Demonstrators fight with police at the Capitol, USA. January 6, 2021
1The Trump supporters did not rein in the provocateurs and did not kick them out of their ranks, but gladly followed after them.
The Trump supporters did not rein in the provocateurs and did not kick them out of their ranks, but gladly followed after them.
The storming of the US Capitol on January 6 found me in an American hospital. I still work there for now. Looking for someone to talk to among my local colleagues, I stumbled upon a buddy of mine, a doctor from the ranks of American liberals. He went from 0 to 60 in no time.
“I really hope those freaks get plenty of rubber bullets and learn the taste of a steel-toed boot!” – erupted my colleague, a humanist American doctor.
Where have I heard these words before?
Why does my colleague suddenly sound an awful lot like Liya Akhedzhakova (a B-list Soviet film actress, who became a Russian liberal icon – translator’s note), who bellowed on TV on the eve of Yeltsin’s tank assault of the House of Soviets (then the seat of the Supreme Soviet and now the seat of the Russian executive branch of government, also colloquially known as “The White House” – translator’s note) on October 4, 1993?
Indeed, the similarities between the events that broke out around Moscow’s White House in 1993 and around Washington’s Capitol in 2021 are not superficial. In both cases, people who stood in defense of law and order against the usurpation of power by an element destructive to the country somehow allowed themselves to be defeated in a humiliating way.
The law and the Constitution were on the side of the Supreme Soviet, which opposed the coup d’état initiated by Yeltsin and his entourage. Also, the Supreme Soviet had a base of popular support from patriotic citizens who had already been persecuted, but had not surrendered in the preceding years of perestroika and Gaidar’s “shock therapy.” In other words, there was a politically active support group. A large group of supporters of the Supreme Soviet gathered in front of the House of Soviets and stayed for two weeks in order to peacefully and legally express their support for their elected representatives. Action based on the law and popular support, it seemed, should have inevitably led to victory.
But it turned out quite differently. There was a group of provocateurs among the defenders of the “White House”. They succeeded in directing a significant portion of the protesters to an entirely unnecessary and useless assault on the Ostankino Television Center. It was followed by a provocation with a grenade launcher shot through the glass door of the TV center and then by gunfire directed at the supporters of the Supreme Soviet from armored personnel carriers of the Interior Ministry troops, which had arrived. The carnage continued the next day in and around the building of the Supreme Soviet. Where in order to create the appearance of armed resistance on the part of the “insurgents” and to anger the internal troops, provocateurs opened sniper fire from a neighboring building on a crowd of gawkers and on the two opposing sides.
So, the provocation with Ostankino untied Yeltsin’s hands, and he used direct military force against his own parliament, shooting it with 125 mm tank guns. Our humanitarian intelligentsia justified this desecration of the constitutional order by demanding that the army protect them “from this damned Constitution.”
As a result, the government committed a crime, the opposition was squashed, and the Russian Parliament in its old form was abolished. A new Constitution was adopted, concentrating unprecedented power in Yeltsin’s hands, while acknowledging the primacy of international treaties over Russian law. More importantly, it was a devastating blow to the mass psychology of the pro-Soviet popular opposition, which stood up against the looting and humiliation of their country. The Russian patriotic community has yet to fully overcome the consequences of this provocation that led to the defeat of the Supreme Soviet, to this day.
And what happened in Washington?
US President Donald Trump and his most prominent supporters actively encouraged people to attend a mass rally in Washington in support of the Republicans in the US Congress who intended to challenge the votes of the swing state delegations to the Electoral College (EC). The reasoning was that there had been insufficient investigation into the massive election fraud that had allegedly changed the outcome of the vote in those states. In other words, ” stealing the election.”
As our paper had previously discussed, attempts to appeal the Electoral College results were legally hopeless in terms of changing the outcome of the presidential election. But Trump had an opportunity to bring a huge number of outraged supporters to the capital to give Republican senators and congressmen – I stress specifically the congressional Republicans – a “moment of truth.” They would have to publicly either side with the overwhelming majority of their own constituents who believed that the election had been stolen from them, or publicly wipe their feet on these constituents. Demonstrating that the privileges of power are more important to those who have become senators and congressmen than representing the opinions of the voters.
With such a maneuver, Trump could have provoked a split in the US Republican Party in his favor, and by a wide margin, separating the right-wing populists who resonate with him from the neoconservatives and corporatists who dominate the party. By stepping down as president, but dramatically strengthening his position in the party, Trump would at the same time be able to significantly undermine the legitimacy of Joseph Biden as president-elect. After all, all the news channels would have had to cover a mass peaceful demonstration where the main slogan was “stop the steal!”
But it turned out quite differently. Some of the protesters gathered not in front of the White House, where Trump was speaking, but near the National Mall, on the east end of which is the Capitol building. While Trump was still concluding his speech, some of these protesters came close to the Capitol. Among them were people urging the crowd not to stop in front of the building itself, but to go inside. Different sources, independently of each other, claim that the ringleaders were predominantly pseudoleftists, belonging to the “antifa” movement, who used the tactics of this group. The small and discontinuous police cordon offered no systematic resistance to those attempting to enter the Capitol.
