Right Wing Death Squad: The Ticking Time Bomb of Trumpism
Filed under: Ami du Radical, Analysis, Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Featured, The State
Filed under: Ami du Radical, Analysis, Anarchist Movement, Anti-fascist, Featured, The State
In Southaven, Mississippi, during a rally held on October 2nd, the president got on stage to mock Dr. Christine Blasey Ford over her testimony during the Kavanaugh hearings. Later, on the 8th, despite previously feigning impartiality towards Dr. Ford, Trump was already calling her accusations a “hoax” perpetrated by the Democratic Party, a statement in line with Kavanaugh’s own paranoid claim that the accusations against him were partisan revenge orchestrated “on behalf of the Clintons.”
“There are signs America is moving in that direction faster than expected, namely the blanket de-legitimization of political freedoms, and the integration of fascist vigilantes with official party doctrine.”
“When protesters showed up on October 10th to rally outside the Supreme Court and oppose the confirmation vote, they were detained en masse by police; a total of 164 were arrested. Trump responded by repeating a claim he’d made earlier that week, when infuriated women confronted Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator just before the confirmation vote: that these protesters were paid for by George Soros, the favorite boogeyman of the global far-right, and the center of an endless anti-Semitic conspiracy theory the international fascist movement has used to smear genuine leftists for years.
On October 12th, the Republican Metropolitan Club hosted Gavin McInnes and his pack of rabid fascist dogs. The event was scheduled on the anniversary of the death of Inejiro Asanuma, a Japanese socialist politician who was assassinated by 17-year-old fascist Otoya Yamaguchi on live television. It is wrongfully considered “the death of leftism in Japan” by unlearned American rightists, who still drool at the idea of such a brutal public slaying of their political enemies. Gavin came equipped with a prop sword for effect.
Afterward, the Proud Boys unleashed an attack on protesters outnumbered 10-to-1, stomping and kicking their victims while shrieking homophobic slurs and bragging about “beating foreigners.” The NYPD officers on the scene, predictably, stood aside and enabled the fascists while they indulged in the indiscriminate violence that defines their movement. The next day, Fox News deliberately misreported the incident, claiming that antifascists were responsible for the attack.
Republicans inviting Gavin McInnes to give a speech celebrating the assassination of a leftist, after which he incites his followers to engage in mob violence against three outnumbered victims, is one of the clearest examples of fascism creeping into the mainstream I have seen…
— (((Alexander Reid Ross))) (@areidross) October 13, 2018
These events demonstrate how hostile and unstable the political situation in America has become in just two short years. The fascist movement is rapidly approaching its fifth stage of development, when it will either entropy into a traditional authoritarian state, as did fascist Italy, or continue to radicalize, as did Nazi Germany. The latter course is etched into the public consciousness in photographs of liberated Holocaust survivors, among other atrocities. There are signs America is moving in that direction faster than expected, namely the blanket de-legitimization of political freedoms, and the integration of fascist vigilantes with official party doctrine.
“Misanthropic conservatives wanted to send a message that neither sexual violence, nor the subordinate position of women in general, were legitimate concerns. They needed a “win” against the #MeToo movement for upsetting the patriarchal order of the nation.”
The result of the Kavanaugh confirmation was set in stone from the moment Dr. Ford’s allegations were brought forward. Justice Kavanaugh was elevated to the Supreme Court not in spite of the sexual assault accusations leveled against him, but because of them, not unlike Donald Trump himself. Misanthropic conservatives wanted to send a message that neither sexual violence, nor the subordinate position of women in general, were legitimate concerns. They needed a “win” against the #MeToo movement for upsetting the patriarchal order of the nation. But functionally, securing an ultraconservative court system was also absolutely critical for the GOP, because the Trump regime is a minoritarian government. Writing for Vox, Ezra Klein encapsulated both the electoral alchemy that allowed the GOP to secure control of the country, as well as the probable consequences of a political atmosphere which is rapidly losing legitimacy in the eyes of the public :
“Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to the Supreme Court by an unpopular president who won 3 million fewer votes than the runner-up. He was confirmed by a Senate majority that represents a minority of the country. He was confirmed despite most Americans telling pollster after pollster they did not want him seated on the Supreme Court…
Since 2000, fully 40 percent of presidential elections have been won by the loser of the popular vote. Republicans control the US Senate despite winning fewer votes than Democrats, and it’s understood that House Democrats need to beat Republicans by as much as 7 or 8 points in the popular vote to hold a majority in the chamber. Next year, it’s possible that Republicans will control the presidency and both chambers of Congress despite having received fewer votes for the White House in 2016 and for the House and Senate in 2018.
Kavanaugh now serves on a Supreme Court where four of the nine justices were nominated by a president who lost the popular vote in his initial run for office, and where the 5-4 conservative majority owes its existence to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s extraordinary decision to deny Merrick Garland a hearing. This Court will rule on the constitutionality of gerrymandering, voter ID laws, union dues, campaign finance, Obamacare, and more; that is to say, they will rule on cases that will shape who holds, and who can effectively wield, political power in the future. “The party that is trying to keep minority rule is also going to be the party that has less interest in true democratic representation,” says Lilliana Mason, a political scientist at the University of Maryland. “You have to break some rules of democracy in order to keep minority rule…”
“At some point, people will get so angry that they will either talk about secession or start engaging in more direct measures, whether it takes the form of rioting or violence,” says Sanford Levinson, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas Law School. Political systems depend on all sides believing in the legitimacy of outcomes. In America, that legitimacy is in danger. And it’s only going to get worse. “In countries where we see a lot of minority rule, it comes with a lot of violence,” says Mason.
This is why the Kavanaugh confirmation was so vital to the GOP, and why the Trump administration has been ravenously confirming judges to lower courts. Just recently another 15 judges were confirmed to federal courts, all of them obedient New Right conservatives, some of them approved by the Federalist Society which has formed the backbone of Trump’s judicial reformation. This is a state organ which has been fundamentally reshaped to uphold corporate power, weaken civil rights, and most importantly, defend the administration at any cost. As a government without popular approval, the Trump regime literally cannot allow for the free exercise of democratic power without jeopardizing its own security. Anything less than a stranglehold on state machinery would result in disastrous electoral losses for the GOP. To justify their authoritarian methods, the regime is stoking fears of left-wing violence and social chaos.
“This is a state organ which has been fundamentally reshaped to uphold corporate power, weaken civil rights, and most importantly, defend the administration at any cost. As a government without popular approval, the Trump regime literally cannot allow for the free exercise of democratic power without jeopardizing its own security.”
At another rally held on the 7th, Trump referred to the Democratic Party, and liberals in general, as an “angry left-wing mob,” and engaged in the conservative passtime of trying to link the Democratic party with the state-socialist left. He likened Democrats gaining political power to “handing matches to an arsonist.” This tactic of delegitimization should be of concern to everyone, anarchists included; fascism is fueled by extreme anti-leftism among otherwise incompatible rightist tendencies, and by compressing antifascists, anarchists, communists, socialists, and progressive liberals into a single political identity, the fascist right is attempting to preemptively legitimize broad anti-leftist repression. To portray anybody other than the Trumpist GOP as “too dangerous” to be trusted with political agency is, explicitly, a pretext for taking action to contain that alleged threat. The government and its loyalist bloc are visibly making an agreement to suppress anything leftward of fascism itself, primarily through the restriction of boilerplate democratic activities like voting and protest. These tactics, if employed by the White House and then legitimized by state propaganda networks, could bring the fires of fascist radicalization to a roar. Imagine, for instance, that a state like Georgia – where presently some 54,000 votes are being delayed by strict voter ID laws – becomes the site of a legal dispute over the election results, and the case makes it to the new 5-4 Supreme Court. It would only take a handful of repetitions of Bush v. Gore to neuter the so-called “blue wave,” if it materializes at all.
3) This is a remarkable moment in American politics: The President of the United States just declared an entire political party fundamentally illegitimate. And the media are treating it as just another of Trump’s crazy things.
— David Neiwert (@DavidNeiwert) October 7, 2018
“To justify their authoritarian methods, the regime is stoking fears of left-wing violence and social chaos.”
In Georgia, we see the culmination of the White House strategy for maintaining political dominance, with Republican candidate Brian Kemp running a campaign of voter suppression and conspiracism against his opponent, Stacy Abrams. In addition to the delayed votes, more direct action has been taken to tilt the race in Kemp’s favor. On Monday, a bus full of black seniors, organized by the non-profit group Black Votes Matter, was stopped after the county commissioner received a call saying the bus was improperly certified.
This follows a history of suppression in Georgia, including the purging of 1.5 million voter registrations between 2012 and 2016, and another 670,000 last year. Additionally, Kemp’s campaign has released a mailer which claims that Abrahms is arranging for undocumented migrants to vote her into power, a statement mirroring Trump’s own claim that millions of undocumented voters are the reason he lost the popular vote. This doctrine has become the standard for the minoritarian GOP, combining smear campaigns full of racial resentment with hardline methods of anti-democratic political ratfucking. To protect their widespread system of gerrymandering and voter suppression, they have constructed a sycophantic judicial circuit that will legalize just about any policy on their behalf.
Christopher R. Browning, a historian specializing in the rise of Nazi Germany and the beginning of the Holocaust, compares these developments to the Weimar Republic’s slide into illiberalism . The Nazis never captured popular support, and largely relied on corrupt politicians and judges to secure their authority. A combination of the abuse of executive authority and capitalizing on fascist momentum turned the conservatives of Germany into the incubator of a genocidal regime. As Browning explains, this is the current course of the GOP:
Because an ever-shrinking base of support for traditional conservatism made it impossible to carry out their authoritarian revision of the constitution, Hindenburg and the old right ultimately made their deal with Hitler and installed him as chancellor. Thinking that they could ultimately control Hitler while enjoying the benefits of his popular support, the conservatives were initially gratified by the fulfillment of their agenda: intensified rearmament, the outlawing of the Communist Party, the suspension first of freedom of speech, the press, and assembly and then of parliamentary government itself, a purge of the civil service, and the abolition of independent labor unions. Needless to say, the Nazis then proceeded far beyond the goals they shared with their conservative allies, who were powerless to hinder them in any significant way.
If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the US has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more. Nowhere is this vicious circle clearer than in the obliteration of traditional precedents concerning judicial appointments. Systematic obstruction of nominations in Obama’s first term provoked Democrats to scrap the filibuster for all but Supreme Court nominations. Then McConnell’s unprecedented blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination required him in turn to scrap the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations in order to complete the “steal” of Antonin Scalia’s seat and confirm Neil Gorsuch. The extreme politicization of the judicial nomination process is once again on display in the current Kavanaugh hearings.
“The Nazis never captured popular support, and largely relied on corrupt politicians and judges to secure their authority. A combination of the abuse of executive authority and capitalizing on fascist momentum turned the conservatives of Germany into the incubator of a genocidal regime.”
While the GOP combats the threat of electoral opposition through the courts, their counterparts in the fascist movement have redoubled their efforts to dominate the public. The first wave of fascist gangs were doomed to failure; even conservatives weren’t willing to align themselves with actual neo-Nazis, recognizing the bad optics of swastika flags and Roman salutes. Antifascists fought an uphill battle to quarantine the earliest paramilitary groups, and held strong throughout 2017. However, it is Gavin McInnes, the unlikeliest victor of the Alt-Right’s internal power struggle, who now remains standing as the preeminent leader of American blackshirts. By largely eschewing white supremacist symbolism and outwardly rejecting, yet privately embracing, hardcore white nationalists, the Proud Boys have become a garishly patriotic gang that conservatives can support while maintaining a tokenist stance of openness towards minorities.
During his speech to the Manhattan GOP club, Gavin bluntly stated his intention to work as a militant leader for the GOP: “At the very least, people of the Right, let us scum in,” he offered. “You need us foot soldiers. You need us disgusting rude jerks because outside of the swears and the drugs and the violence, quite a list actually, outside of all the things you disagree with, we have a lot in common. What we have in common is we both want America to prosper. We both want Trump to do well.” 
