Growing threats of fascist violence as Democrats appeal for “unity” and “healing”

One week before Inauguration Day, there are growing threats of further far-right fascistic violence, even as the military-intelligence agencies and Republican Party are withholding critical information from the public regarding the January 6 coup attempt.

There is an extreme level of instability and conflict within the state apparatus itself. Yesterday afternoon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a military-wide memo stating that the position of the military was that Biden had been elected. This remarkable memo, which is without precedent in American history, indicates that the military brass is unsure it will be able to control its own forces.

The memo states that members of the military must “support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values and oath; it is against the law.” Last year, a military survey found that one third of military members had personally witnessed fascist activity within the armed forces.

Members of the National Guard stand inside anti-scaling fencing that surrounds the Capitol, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alan Fram)

Politico reported that Colorado Democratic Congressman Jason Crow spoke to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy over the weekend about the loyalty of the 20,000 National Guard soldiers being deployed to Washington DC for the inauguration “to ensure that deployed members are not sympathetic to domestic terrorists.” The prospect of pro-Trump demonstrations in various state capitols, however, means it may not be possible to vet all units deployed across the country.

The threat against elected officials is also growing. Congressional Democrats revealed that intelligence officials briefed them Monday night about a right-wing plot to carry out mass violence if Vice President Pence and the cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment, as well as to disrupt the inauguration on January 20.

Democratic Congressman Conor Lamb told CNN:

They were talking about 4,000 armed "patriots" to surround the Capitol and prevent any Democrat from going in. They have published rules of engagement, meaning when you shoot and when you don't. So this is an organized group that has a plan.

According to a Huffington Post report, security officials also told call attendees that there was a “need to put every member of Congress through a metal detector before the inauguration.” One congressperson told the Huffington Post that this triggered an “eyes wide-open realization” that security officials felt “all these members who were in league with the insurrectionists who love to carry their guns” posed a threat against the lives of Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and congressional Democrats.

Despite these threats, the FBI and Justice Department gave a defensive press conference yesterday afternoon in which officials downplayed prior awareness of January 6, saying this was the product of public “misperceptions.” Leading FBI and Justice Department officials snubbed the press conference, leaving it to lower-ranking subordinates. FBI Director Christopher Wray has not appeared in public since last Wednesday’s riot.

A Washington Post article yesterday revealed that the FBI was well aware in advance of the extraordinary danger posed by fascist plans to rally at the Capitol but refused to act. The article, titled, “FBI report warned of ‘war’ at the Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence,” quotes a report from the agency’s Norfolk, Virginia office warning of “specific calls for violence.”

NBC News also reported yesterday that 50 armed personnel from the Department of Homeland Security were loitering 13 blocks away from the Capitol as the far-right mob overran the chambers, but they failed to deploy. Acting Director of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf resigned Monday without warning, leaving the relatively unknown FEMA administrator Pete Gaynor in charge of the department.

Yesterday, Donald Trump delivered what can only be construed as threats of violence against his political opponents. Speaking to reporters from the White House before leaving for a rally in Texas, Trump called his speech on Wednesday instigating the coup attempt “totally appropriate” and warned that Wednesday’s planned impeachment vote was “causing tremendous danger to our country and tremendous anger.” Like a mobster addressing his victim, he added, “I want no violence.”

In Texas, Trump spoke several yards from the militarized US-Mexico border wall on a platform draped with combat camouflage netting. He said “the 25th Amendment is of zero risk to me, but will come back to haunt Joe Biden and the Biden administration. Be careful what you wish for.”

At the same time, Trump, with an eye to his position if he is not in office after Inauguration Day, echoed calls from other Republicans for “healing.” He denounced moves in Congress to impeach him, saying, “Now is the time for our nation to heal.”

The call for “healing” and “peace and calm” parallels statements by Democratic Party officials, led by Biden. Biden has asked Congress to deprioritize any impeachment hearings—and by implication any investigation into the events of January 6—so his administration can fill national security cabinet positions and right the ship of American imperialist foreign policy.

The New York Times reported yesterday that the “transition team hopes to persuade Senate Republicans to help him quickly confirm his top national security nominees with the goal of having them confirmed on Inauguration Day, next Wednesday.”

Citing an interview yesterday with incoming Biden press secretary Jen Psaki, the Washington Post reported that “Biden and his advisers have held firm to his belief that the country’s partisan nerves will eventually calm. Those around him say he remains unconcerned that a majority of House Republicans tried to overturn the election results last week even after the attack on the Capitol.”

The Post cited the comments of Hilary Rosen, head of a consulting firm with close ties to Biden, stating that Biden is appointing officials to jobs in his administration who “take the Biden commitment of healing much more seriously.”

Biden has consistently opposed any broader investigation into the forces behind the January 6 coup, including top Republicans who provided Trump with political cover through their legitimization of the lie that the election was stolen. Last week, he insisted on the need for a “strong” Republican Party and rejected calls for the resignation of top Trump supporters like Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley.

These statements are a warning that the warring sections of the ruling class are preparing to work out a compromise that will integrate even further the extreme right into the fold of the American political establishment.

After all, the forces who mobilized to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer were promoted by powerful forces within the ruling class who opposed any coronavirus-related restrictions on corporate production and profit. This “back to work” movement had bipartisan support.

If an agreement is arranged, it would be met with unanimous praise in the corporate political-media establishment, whose aim is to maintain record corporate profits and force workers back to work in the midst of the pandemic. This basic dynamic shows that it is the working class which is the target of this process.

In the absence of the independent intervention of the working class on a socialist program, such an arrangement can only prepare for even greater crimes. In its January 12 statement, “Mobilize the working class against Trump’s conspiracy! Prepare for a political general strike!,” the Socialist Equality Party wrote:

The working class must respond with a general strike to attempts by ultra-right mobs, instigated by the political criminal Donald Trump and his Republican Party accomplices in the Senate and Congress, to threaten the lives of elected representatives and seize government buildings and other strategic sites, whether in Washington DC or in state capitals throughout the country.

Events have confirmed the urgency of this call. The independent intervention of workers must be combined with the demand for a full and open investigation into all aspects of the coup of January 6, 2021 and the ongoing incitement of fascist violence.