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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Attempted coup in Washington

IT TAKES a lot to unite Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – but the violent scenes in the Capitol Building on Wednesday by fanatical Trump supporters trying to prevent the final certification results of the Presidential election in favour of the Democrat Joe Biden united them in the sternest condemnation.

These were indeed remarkable events. Normally the Capitol Building is the haunt of politicians who organise coups in foreign countries, rather than the actual scene of them. It is remarkable that Trump has finally alienated so many of his right-wing supporters, including his own cabinet ministers.

US politics are utterly corrupt from top to bottom. On his way up the property ladder Donald Trump cheerfully bribed politicians of both parties, starting with those in the New York Democratic Party machine who are the heirs of Tammany Hall. Boss Tweed’s techniques of holding on to power by dispensing carefully measured doses of patronage to assorted clients, whether they be dodgy businessmen or desperately impoverished migrants, are still in force under the guise of identity politics.

Both major parties have long records in distorting elections. Gerrymandering of constituencies to ensure the safe election of incumbents has been carried out for decades in urban rural constituencies by Republicans and Democrats alike. In most states it is extremely difficult to even get on the ballot. Huge numbers of nominees are required, these are examined by officials appointed by incumbents, who find the slightest excuse to invalidate potential rivals. At other times fake parties are allowed on the ballot to split the votes of challengers. The red-baiting attacks on the Communist Party of the USA (CPUSA) came from both Republicans and Democrats.

In the recent election the Democrats were outraged that Trump made false allegations of them miscounting votes in favour of the Democrats. One example was the state of Wisconsin, which is where the Green Party had perfectly justifiable complaints of exactly the same thing in 2016.

In recent decades Republicans have used laws to prevent people convicted of even minor offences from getting on the electoral register. These obviously target the black population, who are already singled out for attention by the police. Postal ballots, which are much favoured by the Democrats, are an obvious source of fraud, particularly when voting is allowed for weeks on end. If a middle- aged man wants to pass himself off as a 25-year-old woman, doing so by post or the internet is much easier than in person.

Whilst Biden is an improvement on Trump, he is not much of one. American left-wingers who have deplored Trump’s actions towards immigrants fail to notice that he was simply imposing laws passed by Obama and Biden. Far too many American liberals turn a sanctimonious blind eye towards America’s military crimes abroad simply because many atrocities are now carried out by drones rather than by unwilling conscripts.

In the field of foreign relations, the Democratic Party (including those allegedly on the left) was critical of Trump’s attempts to improve relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The Democrats did not complain about Trump’s failure but deplored his efforts, however flawed and perhaps insincere, to normalise relations rather than further tightening the screws. Their criticism of Trump’s hostile policies towards China were also that he was not tough enough.

The American working class might be offered a few crumbs by Biden, but they will not get much more. The American left has been split on the merits of working within the Democratic Party or forming a separate working-class movement. What lessons they arrive at once a short-lived honeymoon with Biden is over, of course remain to be seen.