In recent months, Proud Boys have attacked random people on the street + attempted to shut down strike pickets, harass vigils for people killed by police, and stood with neo-Nazis against anti-racists. Meanwhile, they've been supported by some of the most powerful Republicans. pic.twitter.com/tgSLbfMfc3
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) October 14, 2018
As it happens, the Proud Boys are already in good standing with the GOP. Two campaigning Republicans, Mario Diaz-Balart and Devin Nunes, have posed for pictures alongside Gavin’s thugs. Roger Stone, former advisor to the president, was spotted earlier in the year using the Proud Boys as his personal security force. Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity have both provided Gavin with media attention, elevating the gang to a more prominent status. At this point, Patriot Prayer is arguably playing second fiddle to the Proud Boys, neither as media-savvy as McInnes, nor as successful in securing loyalties among Republican officials. Both groups, of course, are boastfully open about their willingness to commit physical violence to advance the fascist cause; Pinochet t-shirts and “RWDS” patches are common accessories among these gangs.
This is to say nothing of the extent to which white nationalism has parasitized the GOP and various state organs. Incidents of neo-Nazism are rampant among police in America, most recently the discovery of a flashlight engraved with the SS bolts in the possession of an officer who was fired for brutalizing a handcuffed black arrestee.
Multiple representatives like the repugnant Steve King are, themselves, unapologetic white nationalists who regularly broadcast explicit ethnostatist messages. Ian Smith, a former DHS official, was found to have exchanged messages with Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor. Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow hosted VDARE founder Peter Brimelow at his house. Most troublingly, conservatives have stoked the flames of Trump’s confrontational rhetoric by once again raising the spectre of a “second Civil War.”
This is almost exclusively a right-wing rhetorical game, a thinly veiled discussion about unleashing political violence, disguised as an attempt to stop such a conflict from beginning. Rudy Giuliani warned about a “revolt” if Trump were impeached. CNN’s Jim Acosta was told by a Trump supporter in South Carolina that “What’s going to happen is we’re going to end up with a civil war. You’re going to have people shooting people.”
“The GOP, and conservatives as a whole, are entering the last phase of radicalization, boldly embracing white nationalism and rejecting the human rights of their political opponents. In the streets, violent creeps have organized themselves into neo-squadristi divisions, mauling bystanders for sport and fantasizing about murdering leftists and immigrants.”
Meanwhile, outside the doors of Congress, fascist thugs like the Proud Boys are deliberately and blatantly supported by the police. The NYPD’s latest collusion with fascist vigilantes comes just two months after officers in Portland fired a flashbang grenade directly into the skull of an anti-racist protester, who was spared death only because of their bike helmet. In their willingness to cooperate with fascists in brutalizing protesters, in their deliberately slow response to charge offenders, and in their unprovoked arrests and doxxing of antifascists, the police of America have delivered a warning to the public not to interfere with the implementation of a new social order. If there is a police presence nearby, fascists will be capable of lethal violence against revolutionaries, meaning that although they lack public support and are still outnumbered at every rally, it’s the Proud Boys who will have free reign to terrorize and control our neighborhoods.
So there you have it, reader. The government has realized its goal of effectively single-party rule despite lacking support from the public. Mass corruption has eroded what few democratic gateways to political power were available to the public. The GOP, and conservatives as a whole, are entering the last phase of radicalization, boldly embracing white nationalism and rejecting the human rights of their political opponents. In the streets, violent creeps have organized themselves into neo-squadristi divisions, mauling bystanders for sport and fantasizing about murdering leftists and immigrants. They are protected by a well-funded, militarized police force that has publicly declared itself in league with paramilitaries. These same gangs are steadily being initiated as semi-official elements of the GOP, as leftists are collectively vilified and their political suppression is validated by the president’s fearmongering. We are absolutely, unquestionably, out of time.
How far away are we, really, from actual right-wing death squads appearing on the street? How close are we to a massive crisis of state legitimacy? In such a factionalized climate, it would only take one major fissure to ignite a chain reaction of revanchism and authoritarian backlash, the end result of which could be utterly nightmarish. The liberal bloc is still hoping for a Democratic return to power, yet the GOP is taking explicit measures to prevent access to state machinery from ever falling out of their hands again.
As anarchists, we categorically reject pursuits of statist power, but even for Democrats, struggling against such a cartoonishly rigged electoral system is ludicrous. No amount of public support can overcome the firewall of judges that now surrounds the GOP machine. Only one avenue remains for the revolutionary left, and it lies entirely outside of the State. We are under threat from a radicalized government which daily edges closer to unleashing its full, brutal potential for oppression, and we cannot afford to act meekly while the blackshirts are sharpening their knives.
Chronicling the radical struggle in the central region of so-called America.