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Home > Resources > DOSSIER USA : Jan 6, storming of Capitol Ist anniversary

DOSSIER USA : Jan 6, storming of Capitol Ist anniversary

Tuesday 11 January 2022, by siawi3

1. It’s January 6 and the Warning Lights Are Flashing Red
2. Ilhan Omar Warns ’Next Coup Not Only Possible; It Has Already Begun’
3. Famous Last Words: I Was There When Democracy Fell
4. A Year Later, Progressives Warn ’Another January 6’ Is Coming If Voting Rights Not Secured
5. A year later, what are the lessons from the Trump-backed insurrection of January 6?
6. Capitol Rioter Admits False Statements to FBI, but Prosecutors Haven’t Charged Him With a Felony
7. Campaign Aims to Bar All Jan. 6 Insurrectionists—Including Trump—From Future Public Office
8. Recent Interviews Shed New Light on Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol
9. Culprits behind Capitol insurrection still not brought to justice (Video)
10. Where is America going?
11. The Long American Meltdown Led to the January 6, 2021 Insurrection



It’s January 6 and the Warning Lights Are Flashing Red

We are no longer observers of the distressed futures that afflict other people. We are those people now.

Peter Maass

January 6 2022, 12:00 p.m.

Photo: Law enforcement use a smoke grenade in attempt to push back protesters at the U.S. Capitol building during a protest in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The U.S. Capitol was placed under lockdown and Vice President Mike Pence left the floor of Congress as hundreds of protesters swarmed past barricades surrounding the building where lawmakers were debating Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. Photographer: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images

It was the winter of 1991, and the country I was working in, the Soviet Union, was months away from its demise. Yet the collapse, so close, was unimaginable.

Moscow was frigid and miserable. The currency was a wreck, stores had empty shelves, and the Kremlin seemed more of a ghost ship than command center. The country’s Baltic republics were seeking independence, and when I reported on the violence that had already occurred there, struggle and darkness were all that seemed possible.

I was visiting the Soviet Union to help my overworked colleagues from the Washington Post, and on one of my first nights, I had dinner with a few correspondents who lived in the country and knew what was going on — or were supposed to. They talked of a grim era ahead in which the KGB and the Soviet Army would rule the country, because its leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, was losing control; his reforms unleashed only discontent and poverty.

A few years later, after the Soviet Union was no more, I wrote about that dinner and what would have occurred if I had known the future and told my friends about it. “If I would have suggested that, in six months, hard-liners might stage a coup against Gorbachev, and that the coup would fail and that the Soviet Union, which we all had grown up with and believed to be immortal, would die on the spot, breaking into bits and pieces with names like Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, my colleagues would have laughed and wondered whether my water glass was filled with vodka.”

The astounding thing isn’t that every warning light was flashing red in the winter of 1991 and we didn’t see them. We saw those lights. Everyone did. We couldn’t miss them. We knew there was danger. The astounding thing is that we couldn’t imagine their submerged meaning, the future they indicated.

One year after the storming of the U.S. Congress, it’s a good time to recognize that we are no longer observers of the distressed futures that afflict other people. We are those people now. It is we, not the out-of-luck them, who are at the mercy of nightmares. So today is a good day to understand what that means.

A Lithuanian demonstrator runs in front of a Soviet Red Army tank during the assault on the Lithuanian Radio and Television station on January 13, 1991 in Vilnius. Soviet troops opened fire on unarmed civilians in Vilnius, killing 13 people and injuring 145 others. Lithuania declared unilaterally its independence from Soviet Union 11 March 1990. (Photo by ANDRE DURAND / AFP) (Photo by ANDRE DURAND/AFP via Getty Images)
A Lithuanian demonstrator runs in front of a Soviet tank during an assault on the Lithuanian Radio and Television station in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Jan. 13, 1991.Photo: Andre Durand/AFP/Getty Images

Sinister Dimensions

I am a glutton for dystopia. While covering the war in Bosnia, I read J.G. Ballard’s “High-Rise,” a 1970s novel about a luxury apartment building in London where the residents devolve into war against each other, begun by a dispute over a loud party. I can’t remember why I chose to read Ballard, but the first sentences of “High-Rise” spoke to what I was learning in the Balkans about the ways societies slip, without knowing it, into the realm of nightmares:

Later, as he sat on his balcony eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that had taken place within this huge apartment building during the previous three months. Now that everything had returned to normal, he was surprised that there had been no obvious beginning, no point beyond which their lives had moved into a clearly more sinister dimension.

Even as Sarajevo suffered its first casualties in April 1992, during a peace march, lots of people still couldn’t see what was in front of them: a genocidal war by Serbs against Muslims. There were plenty of flashing red lights before the shooting started, years before it started, in fact — the death of Yugoslav ruler Josip Broz Tito; the publication of a nationalist tract by the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts; the rise of Slobodan Milošević — but what did these things mean, what was the future they foretold?

These questions lead me to another book I read during my time in the Balkans, this one about the Balkans. Though Rebecca West’s “Black Lamb and Grey Falcon” is a classic that was published in 1941 and elicits some groans nowadays for its Serbian orientation, it has a line from its narrator that remains a truth bomb: “In writing this book I have been struck again and again by the refusal of destiny to let man see what is happening to him, its mean delight in strewing his path with red herrings.” These red herrings are somewhat universal: the plans we have, the dreams we covet, the delusions we nurture.

It would be wrong to punish ourselves over our inability to see the future. Who could be expected to realize that it wasn’t just a reality TV star but the next president of the United States who rode down an escalator at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, and implausibly announced, as he described Mexicans as rapists, that he wanted to be the 45th commander in chief? For that matter, how could a young reporter in Budapest in 1990 foresee that the cool 20-something anti-communist activist he interviewed from time to time, just elected to parliament, would become a racist and antisemitic prime minister one day? (The cool kid was Viktor Orbán, and the young reporter was me.)

Red herrings, everywhere.
Bosnian government soldiers engage Bosnian Serbs in house to house fighting in Sarajevo on June 24, 1992. The Dobrinja neighbourhood was built to house athletes for the 1984 winter olympic games. (Morten Hvaal/ Rapport) (Morten Hvaal/ Rapport Press) (Newscom TagID: rsphotos005163.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]
Bosnian soldiers engage in house-to-house fighting in Sarajevo on June 24, 1992.Photo: Morten Hvaal/ Rapport/Newscom

Patriot Games

The warning lights have been flashing in America for a long time. We could start in 1619 or 1789 and jump forward 200 years to Lee Atwater, Ronald Reagan, and Rush Limbaugh, for instance. What I saw in the Balkans makes me think the emergence of Fox News in 1996 was the trigger mechanism for our current predicament. It’s hard to overstate the necessity, if your goal is national madness, of mainstreaming racism and hatred — a function that was fulfilled by Radio Television of Serbia before the Bosnia war.

The late Miloš Vasić, one of the most fearless journalists in Serbia during the 1990s, chronicled his homeland’s descent into extremism and corruption. Vasić knew that the great unwinding in the former Yugoslavia was not a unique phenomenon. “All it took was a few years of fierce, reckless, chauvinist, intolerant, expansionist, war-mongering propaganda to create enough hate to start the fighting among people who had lived together peacefully for 45 years,” he said in 1993. “You must imagine a United States with every little TV station everywhere taking exactly the same editorial line — a line dictated by David Duke. You, too, would have war in five years.”

The Murdoch family, which owns Fox News, has required more than five years to create an actual war in the U.S., but the network’s millionaire hosts are not without results, and they remain hard at work encouraging their mostly white viewers to be the worst they can be and feel like patriots. I think Vasić, who died last year, would have a lot of wisdom to share about our January 6 anniversary, and some of it would revolve around Americans finally seeing they are not the well-mannered exception to internal calamity that they liked to believe themselves to be.

While it’s too much to expect we can foretell our future, we can know from the multitude of flashing lights that we have slipped into what Ballard would instantly diagnose as a sinister dimension. And our journey is not complete. Aleksandar Hemon, the Bosnian American writer, put it well: “What the actual resolution might look like, I fear to envision, but I know it will not resemble anything Americans can remember or dare to imagine.”

The fortunate thing is that we don’t need to know precisely what the future holds. History, and the presence of 20 million assault rifles in America, provides us with enough data to know the outlines of what’s ahead if we continue to pretend that nightmares are for other countries, not ours.



Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) attends a news conference on Capitol Hill on November 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ilhan Omar Warns ’Next Coup Not Only Possible; It Has Already Begun’

“The coup attempt on January 6th was a warning for what’s to come if we don’t act,” said the Minnesota Democrat.

Jake Johnson

January 6, 2022

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar on Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol with a dire warning to her fellow lawmakers and the nation: The next right-wing coup attempt “is not only possible; it has already begun.”

With state-level GOP lawmakers moving to suppress the vote nationwide and insurrection-complicit Republicans still in positions of power in the U.S. Congress, Omar said in a statement that “the coup attempt on January 6th was a warning for what’s to come if we don’t act.”

“As we speak, Donald Trump’s allies in statehouses across the country are seeking to erect barriers to voting.”

“As we speak, Donald Trump’s allies in statehouses across the country are seeking to erect barriers to voting—largely affecting low-income people, people of color, and seniors,” said Omar, the whip for the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “If that’s not enough, they are stripping power from nonpartisan election officials and rewriting state laws to seize partisan control over election certification.”

Last year, according to a recent analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice, at least 19 Republican-led states passed 34 laws restricting ballot access—a “tidal wave” of voter suppression that’s expected to intensify in 2022. A recent report by a coalition of watchdog groups added the additional warning that state-level Republicans are pursuing a number of anti-democratic tactics “beyond proposing or passing bills.”

Only immediate and bold action from Congress—including, at the very least, abolition of the 60-vote Senate filibuster and swift passage of voting rights legislation—will be enough to prevent the former president and his supporters from succeeding in their next attempt to subvert the democratic process and seize control of the federal government, Omar argued.

“To stop the next coup, we must reinvigorate the democratic experience,” she said. “That requires... passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and strengthening election laws around the country to prevent the next coup. But it also requires reforming our institutions so that they are once again responsive to the core demands of our constituents. That requires abolishing fundamentally antidemocratic elements of our system like the Senate filibuster and the Electoral College, and it requires major investments in childcare, education, health, and climate like the Build Back Better Act.”

“I know personally what happens when a government fails, civil strife takes hold, and people are displaced,” said Omar, a Somali refugee. “And I know that coup attempts are rarely one-time affairs.”

The Minnesota Democrat’s warning came as President Joe Biden delivered a speech at the Capitol blasting Trump for attempting to “prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.”

“This anniversary calls not only for commemoration, but also for action—urgently.”

The president also noted that “right now, in state after state, new laws are being written not to protect the vote but to deny it; not only to suppress the vote, but to subvert it.”

Democratic leaders in the House, meanwhile, have “planned a full day of commemorative activities” for the January 6 anniversary, “including testimonials from lawmakers, commentary from historians, and a prayer vigil,” the Washington Post reported.

But lofty rhetoric and symbolic commemorations of the deadly Capitol assault won’t change the fact that congressional Democrats are running out of time to thwart the GOP’s sweeping attacks on the franchise ahead of the crucial 2022 midterms, in which Republicans are well-positioned to gerrymander their way back to control of the House of Representatives.

In the coming days, Senate Democrats are expected to try once more to approve voting rights legislation. But as long as the 60-vote filibuster rule remains intact thanks to the handful of Democratic senators who still support it, the upper chamber’s Republican minority will continue to have veto power.

“This anniversary calls not only for commemoration, but also for action—urgently,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement Thursday. “If Congress fails to pass legislation to secure the right to vote and protect Americans’ democratic freedoms, we invite these attacks to continue.”



Protesters enter the U.S. Capitol Building on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Famous Last Words: I Was There When Democracy Fell

On this January 6th anniversary, time for the good guys to put an end to this.

Michael Winship

January 6, 2022

During this just-behind-us holiday season, occasionally I cruised our zillions of television channels and watched some movies, and it occurred to me that once upon a time, and not too long ago, on almost every one of our TV shows and in our films, bullies and crooks were the enemy.

It was the hero’s job to put them in their place. Fighting hate, aggression and ignorance, the good guys were the ones who took care of business and made sure the world was better for decent, law-abiding folk. Look at old movies like “Shane” and “Bad Day at Black Rock,” or more recently, the spate of Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington films in which they seek righteous revenge—“I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.”—against evil.

Attackers sought to find and kill government officials, including Vice President Pence and House Speaker Pelosi. It’s frightening to think what might have happened if they had succeeded.

This is all very Old Testament for sure and of course, aggression and violence rarely are good solutions but admittedly there’s often a vicarious satisfaction gained from watching the fictional bad guys get their just desserts.

But these days, back in the real world, the idea of heroism has been turned on its head. On this anniversary of last year’s January 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol Building, too many Americans are proud to be one of the bad guys or thrilled to be urging the bad guys on, imagining these reprobates as heroes instead of thugs, whether they’re in bandanas, tee shirts and MAGA caps armed with bludgeons, battering rams, and bear spray, or dressed in expensive suits spewing lies, conspiracy theories and thinly veiled threats.

There are still real heroes, too, but too many of us now view as somehow heroic the actions of anyone who uses their prejudice and fear to intimidate others, who causes illness and death because they believe the fake news that COVID is a hoax. They believe, all evidence to the contrary, that Joe Biden is not a legitimate president. They believe that fair election laws that encourage the vote need overturning and/or that Donald Trump is a bigger-than-life Superman instead of the callous blowhard who would have our democracy ravished in the name of arrogance, vanity, authoritarian power, and corruption.

“Every Day Is Jan. 6 Now” was this New Year’s headline of a New York Times editorial, noting, “It is regular citizens who threaten election officials and other public servants, who ask, ‘When can we use the guns?’ and who vow to murder politicians who dare to vote their conscience. It is Republican lawmakers scrambling to make it harder for people to vote and easier to subvert their will if they do. It is Donald Trump who continues to stoke the flames of conflict with his rampant lies and limitless resentments and whose twisted version of reality still dominates one of the nation’s two major political parties…

Countless times over the past six years, up to and including the events of Jan. 6, Mr. Trump and his allies openly projected their intent to do something outrageous or illegal or destructive. Every time, the common response was that they weren’t serious or that they would never succeed. How many times will we have to be proved wrong before we take it seriously? The sooner we do, the sooner we might hope to salvage a democracy that is in grave danger.

Often, when confronted with their seditious words and deeds, members of the GOP insist things were not as they seemed or they were just kidding—hey, where’s your sense of humor, pal? But this is no joke, and the blatant disregard of and contempt for democratic principles aren’t funny. The Times called January 6 exactly what it was—“a deadly riot at the seat of American government, incited by a defeated president amid a last-ditch effort to thwart the transfer of power to his successor.”

And Aaron Blake of The Washington Post writes:

It’s been a familiar exercise throughout much of the Trump era.

Something would emerge that was objectionable — say, expressing openness to Russia’s help in the 2016 election or attempting to use Ukraine for help in the 2020 election. Then would come the denials, that it was not what it looked like. Then would come the confirmation from those involved that it was pretty much what it looked like, whether that amounted to “collusion” (Russia probe) or a “quid pro quo” (Ukraine impeachment).

Over the past months, many have dared suggest that the attack was far less violent than reported or even that antifa and the FBI were behind the assault, a false flag operation. For others, it’s just too easy to dismiss what happened a year ago as an aberration that should be shrugged aside, or merely the latest act of idiocy by the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

Nonsense. People died, including police. Attackers sought to find and kill government officials, including Vice President Pence and House Speaker Pelosi. It’s frightening to think what might have happened had they succeeded.

Like so many of you, I’ve watched carefully over the last 14 months since the moment when the 2020 election results were announced. Even as Biden was declared the winner, Donald Trump refused to concede and admit defeat; instead, using his old familiar tactics: lying and lying and lying, badgering, screaming like a petulant child, insisting that he’d been robbed. He hadn’t been, of course, but that hasn’t stopped him from lobbing lawsuit after lawsuit across the nation while simultaneously insisting on recount after recount.

None of it has worked; the lawsuits were kicked out of court, the recounts either affirmed the initial results or even gave Biden additional votes.

And still he went on, relentless, with the support of GOP legislators and his ragtag army of fans, the Giuliani’s and the Bannon’s, the Eastman’s and the Navarro’s, making badgering phone calls and demands, wearing the rest of the country down, giving voice to every cockamamie conspiracy theory about everything from bags of phony ballots to Italian satellites tinkering with the vote tabulations. Further, he took on board every shyster and advisor out to peddle schemes that would overturn the electoral process and overthrow representative democracy. And all the while lining his and his collaborators’ pockets with the cash raised from the constant drumbeats of fundraising appeals—the Donald Trump Defense Fund and Marching Society.

Increasingly it seems the January 6 invasion of the Capitol may have been a key part of all this maneuvering and plotting and not some aberrant burst of misplaced outrage.

Increasingly it seems the January 6 invasion of the Capitol may have been a key part of all this maneuvering and plotting and not some aberrant burst of misplaced outrage. At first, I thought it might have been just a case of Trump and his GOP hoodlums throwing every tactic they could think of to see if anything would stick — going after local and state election boards, poll workers and even the Supreme Court and the US Capitol to stage what was, let’s face it, an attempted coup d’état.

But no, more and more it seems that all of this may have been much more coordinated than previously believed. In addition to the ongoing efforts to subvert election law in state capitols, January 6 may have been a deliberate tactic—either in the hope of creating such total mayhem (and possibly with ringers who hoped to impersonate bombthrowing left-wing extremists) that Trump could declare a national emergency and suspend the congressional certification of the presidential vote, buying time for Republican state legislatures to call back pro-Biden electoral vote or just completely short-circuiting our government to permanently place himself in power. A dictator. A coup.

The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol must continue its important work. Open public hearings should be held as soon as possible, preferably in primetime on television, radio, and across the Internet. Reportedly, an interim report will be issued in early summer, a complete version in the fall.

Further, the filibuster, which should be completely eliminated, must at least be lifted for the impending voting rights legislation that would delegitimize and end the anti-democratic, anti-voter bills passed by or pending in Republican-dominated legislatures. And the Justice Department must fully engage, prosecuting the guilty no matter how high they are in the government food chain.

So here’s to a Healthier, Happier New Year but the danger remains that Trump and his minions will return to finish the job that began when he took the oath of office five years ago.

“Trump Incites Mob”—that was the screaming New York Times headline the day after the January 6 insurrection. Those three words sum it up. Be aware, be vigilant, get involved.

Remember: the good guys don’t always win. A scant few years from now, don’t be one of those standing with mouth agape as our 226-year experiment in democracy fails, incredulously asking, “What happened?”

Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer for Moyers & Company and, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos, and former president of the Writers Guild of America East.



President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2022, to mark the anniversary of last year’s attack in Washington, D.C.(Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

A Year Later, Progressives Warn ’Another January 6’ Is Coming If Voting Rights Not Secured

“If the Senate doesn’t act now, we are guaranteeing that there will be more election chaos in 2022.”

Kenny Stancil

January 6, 2022

One year to the day since then-President Donald Trump and his Republican accomplices’ lies about voter fraud led to a failed coup on January 6, 2021, progressives are warning that the GOP’s ongoing, nationwide assault on the franchise will continue as long as Senate Democrats fail to pass pro-democracy legislation.

“365 days after the attacks on the 2020 election culminated in the Capitol calamity, we still haven’t enacted meaningful reforms to prevent another January 6.”

“In America, voters decide the outcome of elections,” Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen, said Thursday in a statement. “Yet 365 days after the attacks on the 2020 election culminated in the Capitol calamity, we still haven’t enacted meaningful reforms to prevent another January 6.”

“If the Senate doesn’t act now,” Gilbert added, “we are guaranteeing that there will be more election chaos in 2022.”

Jana Morgan, director of the Declaration for American Democracy, a coalition of over 240 organizations leading the fight to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, said that “the January 6 attack last year by right-wing militants who were motivated by former President Trump’s Big Lie demonstrated the dangers facing our nation.”

“It also underscores the urgency with which we need to transform our political system into one that works for all Americans,” said Morgan. “To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, our elected leaders must pass critical legislation that will protect this country from anti-democratic forces.”

“The U.S. Senate and President Biden must do whatever is necessary to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and other critical reforms,” she added.

In the twelve months since a reactionary mob stormed the Capitol in a deadly effort to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory—after which 147 Republican lawmakers sided with the insurrectionists by declining to verify the results—right-wing officials at the state level have weaponized Trump’s Big Lie to enact numerous voter suppression laws and gerrymandered maps, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has blocked federal voting rights legislation on multiple occasions.

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Senate Republicans deployed the filibuster, an anti-democratic rule that requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation, four times last year to prevent voting rights bills from reaching Biden’s desk. After blocking the sweeping, House-passed For the People Act in June and August, they also filibustered its less ambitious successor, the Freedom to Vote Act, in October, and the House-passed John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act two weeks later.

