The Fascist Assault on Voting Rights and the Fight for the Future

Pro-Trump supporters, election deniers, rally outside Phoenix capitol, November 2020.

 

Election deniers protest outside the Arizona State Capitol, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020.    Photo: AP

Yet another election season is underway. Every seat in the House of Representatives, one-third of the seats in the Senate, and many state offices, will be decided this fall. Both the Republi-fascists and the Democrats serve and defend the capitalist imperialist system we live in, a system founded on exploitation and oppression. But this election potentially has far greater stakes than which of them comes out on top.

Across the country, Republi-fascists have launched a sustained effort to ensure the outcome is in their favor. Bob Avakian, in his talk SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution, made this crucial analysis and orientation:

The reality now is that the fascist section of the ruling class, represented by and concentrated in the Republican Party, is actively and aggressively engaged in a “two-pronged” move to achieve and consolidate fascist rule. These “two prongs” are: corrupting and controlling the electoral process and key government institutions; and the threat and use of violence, including through the mobilization of violent mobs. These fascists are, for now, relying mainly on the first, but with the second (violence) as an “accompaniment” to this—which could become their main means, if that proves necessary for them. In any case, if they succeed, the full power of the government—including the executive power of the presidency, the courts and legal apparatus, the prisons, as well as the police and the military—will be wielded to crush any effective opposition to fascist rule and to forcefully impose its program of “restoring” America to its mythological “greatness” on the basis of aggressive white supremacycrude and brutal male supremacy and suppression of LGBT peoplexenophobia (hatred and persecution of foreigners and immigrants, particularly from what Trump infamously referred to as “shithole countries”), forceful assertion and chauvinistic trumpeting of American dominance and “the superiority of western civilization,” along with willful rejection of science and the scientific method, especially where it would interfere with unrestrained plunder of the environment, as well as people.

The upcoming November election could mark a further leap forward in the fascist consolidation of both prongs, including the use of intimidation to keep Black and other oppressed people from voting. The “legal” prong comes in the form of over 30 new laws in different fascist-controlled states making it more difficult for oppressed people to vote. The threat of violence comes in the form of intimidating election officials and efforts to mobilize vigilantes—reactionary thugs—as “poll watchers,” to intimidate both voters and officials. The accompanying article “Jim Crow Laws, Vigilante Mobs, Purged Voting Rolls” makes clear the scope, venom and racism of this.

Instead of fighting and killing each other, what people need to be doing now is uniting to defend each other—opposing all unjust violence, not launching attacks on anyone but at the same time not allowing the police or “civilian” fascist thugs to wantonly brutalize and murder people. And people need to do this as part of building up the forces for revolution.

—Bob Avakian, from “Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating”

“Election Deniers”—aka Amerikkkan Fascists—Positioned to Gain Power in Key States

Meanwhile, “election deniers”people who cling to the deranged belief that Trump won the 2020 electionare positioning themselves to determine the outcome of elections in such key states as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada, that played decisive roles in that election.

In Pennsylvania, Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor, says he will “decertify voting machines in counties where he suspects the result was rigged.” Mastriano is a Christian fascist former army colonel who has posed for photos in a Confederate uniform and who participated in the mob assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Mastriano said in an interview, “I get to appoint the secretary of state, who is delegated from me the power to make the corrections to elections, the voting logs and everything. I could decertify every machine in the state with the stroke of a pen.”

In Arizona, Kari Lake, the fascist nominee for governor, said she would not have certified Biden’s victory in 2020, and said she probably won’t accept the results of the upcoming vote if she loses. “If we don’t win, there’s some cheating going on. And we already know that.”

Similar Republi-fascist election-deniers are running in the “swing states” (places that could go either Democrat or Republican) of Wisconsin and Michigan. The fascist group “True the Vote” has raised millions of dollars to promote and spread the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and that future elections will be also, if the fascists lose. A movie they made premiered at Trump’s Florida home this spring, and has since played in over 400 theaters across the country.

The Democrats—Misleaders Who Are Worse than Useless

Last year 17 states passed 34 fascist-sponsored laws making voting more difficult, especially for Black and other oppressed peoples. Over 440 bills “with provisions that restrict voting access” were introduced in state legislatures; some are still pending. This year, what the Brennan Center for Justice called a “tidal wave of restrictive voting legislation” intensified.

What have the Democrats—those alleged champions of the right to vote for Black and other oppressed people—been doing about all this as gathering storm clouds of voter suppression and denialism make it very clear “which way the wind is blowing”? Nothing and worse than nothing.

Last year and early this year they put a feeble effort into promoting a federal voting rights act—which Biden himself declared to be “doomed” as it was about to come up for a vote. Compare that with the full-court press and painstaking “prolonged negotiations” with Republi-fascists and right-wing Democrats that they undertook to pass an “inflation reduction act.” (See the article “More Than Fine-Print Trickery… Biden’s Imperialist Climate Bill: The Devil Lies in the Big Picture” by Raymond Lotta and the Environmental Working Group of revcom.us for more on this.)

Even more outrageously, the Democrats poured $19 million into supporting the campaigns of some of the most fanatical Republi-fascists in the recent primaries! They say they are doing this in the hope that getting a more fascistic Republican nominee would enable them to “motivate” people to vote by saying, “See, if you don’t vote for us, you’ll end up with them, and you don’t want that now, do you?” Think about it: Biden makes a show to opposing what he calls "semi-fascism," while forces in the Democratic Party are risking the even more rapid and extreme consolidation of fascism if it may help them get some short-term electoral advantage.

This kind of stuff underscores the importance of spreading and fighting for this principle from Bob Avakian’s “THIS IS A RARE TIME WHEN REVOLUTION BECOMES POSSIBLE—WHY THAT IS SO, AND HOW TO SEIZE ON THIS RARE OPPORTUNITY”:

Instead of being a tail on the Democratic donkey—with its attempt to keep this monstrous system going, and to deal with the growing fascist danger, by relying on the “normal procedures” of this system and doomed efforts to “heal the divisions” that are deepening every day—people need to work for the revolution that is urgently needed, and deal with the fascist danger as part of doing that.

Momentous Times

A hundred and fifty-two years ago, the right to vote for Black people was written into the U.S. Constitution. It took the Civil War, with over 700,000 deaths, to eliminate slavery, grant birthright citizenship to Black people, and make this basic change.  After the brief period of Reconstruction, the right to vote for Black people faced fierce, often murderous, opposition. That opposition came from every level of government, KKK vigilante lynch mobs, and white supremacist laws that placed obstacles in the path of Black people trying to exercise that right. Many generations fought courageous and heroic battles to establish and extend the right to vote in practice, not just on paper.1

8-1965-Selma-Alabama-AP_405620504885.jpg

 

Selma, Alabama, March, 7, 1965: A demonstration for voter rights was viciously attacked by cops on what is known as “Bloody Sunday.”    Photo: AP

But, right here and right now, a deadly serious effort to effectively take away that right from Black and other oppressed people is underway in this country. If it succeeds, it would be a significant step backward—into a 21st century, fascist form of second-class citizenship at a time when the ruling class has “no use” for large sections of Black people. Why?

Even though voting is not the way to bring about fundamental change in this society, the right to vote is an essential right of citizenship. To take this away, especially in a way targeted against people of color, is to open the door to strip away any other right. These attacks targeted against Black people, Native Americans and Latinos mark a major leap toward a much, much more vicious and blatant white supremacist regime. This is all the more so, when you consider how hard-fought getting this right has been—a struggle which included the deaths of scores of civil rights workers in the 1950s and ’60s and many more during Reconstruction after the Civil War.

Bob Avakian has emphasized that the movement for revolution, as part of getting ready to go all the way with revolution as soon as the time is right, must be "supporting and defending people who are constantly being subjected to unjust attacks on their rights and their very being.” As one dimension of that, he points to the

continuing moves, including with the threat or use of violence, to once again prevent Black people and other oppressed people from even exercising what are supposed to be basic rights, such as voting. (With a scientific method and approach, it is both possible, and important, to actively oppose attempts to deny people the right to vote, and at the same time win people to see that their efforts need to go, not into voting for representatives of this system that is oppressing them, but working to build up the basis to overthrow this whole system.)

From SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions,The Looming Possibility Of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution

This is something worth seriously grappling with.

Something Terrible or Something Truly Emancipating - Square, wo "NEW"

 

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FOOTNOTES:

1. See articles from the revcom.us American Crime series here and here. [back]

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