Autoworkers, teachers, retirees and other sections of the working class reacted with outrage as fascist supporters of President Trump stormed the US Capitol Wednesday afternoon, forcibly disrupting the certification of Biden’s presidential victory. The attack, which occurred soon after the same crowd heard an incendiary speech by Trump in front of the White House, was an attempted coup by Trump to overturn the election results and establish a presidential dictatorship.
The World Socialist Web Site and the Socialist Equality Party are warning workers about the dangers raised by this development and campaigning to mobilize the working class in opposition to both the fascist Trump and his spineless political opponents in the Democratic Party to defeat the drive to dictatorship.
David North, national chairman of the SEP and the chair of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, wrote in the Perspective, The fascist coup of January 6, “The events of January 6, 2021 must be taken as a warning. The working class must elaborate a political strategy and plan of action to defeat future efforts to impose a dictatorship.”
He continued: “It is essential to build a network of rank-and-file committees in factories and workplaces capable of organizing broad-based popular resistance through the mobilization of all sections of the working class.
“Above all, workers must understand that the disintegration of American democracy is rooted in the crisis of capitalism. In a society riven by staggering levels of social inequality, it is impossible to preserve democracy.” North ended with a call for readers of the WSWS to join the Socialist Equality Party.
Among workers, there is broad support for such a program. Many who spoke to the WSWS expressed support for a mass working class counter-offensive to demand Trump and his co-conspirators be arrested.
“Trump should be removed and changes brought,” said a Detroit bus driver. “He incited a riot. I have never in my lifetime heard of a president in his last few days in office doing that and getting no sort of reprimand. He is doing everything contrary to [democracy]. I am just a bus operator, but we need to get a lot of people together so we can make a significant change for the better.”
His fiancée added, “It shows that no one has any control over Trump. He is definitely not doing this alone. And it is not about color. It has always been for power and control. It is worse now because they feel threatened.
“Biden did the worst thing he could do [by asking Trump to go on TV]. Well, he took that five minutes and ran with it. The way Trump was talking on TV, he was definitely the ringleader. He said, ‘I was cheated, keep it going on.’ Even my 7-year-old sees what’s going on. He said, ‘Mom, why are they not putting Donald Trump in jail?’ My 14-year-old said the principal at school told them not to discuss this. But this is history, and history needs to be discussed. People need to know about history.
“We need to get autoworkers on board, doctors and nurses, teachers; all the working people. I want to make a difference. There are a lot of things that need to be addressed, the COVID on top of this. If everyone stands together, the earth can be balanced.”
“I think this is very serious. Those people who were protesting in Washington are being used to do this by Trump, like it was planned,” an autoworker at Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant told the World Socialist Web Site. “They are breaching democracy and free elections.
“Trump has been calling for an insurrection for quite a while. The Democratic Party didn’t do anything to stop him. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m concerned about what could happen moving forward from today.
“Some workers seem to know what’s going on. One worker at the plant last night told me he just felt that ‘something was going to happen’ today.”
Criticizing the hypocrisy of the American political establishment, he continued, “How can you go into other countries and say you are against dictatorship, and then look around—we are about to throw democracy out the window?”
Many of his coworkers at Ford were disgusted by the cowardice of the Democratic Party, which begged Trump to call on his supporters to go home and appealed for unity with Republicans even after the fascist riot.
“A lot of workers were watching TV earlier in the break room, and a few people couldn’t even watch what Biden was saying,” he said, referring to a speech in which Biden appealed for Trump to call off his supporters. “Trump initiated it and [Biden] told Trump to go talk to the people outside the Capitol protesting.
“I think it is going to take the working class to stop them. It’s not just either the Republicans or Democrats who are responsible. It’s all of them, the elite, the rich. You come to the conclusion neither party is for the good of the working class. People are going to have to see that.
“I know that the WSWS was talking about how something like this could happen months ago. I think more and more people should be in tune to the WSWS.”
Many workers cited the vast contrast between the Capitol Police’s treatment of the extreme-right Trump supporters, who were allowed virtually unchallenged to breach security barriers, and the massive state repression used against the protests opposing police violence.
“People need to know that the people storming the Capitol are the source of violence, not us,” an aircraft mechanic in Pennsylvania said. “It looks like a totally different police force is handling these people today” than during the George Floyd protests in the summer, he said, adding sarcastically, “these cops must have received all kinds of sensitivity training all of a sudden.”
A stationary engineer from Kansas said, “What comes to mind immediately is the stark contrast between the actions of law enforcement at BLM demonstrations and the indifference the Capitol police had for containing, let alone stopping the invasion of the Capitol by force. I read today that not even during the Civil War did the Confederate flag make its way into the Capitol Building. Well, it did today.”
A worker at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant near Detroit said, “Everyone was stunned at SHAP about what was happening. The contrast with how the cops treated the fascists versus how they treated the anti-police violence protesters was something everyone talked about yesterday in the plant. The police allowed this to happen. That said, this isn’t a race war. If people are talking about ‘white privilege’ they are missing the point. This is an attack on the working class.”
“We are the ones who have to stop it,” he continued. “Trump is mobilizing his supporters, but we can do the same thing. Sometimes it takes big shocks to put workers into motion, but that is what is happening now. People are being educated by these events.”
“In Ferguson, the police and military had snipers on the roof,” a retired state employee said. “I remember Rodney King, they beat him to a bloody pulp. Today, the Proud Boys got into the Capitol and stopped the count of the Electoral College and the certification of the election, and they weren’t arrested for it. This will only embolden them. This will expand the audience and organizational source for drawing more members. They’ll call it a success and they didn’t get arrested.”
She added, “The characterization of this event on NBC as something that usually happens in ‘faraway lands’ completely ignores the fact that the lands they’re talking about are lands where American imperialism was complicit in this type of event. In El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Iran and other countries, democratically-elected officials were ousted and replaced with puppets of the US.”
“The bourgeois state is totally corrupt, and they can’t cover it up anymore,” she concluded. “It’s been exposed.”
“I honestly believe that the far-right and company view the storming of the Capitol as a revolution,” a grocery store worker from California said. “That being said, it is 100 percent textbook domestic terrorism.
“What amazes me though, is that when I was talking about everything with co-workers, I had management come by and tell me to ‘reel it in’... It is in true management form to quiet down the workers, so they don’t cause a hiccup in the ‘peaceful exchange of goods and services.’”
An autoworker at Fiat Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant called on the working class to mobilize to defeat the far right. “Workers either take a stand now or be slaves forever. That’s all there is to it. The fascists are in the people’s house. This is like the Nazis burning the Reichstag [the German Parliament building] in 1933. This is democracy or fascism and it’s time to take a stand. If someone broke into your house, it would be considered a home invasion—and guess what? They’re in your house.”
“Now is the time,” she concluded. “This is no joke. And what’s the Democratic Party response? Not a damn thing! Biden is not going to do anything, he had nothing to say today, the Democrats agree with the Republicans on pretty much everything. All the Democrats have been doing is keeping up this herd immunity garbage while we all die. This is ridiculous. Enough is enough.”