The Freedom to Vote Act would establish an automatic voter registration system, make Election Day a federal holiday, and ban partisan gerrymandering, while the legislation that bears the name of the deceased civil rights icon John Lewis would restore anti-discrimination protections to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“This anniversary calls not only for commemoration, but also for action—urgently.”

Senate Democrats—with the support of all 50 members of the caucus plus a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Kamala Harris—can reform or nix the filibuster indefinitely, which would enable them to circumvent the increasingly authoritarian GOP’s obstructionism and swiftly enact both pro-democracy bills along with the redistributive economic agenda that a majority of U.S. voters elected them to implement.

However, some conservative Democratic senators, including Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.), remain opposed to abolishing the filibuster and to carving out a voting rights exception to the 60-vote threshold, even as scholars and activists warn that federal legislation is necessary to neutralize the GOP’s brazen attacks on the nation’s faltering democracy.

“One year ago, an armed mob whipped up by right-wing lies about the election, attacked the Capitol and tried to overturn the results of the election,” Brooke Adams, director of movement politics for People’s Action, said Thursday in a statement. “Today’s anniversary is a reminder of that day and also of right-wing forces’ ongoing efforts to rig election rules, pack election boards in small towns across the country, and attack fair voting districts.”

Adams said that “corporations and their right-wing, fascist allies want minority rule in this country, and are funding disinformation campaigns alongside their takeover of local election commissions to overthrow democracy.”

A recent poll found that one year after the January 6 insurrection, 71% of Republicans continue to believe that Biden’s victory was illegitimate. Two months ago, another study found that a growing share of GOP voters—who have downplayed that day’s brutality or blamed it on Democrats, Antifa, and the Capitol Police—have endorsed the use of political violence to “save” the country, which is likely why a majority of Americans fear a repeat of last year’s attack.

Republican-led state legislatures, meanwhile, have passed dozens of voting restrictions, and according to the Brennan Center for Justice, they intend to escalate their disenfranchisement campaign in 2022.

The laws include limits on the use of mail-in ballots—which Trump, who voted by mail himself, baselessly claimed was a fraudulent tactic ahead of the 2020 election to preemptively delegitimize any unfavorable results—and the criminalization of “ordinary, lawful behavior by election officials” who try to assist voters.

As part of what experts have called an ongoing “election sabotage scheme,” pro-Trump lawmakers are also pushing to appoint the former president’s loyalists to election boards, voting inspector positions, and other key posts ahead of the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Calling Trump’s 2020 election subversion effort “just a warm-up act,” a longtime scholar of violent conflict warned earlier this week that in the absence of far-reaching progressive reforms, U.S. democracy “could collapse” by 2025, and “the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship” by the end of the decade.

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“We know that what happened one year ago was made possible by decades of disinvestment thanks to neoliberal policies,” said Adams. With the GOP “building towards a midterm bloodbath and another attempted presidential coup,” she added, “our future depends on... organizing everyday people around a progressive agenda that hits at kitchen table issues and to electing the people who will win that agenda for us at every level of government.”

Like Adams, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), acknowledged that “the events that led to the insurrection began long before former President Trump encouraged rioters to march on the Capitol.”

“January 6 was the most visible day of violence,” said Jayapal, but “for years, Republicans in state legislatures, courts, and Congress have engaged in a more covert attack, chipping away at free and fair elections and taking direct aim at Americans’ constitutional rights and our democracy.”

Jayapal’s statement continued:

Since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, state legislatures have enacted hundreds of laws designed to reduce the political power of communities of color, young people, the elderly, [and] people with disabilities. The racist voter suppression that the justices claimed was a relic of the past came roaring back with a vengeance, such that 2021 became the worst year for restrictive state voting laws in a decade; legislatures filed more than 440 bills and enacted laws in 19 states.

At the same time, the Republican party pushed incendiary lies about voter fraud and Democrats stealing elections from the highest levels. It was on this tidal wave of anti-democratic activity and rhetoric that the January 6 rioters descended on Washington and attacked the Capitol. And the attack has continued since, with partisan actors driving unfounded election audits, violent threats on election officials, and the passage of laws explicitly allowing partisan interference with election results, in direct backlash to the 2020 election.

“That is why this anniversary calls not only for commemoration, but also for action—urgently,” added the lawmaker, who is among a list of participants expected to speak during a gathering on the National Mall scheduled to begin at 4:45 pm ET. “If Congress fails to pass legislation to secure the right to vote and protect Americans’ democratic freedoms, we invite these attacks to continue.”

“To prevent this kind of attack from happening again, our elected leaders must pass critical legislation that will protect this country from anti-democratic forces.”

Ben Jealous, president of People For the American Way, noted that one year after “we watched in shock and terror as violent extremists attempted to overthrow our democracy... we gather to mourn the lives lost on the day of the insurrection and in its aftermath, and to remind President Biden and the Senate that there is still much work to be done to safeguard our democracy,” referring to more than 350 events, including vigils and voter registration drives, planned across the country.

“For America to move forward,” Jealous continued, “we must hold all of those who perpetrated the crimes of that day responsible for their actions—including those who colluded with insurrectionists to allow entry into the Capitol and those who worked within the Trump administration who remain unwilling to cooperate in investigations.”

Just hours after last year’s right-wing insurrection, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) announced House Resolution 25, which is supported by 54 other Democrats and calls for the House Committee on Ethics to “investigate, and issue a report on, whether any and all actions taken by members of the 117th Congress who sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election violated their oath of office to uphold the Constitution,” or the chamber’s rules.

Last week, Bush said that lawmakers should comemorate the January 6 riot by passing her resolution to “expel the members of Congress who helped incite the violent insurrection at our Capitol.”

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Meanwhile, as the House Select Subcommittee on the January 6 attack continues to scrutinize that day’s events, including potential crimes committed in the lead-up to it, Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday vowed to prosecute perpetrators “at any level.”

In addition to pursuing accountability, Jealous added, “we must also move swiftly to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and other federal voting rights legislation to stop voter suppression bills in states across the country fueled and maintained by the same Big Lie that led to the insurrection and intended to disenfranchise millions of Americans.”

Calling the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “the best chance to fundamentally strengthen and protect our democracy,” Ramon Cruz, president of the Sierra Club, lamented that “both bills are currently stalled in the Senate by the Republican minority.”

“The American people are demanding action to protect voting rights, tackle the climate crisis, and safeguard our communities,” said Cruz, “and by passing these two bills, our country will be closer than ever before in achieving those goals.”

Jayapal, for her part, stressed that “we cannot allow Republicans’ lies or arcane Senate rules to stand in the way of Congress upholding its most basic constitutional responsibilities.”

Applauding Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for announcing a January 17 deadline for Democrats to “debate and consider changes to” the filibuster, Jayapal said that the CPC is “committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure he succeeds... in pushing voting rights restoration forward in the upper chamber.”

The most basic promise of American democracy is that every person’s voice must be heard and vote counted,” said Jayapal. “We cannot fail.”



A year later, what are the lessons from the Trump-backed insurrection of January 6?

Brian Becker, National Director of the ANSWER Coalition, talks about the insurrection of January 6, 2021, why Donald Trump has only grown more popular, and why the Democrats have failed to bring any of the true perpetrators to justice

interviewed by Monica Cruz

January 06, 2022

Photo: Trump supporters during the insurrection of January 6, 2021

A year ago today, a fascist mob took over the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C., stunning the country and the entire world. Called to action by Donald Trump and instigated by his false accusation that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, the mob stormed the building and briefly stopped the certification of the electoral college votes. The attack would not have been possible without collusion from high-level military, police and security officials. Yet, none of them have been brought to justice. At the same time, Congress formed a special committee on January 6th which has no legal authority to persecute the people responsible for it.

The insurrection was a historic attack on one of the most fundamental tenets of US democracy – the peaceful transition of power between the two ruling class parties. Though Trump distanced himself from the events that day, developments over the year have done nothing to stomp out the movement that carried out the attack. In fact, this movement has been galvanized so much so that Donald Trump planned a press conference for the first anniversary of the insurrection at his resort in Mar-a-Lago.

To understand the root causes and implications of January 6, Monica Cruz spoke to Brian Becker, host of the Socialist Program and National Director of the ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition.

Monica Cruz: Trump cancelled his press conference after receiving warnings from members of the Republican Party and the media establishment. What do make of the fact that he even planned to do this?

Brian Becker: When Trump decided to hold a press conference at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on the first anniversary of the violent assault that dispersed Congress, it was clear that he was trying to take ownership of what happened on January 6. He wanted to identify with it. He said in his statement announcing the press conference “Until then, remember, the insurrection took place on November 3rd, it was the completely unarmed protest of the rigged election that took place on January 6th.” This meant that there was an effort to destroy American democracy by the theft of votes. As a consequence, he was deprived of his rightful re-election to the White House. And that the protest in January was not a violent insurrection, but rather a righteous effort to right a wrong, in other words, to save democracy.

So he’s completely back in the mode of encouraging, supporting and embracing those who carried out the violent assault on the Capitol. Now, what makes that important is that in the days after the violent assault, Trump distanced himself from the attack. He went on TV in fact, and said disparaging words about those who would employ violence. He said the people who carried out the violence didn’t represent him. And that showed that Trump was very much on the defensive in the days after January 6. But today, a year later, Trump is no longer on the defensive but is very much in an offensive, aggressive mode. And that’s a reflection of what has changed in the last year – instead of weakening Trump’s base, instead of weakening the right-wing movement in the United States, the events on January 6 and what took place afterwards have in fact consolidated the rise of this very far-right movement.

And Trump is the leader of that movement. His decision to cancel the press conference was because the Republicans in the Senate, the Republicans in the House of Representatives and Republican-oriented, right-wing media like Fox news – these are the more mainstream, but still very far-right forces within the Republican establishment and party politics – thought it was a tactical mistake for Trump to take ownership of January 6. They felt that it would diminish and weaken Trump, and they felt he was making a tactical error. So he listened to their counsel. So while he cancelled the event, it doesn’t change his political orientation or his feeling of strength. It’s simply a tactical decision not to directly be in the cross-hairs on the day when all of the media will be showing vivid images of the January 6 assault and just how violent it was.

MC: Can you summarize what the reaction of the Democrats and Republicans has been over the course of this year to the attacks on January 6?

BB: I think the most important failure of the Democratic party was the way they did not encourage the prosecution of the chief architects of the violent assault, meaning they did not file charges against Trump and his entourage who clearly planned this event. They were the ones who summoned tens of thousands of Trump supporters to Washington in the middle of the work week. People had to get on planes and come to Washington or come by other modes of transportation. But the reason they came that day in the middle of the week and not a Saturday was that it was when Congress was going to certify the elections after which there was no doubt that Trump was leaving the White House and Biden was coming in.

So this was a last ditch effort to bring people to Washington DC and at the rally at the White House, Trump told them to march on the Capitol, to fight and show no weakness and said he would accompany them. So when these people marched on the Capitol, they thought they were doing the bidding of their leader. And in fact, they were. Donald Trump was telling them that if Mike Pence doesn’t use his authority in the Senate to overturn the election outcome, he would be nothing short of a traitor, and as a consequence, when they got to the Capitol, they were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

So it’s clear that Donald Trump was the architect of the whole operation. And so instead of prosecuting Trump, which would’ve really made a big difference, or his entourage, the only negative thing that happened to him was he lost his Twitter account. Meanwhile, the government then prosecuted hundreds of rank-and-file people who were basically following the direction of their leader. And instead of prosecuting Trump, they decided to impeach him, which was nothing other than political theater, performative theater, because Trump was on his way out in two weeks at the time of the trial. So that allowed Trump, who did not face serious criminal prosecution, to make the argument to his political base: ‘Look, they’re impeaching me even as I’m leaving, which makes no sense.’ He could claim that the impeachment was one more indication that all of this was a political hit job. And so he was able to reframe what January 6 was and what happened afterwards as him being politically persecuted. In other words, he was able to assume the position of a victim of a political adversary, rather than what he really was, which was the architect of a seditious conspiracy to overturn a constitutionally mandated process.

That was a great boost for Trump and afterwards, Biden came in and failed to deliver on his Build Back Better program or any of the other far-reaching promises. So there’s been disillusionment and alienation from Biden while Trump has been able to not only ridicule and mock Biden as ineffective, but also portray himself as the victim rather than the aggressor to his base.

MC: The House of Representatives panel set up to investigate the incidents does not seem to have been very effective. It seems to be moving towards sending a criminal referral, which really does not have any true substance in terms of actually bringing the main architects and the people at the highest level of the military and security state to justice. Then, of course, there were the tens of thousands of people who participated, whose faces you know because they posted on social media. A few people have been charged and sentenced to short terms in prison. But there really haven’t been any major consequences for those at the highest level who participated. So can you talk about the role of this committee, its power or lack of it, and what that says about where the ruling class is at?

BB: 700 people have been charged with criminal activities, but many were not key players at all. These include those who were just lingering around the Capitol building afterwards and people who didn’t even go into the Capitol. Thus, the people who are being prosecuted are the foot soldiers, or some of them were just along for the ride. This allows Trump to become their advocate and say, ‘See, they’re punishing these poor people who are just coming to demonstrate.’ Meanwhile, as you mentioned, the congressional committee that’s investigating this has issued some subpoenas for contempt of Congress for failure to show up, and will make some criminal referrals to the Department of Justice that have no legal teeth.

They are simply recommendations to the Department of Justice. So I think that the Democratic Party is grandstanding by looking like they’re big and strong against Trump when, in fact, what they’re doing is the opposite. He is not facing criminal charges. As for the other charges, the contempt charges in Congress will be in fact the political rallying cry for Steve Bannon and the other parts of the Trump entourage. So again, it’s performance theater by the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, it is using these events so that people can send millions and millions to the Democrats as they prepare for the next round of elections. And you also have Trump using the allegation of election fraud to raise lots of money – hundreds of millions of dollars.

So it doesn’t appear to be serious because it’s not serious. And if anything, it provides Trump with a sort of easy-to-attack adversary. He’s not facing real consequences, but he can say, ‘look, they’re parading every day on TV. They’re holding me and my friends and colleagues in contempt again.’ It’s actually very useful for the right wing. The right wing is mobilizing. The right wing is consolidating its movement right now, while on the Democratic side, there’s this alienation and disaffection with the ineffectiveness of the party leadership and the complete worthlessness of the Biden administration in terms of doing anything meaningful to help the working class and poor people.

MC: I think one aspect that shocked many people was the paralysis that the ruling class was experiencing during the insurrection and its slow response to what happened in the days following. What do you make of this response?

BB: I mean, this is part of a perplexing topic. When one examines January 6, what Trump tried to do was prevent the peaceful transfer of power from one ruling class party to the other. This is a cornerstone of the legitimacy, or perceived legitimacy, of the American system of governance – the fact that when one side loses the election, it doesn’t, you know, end up in street fighting or civil war, which would be the hallmark of an unstable system of governance. The US has acknowledged this peaceful transition, at least since the end of the civil war in 1865. So what Trump did is he violated this basic rule – the cardinal rule of politics in America – by putting his own interests ahead of the interests of the capitalist system to demonstrate stability in its form of governance.

So you would think, wow, that’s pretty big. If that’s the cardinal rule, it would be the cardinal sin of bourgeois politics to show that American democracy isn’t that great. It’s not that stable because it weakens the image of the empire globally. But even though Trump was obviously doing this openly, the bourgeoisie, the ruling class, reacted in a very sluggish, haphazard and ineffective way. I mean the FBI knew well in advance that there would be a mass right-wing movement coming to the capital with the intent of overturning the election. It was publicly advertised as that. Anybody who had a Facebook or a Twitter account didn’t need FBI intelligence reports to know what was coming. I was in Washington D.C. at the time. There was so much right-wing violence in the days and weeks beforehand that most of the Black Lives Matter protests scheduled for the evening of January 5 and 6 were actually canceled because people knew that blood would be flowing in the streets.

We all knew this. And yet, when the march took place, only one-fifth of the US Capitol Police Force was present. This force has 3,500 members and they have one job which is to protect the Capitol, which is where Congress sits with all of this intelligence flowing in about what was coming. Why would only one-fifth of the Capitol Police be on duty that day? Why was the National Guard not activated? Why was the National Guard’s assistance not immediately dispensed when requested? I mean, if this had been a demonstration of Black and Latino or socialist organizers marching on the Capitol with efforts to intervene in a constitutional process, there would’ve been like a massive military show of force and there would’ve been a lot of repression. But none of that happened. So what was going on remains one of the big unknown elements. Why was there paralysis at the top, given the fact that this was a cardinal sin being committed by the president of the United States that would obviously diminish the standing and image of US imperialism on the global scale. Again, one of the big unanswered questions.

MC: To bring this all together, what do you think are major takeaways for the people of this country and the people of this world to better understand where the US ruling class is at, as well as the state of the US working class?

BB: Fascism is an organic feature of capitalism and especially capitalism in crisis or capitalism in decay. Before World War II, it wasn’t only Germany and Italy and Spain that were fascist. The entire continental Europe – capitalist Europe – had devolved into fascism in the midst of the global economic crisis of the 1930s. That’s the reality. And inside the United States, there was a strong, very pro-German current within the US ruling class. Of course, the United States and Germany became enemies during World War II because of geo-strategic differences over who would control this or that part of the world. But before that, there was a lot of support for fascism within the ruling class in America. In 1939, a pro-Nazi rally was held in Madison Square Garden. That’s tens of thousands of people right here in New York City.

You know, fascism in power or fascism evolving and moving towards power like the Nazis in the 1920s and 30s actually also borrowed a page from the United States. The idea that there was a master race – the white race – and that the Black population must be suppressed or relegated to permanent second class status or subject to murder and repression, should it try to rebel – that was the reality in the United States in Jim Crow America, a system of capitalism premised on the slavery of kidnapped Africans, and then the apartheid system that was maintained in the hundred years after the Civil War. The Germans actually looked to the United States and its racial system in order to model themselves on it. So there’s also a connection between old democracy in America, which is centered and connected and anchored in white supremacy and racism and the rise of classical fascism in Europe. So fascism isn’t simply an expression of a part of the population that seems to have gone mad with fascist ideology. It’s part and parcel of capitalism in crisis.

And the function of fascism ultimately is to regiment, repress and oppress the working class at a time when it might be in rebellion. What we’re witnessing now is not identical or completely analogous to what happened in Nazi Germany. But it is important to remember that Hitler came to power in January, 1933 not through a coup d’état or not through an armed uprising or through a Nazi revolution or a counter-revolution. He was appointed chancellor by center-right politicians, and once in power, he used his authority to attack and destroy the left in Germany. There was a deal made between the German military and the German capitalists on the one hand and the fascists on the other to suppress the left. The former figured that once they suppressed the left, Hitler would sort of move into their camp. Well, he didn’t fully move into their camp, but he never did appropriate big industry. He was able to sort of make a deal with the capitalists that they would retain their capitalist property and become ever richer. And in exchange, he was able to impose this fascist dictatorship on the German working class. These are important things to learn about, to know about [so that we do] not think of them simply as cultural or national or ethnic or historical phenomena, but rather phenomena that’s rooted in the capitalist economic order, especially one in crisis.

Monica Cruz is a reporter with US-based media outlet Breakthrough News.



Capitol Rioter Admits False Statements to FBI, but Prosecutors Haven’t Charged Him With a Felony

The Justice Department frequently charges Muslims with felonies for making false statements to federal agents.

Trevor Aaronson

January 3 2022, 4:43 p.m.

Far-right extremists leave Portland, Ore., after clashing with antifascists on Aug. 7, 2021. Photo: Nathan Howard

It wasn’t hard for the FBI to identify Jeff Grace as one of the rioters in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. A 61-year-old long-haul truck driver from Washington state, Grace was in the background of one of the most ridiculous and iconic photographs from that day: the shot of a man in a red, white, and blue Trump hat waving to the camera while carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern through the rotunda. Grace’s bald head was visible in the background.

“You know the guy carrying the lectern out?” Grace would later ask a Texas police officer, in a video Grace recorded and posted online during a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border while he was on pretrial release.

“Yes, sir,” the officer responded.

“Look at the old man behind him,” Grace boasted. “That’s me.”

FBI agents arrested Grace at his home in Battle Ground, Washington, near the Oregon border, about three weeks after the Capitol riot.

According to a review of court records by The Intercept in collaboration with the Prosecution Project, Grace is one of 707 Americans charged in federal court in the District of Columbia with crimes related to the January 6 riot, during which five people died. As with 316 of those criminal defendants, or 45 percent of the total, Grace faces only misdemeanor charges for his part in a violent mob that overran barricades and killed and injured police officers at the Capitol as part of an effort to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

After his arrest, Grace told FBI agents that he had lost track of his son, Jeremy, with whom he had traveled from Washington state, during the melee and that he entered the U.S. Capitol without him. He also denied to federal agents that he was a member of the Proud Boys, a far-right militant group that has been responsible for violence throughout the United States.

According to The Intercept’s analysis of federal court records, the Justice Department has charged at least 47 alleged members and affiliates of the Proud Boys with crimes related to the Capitol riot, including some with conspiring to obstruct a congressional proceeding. The Proud Boys represented the largest militant-group contingent during the insurrection; the far-right Oath Keepers made up the second-largest contingent, with 29 alleged Oath Keepers charged for their roles in the insurrection. The FBI appeared to be concerned in advance about possible violence from the Proud Boys on January 6, 2021, with at least one informant providing firsthand details about the group’s activities to the FBI.

Federal prosecutors allege that Grace made two false statements to FBI agents: when he said he wasn’t with his son in the Capitol and when he said he wasn’t a member of the Proud Boys. Grace’s son has since also been charged with misdemeanors related to the January 6 riot, after investigators found videos among deleted files on Grace’s phone showing father and son together inside the Capitol.

Months after Grace pleaded not guilty to the federal misdemeanor charges, Justice Department prosecutors alleged in court that he engaged in armed clashes in Texas and Oregon. Prosecutors asked a judge to force Grace to relinquish his guns while he awaits trial. “Grace’s recent escalation in which he twice brought a firearm to pre-planned confrontations with others and vowed to continue doing so establishes that the proposed amendment is reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the community,” Mona Sedky, a federal prosecutor, wrote in a court filing.

Ratification Of Presidential Election

Left/Top: Protesters who claim to be members of the Proud Boys gather outside the U.S. Capitol. Right/Bottom: Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021.Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images; Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A judge agreed and ordered Grace to turn over his guns to local police in Washington state. But the Justice Department has not brought additional charges for Grace’s false statements to the FBI, which would transform Grace’s case into a far more serious prosecution. Making false statements to FBI agents is a federal felony punishable by up to five years in prison, and in international terrorism cases, prosecutors commonly file the charge. More than 150 defendants with alleged links to foreign terror groups have been charged with making false statements since 9/11, often for alleged offenses similar to Grace’s: misleading statements about their involvement in extremist groups or about people with whom they’re associated.

Grace has complained in videos he’s posted to YouTube that the Justice Department is treating him unfairly. “How do you feel free thinking that I don’t deserve to carry my firearms?” Grace asked in one video.

But Grace is in fact benefiting from a long-running double standard in how the Justice Department prosecutes violent domestic extremists compared with extremists associated with international groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Since 9/11, for example, Muslims involved in bombing cases are often charged with using weapons of mass destruction, an anti-terrorism charge that comes with decades in prison, while anti-abortion extremists who’ve bombed reproductive health clinics have faced lesser explosives charges for similar crimes.

“There is no question that the FBI and federal prosecutors have treated white supremacist and far-right violence far more leniently than Muslims they accuse of supporting terrorism and even more leniently than nonviolent protesters opposing racism and police violence,” said Michael German, a former FBI undercover agent who investigated domestic extremists and is now a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.

“There is no question that the FBI and federal prosecutors have treated white supremacist and far-right violence far more leniently than Muslims they accuse of supporting terrorism.”

The felony charge of making false statements to federal agents is particularly emblematic of the double standard. The Justice Department gave Grace a pass on the charge, but federal prosecutors have not been as generous in similar cases involving alleged Islamist extremists.

A few months after prosecutors charged Grace for his role in the Capitol riot, for example, they filed criminal charges against an alleged ISIS sympathizer, Hannibal Kokayi, following an investigation that dates back to 2018. The FBI had investigated whether Kokayi was part of a group that was introducing others to ISIS propaganda and encouraging people to join the terrorist group in Syria.

The FBI interviewed Kokayi twice, first at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and later at his home, and in both interviews, Kokayi lied about supporting ISIS and about his knowledge of people who wanted to join the group. Federal prosecutors charged Kokayi with making false statements, a felony; he pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 24 months of probation.

In international terrorism prosecutions, Kokayi’s case isn’t an outlier, and in some cases, the penalties have been significantly more severe than what Kokayi received. In Florida, Robert Blake Jackson posted ISIS propaganda on Facebook and expressed an interest in joining the group. When the FBI questioned him, he lied about what he’d written on Facebook. He was sentenced to three years in prison. Alexander Samuel Smith, a North Carolina man who went by the name Amir Alexander, communicated online with an FBI informant who he believed was an ISIS supporter. Smith claimed that he could get cheap airline tickets through his girlfriend, who worked for an airline, and when the FBI asked Smith about this conversation, he lied about it. He received five years in prison.

Perhaps the most relevant and moving case involves a husband and wife in Texas, Mohommad and Sumaiya Ali, who were in contact with their two sons who’d joined ISIS in Syria. When FBI agents questioned the couple about their children, Mohommad and Sumaiya lied, saying they didn’t know that their sons were in Syria or with ISIS. Mohommad was sentenced to a year in prison and Sumaiya two and a half years for making false statements to FBI agents. Their rationale was likely the very same as Grace’s: He said he lied to the FBI to protect his son.

German points to recent activity in the Pacific Northwest as indicative of the double standard. The Proud Boys, which as an organization promotes misogynist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and antisemitic views, have been involved in violent clashes there, including an attack on the Oregon Capitol two weeks before the January 6 riot in Washington, D.C. But prosecutors have not aggressively gone after the Proud Boys and other violent right-wing extremists there, instead bringing nearly 100 cases against Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, including for serious felony charges such as assaulting a federal officer.

“It’s no wonder that far-right militants appear emboldened all across the country,” German noted, “as their public violence continues to be unpoliced.”
Screenshot of Jeff Grace’s YouTube account “Our House USA.”

After the Capitol Riot

Grace’s life began to change after the Capitol riot, and he’s documented the changes in dozens of YouTube videos posted over the last eight months. Most have fewer than 100 views. They start on April 17, when Grace posted a video of himself pulling up to the parking lot of Daimler Trucks North America, his employer for 26 years. The video was filmed by someone sitting in the passenger seat next to Grace.

“How’s it going?” Grace said to a company employee as he drove up.

“Pretty good,” the employee said. “I can’t let you on-site.”

“What?” Grace asked, surprised.

“You’ve been banned.”

Grace said that he had been fired by his company after being indicted in Washington, D.C.“I’m not being supported by the union or Daimler, and I’ve been accused of a crime,” Grace said. “I am not convicted.”

He posted his next video a couple months later. Grace recorded it two days after the FBI arrested his son. “It’s absolutely amazing how much money they’re spending on myself and my son,” Grace said of the federal government. In the video, Grace is wearing a T-shirt showing the U.S. Capitol with the words “Our House” below it — the type of shirt that he’s now trying to sell online under his politically charged “Our House” apparel brand.

Grace said in this video that any good father would lie to protect his son, and he denied that he was a member of the Proud Boys. “So Proud Boys, no, I’m not one of you, and I’m not part of you, but I do have respect for you,” he said.

Grace admitted to Cotta that he falsely told FBI agents that he became separated from his son on January 6, 2021.

After his son’s arrest, Grace began to capture the attention of fringe internet personalities. In June, he sat for an interview with Todd Cotta, a California gun store owner who has a podcast called “Rebel Radio.” Grace admitted to Cotta that he falsely told FBI agents that he became separated from his son on January 6, 2021. “Because I wanted to protect my son, I said I separated myself from him,” Grace said. He also admitted to deleting data from his phone — which investigators later recovered and discovered were videos and photos showing him and his son together in the Capitol. Grace boasted around this time of doing an interview with Jake Beaird, a far-right activist who has livestreamed Proud Boys’ hooliganism and been kicked off some social media platforms.

The fringe media attention appeared to embolden Grace in his quest to become a right-wing YouTube celebrity. In brief video monologues that increased in frequency, he denied that there was any violence at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. “Peaceful protest,” he said. “There was no insurrection.” He then claimed that the FBI broke a window at the Capitol and bused in violent antifascists. He railed against Black Lives Matter and antifascist groups and referred to “the left” as if it were an organized, monolithic force. He complained that some businesses in Oregon and Washington state were still requiring masks. “And that is the start of socialism, people,” Grace said. He also claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and that an audit in Arizona would prove it.

PORTLAND, OR - AUGUST 08: Far-right extremist Jeff Grace reacts to being pepper sprayed by anti-fascists on August 8, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Anti-fascists and far-right extremists clashed near a religious gathering in downtown Portland for the second day in a row without a police response. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

A Violent Summer

In July, Grace set off for the U.S.-Mexico border with Beaird, the Proud Boys videographer. Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys received international attention during the 2020 presidential debate, when Trump told the group’s members to “stand back and stand by.”

As Grace and Beaird traveled to the border, Grace uploaded videos. Reflecting his conspiratorial view that the United States is in the middle of a culture war as immigrants “flood” the country, Grace said he expected to record videos of immigrants crossing over into the United States illegally. But as he stood next to the border in one of his videos, Grace said, as if genuinely surprised: “Not a whole heck of a lot going on.”

In late July, local police approached Beaird and Grace as they filmed outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Texas. An officer asked what they were doing. “We’re filming because clearly there’s some crazy stuff going on here,” Beaird answered.

Beaird and Grace said they saw a bus pull up next to the building, and Grace recorded himself telling the local police officers that he believed it was part of a government conspiracy to distribute illegal immigrants throughout the United States. “You hear all the talk about the immigrants that are coming in and being dispersed across the U.S.,” Grace said.

In that conversation, Grace boasted to the officer about being at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and explained that he could be seen in the background of the infamous photograph of the man carrying Pelosi’s lectern through the rotunda. After checking their IDs, the police allowed Beaird and Grace to continue filming the federal building.

In a court filing, the Justice Department said that during this trip to Texas, Grace engaged in armed confrontations with people he believed were illegal immigrants.

Portland’s Bizarre Experiment With Not Policing Proud Boys Rampage Ends in Gunfire

Then, after attending a Trump rally in Phoenix, Grace returned with Beaird to the Pacific Northwest, where they joined the Proud Boys to provide what Grace described as “perimeter security” for Artur Pawlowski, a controversial Canadian minister who has promoted homophobia and resistance to mask mandates. Antifascist activists and Proud Boys clashed at the gathering as police in Portland looked on. Photographs from the event show Grace carrying a sidearm and holding a baton while in the bed of a truck surrounded by other white men dressed for battle. In video recorded by Beaird, Grace can be seen taking part in the assault of a man under a bridge in Portland.

Grace recorded a YouTube video afterward in which he admitted to participating in the Proud Boys event in Portland. “Looking forward to the next event I am able to embrace,” Grace said.

Three days after this violent clash, prosecutors in Washington, D.C., asked the court to order Grace to give up his weapons and alleged that Grace had falsely said he was not with his son in the U.S. Capitol and that he was not a member of the Proud Boys. Federal prosecutors referred in their court filing to the public photographs of Grace in Portland and the video Beaird recorded of the assault under the bridge there.

No Additional Charges

The Justice Department declined a request from The Intercept to explain why it has chosen not to prosecute Grace for making false statements when prosecutors have filed that felony charge against dozens of other alleged extremists for similar conduct. “We typically do not comment on cases, investigations, or charging decisions beyond what is stated or submitted to the court,” said Bill Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. “We have no comment on this particular matter.”

Grace may be curious to hear prosecutors’ explanation as well. In his interview in June with Cotta, the California gun store owner, Grace said he was expecting to be charged with making false statements: “Now I have another charge that’s going to be coming on me for lying to the FBI —”

“Oh,” Cotta replied, interrupting.

“Which is a felony,” Grace finished.

“Oh, jeez,” Cotta said.

“Yeah,” Grace said.

But that didn’t happen. To date, Grace faces only misdemeanor charges, despite having admitted publicly to making false statements to federal agents. Now unemployed, Grace has been living out of a trailer, traveling from RV park to RV park in the Pacific Northwest as he uploaded videos to YouTube that espouse his conspiratorial, nativist view of the world.

“Am I concerned that I’m going to be put in jail or prison till my trial?” he asked in one recent video. “Well, if I said I wasn’t, thinking about it for a little bit, I’d be a liar, because I’m not stopping and they’re trying to stop me. Every week it’s something new, something different. But I’m not going to stop. I’m going to stand up. I’m going share.”

But Grace did stop. After The Intercept first contacted Grace and his public defender in October 2021 and asked questions about his case and the videos in which he admitted to criminal conduct, Grace’s YouTube channel went quiet.



January 6 Capitol attack:
Supporters of former President Donald Trump violently storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. (Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

Campaign Aims to Bar All Jan. 6 Insurrectionists—Including Trump—From Future Public Office

“We are urging election officials to make clear that insurrectionists such as President Trump and his congressional allies are barred from ever again holding public office, as is required under the 14th Amendment.”

Brett Wilkins

January 5, 2022

On the eve of the first anniversary of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, progressives are ramping up their campaign to block January 6 insurrectionists—including Trump and hundreds of Republican elected officials—from ever running for public office again.

“Disqualify everyone involved in the January 6 insurrection from seeking public office.”

Free Speech for People and Our Revolution—the political organizing group born from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential run—announced Wednesday that they are teaming up as part of the 14point3 campaign, an effort to urge secretaries of state to ban elected officials who encouraged or participated in the January 6 insurrection from appearing on any electoral ballot.

“Initially enacted in the wake of the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies from public office any individual who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and then engages in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or gives aid or comfort to those who have,” Free Speech for People explains. “By inciting a violent attack on Congress in an effort to prevent the certification of his own electoral defeat, Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and violated his oath of office.”

Free Speech for People campaign director Alexandra Flores-Quilty said in a statement that “secretaries of state have a duty to ensure that candidates who seek to appear on their state ballots meet the constitutional qualifications for serving in public office,” and that “those who violated their oath of office by engaging in the violent January 6 insurrection do not meet these terms.”

“Thus,” she added, “we are urging election officials to make clear that insurrectionists such as President Trump and his congressional allies are barred from ever again holding public office, as is required under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

According to the Insurrection Index by Public Wise—another advocacy group seeking to hold individuals and organizations accountable for their roles on January 6—more than 1,000 public figures, including 213 elected officials, acted as accomplices to Trump’s attempted coup. These include Trump, the 147 members of Congress who tried to block certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, and scores of state and local officials.

“These are folks who silenced the voices of American voters, who took a validly held election and created fraudulent information to try to silence voters,” Public Wise executive director Christina Baal-Owens told The Guardian. “They have no business being near legislation or being able to affect the lives of American people.”

The 14point3 campaign comes amid a spate of dire warnings regarding the precarious state of U.S. democracy. On Tuesday, Common Dreams reported that violent conflict scholar Thomas Homer-Dixon called Trump “just a warm-up act” on the path to a full-blown fascist dictatorship in the United States by the end of the decade.

“By 2025,” he wrote, “American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.”

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Jake Johnson

U.S. attorney Marc Elias, who along with colleagues won 64 of the 65 lawsuits challenging Biden’s 2020 victory, told The Guardian that “we are one, maybe two, elections away from a constitutional crisis over election subversion.”

“If we don’t recognize who was behind the attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, then next time we will be less prepared and it may succeed,” he said.

Paco Fabián, director of campaigns at Our Revolution, said that “on many levels, our democracy is under threat, and grassroots activists are ready to stand up to defend it.”

“We need to demand that our election officers follow the rule of law and ensure that current and former elected officials who participated in the January 6 insurrection are barred from appearing on any future ballot,” he asserted. “Disqualify everyone involved in the January 6 insurrection from seeking public office.”



Photo: At rallies around the country, correspondent A.C. Thompson found a growing movement intent on overturning the 2020 vote and altering the course of future elections. Credit: FRONTLINE

Recent Interviews Shed New Light on Jan. 6 Attack on the Capitol

An updated documentary from ProPublica, FRONTLINE and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program tracks the migration of fringe election conspiracies into the mainstream. It airs Tuesday, Jan. 4, at 10 p.m. EST.

by ProPublica Co-published with FRONTLINE
Jan. 4, 5 a.m. EST

Nearly a year after an angry mob swept through the U.S. Capitol, ProPublica, Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program and FRONTLINE will air an updated edition of the documentary “American Insurrection” on Tuesday.

The feature-length film, which follows right-wing extremists in the days leading up to the Jan. 6 assault, originally aired in the spring of 2021.

Now, with investigations into the attack still ongoing, the updated documentary draws on fresh interviews with law enforcement sources, congressional leaders and extremism experts to reassess the day’s events and to look to the future.

The new reporting tracks the migration of fringe beliefs into the mainstream and the enduring power of conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. At rallies around the country, correspondent A.C. Thompson found a growing movement intent on overturning the 2020 vote and altering the course of future elections.

Watch the Updated “American Insurrection”

The updated film showcases recently released footage of FBI agents interviewing Daniel Rodriguez, a California man accused of shocking a police officer with a stun gun during the battle for the Capitol, among other charges. “We felt that they stole the election,” Rodriguez said under questioning. “We felt that they stole this country — it’s gone. It’s wiped out. America’s over. It’s destroyed now.”

Rodriguez has pleaded not guilty.

In a new interview, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said the men and women who stormed the building believed they were acting on the orders of then-President Donald Trump — and told police as much while the melee was unfolding. “They were there because Donald Trump sent them — according to them,” he said.

“My No. 1 thought was just to survive,” Dunn recalled. “We were fighting for our lives, fighting for democracy.”

Read More
Facebook Hosted Surge of Misinformation and Insurrection Threats in Months Leading Up to Jan. 6 Attack, Records Show

In another new scene, Thompson asks Mary McCord for a status update on the militant groups implicated in the attack on the Capitol — the Proud Boys and militia organizations like the Three Percenters and Oath Keepers. “Within days, literally days, they started finger-pointing. Some dissolved. Some reconstituted themselves,” said McCord, who serves as legal counsel to the congressional committee investigating Jan. 6 and previously held a top counterterrorism role at the Department of Justice.

However, noted McCord, who also leads a legal clinic at Georgetown University’s law school, the movement that sought to reverse the 2020 vote is by no means dead. She pointed to recent polling indicating that tens of millions of Americans continue to believe that the 2020 election was plagued by widespread fraud as well as the vast amount of disinformation already circulating online about the next round of elections, in 2022.

The updated “American Insurrection” premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST, 9 p.m. CST, on PBS stations (check your local listings) and will be available to stream on FRONTLINE’s website, YouTube and the PBS Video App.

Join ProPublica for a live virtual event on the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6 to discuss what the attack on the capitol could mean for the 2022 election cycle.



Culprits behind Capitol insurrection still not brought to justice

7 janv. 2022

VIDEO here 4:30

by Peoples Dispatch

January 6 marks the one year anniversary of the far right insurrection at the US Capitol where a violent mob stormed the building, breaching three levels of security. Even though more than 2500 took part in the action, only 725 have been arrested so far. Brian Becker of the ANSWER Coalition talking to Monica Cruz of Breakthrough News points out that even though Donald Trump was the architect of the whole operation, he was able to reframe the incident and what happened afterwards as his political persecution.



Where is America going? - One year after the storming of the Capitol

Thursday 6 January 2022,


On the anniversary of the storming of the Capitol in Washington, Neil Faulkner assesses the strength of the authoritarian right in the United States.


What has the Republican (...)
Bridges to fascism
Voter suppression
Can the right be defeated?

No-one should be in any doubt that it was a coup attempt. It may have been botched, but the storming of the Capitol and the invasion of Congress by a fascist mob of thousands on 6 January last year was a deliberate attempt to overturn the result of a democratic election.

Trump mobilised the mob and then, on the day, urged it on. He did so with significant backing from other Republican politicians, 147 of whom voted on the following day against ratification of the election result, and from Republican voters, more than half of whom believe the election was fraudulent, and almost half of whom believe the storming of the Capitol was justified.

Other forces were also in accord. Given the wide publicity around the fascist mobilisation in the days beforehand, the lack of police protection for Congress on 6 January is unequivocal evidence that parts of the state apparatus were in sympathy with the coup attempt. There is no other way of reading the simple fact that the mob was able to break in, stream through the building, vandalise the place, and put politicians and staff in fear of their lives.

Nor does this grotesque violation of parliamentary democracy appear to have done Trump any substantive political harm. Let us recall that 74 million Americans voted for him in 2020, ten million more than in 2016, despite the accumulated evidence over four years that he is a charlatan, a narcissist, a dum-wit, and a vicious racist, misogynist, and homophobe.

What the polls are now showing is that Trump is leading his nearest rival for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 by 54% to 11%. They also show him with a 5% lead over Biden (compared with Biden’s 4.4% lead over him in 2020).

What has the Republican Party become?

