In a recent piece at Vox.com, Dylan Matthews, a founder of the Vox website and former Washington Post reporter, makes a well-argued--but dangerously wrong--case against what he sees as the unfounded and harmful hopes many harbor to see Trump removed from office. Matthews finds these hopes understandable; he, too, feels that "our democracy" is being eroded. But he insists that the problems now manifest in Trump have been building for a while and will continue long after Trump is gone. To Matthews, Trump is not the problem and removing him is not part of the solution. Instead, Matthews cautions that the best we can hope for and what we must actively work towards is to muddle through this disastrous presidency. Aiming for more, in his view, will stand in the way of the more realistic goal of stymieing the worst of Trump's agenda.
This is not only delusional, it is deadly. More, it is a viewpoint that many more people than just Matthews hold. So, it is important to dig into.
The Trump/Pence regime has already done shocking damage to lives here and around the world. It is on an aggressive path to do far worse, threatening--without exaggeration--the future existence of humanity on this planet. In the face of this, Matthews' argument amounts to little more than a powerful demonstration of the truth of this statement from the revolutionary leader Bob Avakian (BA): "The politics of the 'possible' is the politics of monstrosity. To adhere to, or acquiesce in, the politics of the 'possible' is to support, and actually to facilitate, monstrosity."
In contrast to Matthews' advocacy for the politics of the "possible," we must honestly confront the existential threat now facing humanity and dare to change what seems possible through determined struggle. We must organize in earnest to get in position to launch a sustained campaign of nonviolent protests that starts with thousands and grows to millions and continues day after day, not stopping until the entire Trump/Pence regime has been removed from power.
Matthews writes: "Most observers acknowledge that American democracy is in a pretty bad way.
"The sheer number of hurdles that reform legislation must pass through, from filibusters to holds to committee votes, have turned the federal government into a vetocracy that stands paralyzed and incapable of adapting in the face of new challenges. Gerrymandering, nonproportional representation in Congress, and the Electoral College lead to a representative government that isn't very representative at all." A bit later he adds, "Ejecting [Trump] cannot and will not suddenly cure our political dysfunction."
But the problem of the Trump/Pence regime is not "dysfunction," it is fascism. As I write, the state is terrorizing and shattering immigrant families across this country with the logic and momentum of genocide. A record number of restrictions on women's ability to access abortion and birth control and attacks on LGBTQ people push us ever closer to a real-life Handmaid's Tale. White supremacists inside law enforcement and outside have taken to heart Trump's admonition to be "rough" with Black people and others. Trump is both attacking the judiciary and rapidly remaking it with fascist judges. The regime is purging those in the FBI and Department of Justice who are not loyal to Trump above all else. Pence and his network of Christian fundamentalist fascists are embedded throughout the officer corps of the military, taking over schools, purging scientists from Health and Human Services, as well as other agencies. Then there is the team of torturers and war criminals like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and others who only make more real Trump's threats of war, with potential to spin wildly out of control.
All this is not just more of the same, or even just the worst of a Republican administration. This is a fascist regime step-by-step remaking law and societal norms on the road to establishing a fascist America.Fascism Must Be Stopped--It Must Be Driven From Power--Before It Becomes Too Late
Like fascists throughout history, this regime has endured temporary setbacks and absorbed separate acts of resistance, only to lurch forward and lash out again, each time closer to all-out consolidation. There can be no "waiting it out" with fascists, no trying to "muddle through." Unless and until this regime is driven from power, they will continue to launch new, highly repressive measures on many fronts, ultimately remaking the law and clamping down on all dissent. The lesson of history is precisely that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.
But stopping this fascist regime cannot be done by relying on and working through the official political channels. It won't be stopped by relying on the Democrats or the much-hoped-for "Blue Wave" in the midterm elections. As RefuseFascism.org, an organization I co-initiated which unites people from a great diversity of political perspectives, has written in our new Call to Action: "The Democratic Party leadership will NOT lead us out of this. They are about maintaining order for their whole set up. For them, order is more important than justice, even if that means the order of fascism. After Trump's election, President Obama said of Trump, 'We are all on the same team... We are now all rooting for his success.' No! If Trump succeeds, it will be catastrophic!"
For over a year, Trump has willfully shattered political norms and procedures, routinely declared his political opponents worthy of prison, and significantly diminished the rule of law and any constraint on his power. It is dangerous delusion to think he will be constrained or removed without unprecedented and truly massive political struggle.
This is why RefuseFascism.org argues that only by driving this regime from power through a massive, sustained nonviolent political struggle--one which starts with many thousands and grows to involve millions who refuse to back down--can the people stop a fascist America. This is dramatic, but it is necessary--it is also possible if we get to work and join with RefuseFascism.org in fighting for it.Yes, the Problem IS Deeper Than Trump--We Need an Actual Revolution!
Matthews has a point when he argues that the problem is deeper than Trump... but here, too, he misses the essence of the matter.
Matthews locates the "deeper problem" in things like gerrymandering and the disenfranchisement of Black and Latino voters and others. But these harmful trends are part of the overall fascist movement that has given rise to Trump/Pence, they are not the cause of this regime.
The real deeper problem is not "imperfections" in the electoral process or institutions; it is the fundamental nature of the system that the elections and democratic institutions serve and have always served. As Bob Avakian has analyzed, "The essence of what exists in the U.S. is not democracy but capitalism-imperialism and political structures to enforce that capitalism-imperialism. What the U.S. spreads around the world is not democracy, but imperialism and political structures to enforce that imperialism."
In a talk he gave last year that remains highly relevant and timely, BA analyzes how the roots of this regime lie in the fundamental nature of the U.S. and stretch all the way back to the Confederacy as well as to a somewhat more recent (several decades long) build-up of a large and powerfully positioned Christian fascist movement. He examines how this regime is deadly serious about shredding political and social norms that have emphasized diversity and inclusion in recent decades, replacing them with the vicious reassertion of open white supremacy, misogyny, xenophobic nationalism and America First chauvinism--and BA gets into why this is. BA shows how all this has been driven forward by the underlying dynamics of the system of capitalism-imperialism in the U.S. and the challenges it is currently confronting as the sole superpower in an ever more volatile world. And, it must be noted, BA goes deeply into what must and can be done about all this, which only underscores the importance of people watching the talk for themselves.