“This was pure evil,” said Erie County Sheriff, John Garcia about the racist murders at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo, NY. His widely quoted statement is a cover up for the real crisis US society faces. It puts that event on a purely personal level – one “evil” individual. The real issue, however, is not some “evil” individuals. In fact, it is even far beyond the increase in the number of hate crimes (to 7, 759 in 2020, an increase by nearly 470 from 2019).
The great majority of these crimes may be carried out by individuals, but these individuals swim in a sea of fascist violence that is on the rise around the world.
Fascist Military Training Camps
From Hoffman, North Carolina to a former military base outside St. Petersburg Russia, fascists and various racists are gathering for advanced military training. The base in Russia is particularly significant. According to “infobae” this camp is run by a group called the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM). It gathers fascists from throughout the world, including Ireland, Greece, Germany, and the USA. One individual associated with RIM and this training camp is the American John Cameron Denton, whose members “have subsidiaries in Canada, Great Britain and Switzerland, in addition to Germany, where they recorded a video showing a group of armed and masked men waving a flag with the inscription“Atomwaffen Division” in front of a castle that served as a training base for the Nazi SS in the 1940s,” according to infobae.
In addition to military training, these groups are making global political links and reinforcing each others’ politics. Some of the fascists there advertise the “Third Way”, which is a slogan advanced by the Putin-connected fascist Aleksander Dugin. Versions of this view also have some credibility within sections of the “left”.
As recently as ten years ago, serious people would have scoffed at the warnings of a rise in fascism in the United States. No longer.
Fascism in Law Enforcement
The rise of fascism has penetrated every institution of US capitalism. Consider, for example, what happened on January 6, 2021 when far right elements, including outright fascists, tried to violently impose their will on the federal government. According to ABC News 17 current or former law enforcement officers have been charged with criminal activities in that event. There must have been far more in the mob outside. That is only the tip of the
iceberg. There is the 38,000 member “Oath Keepers” composed of current or former police and US soldiers. This group is associated with such openly racist groups as the Three Percenters. There is the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). This far right group is associated with the Oathkeepers and supported the January 6 attempted coup. According to Wikipedia CSPOA has a claimed membership of 4500. Among that membership are 300 sheriffs, which comprises 10% of the total number of sheriffs in the United States.
Fascism in US Military
Then there is the US military. Under then-President Donald Trump, his military tops like his former Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley stood in the way of Trump’s attempts to overthrow capitalist democracy. They represented the views of the majority of the US capitalist class. The capitalist majority believes that since they have always ruled through their brand of “democracy” there is no upside and a great downside to changing to outright one person dictatorship at this time.
However, there has always been another, minority wing of the US military. During the Cold War, that wing could be characterized as the “Dr.
Strangelove” wing, as seen in the brilliant Peter Sellers movie of that name. That was the wing that believed in carrying out a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union. Today, that wing’s most visible element is the likes of Michael Flynn and Navy Seal war criminal Eddie Gallagher, who was pardoned by Donald Trump. Again, according to CBS News at least 81 current or former US soldiers face charges stemming from the January 6 coup attempt. That composes over 10% of the total number charged, and it means that far more were involved in that anti-democratic protest. Again, that is only the tip of the iceberg.
Consider the case of Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson, whose personal hero is the Norwegian racist mass murderer Anders Breivik. As reported by “The Warhorse”, Hasson had plans to kill people “on a scale rarely seen in this country,” according to his military prosecutors. His defense attorneys claimed (probably accurately) that Hasson had been a “once-steller and respected career military man.”
The “Warhorse” writes: “According to a recent poll conducted by Militarytimes.com, 36% of the 1,630 active-duty troops it surveyed reported they had personally witnessed examples of ‘white nationalism or ideological-driven racism within the ranks in recent months.’ If this same percentage is extrapolated to the whole population of active-duty troops (about 1.3 million in December 2019), that would mean nearly half a million troops have witnessed examples of white nationalism in the ranks in recent months.”
According to this same article, Mark Esper denied white nationalism is a problem in the Military.