This, incidentally, closely parallels the actions of the OMON riot police in Moscow in the morning of October 3, 1993. When the column of the Supreme Soviet supporters moved toward the cordoned-off building over the Krymsky Bridge and beyond, the security forces inexplicably parted ways, almost without coming into contact with the demonstrators. It was as if they were being lured by this malleability to the square in front of the Supreme Soviet. The same thing happened there – the dense chain of internal troops surrounding the building was easily broken and the cheering supporters of the Supreme Soviet, after a short rally, were provocatively directed towards the Ostankino Television Tower.
What about Washington? The session of Congress was interrupted as the excited crowd approached, evacuated to special shelters reserved in case of a military attack, and dressed in hazmat suits. Next, activists wearing Trump supporter emblems, who had gotten inside, began wandering chaotically through the halls of the Capitol and taking pictures of themselves. Some items inside were broken. These ” promenades through the Capitol” continued until people began to come out on their own, at which point law enforcement began to “encourage” them with flash-bangs and tear gas.
It was not without the use of firearms. As of January 9, five people are known to have died in the bizarre assault on the Capitol. Capitol Police shot and killed a Trump supporter from San Diego, US Air Force veteran Ashley Babbitt. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick also died from wounds sustained in a confrontation with protesters. Three other protesters died from non-violent acute medical conditions, according to official sources.
As protesters were being escorted out of the Capitol, several improvised explosive devices were discovered and defused in Washington, including in the immediate vicinity of both the Democratic and Republican Party headquarters.
The US mainstream media, covering the events, immediately chose extremely harsh rhetoric to describe what had happened. The protesters were called nothing less than “domestic terrorists” and “conspiracy theorists. Their actions were called “an insurgency” and “an attack on American democracy.” The blame for this bizarre incident was instantly placed on US President Donald Trump. Trump himself was deprived of his usual way of communicating with the outside world through blocking his official Twitter page.
Vice President Michael Pence demonstratively distanced himself from Trump. Immediately upon returning to the chamber, Pence, Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and many others unanimously denounced both the incident and the Trump supporters, using the terms “insurgency,” “domestic terrorism,” “an attack on democracy,” and so on, already introduced in the media.
Before the meeting, 12 Republican senators had publicly promised to support the Electoral College challenge, but after the riots at the Capitol, six of them effectively went back on their word, refusing to vote against the results in the state of Arizona, which had been formally challenged before the protesters broke in. Attempts to appeal the results for Georgia, Nevada, Michigan and Wisconsin failed because the senators who were supposed to support the appeals withdrew their signatures on the respective petitions. Only Senator Joshua Hawley did not withdraw his signature against the Pennsylvania results, the vote on which also failed.
After midnight, Congress officially confirmed Joseph Biden as the next president of the United States.
Already during the joint session of Congress on the results of the election, calls began for Trump to be stripped of his presidential powers immediately, using an extremely unconventional interpretation of the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution, which deals with the transfer of presidential powers in extraordinary circumstances, adopted after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It is noteworthy that the senators and congressmen from the Democratic Party who spoke of this necessity did not come up with this idea on their own – they essentially repeated the words of an editorial in The Washington Post that proposed this option and was published during the riots.
Blocked on social media, President Trump was largely cut off from the outside world until the middle of the day on January 7. All that time, the president’s supporters, distraught and confused, were waiting to hear from their leader. And the information they received was of dubious quality. For example, a prominent Trump supporter, the lawyer Lyn Wood, gave a false message through social networks that Trump had left Washington on Air Force One on the evening of the 6th and was headed to Texas, from where he would command the military response against the congressmen and the vice president, who were ” committing treason”.
But President Trump appeared on the air on January 7th and essentially admitted defeat by condemning the violence, even calling his own supporters who entered the Capitol building “criminals” and promising to ensure the transition of power to the next administration. In doing so, Trump signaled a complete loss of initiative and agreed to a framework of action imposed on him by his political opponents in the leadership of both parties.
The most consistent supporters of the still serving president, however, continue to wait for more guidance and more sensational revelations about election fraud, after which the entire country will have no option but to recognize Biden’s election victory as stolen and begin Trump’s second term.
But regardless of the factual correctness of the alleged falsifications, they can no longer top the news agenda, as even Fox News, traditionally considered the country’s main conservative network, has joined in marginalizing the Trump supporters. Those supporters who have not turned their backs on Trump are being portrayed as both carnival buffoons and rabid fascists. This, unfortunately, is the logical outcome of four years of Trump’s presidency.
Four Years of Trump for Conservative America – The Bottom Line
Trump was able to win in 2016 because he was able to convince the socially conservative white working class in so-called “Middle America” (that is, outside the big cities on the two coasts) that he could give these people back their country, which they were already feeling with their gut, was slipping away from under their feet. Did it work?
Trump promised to defeat corruption and lobbyism in Washington, and pitched the slogan “drain the swamp.” But instead of draining the swamp, Trump himself became engulfed in it, along with his supporters. After all, he did not have enough of his own people to nominate to key positions. This means that he had to turn for help with staffing to the same Republican establishment and the same deep state that he so viciously berated in his campaign speeches.
The promises of reindustrialization have been partially fulfilled, and this has been reflected more in the growth of stock markets than in real improvements in the well-being of ordinary American families. It was the lack of real change for the better for non-college educated workers that led to the popularity of Democratic proposals to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 or to impose a universal basic income for all adults.
It was thought that conservative judges appointed by the President would play a key role in upholding traditional American values. Indeed, Trump managed to appoint more than 200 federal judges at various levels, including three members of the US Supreme Court, giving conservatives a 2/3 majority there.
When we talk about conservative judges in the United States, we mean members of the Federalist Society, who consider it paramount to interpret the Constitution as literally as possible. In fact, such an approach translates into a consistent weakening of the regulatory framework for large corporations. There is no conscious goal of protecting traditional values. And in fact, the situation of traditional families and religious believers in the US has not improved at all over the past 4 years, while LGBT rights have continued to expand.
But the worst off was the American conservative community itself, the alternating demonization and mockery of which reached an apotheosis after the riots around the Capitol. But they have been gradually escalating ever since Trump became one of the top three contenders for the Republican nomination in the primary. Through a sustained campaign of vilification of Trump supporters, the liberal elite has largely succeeded in instilling their own hatred and disgust for ordinary, socially conservative white Americans into the minds of a significant portion of those who are the Democratic support base, especially among big-city residents.
Trump’s own electorate had a hand in discrediting itself in the media space, combining rhetorical belligerence with an obvious craving for comfort and serenity. And it was brought to the point of absurdity on January 6, when, after pretending that they were ready to strike a crushing blow and proceed to exercise the right of popular uprising set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Trump supporters first made an awkward lunge, then stood there with a stupid grin on their faces, and then they imploded… following their president.
The presence of provocateurs changes nothing. The Trump supporters did not rein in the provocateurs and did not kick them out of their ranks, but gladly followed after them.
And this circumstance exposes perhaps the most disastrous side of contemporary American conservatism. Despite all the talk of “rugged individualism” and self-sufficiency, the conservative community as a whole has behaved like a trusting child expecting paternalistic care from a “good king.” After all, if Trump has everything under control and is leading America to revival, then why fully self-organize? When you can just stand there, cheer, and once your hero revives America for you, proudly say, “we played our part, too”?
Members of a society whose favorite pastime is to sit on stadium bleachers and eat hot dogs while athletes run around and entertain them still fail to understand that participation in politics is not about chewing in the bleachers, but about stepping onto the battlefield.
The Challenge and the Response
The American conservative community is entering the new year of 2021 and welcoming Biden’s inauguration humiliated and mocked. And with the understanding that their sense of losing their country, their way of life, and their children – will only grow in the near future.
Disillusioned with Donald Trump as their messiah-leader, this community can either look for a new charismatic leader to whom they can delegate the right to think and decide for themselves, or they can become their own collective savior.
They need to understand that there is currently no conservative party in the United States. That the Republicans’ so-called conservatism is all about preserving the liberalism of the 2000s from the novelties of the liberalism of the 2020s, and that no Republican is talking or intends to talk about protecting the American cultural core, much less about returning to its roots.
And if it is so, sober-minded American conservatives, or nationally oriented patriots, should stop looking into the mouths of the Republican Party, which is simply exploiting their sentiments to win elections. They have to realize this and start forming their own socio-political entity.
Such an entity cannot be reduced to an ordinary party that needs to beat the Democrats and Republicans at the polls in their cheating game. It would need to fully awaken American society and let it know that in a little while, not even a hint of the America of its childhood will remain. That the transnational capital that has taken over the country will continue to dismantle that America, along with its people and cultural values. And that either you will stand up for your country and your people, or no one will.
In order for such an entity to be able to convey this idea to the people, it must not consist of those who like to put on symbols and then stroll around the empty Capitol with a stupid grin and pose for the camera, but of people who are able to call things by their proper names and bring the idea to its conclusion.
No Fox News, which was originally created as a broadcasting platform for neoconservatives, will give such people a say, which means they need to create their own platforms.
This is all terribly far from the current “Trump supporter club,” but it is the kind of transformation these Americans need if they do not want to lose their country and their children. And one can only wish them luck in this endeavor.
For ourselves, we can wish for the ability to learn the lessons of others’ mistakes and our own in a timely manner. It is already the 28th year!
Source (for copy): http://eu.eot.su/2021/01/18/bloody-october-ridiculous-january-whats-next/
This is the translation of an article by Lev Korovin, first published in the Essence of Time newspaper issue 412 on January 13, 2021.