grind to oblivion or a fast, chaotic one, and that a communist future is the only way to a world where the needless suffering and degradation that is now daily life for billions of people will be no more.

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