Shift in Roles
As we said, so far the military tops have enforced capitalist democracy. And so far the police have opposed the worst acts of racist violence, although often times reluctantly so. For example, they responded to the reports of the Buffalo shooting within two minutes. However, as the tensions mount in US society, these racist and fascist forces within the armed wings of the government show that that will not necessarily always be so. For example, in the future sheriffs and chiefs of police could well have their underlings actively preventing black people from voting. Entire groups of cops and sheriffs deputies could act as police do in places like Rio de Janeiro, where hooded police outright murder those civilians they don’t like, including street kids. Police could passively or even actively prevent any interventions in actions like the Buffalo murders.
During the Civil Rights movement in the South, the local police and sheriffs directly collaborated with the KKK. For example, there is the case of the murder of civil rights workers Cheney, Schwerner and Goodman in 1964. In that case, the three young men were arrested and held in jail by the sheriff in Neshoba County, Mississippi. He held them long enough for his KKK buddies to come, take them from jail and murder them. Stories like this were rampant throughout the South at that time. Today we could see cops and sheriffs like those in the Constitutional Sheriffs and the Oath Keepers intentionally waiting long enough for racist murderers like the one in Buffalo to do even further damage and then escape. Or they could collaborate with racist murderers who attack people of color waiting on line to vote on an election day.
As for the judiciary, the coming Supreme Court ruling enabling the complete prohibition of abortion tells the tale. It shows that at least five of the (in)Justices outright lied in order to get onto the Court. It shows that the only thing that is partially staying their hand at present is that they don’t know for sure if Trump or a Trump lookalike will be able to fraud his or her way to the presidency in 2024. If that happens, then all bets are off.
This rise of fascism and extreme right wing politics is also bringing to the fore the extremely undemocratic nature of the US Constitution, including the structure of the US Senate and the roles of the electoral college and the entire federal court system, as exemplified by the Supreme Court.
Again, 10 or 15 years ago, this would have sounded like panic-driven hysteria. No longer.
Crisis of Capitalism
What is driving this forward is the developing crisis of world capitalism and the crisis within the working class. The latter is caused to a great measure by the role of the union leadership and their partners in crime, the nonprofiteers.
AFL-CIO and NGO Leaderships
In February of 2021, Oaklandsocialist published an article called “What lead Up to January 6”. and explained: “Starting in April of 2020, leaders of… [various top NGO’s and the AFL-CIO] started to meet to discuss what Trump might do to subvert the election and how they could counter his plans. Through these discussions was born a coalition called the “Defend Democracy Coalition”. The group “organized mass gatherings only sparingly and in highly choreographed ways after Nov. 3,” the NY Times article reports. One of the key leaders, Anna Galund, is quoted as saying that mass protests from the left might “inadvertently turn the tide of media momentum” in favor of Trump. In other words, media like CNN, MSNBC and the major newspapers were reflecting the view of the overwhelming majority of the US capitalist class, which was overwhelmingly in favor of Biden, and the “progressive” leaders wanted to be sure not to do anything to antagonize them.”
Abortion Rights Protests
Just two days ago we saw some of these “highly choreographed” events in “defense” of abortion rights. In San Francisco, thousands of people marched quitely down Market Street and silently dispersed immediately afterwards. In Oakland, in a scarcely publicized event, some 500-750 people gathered to hear liberal speakers urge people to vote (meaning vote Democratic). The same speakers more or less admitted defeat when they bragged that Oakland will be a sanctuary city for women whose right to abortion has been denied in another state. In other words, they are accepting that that will happen elsewhere. As for what to do if a federal abortion prohibition law is passed after 2024, they did not even consider that problem.
In San Francisco, a more radical women’s rights march was organized by “Rise Up 4 Abortion Rights: later on the same day as the silent march down Market Street. At the end of the march, an open mic “speak out” was held in which everybody was able to express their views. That is an example of how we can start
Activists and socialists can and must break through this barrier. We can and we must turn to the working class, especially working class youth. Within the unions there is massive discontent with the union leadership, which is relying on the employers at every turn. We can and we must link up a wider social movement with that discontent within the unions.
Even the beginnings of a wider radical working class struggle can force the fascist forces into retreat and start to build an independent voice of the US working class.