The immediate fallout will be contradictory, simultaneously damaging Trump and boosting the movement around him. He will suffer widespread repudiation by big business, the political establishment, and the security/military/police apparatus. All of the above will back Biden’s moves to restore business as usual at home and imperial credibility abroad. There will be talk of invoking the 25th amendment, and legal prosecution before he leaves the White House—and threats of further action after he leaves office. All of this will be meant to affirm the bourgeois integrity of the city on the hill.
The ruling class and its political representatives will call for increased powers for its military and police to surveil, arrest, and detain “extremists.” They will do so nominally to contain and prosecute the fascists. But the left ought to refuse any support for the law and order campaign. We seek to weaken powers of state repression. And we know that in a racist, capitalist society the main targets will be Black people, immigrants, Muslims, leftists, and union members.
None of these actions will stop Trumpism and its fascist current from growing. They emerged from Wednesday’s actions emboldened. Not only do they believe they are protecting their rights against an illegitimate government, but they have laid foundations for even greater growth. The right has a media infrastructure, organizations like the Proud Boys, and networks throughout the country capable of coordinating actions. That said, they are still small and vastly outnumbered by our side when it is mobilized. Remember, 26 million people marched this summer in BLM protests. Only some 15,000 marched across the country yesterday. But left unopposed, their ranks will swell. The conditions that generated their rise—a crisis in the lives of the petty bourgeoisie caused by the failures of neoliberalism, pandemic shutdowns of small businesses, and those businesses’ failures amidst the recession—will only grow more acute in the coming months and years. The right will comprise a clear, present, and dangerous threat to workers and all oppressed people.
Trump’s inner circle and his GOP minions cast their lot with the far right and fascists yesterday. When it came to the choice between capitalizing on his presidency to make money or positioning himself as the aspiring Führer of a new fascist movement, Trump chose the latter. Some in the GOP will follow him, most will not. But Trump retains support of about 40 percent of the electorate and has the basis to remain a huge force within the GOP, or to build an alternative if the leaders of the latter disown him. A split in the GOP is distinctly possible, and with it the formation of a new far right party. Ironically, Trump could be the unintentional vehicle for a very dirty break from the Republican Party.