Right now, the House of Representatives is holding hearings to investigate the attempted violent fascist coup on January 6, directly organized and fomented by Donald Trump. While other investigations are going on, this committee is the only body that has the power to subpoena—that is, to legally compel—people who were in on the coup attempt to testify as to what they knew and who else was involved.
Last week the committee issued subpoenas to various close associates of Trump, including Steve Bannon, a prominent white supremacist and international fascist propagandist and organizer. Trump promptly urged everyone to reject the subpoenas and last Friday Bannon did.
That same day controversy erupted over whether the Democrats were seriously trying to get to the bottom of things, or whether they were just going through the motions. And this got focused up around whether they would use the power they have to compel Bannon and other top Trump aides to appear before Congress to answer questions by threatening them with prison.1
That night, a Black Democratic “consultant,” Don Calloway, went on Brian Williams' show on MSNBC to defend the Democrats. Calloway was discussing this with Michael Steele, a Black anti-Trump Republican, and was evading the point in all kinds of ways—including invoking a lot of “woke bullshit” about taking “offense” that someone was supposedly making the Black chairman of the investigating committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, “look weak.”
Finally, Steele just asked him straight up as to whether the Democrats were going to use their authority to make Bannon appear. And Calloway just laid it out there:
Yeah, but we’re also trying to win elections. We’re also trying to appeal to a middle of the road white voter and what does that look like if I dragged a bunch of white guys in and do perp walks with them, take them up out of their country clubs.
Think about it. “We’re trying to win elections”—so who cares about stopping fascism?!?! “We’re trying to win elections”—so don’t dare ruffle the feathers of the racists out there by arresting “a bunch of white guys”—“a bunch of white guys” who happen to be part of a genocidally racist project that is right now disenfranchising Black people in places like Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other big states!! “A bunch of white guys” who were part of instigating a violent fascist coup!! Mustn’t offend them now, must we?
This is a disgusting lack of principle, but there is a logic behind it which many top Democrats beyond this hack share and in fact are leading with. The Democrats are “playing by the rules,” trying to salvage the norms—while the fascists have continued to go on the offensive since January 6, steadily shredding those norms, hardening their core, and strengthening their position in many ways, despite losing the election and despite the initial unease some Republican leaders voiced about Trump. Whatever the Democrats end up doing or not doing around Bannon, this whole exchange drives home the important and profound truth in Bob Avakian’s critically important pamphlet 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.