US Capitol Storage

The shocking events of last Wednesday in the United States of America are difficult to avoid. But whatever the politics of those of us who are not US citizens, no matter how limited our understanding of US history and politics, and whatever criticism we have of American domestic and foreign policies, is a matter of importance vital to the world that American democracy, the oldest in the world, remains strong. American policy has not always benefited every American or the country it has sought to influence, by peaceful or violent means. But, as in Guyana over the past twenty-five years, the existence of American democracy that enabled the restoration of democracy in Guyana, the reversal that in the past was influenced by the United States, in 1992 and sustained in 2020. The survival of democracy in the US is essential for its survival in Guyana. And its survival in Guyana is a prerequisite for the ultimate success of achieving inclusiveness in governance.

President-elect Joe Biden referred to the storming of the United States Capitol by riotous crowds “one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.” He described the crowds as a “terrorist crowd,” rebels, “and” domestic terrorists “and placed the blame squarely on President Trump’s words and actions. “Over the last four years, we have had a President who clearly despised our democracy, our Constitution and the rule of law in everything he has done,” said Biden. After it became clear that the 2,000 Capitol police had made no plan to deal with the terrorists, refusing assistance from other police agencies offered, almost allowing the mobs free access to the building in some parts Biden said that if protesters had belonged to Black Lives Matter, they would have been treated “very differently.” Several people, including one female protester and one police officer, were killed during the protests. Capitol police leadership resigned.

Criticism was widespread but of varying depths, ranging far and wide:

“It’s time for the world to see through American claims of exceptionalism” – Patrick Gathara.

“Today is a day of reckoning for all Americans who think their democracy is ‘a little too strong to fail'” – Andrea Mammone.

“What Trump has done over the past four years is exposing the world to the dysfunction of the American political system and culture. It has revealed the myth of American political exceptionalism ”- David Hinds.

“President Trump is the most accountable” – GHK Lall.

“The day Trump finally lost” – Marwan Bishara.

“One should not use the term ‘fascist’ lightly… Donald Trump, however, is a true fascist – an authoritarian willing to use violence to achieve his racist nationalist goals… And history teaches us one lesson for dealing with fascists, it is futile to proclaim ”- Paul Krugman.

Twitter has permanently banned Trump because of his use of the platform to incite violence, which he did at a rally just hours before the riot in the Capital. Congress is making preparations for his impeachment once again, but time is running out.

Most, but not all, analysis was limited to the Trump era and its negative consequences on race relations, encouraging white supremacy, suppressing free speech and the right to protest, and encouraging violence. Some writers understood that Trump had exploited a vein of discontent that had been recovering in the American countryside for a long time and which successive Presidents have failed to resolve. A great deal of scholarship exists to show that the income of middle-class Americans from the 1970s onwards has remained static and that the value of that income today is the same as it was in the 1970s. At the same time the income of the top one percent has skyrocketed and Trump has significantly reduced their tax liability. American politicians, with notable exceptions, are aware that this widening gap fuels the rise of Trump-style ‘fascism’ but does little to arrest it.

Some commentators go even further and emphasize the single dominant stress in US politics, namely race, racial restraint by white supremacy and the influence of race on US political developments. It took a civil war to abolish slavery. The rebuild was derailed, leading to the Jim Crow era. The Civil Rights movement needed a nationwide movement of African Americans and their allies to end Jim Crow and establish civil rights and voting, now under attack. The fascist, white supremacist movement today, led by Trump, is responding to the loss of white middle class economic power, the expanding battle of African Americans against largescale incarceration and police violence against African Americans led by Black Lives Matter and the growing numbers of Black and Brown people in the US, who are likely to become a majority in the coming decades.

Two different approaches have emerged from the same side of the US establishment, though one is more progressive than the other – Joe Biden and Paul Krugman. Biden’s solution is to engage with Republicans. Krugman’s defeats republican ideology and fascism. The oppressed need not be told that no one will bring them presents. They know that only organizing and striving will yield results.

This column is reproduced, with permission, from Ramkarran’s blogRalph: