The commentariat are reacting to the upheaval of January 6th as a shocking, one-off event. It was neither. Get ready, there’ll be more.
The bizarre events in Washington DC on January 6th have caused shock and dismay around the world, but not to me: I expected worse, much worse. I expected the police to be fully ready for the onslaught of tens of thousands of enraged citizens, drunk with the very highest sense of support, and to respond with their usual disproportionate, militarised brutality, although I didn’t think they’d shoot too many white demonstrators in the back.
January 6th was not a bolt from the blue but was merely the latest skirmish in the long-running and unresolved American Civil War. Anybody who claims to be shocked by the riot has been asleep on the job, because the information has been available to anybody who chose to be educated, as distinct from indoctrinated. The only difference was that the shock troops of the plutocracy, the poor, uneducated, under-employed and largely provincial whites, have, in this case, turned to bite the hand that has been feeding them red meat for so long. Aneurin Bevan said:
“The whole art of Conservative politics in the 20th century is being deployed to enable wealth to persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power.”
How much more true is this of the US Republican Party, which relies on stirring up hostility and resentment among its voting base to defeat any moves, such as Obamacare, which would actually benefit the base but would reduce profits for the wealthy.
Mostly, the wealthy only had to point to black Americans as a threat, and the white mobs would do the rest (massacres at Tulsa, Colfax, Rosewood, Ocoee, Slocum, Springfield… the list goes on and on). In return, they reserved the better working class jobs for whites, but that broke down with globalisation, so they handed out free credit, until the GFC put an end to that. Fortunately for the 1%, the US Government stepped in to protect the wealthy from their greed but life got worse for the poor. Resentment built up, and up, until the mendacious and not-very-bright Trump realised he could profit from it.
People have called Trump a “political genius” but he is not. He is poorly-educated, narrow-minded, totally lacking any concept of truth, egocentric and devoid of any self-critical capacity. Others have said he is psychotic. No, he isn’t. He is just dishonest, egocentric, remorseless and devoid of any self-critical capacity, i.e. personality disordered (a creative psychopath, if you want to know). Also, as the gauche nobody from New York with more friends in the Mob than in the upper class, despised by the Establishment, he smoulders with resentment.
He could talk to “The Deplorables” as he spoke their language. So that’s what he did. He told them what they had long suspected, that they had been played for fools by experts, that the wealthy donors to the Republican Party didn’t give a damn about American workers, or veterans, or anybody but themselves and their rich friends. Remember Trump’s “They’ll be there for me” speech during the Republican debates in 2016? All he did was blurt out the truth of the deeply corrupt establishment, and the voters went wild. He did it because he was so much an outsider that he didn’t realise you do not call your competitor corrupt, but he loved watching Jeb Bush squirm: “Hey, Ivanka, Donny boy, did you see him fall over? I really gave him one in the cojones, didn’t I.”
So he won the primary, and he then had to sit down with the despised RNC and work out what to do because suddenly, the thought that he might not win was very real. So, even while the balloons and streamers from the Republican nominating convention were being swept away, Trump and the RNC reached an agreement: they would use their vast resources, their intimate knowledge of the electorate (about which Trump knew nothing), and their gerrymandered grip on the electoral system to propel him into the White House.
In return, he would accept everybody they wanted in a position of power, where they would work diligently to implement the Republican deconstruction of the US Government while Trump distracted the critics by… being Trump. So RNC Chairman Reince Priebus became his chief of staff: “Reince, you say? Great to meetcha, great tie you’re wearing, can somebody order KFC for me?” Betsy Devos, billionaire and, for some private reason, sworn enemy of state education, became Education Secretary; the oil industry took over the Environmental Department; the wealthy took over Treasury, Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, got transport, and so on. Trump didn’t care, all he wanted from them was that they would dance to his tune. When it happened that a few of them objected, he either kicked them out or made their lives so miserable they left, so he could get his friends in.
Everything would have been dandy, he would have swept to a second term but for that Kung Flu, the Wuhan Virus, which showed that, not only did he not have a clue about how governments work, he also didn’t care to learn and cared even less about the misery his ineptitude was inflicting on the most vulnerable. The infection rate in blacks and minorities is six times that of whites, and in poor whites, most of whom don’t have insurance, it is six times that of the educated and wealthy, who own the hospitals and insurers. So, despite the best efforts of the Republican Party to disenfranchise minorities, he lost the election. And that meant he lost his protection from investigation of his murky finances. Hence the panic, hence whipping up a storm of vitriol among his perfervid followers, saying he was cheated, using that old whipping boy, the Nigrah. And immigrants, and Muslims (pronounced Muzzlims), and women, and Chinese, and socialists and even communists (you’d forgotten about them but they still exist, somewhere in Beijing) and a few others.
Trouble is, Trump doesn’t actually believe he was cheated, he just says it because it’s better than admitting he lost, but his panting, sweating followers do believe it. They have to believe it otherwise they will be forced to accept that their tribe is now a minority in the Yewnited States, and they will have to be polite to, say, black cops or teachers or doctors, and black veterans will have to be treated equally… In other words, that the party is over, the Civil War has finally ended and the high-sounding Constitution of the US actually means something.
But I don’t think it’s going to happen. Trump will fade away, he is likely to end up in gaol because of his corrupt dealings with the Russian and Kazakh mafias, but the beast of white supremacy has been pushed out of the shadows where it quietly got on with its lynchings and murders and rapes and the occasional massacre, and it isn’t going to go back in a hurry.
The Proud Boys really enjoyed the Prazident of US telling them to “Stand By,” it made them feel, well, proud; and since conspiracies have been legitimised by no lesser authority than the White House, Q-Anon is happily testing the further reaches of insanity; the gun nuts loved having a supporter in DC, even though he is scared of guns; and all the assembled fruit loops, misfits, wannabes and dead losses were thrilled, thrilled, when the Big Man in the Big House told them “You’re great people, very special, we love you, so y’all come to DC on January 6th, it’ll be wild.” Yeah. Right. Just wild. And it would have been a lot wilder if the police had done their job, if more than 500 of the normally very intrusive and overbearing 2,300 Capitol Police were rostered for duty, and armed reinforcements had been called in at 1.30pm, but they weren’t, so it was a bit of a walkover for the Angry People. Especially when police were holding doors open for them.
But the Civil War hasn’t ended, not by a long shot. I don’t think white supremacy will agree to being castrated, not with 250 years of history behind it. The US is actually three completely separate nations that just happen to occupy the same bit of the planet. They were held together by money, more money, lies and the noose. And now it’s unravelling. There will be no going back to the dreamy days of the Clinton era: Iraq and the GFC and now the pandemic have seen to that.
I see only trouble ahead for the US. 2020 was but the overture to a long and cataclysmic final performance. History will say that Imperial USA was among the most generously bestowed and egregiously mismanaged countries of all time. It had such promise, but it was all smoke and mirrors, and now the day of reckoning is looming. Maybe Biden will be able to delay it a bit, put a bandaid on some of the gangrenous sores on the body politic, but he’s only delaying things, a rearguard action that will allow the wealthy to accumulate a bit more before the deluge. Because it’s coming.