United States: Could Trump's supporters stage another coup?

June 15, 2021
The insurrection by white nationalists on January 6 targetted the US Capitol as Congress was ratifying the results of the election. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Retired General Michael Flynn spoke at the “For God and Country: Patriot Roundup” rally in Dallas, Texas, on May 30, organised by far-right conspiracy group, QAnon.

Flynn campaigns for former United States President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won last year’s election, and QAnon is a leading force backing calls for the election to be overturned and Trump reinstated as president. For months, QAnon online forums have taken this to the extreme, calling for a “Myanmar-style” coup.

There was not just a military coup in Myanmar (Burma), but also subsequent mass suppression of opponents of the coup. Soldiers fired on demonstrators and opposition groups. Reportedly, about 700 people have been killed so far, while resistance continues.

At the QAnon rally, a speaker from the floor, shouted to roars of approval, “I want to know why what happened in [Myanmar] can’t happen here?”

Flynn, who took an oath in July 2020 to support QAnon, replied: No reason. I mean, it should happen here. No reason. Right? That’s right.”

This was caught on film and posted to social media.

Flynn was national security advisor to Trump’s 2016 election campaign. After Trump was elected president, Flynn was appointed as the country’s National Security Advisor for a short time, until he had to resign after being caught lying to the FBI.

He was tried and convicted, but later pardoned by Trump.

QAnon has popularised many conspiracy theories, such as that the US “elites” have a mass pedophile ring to abuse and even murder children. Politically, it is one of Trump’s mass support groups.

Facebook took down QAnon’s sites, but reported they had “millions” of followers. According to the New York Times, Trump’s supporters have re-established an online presence by other means.

Followers of QAnon are not the only hard-right, white power nationalist Trump supporters — numbering in the tens of millions — who would welcome a military coup to reinstate him.

Two days after the QAnon rally, Trump reportedly said he could be reinstalled by August. This is bluster, but part of Trump’s continuing drive to inflame his followers.

January 6

Talk about a possible military coup occurs in the context of the January 6 violent insurrection by white nationalists — incited by Trump — which occupied the US Capitol building as Congress was ratifying the results of the 2020 election.

Outside the Capitol, thousands of supporters cheered the insurrectionists on, calling for the election to be overturned.

The insurrection dispersed Congress for hours. The military refused calls to intervene to stop the invasion of the building for four hours. The Washington DC police finally ended it, with the army not playing much of a role.

In May, Republicans in Congress and the Senate blocked a proposal to convene a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection -- out of fear of Trump.

But even if such a commission had been formed, it would have dampened down concern about what the insurrection meant for bourgeois democracy (such as it is) for months, while it “studied” the issue.

The bipartisan nature of the committee would have insured that its results would have been a watered-down version of reality, in the interests of both parties. For the Republicans, this is obvious.

Biden has studiously avoided the issue, and never mentions January 6 – reflecting the Democratic Establishment’s stance. He wants to assure the world that US bourgeois democracy is not threatened and is just fine.

None of this means that an attempted coup to reinstate Trump is on the cards right now. But Trump could resort to this, if the conditions ripen, and he and his supporters -- especially in the military -- believe it could succeed.

A more immediate threat to bourgeois democracy is what the Trump-controlled Republican Party is doing in curtailing the right to vote, which will have an effect on the 2022 Congressional elections.

Polls show that 70% of Republicans continue to believe that the elections were stolen from Trump. This mass base is what the Republican politicians at the state level are using to foster the false argument that there is a dire need to prevent “election fraud”.

The Constitution leaves it up to the states to decide how elections are run and who can vote. In the 80 years of the Jim Crow period of racial segregation and oppression of Blacks in the South (1880–1960), the right of Blacks to vote was nullified.

Attack on democracy

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution passed in the Reconstruction period after the Civil War prohibited denying the right to vote based on race. Not a single Democrat -- then the party of the former slave owners, who remained the landlord ruling class in the South -- voted for the amendment.

States in the Jim Crow South got around the 14th Amendment by passing laws and regulations that didn’t mention race but everyone knew nullified the right of Blacks to vote. These were enforced by state and Ku Klux Klan violence, and backed nationally by the Democratic Party.

The current Republican drive is recognised by all Black organisations and commentators, including Black liberals, as a revival of Jim Crow methods to restrict Black and now also Latino voting rights.

But now they seek to do this not only in the South but in the 26 states where they have control of the government.

The Republicans know that many Blacks and Latinos tend to vote Democrat, so they hope that, in 2022, this will help them win back control of the Senate and House, which is now almost evenly divided between the two capitalist parties.

In themselves, these laws and regulations are an attack on bourgeois democracy.

More important for the longer run is that this drive helps mobilise the Republican Party’s white racist base, which portends more attacks on broader democratic rights.

We should note that both parties support white supremacy, or institutionalised racism. From the beginning of the United States, the ruling parties have supported slavery and then capitalism and the national oppression of African Americans with the partial exception of the short period of Reconstruction. This spills over into oppression of other people of colour.

What distinguishes the present-day Republicans is that they are more openly white supremacist and harbour white power nationalism, which seeks to impose white supremacy by force, as it was in the full-blown Jim Crow system.

Trump remains the spokesperson and leader of the drive to install a racist, Bonapartist-type dictatorship.

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