On Thursday, US President Joe Biden announced a “national emergency” and declared that Russia had “interfered in the [2020 US] election,” expelling ten Russian diplomats and announcing a new round of economic sanctions.
“If Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I’m prepared to take further actions to respond,” Biden said. He added that US “elections are sacred” and “an expression of the will of the American people. And we cannot allow a foreign power to interfere in our democratic process with impunity.”
Biden’s statement came in response to a 15-page report published March 10 by the US National Intelligence Council that concluded that Russia “interfered” in the election by spreading “unsubstantiated or misleading claims about President Biden.”
We will not address the substance of the report of Russian “interference,” which as with all intelligence reports of this character is based on nothing. By the intelligence agencies’ own admission, in any case, Russia did not attempt to change the outcome of a single vote. Nor is it necessary to dwell again on the fact that the United States, now with Biden at its head, is the principal source of “interference,” “meddling” and much more in the “democratic process” of virtually every country on the planet.
The more essential point is the following: There was a real attempt not only to “interfere” with but to overthrow the “democratic process” in the United States, but it did not come from Vladimir Putin, but from Donald Trump. It was not the Kremlin, but a section of the American ruling class.
Trump, backed by the Republican Party and elements within the military and police, attempted to overturn the result of the November 2020 election through the incitement of a fascistic coup to remain in power. On this question, Biden has been almost completely silent since his election, aside from the string of banalities and abstractions he delivered in his inaugural address.
The same week Biden denounced Russian “meddling” saw the publication of two reports exposing the scope of Trump’s conspiracy, showing that it was abetted by a stand-down by police and a military command chain staffed by Trump’s cronies.
On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that the US military repeatedly rejected demands by US Vice President Mike Pence to “clear the Capitol” of rioters, while revealing that members of Congress “accused the National Security apparatus of knowing that protestors planned to conduct an assault on the Capitol” while the riot was ongoing.
Then, on Wednesday, news reports carried excerpts from the findings of a report by the Capitol Police Inspector General showing that the Capitol Police were informed that “Congress itself is the target on the 6th.” Despite this foreknowledge, police were explicitly forbidden from using their most effective crowd-control tactics and equipment as the insurrection was taking place.
Separately, in a court hearing this week, federal prosecutors said the rioters had set up an off-site “quick reaction force,” armed with a “large amount of weapons” that would be able to move into position had the rioters succeeded in their aims.
The first “key judgement” of the US report on Russian “interference” is that “we have no indications that any foreign actor attempted to alter any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US elections, including voter registration, casting ballots, vote tabulation, or reporting results.”
While Russia did not do any of these things, Trump did. The 2020 election has gone down in history has the greatest breach of democratic electoral proceedings in US history, after Trump attempted not only to interfere with the counting and certification of ballots throughout the country, but staged a violent insurrection aimed at stopping the official certification of the election results by the federal government.
In the run-up to Trump’s coup attempt, countless local election officials received “death threats, physical threats, intimidation,” according to Georgia Election Official Gabriel Sterling. Trump and his political allies sought to force the courts to throw out tens of thousands of ballots on fraudulent grounds.
For his central role in the coup attempt, Trump faces no charges of any kind. The Senate failed to convict the ex-President in his second impeachment. He faces no criminal charges, nor do any of the co-conspirators inside and outside the administration. As for the rioters, Politico reports that “Many of those who invaded the halls of Congress on Jan. 6 are likely to get little or no jail time.”
For his part, Biden, whose election coup plotters sought to overturn, makes it policy not to even mention former president Trump by name. His response to the failure to impeach Trump is to demand that “we end this uncivil war.” He has never demanded that those who sought to overthrow the results of a US presidential election be brought to justice or suffer any consequences whatsoever. “We need a strong Republican Party,” Biden said in response to the coup attempt.
The Democratic Party refuses to carry out any serious investigation into the January 6 coup attempt because such an investigation would implicate not only their political allies in the Republican Party, but significant sections of the state.
The principal concern of the Democratic Party, a party of Wall Street and the military, has been throughout the election crisis and its aftermath to avoid any serious examination of what took place, and the social and political forces behind it, in the effort to avoid a social and political exposure that would threaten the entire capitalist order. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is continuing, particularly in relation to the pandemic and the intensification of militarist threats against China, the essential policies of its predecessor.
For five years, the US political establishment, and in particular the Democratic Party, has claimed that all divisions and social problems in America are manufactured by Russia. Trump’s coup attempt, however, arose from social processes within the United States itself: the staggering growth of social inequality amid the relentless promotion of war and attacks on democratic rights. These are not fantasies conjured up by the Kremlin and its supposedly vast influence over the minds of the American population. They are realities that are rending the very fabric of democratic forms of government in the United States.
The threat to what remains of democratic rights in the United States lies not in the actions of Russia, but in the actions of the American ruling class and the nature of American capitalism. The defense of democratic rights, therefore, depends on the development of a movement in the working class for socialism.