The Invasion of Our Capitol

Image: Valeria Podes


Trump, Bolsonaro and others are part of it, mutatis mutandis, from the same class as Mussolini and Hitler

The invasion of the Capitol by extreme right-wing militias, some of them armed, although shocking, is just the culmination of a long process of attacking democracy and its institutions that began with the rise of the villain to power.

The last time the US legislature was attacked in this way was in 1814, in the war against England. British armies entered Washington and burned much of the city, including the Capitol building at the time, forcing President James Madison and legislators to flee the city.

This time, the attack did not come from an external enemy. It came from President Trump himself, who urged the militias to march against the Capitol, claiming, without any factual basis, as Aécio Neves did in Brazil, that the election was rigged.

Well, first of all, it is necessary to name the oxen.

Trump is fascist. He is not simply “authoritarian” or “populist”, a category devoid of real meaning.

I know that many are reluctant to use this concept, given the historical singularities of fascism and Nazism. But, in a broad sense, the so-called Trumpism, as well as Bolsonarism, have disturbing similarities with those historical political phenomena.

The mobilization of armed militias, the “Goebelian” resort to repeated and systematic lies, the hate speech against supposed internal enemies, the permanent confrontation strategy, the identification of opponents as enemies to be eliminated, the conservative moralism expressed in the fight against corrupt , pedophiles, etc., the belief in an ideal of racial and cultural purity, xenophobic nationalism, social Darwinism, racism, the cult of anti-politics and, above all, contempt for democracy and its institutions and the valuation of force as a legitimate instrument of political and even “legal” action constitute a common framework that permeates different historical moments and different societies.

Call it what you want, proto-fascism, ur-fascism (Umberto Eco), neoliberal fascism, neo-fascism, etc., the obvious fact is that Trump, Bolsonaro and others are part of it, mutatis mutandis, from the same class as Mussolini and Hitler. Second, fascism is not in retreat, it has not been weakened. Although Trump, in fact, emerged quite scorched from the invasion episode and now faces relative isolation even within his party, American Trumpism and neo-fascism remain strong. the clumsy putsch of Hitler, in 1923, took him to jail, but later it started to be celebrated with a great national date in Germany.

Analyzes that speak of the “throes” of white supremacy are not supported by the data.

You have to consider that Biden won the election narrowly, much tighter than anticipated. The recent victories of the Democrats in the elections for the Senate in the state of Georgia, hailed by the unwary as paradigm shifts, were also achieved by extremely narrow margins. This demonstrates that the far right still has a lot of popular support in the US.

The same occurs in Brazil, where Bolsonaro, despite his disastrous government in all spheres, maintains good popularity.

As such, the US, like Brazil, will remain divided and very polarized. Although, in the short term, Biden may gain some respite from moderate Republicans, due to the shock caused by the invasion of the Capitol, the tendency is for the extreme right, associated with Trump or not, to remain mobilized and start to make fierce opposition to the Democratic government.

After all, the fuel of neo-fascism is the same as that of classic fascism: the deep economic, social and political crisis.

The correlation between the two phenomena is verified even in mere conjunctural changes. In the 1928 elections, with hyperinflation extinguished and the German economy growing again, Hitler, who had been the great political sensation in the crisis years, had less than 3% of the vote. Already in the 1932 elections, with the German economy feeling the effects of the 1929 debacle, the Nazi party obtained almost 37% of the votes, paving the way for Hitler to come to power.

The problem, for Biden, is that the current crisis, which started in 2009, was aggravated by the pandemic and will not be overcome anytime soon. He runs the risk, therefore, of making a disappointing government, far below the expectations generated.

Trump's destructive legacy is Biden's legacy. According to Gallup, only 10% of Republican voters believe the press and have confidence in the electoral process. That's what you get when you bet on anti-politics. In Germany in the 1920s and 1930s, the Nazis called the press Lying press (lying press) and Hitler referred to politicians and legislators as “clucking chickens”. Any resemblance to Trump and Bolsonaro is not mere coincidence. It's method. In this context, today's villains can become tomorrow's heroes.

Overcoming the neo-fascist danger involves not only confronting this destructive legacy, but, above all, overcoming neoliberalism and financialized capitalist accumulation, the model that led the world to the present crisis and which keeps it in crisis.

Contrary to what our analysts linked to the “market” say, this ubiquitous hypostasis, the danger to democracy is not generated by “populist” economic policies, but by supposedly “rational and solid” policies, which generate inequality, unemployment, extinction of rights, erosion of the welfare state, resentment, fear and, ultimately, disbelief in democratic institutions.

Trump and the invasion of the Capitol were unimaginable things, before the growing bankruptcy of neoliberalism. They became painful realities.

Some argue that, in reality, these far-right regimes, such as Trump and Bolsonaro, are political forms that are quite functional for capitalism in crisis. As happened in Germany in the 1930s, they keep the “main enemy” (the left, unions and popular movements) on the defensive, thus removing the threat of changes that compromise the greater interests of the ruling classes.

The ruling classes of Germany ended up betting their chips on Nazism, with the aim of containing the “communist threat”. Until the collapse caused by the war, this was a very happy marriage. Brecht even claimed that fascism was the “truth” of capitalism. It was the true and shameless political form of capitalism.

The same happened in Brazil, where the forces that today claim to be defenders of democracy supported Bolsonaro to prevent the victory of the “main enemy”. In our country, fascism cannot be dissociated from anti-PTism. If they really want to fight the first, they will have to get rid of the second.

In the US, there has been a lot of omission and neglect regarding Trump's rise to power. The Republican Party, desperate to return to power, made room for an adventurer, a media celebrity, a real estate speculation crook, a dangerous egomaniac clearly incapable of governing with a minimum of responsibility. There was also an omission in the 2016 election itself, which was won thanks to the gross manipulation of public opinion via shots of personalized fake news on social networks, an expedient repeated in Brazil in 2018.

Trump claimed, after being elected in 2016, like Bolsonaro, that he had many more votes than counted, but that he had been “stolen” in many states. He was already rehearsing staying in power at any cost. He planted the serpent's egg there and hatched it for years.

Only after years and years of gross lies, fake news, an astonishing hate speech, racist and homophobic demonstrations, attacks on democracy and the electoral system and the invasion of the Capitol, did Twitter decide to silence the new Goebbels. Late and insufficient reaction.

As if that weren't enough, the security forces, who were called in by the thousands to stop the peaceful demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter, disappeared on the day of putsch of Trump.

In reality, the US could have avoided all this embarrassment in December 2019, when the Democratic Party filed a request to impeach Trump for abuse of power. The request passed in the House, but was rejected in the Senate, in February 2020.

By the way, Rodrigo Maia, elected by the conservative media as the new beacon of Brazilian democracy, has so far not followed through on the dozens of requests for impeachment by the admirer of the torturer Ustra. Maybe he's waiting for the invasion of our Capitol. More likely, he does not want to disrupt the implementation of the anti-social and anti-democratic agenda of Guedes and Pinguela Para o Passado. After all, the 2016 coup was made for that purpose.

This raises serious doubts about the capacity and will of conservative forces to really confront the fascism that is growing stronger in the crisis.

In the US, Section 4 of the 25th Amendment should have been used immediately to impeach Trump. It was not. Even with the armed invasion and with five dead. Shockingly, 147 members of Congress, their bodies still cooling, voted in favor of revising the election results, adding fuel to the senseless fire of baseless questioning of the fairness of the election.

Most likely, the reaction to the putsch of Trump is limited to the arrest of the ridiculous baggies that took selfies to attest to their own crimes. The announced impeachment, if it occurs, should stop in the Senate, as in 2020. Biden should bet on reconciling the irreconcilable. In the economic field, it will not implement the New Green Deal ambitious by Bernie Sanders. He doesn't want to appear "socialist".

In Brazil, the marriage between the political “center” and Bolsonaro, although conflicting, should be maintained. After all, nobody wants to disturb Pinguela's agenda for the Past. If it fails, they will join forces again, in 2022, to defeat the main enemy.

The problem is that, by then, it may be too late to react.

Around here, our fascists have already seriously considered invading the STF, inflated as they were by the President of the Republic himself.

Depending on the circumstances, which tend to get worse, they may be encouraged to invade our Capitol.

And you won't need many people decked out in horns. As already predicted, all you need is a jeep, a corporal and a soldier.

* Marcelo Zero is a sociologist, specializing in International Relations.

Originally published on the portal Brazil 247.


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