PART 2 of
VOTING WILL NOT BE ENOUGH—
WE NEED TO TAKE TO THE STREETS, AND STAY IN THE STREETS DEMANDING TRUMP/PENCE OUT NOW!
by Bob Avakian
In the Statement by Bob Avakian, August 1, 2020, On The Immediate Critical Situation, The Urgent Need To Drive Out The Fascist Trump/Pence Regime, Voting In This Election, And The Fundamental Need For Revolution, I spoke to this important point:
At this critical hour, every appropriate means of non-violent action must be utilized to remove this regime from power. And if, in spite of mass protest demanding the removal of the Trump/Pence regime, this regime remains in power when it is time for voting, then—without placing fundamental reliance on this—using all appropriate means to work for the removal of this regime must include voting against Trump (assuming the election is actually held). To be clear, this means not a “protest vote” for some candidate who has no chance of winning, but actually voting for the Democratic Party candidate, Biden, in order to effectively vote against Trump.
At the same time, however, I strongly emphasized that
Simply relying on voting to oust this regime will almost certainly lead to very bad, even disastrous results. This is especially true given what this regime is already doing, and what Trump is saying, in relation to the election.
The Trump/Pence Regime Is Already Moving to Suppress Votes
The fact that Trump, and his supporters, continue to commit outrage after outrage, on a regular basis, can cause people—even those who hate everything Trump represents—to forget about outrages that were committed even just a little while ago. But, it is crucially important not to forget that Trump has already “floated” the idea of “delaying” the election on the basis of his completely false claims that things like mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud and that it could take weeks, months, or even years to know the actual result of the election (note: weeks, months, or even years—during which time Trump would insist on staying in power!).
Trump and his supporters are making moves to suppress the votes of many Black people, and others, who are likely to vote heavily against Trump. Here is one glaring example: In the state of Florida (which Trump desperately needs to win), the Republican-controlled government is working to undermine changes in the Florida Constitution that have restored the right of convicted felons to vote. This could take away the right to vote from nearly 800,000 people, many of whom are Black and Latino.1
Trump’s operatives are already in the process of organizing fascist thugs to go to polling places, especially in key “battleground” states, to “watch out for fraud.” In fascist Trumpworld, lying is a way of life and the standard operating procedure. When they say “law and order,” they mean police killing Black and Brown people. To them, the truth is “fake news,” and they claim “science doesn’t know” things that only Trump knows. So, when they talk about “election fraud,” what they mean is people voting against Trump. And what these fascist goons being organized by the Trump camp intend to do is precisely to prevent people from voting against Trump—with the threat, and the use, of force and violence.
Michael Cohen—who, for more than 10 years, was Trump’s personal attorney and “fixer”—has sounded the alarm, more than once, that Trump will do anything to stay in power, even start a war to create a national emergency.2 Trump, who is both a pathological liar and a liar with a purpose, has deliberately and repeatedly downplayed the danger of the COVID-19 pandemic, even while knowing what a serious danger it actually poses. He has already forced government bodies, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to bend its findings and recommendations about the COVID-19 pandemic to serve Trump’s political ambitions and goals. And it seems increasingly likely that, shortly before the election, in the attempt to offset the exposure of his terrible recklessness with regard to COVD-19, and to perversely declare himself the “savior” of the people from this pandemic, Trump will use his presidential power to pressure approval for the use of a vaccine, even before it has really been scientifically determined whether such a vaccine is not only effective but safe.
Trump Has Violently Suppressed Opposition, and Has Threatened Even Greater Violence
Another thing that must not be forgotten is that Trump has not only justified and supported but openly encouraged violence by armed white supremacist storm troopers (what he calls “Second Amendment people”). He has supported police violently attacking protesters and utilized armed forces of the government to attack and suppress protests, in Washington, D.C., in Portland and other cities. There is already plenty of evidence—and more evidence comes out all the time—that (assuming the election is actually held) regardless of the actual outcome of the election, Trump will declare himself the winner and use whatever means he can, including violence, to stay in power. As pointed out in a recent article posted on revcom.us:
On September 10, Trump was asked by Jeanine Pirro of fascist Fox “News” what his response would be on election night if he won and those against him “threaten riots.” Trump’s response: “We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that…. We have the right to do that, we have the power to do that if we want. Look, it’s called insurrection.”3
Here, it is necessary to “translate” what is being said in this episode of the ongoing fascist lie-athon of Trump and his media accomplices (such as Fox “news”). Trump “winning” the election means Trump declaring himself the winner. (Remember that Trump has already strongly implied that he will not accept the results of the election if Biden wins; and Trump has insisted that the only way he could lose the election is if it is “rigged.”) “Riots,” in fascist-speak, means protests against police brutality and other injustices, even when (as has been the case) these protests are overwhelmingly peaceful; and “insurrection” here means mobilization against the Trump/Pence regime, even if that mobilization is non-violent.
The same revcom.us article calls attention to this:
Another glimpse at what the fascists may be thinking of and even planning for came from the mouth of longtime Republican operative and Trump stooge, Roger Stone. (In July, Trump commuted the 40-month prison sentence of Stone, who had been convicted of lying to Congress.) In a call with Alex Jones—pro-Trump conspiracy theorist—on his online Infowars show, Stone said Trump should consider declaring “martial law” or invoke the Insurrection Act if he should lose the November election.3
And Stone called on “Attorney General” William Barr (head of Trump’s Injustice Department, chief enforcer of unlawful repression, and a “commander” of the regime’s storm troopers) to prepare now a force ready to act on this “martial law” declaration if Trump loses.
Note that Stone openly calls for Trump to use violence to remain in office if Trump loses the election.
And other fanatical backers of this regime, in and out of government, have called on its supporters to arm themselves in preparation for the election.
It would be a very grave mistake to fail to take seriously what is being openly proclaimed by Trump and his fascist supporters.
But as truly dangerous as these fascist threats and acts of violence, and preparations to carry out even more violence, are—being cowed by and capitulating to this would lead to a far greater horror.
The Trumpite attempts to suppress votes must be actively, vigorously opposed; and people must mobilize, now and in an ongoing way, demanding that the whole Trump/Pence regime must go.
We Can’t Rely on the Democrats, We Can’t Wait Until November
In Part 1 in this series, I examined the reasons why the Democrats will not call out the Trump/Pence regime, and its supporters, for what they are: fascist. I pointed out:
Time and again, the Democrats have sought to deal with this by trying to utilize the very “norms” and institutions that this fascist regime is defying and tearing up, or bending to its fascist aims—the courts, congressional hearings and proceedings, and so on. Time and again, the Democrats have failed. Yet they stubbornly refuse to seek any means of opposing this regime other than by resorting to these “norms” and procedures. This is what they are doing, and will be strongly inclined to continue doing, even in the face of Trump’s increasing and intensifying moves to suppress votes in the upcoming election and his clearly indicated determination to have himself declared the winner in the election, or to remain in power regardless of the outcome of the election.4
Biden and the Democrats act as if—and repeatedly insist that—the reason there is so much bitter conflict, violence, and “chaos” in society is because “Trump is dividing us, not uniting us.” But the truth is that, while Trump has become a “rallying point” and “spearpoint” of the fascist forces in this country, within the structures of power and more broadly among sectors of the population, there are deep-seated reasons and causes for why this fascism has become such a powerful force. Biden and the Democrats cannot “bring the country together,” as they falsely claim, because there can be no “reconciliation” with these fascists—whose “grievances” are based on fanatical resentment against any limitation on white supremacy, male supremacy, xenophobia (hatred of foreigners), rabid American chauvinism, and the unrestrained plundering of the environment, and are increasingly expressed in literally lunatic terms. There can be no “reconciliation” with this, other than on the terms of these fascists, with all the terrible implications and consequences of that!
As I have also emphasized: “all this points to the very great likelihood that regardless of the actual outcome of this election (assuming it is actually held), if Trump declares himself the ‘winner’and refuses to leave, in the absence of truly massive mobilization demanding that the Trump/Pence regime must be removed, the Democrats will end up capitulating to Trump.”4
This does not mean that voting for Biden would be irrelevant—would make no difference. Many people who hate Trump have at the same time expressed a definite lack of enthusiasm for Biden. But “enthusiasm for Biden”—or the lack of such enthusiasm—is really beside the point, and basing things on something like that involves gross ignorance, or a deliberate ignoring, of the crucial stakes involved. The reason to vote for Biden is to vote against Trump and his whole regime. And that should be reason enough, for any person who actually cares about social justice, who refuses to live in a fascist America and has any sense of the very real catastrophe it would mean, not just for people in this country but for all of humanity, if Trump gets a “re-election mandate.” For these reasons, as I pointed out in my August 1 Statement, if it comes down to it—if the Trump/Pence regime is still in power when it is time for voting—then voting for Biden, in order to vote against Trump, will be very important and necessary.
As that Statement emphasizes, “there can be one—and only one—‘good’ that can come out of this election: delivering a decisive defeat to Trump and the whole fascist regime.”This would not “put an end” to the fascism that has arisen out of deep-seated contradictions and has gained strength, over decades. But, as the August 1 Statement further emphasizes: delivering a decisive defeat to this regime “would create far better conditions for continuing to wage the struggle against everything represented by the Trump/Pence regime and all the oppression and injustices of this system, and would be a great gift to the people of the world.”
At the same time, for all the reasons spoken to in that Statement, and highlighted here—the moves by Trump that are already far along to steal the election, and his determination to use whatever means he can to remain in power, regardless of the actual outcome of that election, and at the same time the likelihood that the Democrats, left to their own devices, will end up capitulating to Trump—waiting for November and relying on voting will very likely lead to disaster.
People need to really and fully awaken to the reality of what is at stake, before it is too late. More than a few people have observed, sometimes with sad resignation, that the continuing avalanche of lies and truly monstrous criminal acts by Trump and his regime have worn them down, to the point where they are no longer shocked or feel compelled to act. But losing one’s ability to be outraged, and to act on that outrage, means losing one’s humanity—and, given the situation we are facing, it amounts to collaborating with the fascism of this regime and the catastrophe toward which it is relentlessly propelling humanity.
The crazed fanaticism of the fascists insisting that Trump must remain in power, no matter what, must be met, and overwhelmed, by the conscious passionate intensity of masses of people who hate everything that this fascist regime represents, who recognize the very real existential threat that this regime represents for humanity and are fired with righteous determination that this regime must go!
And, to make this a reality, this righteous determination cannot just be channeled into voting against Trump. What is urgently required now is “stepping outside of the ‘norms’ of this system and mobilizing masses of people in determined, non-violent but sustained struggle in the streets to demand the ouster of this regime, as is being called for by RefuseFascism.org.”4 And:
The mass mobilization that is needed cannot be built “overnight,” in the aftermath of the election—and it cannot be built by confining things within the framework and limits insisted upon by the Democrats….
We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets, Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now!4
(The next, concluding article in this series will speak to the big question: How the nonviolent but sustained, and continually growing, mass mobilization, demanding Trump/Pence OUT NOW! that has been called for, and is being organized by, RefuseFascism.org, could lead to, or contribute in a major way to, a situation in which the Trump/Pence regime would be removed from power.)
1. See the article “Florida Moves to Deny Voting Rights to Hundreds of Thousands of People Convicted of Felonies,” at revcom.us. [back]
2. In his testimony before a congressional committee in 2019, Michael Cohen spoke to the danger that Trump would refuse to recognize the results of the election scheduled for November 2020, if Trump did not win this election. And, in his recently-published book Disloyal, The True Story of the Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump, Cohen once again sounds the alarm, even more urgently, with the warning that Trump will do anything, including starting a war, to stay in power. Cohen has acknowledged that, prior to this 2019 appearance before Congress, he had lied to Congress—something he sought to set right by giving truthful testimony in that 2019 hearing. Trump’s fascist falsehood machine has tried to seize on the fact that Cohen is an admitted liar, who has been convicted of the crime of lying to Congress, in the attempt to draw attention away from what Cohen has revealed about Trump and the great dangers he poses. The problem, for the Trumpites, is that the lies they are referring to, and other despicable acts Cohen carried out—this was done precisely on the instruction and for the benefit of the Liar-in-Chief, Trump himself.
Cohen, who worked very closely with (or for) Trump, for more than ten years, including the first years of Trump’s presidency, and probably knows Trump as well as anyone can, confirms what is said by Trump’s niece, Mary Trump: Racism, misogyny (hatred and degradation of women), and all-around bigotry are at the very core of Trump’s being. [back]
3. “Trump on Election Night Protests: ‘We’ll put them down very quickly.’” This is part of the continuing series The Fascist Assault on revcom.us. [back]
4. The quotes and references here are from Voting Will Not Be Enough—We Need To Take To The Streets, And Stay In The Streets Demanding Trump/Pence Out Now, Part 1, “The Democrats Can’t Fight Trump The Way He Needs To Be Fought.” This article of mine is available at revcom.us. [back]