Whilst it cant be said with 100 percent certainty that Trump is in the process of attempting a fascist coup, it can be said with certainty that all of his actions are consistent with one!
Trump and the political representatives of the fascist faction of the ruling class, in full control the Republican Party are determined to stay in power one way or the other. Their first option was to win the election outright which they came very close to achieving.
In the week since the election it has become clear that Trump has not won a majority of the electoral votes and Biden is the winner of the election. Trump continues to maintain that the election was rigged by a conspiracy of Democrats and that widespread voter fraud has cheated him of the Presidency. He is planning more rallies to activate his base. The DOJ is now looking into “voter fraud”.
He is launching many legal attempts to challenge the vote to create more doubt in the eyes of the 70 million Americans who voted for him. And he hopes that some of these cases will make it to the stacked Supreme Court where the freshly minted Christian fanatic judge, Amy Coney Barret, will secure him victory.
If that doesnt work then Republican controlled state legislatures can simply overturn the vote and send Trump electors to the electoral college. If they can delay either candidate getting a majority in the electoral college, a vote can be rammed through Congress making Trump the President-elect.
This is indeed what ex-CIA head and current Secretary of State Pompeo meant when he stated there would be a “smooth transition to a second Trump Administration”. He elaborated, “We’re gonna count all the votes. When the process is complete, there’ll be electors selected. There’s a process – the constitution lays it out pretty clearly.” In other words, using the baseless justification of widespread voter fraud, the Republican Party under Trump intends to use the anti-democratic rules of the US constitution to provide a legal figleaf to nakedly stage a coup.
All of this of course would involve putting down mass resistance with violence. This is why Trump is now solidifying his control over the military by sacking Esper who opposed using the military against BLM protests and replacing him with the Trump loyalist and Special Forces veteran Christopher Miller. Trump has also placed loyalists in the Pentagon including the I retired army officer Anthony Tata, a regular Fox commentator and Islamophobe in the top Pentagon policy role. Tata once tweeted at former CIA head John Brenan “might be a good time to pick your poison: firing squad, public hanging, life sentence as prison b*tch, or just suck on your pistol. Your call. #Treason #Sedition #crossfirehurricane #Obamagate.”
Trump is not acting alone despite being opposed by a large section of the ruling class:
—He is backed by the Republican Party.
—He has 70 million people who voted for him.
—He has the backing of the AR15 militias, the MAGA movement of “enraged petty bourgeois and the lumpen proletariat”.— He has control of the executive and plenty of bodies of armed men. He has the police, Homeland Security, ICE, BORTAC etc.
The opposing faction of the ruling class backing Biden is seeking to downplay the threat of the coup, insisting that the system is working and “he will have to go”. This is chloroforming the masses who fiercely oppose Trump. The Democrats class interests as a capitalist party mean they are more scared of the working class than fascism.
The Trotskyist Left, on the whole, is also chloroforming the working class by either downplaying the threat altogether, or refusing to engage in the organising necessary to prepare for an independent intervention of the working class in this battle between two factions of the ruling class. Preparations not only for mass protest but also for a general strike should be actively conducted on a united front basis. Classconscious.org made this call on October 13th in our call out “March separately, but strike together! For a united front against fascism in the US! General Strike now!”
US imperialism is in crisis both domestically and internationally. One faction of the ruling class is working through Trump to stake its last card on fascism. It has decided that the norms of bourgeois democracy are now fetters on its drive to reassert US geopolitical hegemony by any means necessary, up to and including war. To maintain social control in the face of widespread opposition by the working class majority, and to prevent socialist revolution at home in the context of conditions of extreme social, health and economic crises, this faction has opted for the path of total authoritarian rule.
The faction of finance capital backing Biden seeks to maintain US global hegemony through the post-WW2 system of alliances with a multilateral architecture, rather than through unilateral economic nationalism. While it too wants to repress working class resistance to austerity and war, it must do so in a qualitatively different way due to the class forces it rests upon (eg the Democrats and the trade unions). Its assessment of the balance of class forces at the moment suggests that it is still more efficient to control the working class within the confines of bourgeois democratic forms of rule, no matter how hollow.
The ultimate driver of the moves towards fascism does not lie in the pathology of Donald Trump but in the deepening crisis of world capitalism. Just as in the 1930’s, a deeply stagnating economy is pushing ruling classes around the world to throw the last card on fascism. Neither in the US , nor in the world economy as a whole, has the rate of profit recovered from the Global Financial Crash of 2007/2008. This was the case before the economic and social chaos caused by the covid crisis.
Trotsky wrote in December 1931 of the German situation
“Germany is now passing through one of those great historic hours upon which the fate of the German people, the fate of Europe, and in significant measure the fate of all humanity, will depend for decades. If you place a ball on top of a pyramid, the slightest impact can cause it to roll down either to the left or to the right. That is the situation approaching with every hour in Germany today. There are forces which would like the bail to roll down towards the right and break the back of the working class. There are forces which would like the ball to remain at the top. That is a utopia. The ball cannot remain at the top of the pyramid.”
The situation in the United States today could not be described more accurately.
We call on other Marxists to understand the seriousness of this crisis. The world’s largest imperialist empire is on the brink of bringing home the forms of terror and dictatorship that it has long inflicted on other peoples around the world. It does so in preparation both for the class battles ahead, and to wage war, which would likely be nuclear , against its capitalist rivals.
We must do what we can to lead the working class into independent action to defend its democratic rights! As Trostky warned in Germany – fighting for the revolution is much harder if we allow fascism to consolidate. Defensive action is required. Motivate your networks in the US and internationally to prepare for mass mobilisations and a general strike! Defence committees must be formed to fight off the fascist gangs. Workers outside the US must start to think about how they can link up and support the struggle of their US counterparts as the fate of the global working class is tied to theirs. The working class is the only progressive force that can be relied upon to stop the slide into dictatorship happening before our eyes in the US today!