by Bob Avakian
July 8, 2022
The January 6 hearings into the attempted coup by Trump, in the aftermath of the 2020 election, are important—and it is important that Trump, and his co-conspirators, be held fully accountable, including legally, for this attempted coup.
But, at the same time, it is also very important for people to not just accept the claims about “democracy” and “the rule of law” by the Democrats (and others) who are opposed to Trump and are exposing and denouncing his coup attempt—very important that people finally come to recognize what this “democracy” is actually based on. In other writings (and speeches) I have gone into this in greater depth.* Here I want to highlight critically important points in response to the claim—which has been repeatedly made during the course of these hearings—that “we” (those who preside over this system of capitalism-imperialism) govern through the rule of law, and not through coups.
1. Along with the horrific violence perpetrated within this country to maintain the “law and order” of this system—such as the continual wanton murders of Black people by police—the truth is that the ruling class of this country, through the CIA (and other “intelligence services”), as well as the military, has constantly carried out coups, invasions and other violent actions all over the world—and, without this, their (up to now) “peaceful transfer of power” within this country would have been impossible.
The following are just a few examples of countries where the U.S. has carried out coups and similar actions to overthrow popular leaders and governments over the past 70 years: Iran; Guatemala; Congo; Indonesia; Chile; Honduras. To look at this more broadly:
In addition to the continuing crimes against humanity carried out by the U.S., just since World War 2, including the U.S. slaughter of millions of civilians in Vietnam, and before that in Korea, and the bloody coups it has engineered in Indonesia, Iran and elsewhere, in the period from 1846 to the present the U.S. has intervened in South and Central American countries—militarily, through CIA coups, or in other ways—at least 100 times, at the cost of literally hundreds of thousands of deaths and endless misery for the people of those countries.**
Much of these bloodthirsty actions, and the terrible carnage and atrocity that they involved, were carried out under Democratic administrations: monstrous war crimes and crimes against humanity have been repeatedly perpetrated by the Democrats, no less than the Republicans, for the basic reason that both of these parties are instruments of the ruling class of this system of capitalism-imperialism.
2. The “peaceful transfer of power” which this ruling class has carried out, up to now, simply means a transfer of power from one section of this ruling class to another. The much-proclaimed “right of the people to self-government by choosing their leaders through free and fair elections” is simply the “right” to choose between these different, contending sections of the ruling class, which enforces the rule of this system, with continual and horrific violence—all over the world, as well as within this country itself.
3. As shown by these January 6 hearings, and in many other ways—including the recent decision by the fascist majority on the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade—this ruling class (and the society overall) is so sharply and deeply divided that the ruling class cannot continue to rule, as a “unified force,” in the way that has held this country together, under the rule of this system, for generations, since the end of the Civil War in the 1860s. These divisions, and the conflicts they continually give rise to, represent a potential weakening of the hold of this system over masses of people: they provide a “rare opportunity” for masses of people, in their millions and millions, to be shaken awake, to recognize the real nature of this system and the violent means through which it has always maintained its rule, and to rise up not just to resist its continuing, and heightening, atrocities, but to finally overthrow this system and replace it with a radically different system—one not based on vicious exploitation and murderous oppression, here and throughout the world, but based instead on emancipating relations among people.***
* See, in particular, Imperialist Parasitism and “Democracy”: Why So Many Liberals and Progressives Are Shameless Supporters of “Their” Imperialism. This article by Bob Avakian is available at the BobAvakianInstitute.org and at revcom.us. [back]
** Shameless American Chauvinism: “Anti-Authoritarianism” as a “Cover” for Supporting U.S. Imperialism. This article by Bob Avakian is also available at the BobAvakianInstitute.org and at revcom.us. [back]
*** In Something Terrible, Or Something Truly Emancipating: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap For This Revolution, Bob Avakian analyzes in depth why this is a rare time when revolution becomes (more) possible, even in a powerful country like this, and how to go about working for that revolution in this “rare time.” A basic summary of this work is contained in Organizing for an Actual Revolution: 7 Key Points. And in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America, authored by Bob Avakian, there is a sweeping vision and concrete blueprint for a radically different and emancipating society. These works are available as well at revcom.us. [back]