Imperialism turned inward: Fascist coup attempt in D.C.

BY: DC Metro Club CPUSA| January 8, 2021
Imperialism turned inward: Fascist coup attempt in D.C.


On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, during the congressional certification hearing for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, a violent fascist coup attempt was made in the streets of D.C. and on Capitol Hill in an effort to reverse the defeat of Donald Trump. The coup attempt appears to have been coordinated throughout the country. Fascist Trump supporters from the likes of the Proud Boys; Q-Anon conspiracy theorists; American Firsters; the Boogaloo movement; III Percenters; Turning Point USA; right-wing Vietnamese, Cubans, Venezuelans, Falun Gong cultists, Hong Kong and Tibetan separatists, and Iranian monarchists; and actual Republican elected officials were actively encouraged by the extreme-right forces of the U.S. Senate, such as Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, U.S. Rep. Mary Miller (claiming Hitler was right), members of the Trump family, and backers like Roger Stone, to take part in this insurrection.

Fascists broke down doors and windows of the Capitol building and were able to actually reach the Senate floor and other offices of staff and federal officials. Later, videos surfaced on social media showing Capitol Police opening the barricades to the Capitol building, police inside the building allowing the fascists to take selfies with them, and some running away from them as they began terrorizing the building. Afterwards, most of the fascists were able to walk out of the building freely!

What would have happened if the rebellions for Black lives or Indigenous water protectors defending sacred land from pipelines or militant radicals fighting for socialism in this country attempted to do this? Even corporate media pointed out the contradiction, as well as certain sections of the capitalist class in the National Association of Manufacturers. We know the answer. White supremacy manifests and reinforces itself in the state. In fact, there are increasing questions about whether fascist elements have infiltrated the Capitol Police.

Coup d’états are not new in the United States. In 1898, thousands of white supremacists terrorized the town of Wilmington, North Carolina, where they murdered Black community members and burned buildings to the ground and installed their own government, ousting the Black-elected representatives. The Red Summer of 1919 also rings a bell. Let’s also not forget the fascist bankers that attempted to overthrow FDR in 1933, backed by the American Nazi Party and other unaffiliated fascists that succumbed to Hitlerism. Furthermore, the U.S. has funded counterrevolutionary “color revolutions,” death squads, and bloody coups throughout the Global South in countries fighting for self-determination and national sovereignty like the Congo, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, Honduras, Indonesia, and the list goes on.

D.C. Metro CPUSA is not surprised by the lack of response by D.C. officials, and we are continually displeased by the performative gestures by the leadership, culminating in a weak liberal response to fascism. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, D.C., while somewhat powerless in some instances due to the District’s jurisdiction and semi-colonial status owing to its lack of statehood, had a serious opportunity to put a halt to this violence, in which similar instances happened in November and December. Campaigns and phone-banking to close hotels or at least stop them from lodging fascists from out of town were organized by anti-fascist groups like ShutDownDC, AllOutDC, They/Them Collective, FTP Coalition, DC Street Medics, and the IWW, among many others. While having some success, some hotels and AirBnB hosts still allowed these fascists to lodge and terrorize the city, a prime example of “profits over people.” Mayor Bowser and the rest of the D.C. City Council could have prevented this by employing a state of emergency order and barring hotels from hosting anyone besides essential workers. The D.C. government’s weak response to this fascist threat is unsurprising, given the racist police violence and mass arrests over the summer during the anti-police rebellion.

A city which has over 30 different law enforcement agencies, a city which has the largest police per capita in the country (and the world), who responded to calls to “defund the police” by increasing police budgets, allowed these white supremacists to roam freely throughout D.C. and on federal grounds. The lack of immediate federal response is also telling: the Maryland governor offered to deploy that state’s National Guard but was repeatedly denied permission by Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller, a recent Trump appointee.

As Communists, we are not here to call for more policing and more surveillance. What we are calling for is less performative gestures from the Democratic Party leadership and a stronger, preventative response to fascist right-wing violence. Due to this fascist violence, we are likely to see more restrictions on forms of protest, more surveillance on demonstrators, and an increase in police budgets. We need to struggle against this reaction.  

D.C. Metro CPUSA calls on anti-fascist organizers in D.C. to build popular coalitions to defeat the extreme right and to use these coalitions to put pressure on business owners, landlords, and the city council to implement more effective responses to fascist violence like the following:

1. Meet D.C.’s long-standing demand for equal democratic rights and approve its statehood within the first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration. There is no excuse for delay.

2. Push for a ballot initiative and implementation of community control over police.

3. Organization of neighborhood empowerment committees (i.e., eviction defense, conflict mediation, de-escalation training, etc.) to end the reliance on city (and state) and private police forces.

4. Stronger support and coordination of mutual aid groups in the metropolitan area.

5. Coalitions to organize the unemployed, unhoused, and neighborhood tenants to fight for expansion of benefits, moratoriums on utilities shut-offs, cancellation of rent and other forms of debt (i.e., medical, carceral, and student loan) during the pandemic, expansion of rent control and cooperative housing, and to fight against predatory real estate developers trying to further gentrify our communities.

Image:  Blink O’fanaye (CC BY-NC 2.0).


Related Party Voices Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer