The Capitol coup only highlights the threat that white supremacy poses to democracy

Trump rally
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At a right-wing ‘Save America’ rally on 6 January, Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. And he urged his supporters to continue the fight against the US election results. He told marchers:

We will never give up. We will never concede.

Following this speech, on the same day, a right-wing mob violently stormed the US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Five people were killed in the insurrection, including one police officer.

Several White House officials have resigned following the violence. Moreover, Twitter has permanently suspended Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”.

A Democrat-led group of US government officials is now pushing to impeach the president and hold him accountable for his role in inciting the violent mob. However, whether he’s held to account for his role in inciting the violence or not, we won’t see an end to the hateful ideology he has propagated while in office.

Bringing white supremacy to the fore

According to the New York Times, images from the insurrection “suggested ties to far-right movements”. Outlets have identified insurgents, such as a QAnon influencer who goes by the name of “Q Shaman”, and Matthew Heimbach, a well-known white nationalist. Other insurgents proudly displayed their white supremacist ties, evidenced by one militia’s shirt emblazoned with “Camp Auschwitz”.

Regarding Trump’s incessant accusations of voter fraud, senator Mitt Romney told a reporter:

Read on...

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This is what the president has caused today, this insurrection.

Indeed, over the course of the 2020 election period, Trump has made a concerted effort to whip his supporters into a frenzy. But the Capitol coup has been a long time in the making.

From spouting racist rhetoric during his first week in office to encouraging white supremacist militias this year, Trump has incited and defended white supremacist violence throughout his presidency. In his presidential announcement speech, Trump said:

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. …They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.

At a 2016 campaign rally, he told the crowd:

I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.

Having deflected blame for the violence that took place in Charlottesville away from the far-right, saying there was “blame on both sides”, Trump responded to 2020 Black Lives Matter protests by posting a racist tweet, saying:

When the looting starts, the shooting starts.

This stands in stark contrast to his response to white supremacist domestic terrorists. In fact, ABC News has linked 54 acts of violence to Trump’s divisive rhetoric.

Trumpism isn’t going anywhere

Beyond Trump, the Capitol coup stands firmly in America’s history of white supremacists fiercely fighting against progress. From the Wounded Knee Massacre, through Selma’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ to Charlottesville, white supremacy has always played a central role in American history. The president has just given this predilection a voice, a platform, and credence. America is now a nation where far-right white supremacists feel emboldened to storm the Capitol and bring Congress to a standstill.

The relatively mild police response to armed white terrorists speaks volumes, especially when compared with the brutality peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were met with this year. A video emerged of Capitol police standing idly by as rioters flocked into the building. Another clip shows officers who appears to be letting rioters past the barricades. This disparity in police responses is a clear indicator that racism in America goes beyond Trump. New York congressman Jamaal Bowman is calling for a commission to investigate Capitol police and whether any of its members have ties to white nationalist groups.

This unprecedented event demonstrates that white supremacy is a legitimate threat to democracy. It’s imperative that the US government and judiciary hold the president to account. But sadly, the ideologies that Trump has brought to the fore will not retire when he leaves office. His powerful allies and fervent supporters will remain at large. America can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

Featured image via David Todd McCarty/Unsplash

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  • Show Comments
    1. Once again, absolute garbage from a faux-left, Owen Jones type viewpoint. Quite happy to dispense with the right to free speech and to welcome another extreme right wing President and Vice President on the simple basis that they’re not Donald Trump. In case your not aware, the cages that Trump’s border agents used for imprisoning the children of illegal Mexican immigrants were first used in Obama’s second term when Biden was VP, and more Mexicans were deported in that second term than were deported under Trump. The difference was that the Establishment and its media lackeys in the US, UK and the EU loved Obama so they turned a blind eye to his attrocities. Like virtually all politicians, Trump is a liar but the trans-Atlantic Establishment could have lived with him being a liar if only he hadn’t a propensity to tell embarrassing truths now and again, such as wanting change in Venezuela because “we want their oil” or to NBC, MSNBC, BBC et al “I’m not talking to you, you’re fake news”. This article’s inferred labelling of all Trump supporters as white supremacists is cheap, naive and nasty. For a more truthful report on what actually happened in Washington DC on 6th January watch and note the observations of Fiorella Isabel – a fair, honest and non-hypocritical socialist.

      1. Get a grip man, for fuck sake. A president who publicly pukes bile about shooting black people who were protesting and not looting, as well as shooting somebody and not losing voters and countless other tellings of embarrassing truths now and then, is obviously a dangerous psychopath, not to mention a sad old white supremacist enabling crackpot attention craving narcissist who’s too crazy to accept defeat gracefully. And you’re sticking up for him like some angry little Trump groupie? Get right to fuck. You’re as mad as he is.

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