The US Republican Party (GOP) was founded as the progressive party of the Northern bourgeoisie shortly before the American Civil War. The Lincoln presidency, the Union victory in the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Radical Reconstruction (of the South) after the Civil War were all Republican Party achievements. At the time, the Democratic Party was the party of Southern Dixiecrats and pro-slavery racism.

The GOP (Grand Old Party) remained politically dominant for two generations after the Civil War, but it became increasingly conservative. In this it reflected the evolution of US capitalism. The Northern bourgeoisie transitioned from a radical-abolitionist class at the time of the Civil War (1861-65) and Reconstruction (1865-77) into a plutocratic elite during the Gilded Age (c.1870s-1900). The party that had once put 200,000 former slaves into uniform to fight for abolition became a party deeply hostile to all popular movements as a threat to the wealth and power of the US capitalist class.

The Democratic Party also changed. Originally dominant in the South, it widened its base by supporting some radical causes and progressive reforms. This switchover in mainstream US politics became enduring during the Great Depression with the election of a Democratic president (Franklin D Roosevelt) and the implementation of the New Deal. It was deepened during the 1960s when another Democratic president (Lyndon B Johnson) drove the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act through Congress.

The Republican Party has continued to evolve. A mainstream conservative party for most of the 20th century, it made a sharp turn to the right with the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980. Like the Thatcher premiership in Britain, the Reagan presidency represented a break with the post-war welfare consensus and the beginning of a full-scale counter-offensive by the ruling class to drive down wages and increase the rate of profit.

This counter-offensive was a massive success. Union membership in the States has halved since the 1970s, and the real value of wages has been static. Instead, wealth has been hoovered upwards. One recent study estimated that the bottom 90% of Americans have lost $50 trillion to the richest 1% in the last four decades.

This kind of aggressive class war is unsustainable in the framework of liberal politics. This has been especially so since 2008, with the financial crash, bailouts for the rich, and doubled-down austerity for the rest. The whole system comes to look like a racket in which ordinary folk get screwed so the rich can feed their greed.

So the Republican Party has made another turn – to authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, misogyny, racism, and other kinds of scapegoat politics.

This is not an aberration. It is a global trend driven by neoliberal capitalism’s crisis of legitimacy. Unable to provide real solutions to real problems – unable, above all, to address growing social inequality and consequent discontent – the right is forced to adopt the politics of fascism. It has nowhere else to go.

The Republican Party has become a party of the authoritarian right, which means a party projecting essentially fascist ideas and fostering the growth of fascist organisation. The attempted coup on 6 January 2021 was a perfect illustration of this. It involved several thousand fascists on the streets in Washington (including the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, the Three Percenters, and other militias), but, if the polling is accurate, it had the passive support of around 30-35 million Republican voters.

It is this grassroots fascism that emboldens so many Republican politicians to obstruct the Congressional investigation into the events of 6 January and FBI prosecutions of the rioters. Over the last year, the proportion of Republicans who believe there should be legal redress has fallen dramatically. Some Republican Representatives have described the detention of offenders awaiting trial as victims of ‘Marxism and totalitarianism’.

Bridges to fascism

Feeding the growth of the authoritarian right is a pandemic of irrationalism and online conspiracy theory. Around 60% of Republicans believe at least some of the claims of online QAnon conspiracy theory, about 40% are opposed to Covid vaccination, and as few as 30% believe the scientific evidence for global warming.

This historic collapse of the collective human intelligence – this mass rejection of science, reason, and evidence-based thinking – is, of course, pathological. It is a form of mass psychosis. How could it not be?

I argue in Mind Fuck: the mass psychology of creeping fascism (forthcoming soon) that creeping fascism is rooted in the culture of competitive individualism and materialism fostered by neoliberalism and in the emergence of a distinctive narcissistic-authoritarian personality type.

I have spent much of the last five years arguing with people who are in denial about creeping fascism. This has now reached the point where liberal commentators are more likely to use the F-word than many left commentators. Some seem to think fascism can be reduced to marching paramilitaries and swastika flags.

Four points must be made. First, fascism is a process, not a thing. Second, fascism infects the entire social order as it grows. Third, mainstream parties can evolve towards fascism. Fourth, the existing bourgeois state is the primary instrument of fascist repression.

Interwar fascism had all these characteristics. There is nothing exceptional about what is happening to the US Republican Party. It is evolving towards fascism in the same way as, say, Miklos Horthy’s regime in Hungary between 1920 and 1944. Horthy banned the openly fascist Arrow Cross Party, but passed anti-semitic laws, fought alongside Hitler in the Second World War, and eventually sent half a million Jews to the extermination camps.

I have also had arguments with people about phenomena like the anti-vaxx movement. Informed by online conspiracy theory and supported by organised fascists, the anti-vaxx movement is an eruption of irrationalism, narcissistic selfishness, and mass psychosis. As such, it was one of many bridges to fascism – the political epicentre of reaction as the world descends deeper into crisis.

Voter suppression

It is no exaggeration to say that if Trump wins the presidential election in 2024, we may see a qualitative shift in the form of US government – a breakdown of liberal parliamentary democracy, a lurch towards a gerrymandered elective dictatorship of the authoritarian right, and full-on repression of progressive forces by state police and fascist militias.

Something like this was in preparation within months of Biden’s inauguration. No less than 360 bills had been introduced in state legislatures aiming at voter suppression as soon as April last year. Measures proposed included: limiting mail-in voting; requiring voter IDs; reducing early voting; eliminating automatic and same-day voter registration; curbing the use of ballot drop-boxes; purging voter rolls; banning the provision of food and water to people waiting in line to vote; and allowing partisan observers to record people voting. All these measures – and others proposed – are designed to exclude the poor and disadvantaged – that is, those more likely to vote Democrat.

The US has a long history of voter suppression. It was on a massive scale across the South in the Jim Crow era (1877-1965). Some two million Black Americans were not registered to vote in 1965. In Alabama, it was 80% of eligible Black voters. In Dallas County, only 333 out of 15,000 voting-age Blacks had the vote.

Segregationists controlled the local municipalities and they had many ways of making registration well-nigh impossible: few offices, limited opening hours, long queues, time-consuming procedures, excessive qualification requirements, and so on. And behind the official façade lurked the raw power of organised white supremacy – employers who could hire and fire at will, and racist cops and Klansmen who threatened anyone who challenged the established order with retributive violence.

Needless to say, it is Black and Latino Americans, and other disadvantaged groups, who will be disproportionately affected by the voter-suppression drive now underway in Republican-controlled states.


The Republican counter-revolution is waging a culture war on numerous fronts, but one predominates right now. If the US Supreme Court – now conservative-dominated – overturns or guts the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade decision on abortion rights, it is likely that no less than 26 Republican-controlled states will impose bans or severe restrictions on a woman’s right to choose.

As Susan Pashkoff explains in another article on this site:

"Travelling to a state where abortion remains legal will be expensive. In the Mid-West, abortion will be banned everywhere except for Illinois and Minnesota, and in the South from Florida to Texas.

Many women are unable to take sick days or holidays off work (in the US, part-time jobs do not guarantee sick days and holidays), and there is the obvious stigma if people find out what you have done. So exercising your right to bodily autonomy where your state does not recognise it will not be easy."

Polls show an almost 50:50 split on the question of abortion in the US. But whereas only around 25% of Democrat voters are anti-abortion, the proportion is around 75% among Republicans. Approximately 60 million Americans (in a population of 330 million) are white evangelicals (Christian fundamentalists). They are deeply reactionary on a host of social issues, including abortion. An estimated 80% of them voted for Trump in 2020.

This huge right-wing bloc is being energised around the Republican assault on women’s rights. An essential component of creeping fascism – which, to repeat, is an organic process infecting the entire social order – is this kind of culture war, in which primitive impulses from the sewers of capitalist society and the human psyche are organised into a reactionary political force.

In the case of abortion, these impulses involve patriarchy, sexism, and psychotic hatred of women, especially feminists and other independent women. The attack on women’s reproductive rights is an attempt to put women ‘back in their place’. In the same way, various minorities – Blacks, Latinos, LGBTQI+ people, and others – are also to be put ‘back in their place’. It is in this sense that the anti-abortion offensive in the US – in the context of the world capitalist crisis and the rise of the authoritarian right – is a bridge to fascism.

Can the right be defeated?

Yes, of course. But it will not be easy.

Fascism cannot be defeated by simply labelling the enemy as such. Fascism grows in a seed-bed of social crisis and mass alienation. It grows where there is unemployment, rotten housing, crumbling infrastructure, and decaying public services. It grows when people know their lives are getting worse and cannot see them ever getting better. Fascism, as Trotsky put it, is the party of counter-revolutionary despair.

Modern fascism combines four elements. It hypercharges the traditional reactionary cocktail of nationalism, militarism, racism, misogyny, and so on. It mixes this with ultra-neoliberalism and libertarianism. It draws upon and fosters a culture of extreme, competitive, materialist, narcissistic individualism. And it relies upon the evidence-free realm of cyberspace to disseminate its irrationalism, its conspiracy theories, and its psychopathic hatreds.

What it does not do, on the other hand, is address any of the real issues confronting humanity. The authoritarian right has nothing intelligent to say about the climate crisis, the pandemic, corporate power, social inequality, the migrant crisis, or anything else that matters. What it offers is what has been called ‘sado-populism’, or what George Orwell in Nineteen-Eighty Four described as ‘a boot stamping on a human face forever’. It channels social discontent into a futile psychotic rage directed at scapegoats, minorities, victims, the powerless, the wretched of the earth.

The left could offer a real alternative: red-green revolution to overthrow a corrupt political elite and the corporate billionaires they serve, to redistribute wealth on a global scale, to institute a system of real democracy from below, and to build a new world based on equality, solidarity, sustainability, and peace.

Growing numbers of young activists, deeply aware of the seriousness of the crisis of humanity and the planet, are open to the idea of revolution. But embryonic revolutionary consciousness has to be organised to become a political force.

The central task for socialists in the United States and across the world is to build a network for red-green revolution. Stalinism is dead. Social Democracy is dead. Only the real socialist tradition – socialism from below, the socialism of popular assemblies, of mass participatory democracy – offers a way out. We need to say it, say it loud, and build mass revolutionary organisation to achieve it.

The choice, as it was in the interwar years, is fascism or revolution.



United States
The Long American Meltdown Led to the January 6, 2021 Insurrection

Thursday 6 January 2022,

by David SIROTA

The January 6 Capitol riot was the product of a decades-long attempt to destroy democracy in America — one that Democrats have never made an effort to stop by creating a government that is serious about the public interest.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the January 6 riot, which was the violent crescendo of a generation-long meltdown that exploded in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

Amid all the solid reporting about the details of that day — who plotted it, who participated in it, who supported it — the larger context of the mayhem is almost never mentioned, because to mention it is to raise uncomfortable questions about the roots of right-wing authoritarianism, and spotlight what kind of soil allows those roots to sprout into bloodshed.

The Republican Party is now a corporate-sponsored insurrection creeping through right-wing media, state legislatures, and Congress.

Democrats’ stunned, deer-in-headlights reaction to that insurrection’s January 6 riot — and the belated fears about the end of democracy — only underscore that they remain totally out of touch with the political environment their party was complicit in creating. Their shock also illustrates how oblivious they are to the erosion of democracy that’s been going on for a half century.

The Loss of Faith in Government

At its core, the January 6 insurrection was the weaponized manifestation of virulent anti-government sentiment in a putatively democratic country where a majority has not trusted its own government for two decades, according to the Pew Research Center polls. That anti-government sentiment on display during last year’s riot wasn’t spontaneous — a quick trip back in time in a flux-capacitor-powered DeLorean shows it was cultivated by both politics and reality over the last four decades.

Let’s remember: the ideological crusade against government has always been a part of American politics. But it really began coalescing in modern form in the late 1970s when conservative demagogues, moguls, and business interests began building a movement to demonize public institutions — and to insist as Ronald Reagan did that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.’”

When these right-wing forces gained power, they enacted policies that turned their ideology into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Tax cuts for the wealthy starved government institutions of resources, and when those hobbled agencies then delivered worse services, Republican politicians cited those failures to justify even more budget-starving tax cuts, privatization, and deregulation.

Conservatives tilled this bumper crop of anti-government resentment in soil made fertile by a liberal establishment that was at the time discarding the proven political formula of Franklin Roosevelt. He became the Democratic Party’s most popular president because he understood that delivering economic gains for the working class is not merely good and moral policy, but also the only way to preserve democracy. As he said, a government that refuses to deliver those gains will create a population willing to “sacrifice liberty in the hope of getting something to eat” (and one of his first acts as president was quelling a potential insurrection by supporting help to aggrieved veterans).

In conjunction with Reagan’s ascent, more and more Democratic politicians abandoned this New Deal formula of delivering help to voters and then being rewarded in elections by those same voters. Instead, modern-day Democrats shoved aside a beleaguered labor movement in pursuit of corporate campaign cash, figuring they could help Republicans kick voters in the face, and then just try to buy reelection with corporate donors’ money.

The pillars of neoliberalism — tax cuts, corporate-written trade deals, financial deregulation, budget austerity, and privatization — soon became a bipartisan affair.

Bill Clinton, the first Democratic president after the Reagan era, proudly declared that “the era of big government is over,” and then launched a crusade to slash welfare, help capital crush unions, deregulate Wall Street, privatize government services, and pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — the latter of which prompted culturally conservative working-class voters to abandon the party in droves, according to new research.

George W. Bush picked up where Clinton left off, and then turned the volume up to 11 with the Iraq War — a disaster defined by such epic lies, mismanagement, and theft that it thoroughly discredited the entire political (and media) class. The Hurricane Katrina debacle further underscored the idea of government as unable — or worse, unwilling — to fulfill its most basic responsibilities. During Bush’s tenure, polls showed a mind-boggling forty-point drop in Americans’ faith in their government.

Then came the financial crisis and the presidency of Barack Obama, in what now looks like a last-chance opportunity — a fleeting moment to use a massive election mandate to resurrect Roosevelt’s New Deal formula, reverse the neoliberal deregulation that fueled the emergency, and really deliver for a ravaged working class.

Instead, Obama fortified the policies that created the crisis in the first place. Regulations were aesthetically polished but not fundamentally changed. Bailouts were quickly delivered to the Wall Street donors whose banks were firing up a foreclosure machine. Meanwhile, millions of people thrown out of their homes were given some meager health insurance subsidies, a few nice speeches about “hope,” and the prospect of Social Security cuts.

A Predictable Riot

To be sure, there were some public sector successes in the last forty years. Yes, infrastructure was built and important scientific research was subsidized. Yes, most medicinal innovations were funded by the public (and then privatized and profiteered by politically connected drugmakers). And yes, the government miraculously helped make a lifesaving vaccine available to everyone in America who wants one.

But overall, the government was not addressing eminently solvable economic problems that have been enriching a handful of billionaires while making life miserable for millions of people.

As economic inequality grew to levels not seen since the before the Great Depression, the topline message to millions of Americans over decades has been clear: Despite saccharine campaign speeches to the contrary, and despite some begrudging policy improvements at the margins, governmental leaders have been telling us that they are at best uninterested in aiding most people unless it enriches their donors. More often, they are actively hostile to helping anyone other than the rich and powerful.

Though blue-no-matter-who liberals don’t like to discuss it, the Obama administration’s alliance with Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis was the inflection point solidifying distrust in government, providing a political opportunity for not just Trump but for his entire movement that ultimately tried to torch the Capitol on January 6.

As Trump’s consigliere Steve Bannon said, “The legacy of the financial crisis was Donald J. Trump.”

That’s not an overstatement nor a shocker: comprehensive research shows that in the last 150 years, such financial crises and weak responses in the industrialized world have almost always been followed by an assault on democracy by right-wing authoritarian movements whose anti-government arguments find even more purchase among voters who blame public institutions for the emergencies.

The insurrection was the American version of that global phenomenon — and it followed a Trump term that was performance art for public sector incompetence. The businessman-president seemed completely uninterested in the actual job, the rich got richer, fixable crises got worse, and governmental corruption was not only rampant, but cartoonishly explicit — a signal that graft once considered scandalous is now considered just regular “government.”

Though he was literally the head of that government, Trump cynically blamed most of the grotesquerie on government (and by extension the obsequious political press) — from the “deep state” to the Centers for Disease Control to state governments. Come election day, he and his cronies effectively blamed his election loss on an alleged government conspiracy to steal the election, knowing that an ever larger share of the public was already alienated from its institutions and therefore pre-primed to believe any anti-government argument at all, no matter how absurd.

Hence, when egged on by Trump and a right-wing misinformation machine, some of the hardest of hard core of those believers amassed at the Capitol ready to burn the government down — literally.

It’s hardly a surprise that many of the disgruntled rioters had faced recent financial hardship, which no doubt many blamed on — you guessed it! — the government. It’s even less surprising that many other rioters were economically well-off and considered “mainstream” rather than fringe militia types — showing that anti-government sentiment had been normalized and spread to Republicans’ golf-and-tennis crowd.

“Nobody Elected Him to Be FDR

Acknowledging this context is not to defend the violence or sympathize with its motives — it is simply to recognize that neither Trump’s cabal nor January 6 are anomalies. They are villainous characters and horrifying events in a larger parable that unfolds when for decades a government stops governing and democracy is routinely defiled.

Preventing the next insurrection or something worse, then, is not just a retrospective investigatory or law enforcement matter about a single January day that will live in infamy. It must also be a forward-looking political project — one that Democrats seem to either not understand or not care about.

Up to now, Democrats have spotlighted the January 6 Commission’s revelations about Trump’s coup attempt, and they have touted their party’s half-hearted promise to protect voting rights — a promise simultaneously undermined by their steadfast refusal to end the filibuster.

Democrats have coupled this pro-democracy theater with high-profile betrayals of the working class — from dropping a $15 minimum wage to ending the expanded child tax credit, to refusing to eliminate student debt, to killing paid family and sick leave proposals in the middle of a pandemic. Most recently, Biden’s spokesperson scoffed at the idea of delivering free COVID tests to people’s homes, Biden’s consultants aided Big Pharma’s efforts to kill promised drug-pricing legislation, and Biden’s White House is promising no more stimulus legislation, no matter how much worse the pandemic gets.

Sure, there have been some successes — unlike Obama using his election mandate to give a handful of bankers a giant bag of cash, Biden’s first COVID relief bill actually delivered some tangible benefits to millions of Americans. But the benefits were a temporary reprieve. There has been no permanent structural change of the economy to alleviate any of the increasingly impossible challenges of surviving in America, from exorbitant health insurance bills to predatory rents, to the prospect of elder poverty. Indeed, there hasn’t even been a real public attempt at such structural changes.

As a recent Gallup poll shows trust in government further cratering under Biden, Democrats’ theory seems to be the opposite of Roosevelt’s truism — they seem to believe that a working class facing unending precarity would never dare “sacrifice liberty in the hope of getting something to eat,” and that simply screaming about the end of what’s left of democracy is a winning formula.

Democratic representative Abby Spanberger perfectly summarized these beliefs when she recently declared that “nobody elected (Biden) to be FDR, they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos” — as if “stopping the chaos” has absolutely nothing to do with delivering FDR-like help to millions of angry people struggling to survive.

In this dominant Democratic ideology, “democracy” and “normalcy” are ends in themselves that enough Americans will supposedly be motivated to defend. And who knows, maybe they will. Maybe we really are living in a West Wing episode where high concepts like self-government alone can win the day as a syrupy soundtrack swells with patriotic music.

But maybe not. Maybe the trouble is that in the absence of effective government, more and more Americans see “democracy” alone as a weak lifestyle brand or worse — a ruse.

In the last two decades, they’ve seen a former president’s Supreme Court appointees hand the White House to that president’s son after he lost the national election.

They’ve seen senators representing a tiny minority of the country routinely use the filibuster to block bills supported by the vast majority of the country, as Democrats do nothing — choosing instead to defend arcane rules and the Senate as an institution.

They’ve seen corporations and billionaires buy elections, legislation, and Supreme Court seats.

They’ve seen the Fourth Estate — a pillar of any functioning democracy — become a megaphone for the same corporations buying the elections.

They’ve seen senators from the poorest states become loyal shills for the richest oligarchs.

They’ve seen the opposite of what happened after America voted out Herbert Hoover and Roosevelt delivered the New Deal.

They’ve seen their votes for politicians deliver little more than inaugural parties, vapid appeals to our better angels, donor enrichment schemes masquerading as public policy — and then reelection campaign ads promising that progress is somehow still out of reach but just over the horizon, as long as you send a bit more cash to your preferred political party.

What they haven’t seen — and are still not seeing — is a robust attempt to combat anti-government nihilism by creating a government that is serious about the public interest.

Until they do, the insurrection is likely to continue.

David Sirota is editor-at-large at Jacobin. He edits the Daily Poster newsletter and previously served as a senior adviser and speechwriter on Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign.