USA/Canada

Labour's martyrs: the story of Sacco and Vanzetti

Workers' Liberty 3/53, published as a pull-out in Solidarity 397. The story of the Sacco and Vanzetti case, told by James P Cannon and Max Shachtman, who were leading activists in the defence campaign. Click to download as pdf

USA: unfinished business

White supremacists’ threats of violent disruption on 17 January proved empty, but we still don’t know what they can do to pressure the incoming Biden administration. In many respects this struggle is unfinished business from the American Civil War. In the aftermath of that conflict insurrectionists escaped punishment, in the name of “national reconciliation”, and went on to re-establish white racist regimes in the southern states lasting a century. Trump angered the Republican establishment when he intervened in the Georgia Senate run-offs by rubbishing Republican officials who managed the...

Trumpism will endure

Essentially, Trumpism is a conservative authoritarian response to the Democratic Party’s continual neglect of the legitimate grievances of large sectors of the white voters who ended up supporting Trump. By doing so, these white voters hoped that he would reverse the socioeconomic and political decay resulting from neoliberal policies that the Democrats themselves established under Clinton and Obama and will most likely continue under Biden. Abandoned to the fate of deindustrialisation and structural unemployment, white America continues to suffer from the ills of despair sunk in the...

Storming the Capitol: strange comparisons

Ever since Trump’s election in 2016, there have been some on the left who’ve resisted the idea that he is anything particularly out of the ordinary in terms of US bourgeois democracy. In particular, many of these people deride any suggestion that Trump and the movement behind him can be considered fascist or “proto-fascist.” Some of the people downplaying the Trump threat are, in fact, advocates of variants of third-period Stalinism – i.e. people who think Trump is, objectively, preferable to Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. It’s difficult to work out exactly where the Morning Star stands on this...

Today farce, tomorrow tragedy?

This [6 January] was a “coup” as social media spectacle. In their pseudo-Viking gear and Confederate patches, the far-right rebels were a distinctly unappealing lot. And their rebellion utterly lacked a coherent plan beyond smashed windows and selfies. Rather than a coup, it was a pathetic right-wing putsch attempt and was put down remarkably swiftly. It was given the green-light by Trump and his inner circle. But it was overwhelmingly condemned by the spokespeople of the capitalist class: the National Association of Manufacturers, the Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of most major corporations...

Will Trump pay for his crimes?

According to iconic jazz poet Gil Scott Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. The same can’t be said for 6 January’s counter-revolutionary attempt, when a delusional and demented far-right mob stormed the Capitol building. Cameras rolled to record the invasion of the legislature by a rabble of fascists and crazed believers in conspiracy theories who trashed the building in the hope of overturning the Presidential election result. Some participants in the ransack wore costumes as bizarre as their QAnon beliefs. Others raised the Confederate flag. In all his attempts to capture...

The USA needs to be made a proper democracy

The woman, in her late 20s, has been maced. Recovering slowly, she looks a bit sorry for herself, and complains indignantly. “As soon as I went into the Capitol, they maced me, right in my face.” Interviewer: “Yes, but why did you go in?” “Go in? For the revolution, of course.” Not since fascists wielding cut-throat razors tried to invade the French Chamber of Deputies in February 1934 has there been, in a functioning bourgeois democracy, anything like the occupation of the Senate and Representatives chambers in Washington on 6 January. A large crowd rampaged through the building looking for...

6 January 2021, 6 February 1934

Many historians, in hindsight, regard the 6 February 1934 attempt by mostly far-right army-veteran groups to storm France’s Chamber of Deputies, over a corruption scandal, as a blip. They can make a case. The 6 February riot was smaller than 4 January’s in Washington. The police were solid against it, indeed shot down the protesters, killing 16 and injuring 600-odd. The riot never got near breaching the parliament building. The biggest contingent, the Croix du Feu, went home when trouble started. Politically, the protest was a mix of small groups. The French far right in 1934 was weaker than...

The organised far right on 6 January

On 6 July, at the storming of the US Capitol, a number of far-right groups — as distinguished from the “regular” far-right Trump supporters — were present. Among them were the Proud Boys, donning orange hats to distinguish themselves. While their founder Gavin McInnes denies having been there, a man looking suspiciously like him was recorded giving orders to various members of the group. Others present included militia groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers, members of which were recorded marching up the Capitol steps in body armour, holding onto each other, suggesting...

Kino Eye: American fascism on film

Unsurprisingly, here’s another American film. Tony Kaye’s American History X (1998) features Derek, a committed Nazi, complete with swastika tattoos and membership in the “Disciples of Christ”. He is sentenced to three years for voluntary manslaughter of an African-American. While imprisoned he begins to distrust the “Aryan Brotherhood”, the prisoners’ fascist network. Instead, he befriend’s Lamont, an African-American with whom he works in the prison laundry. On release he finds that his younger brother Danny has become a hard-line Nazi but eventually Derek persuades him to drop his views...

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