Stop trivializing the term, coup!

8 Jan

Caitlin Johnstone opens her post today:

Stop trivializing the term “coup”. It’s a real thing the US government really inflicts on other countries in a way that actually does topple governments and cause immense destruction. You cannot take over the US government with a small squadron of wingnuts. That’s not a thing.

A coup attempt doesn’t have to be successful for that term to be legitimate, but it does have to have some possibility of success. Trump has no more likelihood of being in office after January 20th than I do; he’s got nothing resembling the kind of support from the military, political establishment, oligarchs and other backing he’d need to accomplish such a thing.

I hereby declare the US election invalid and I, Caitlin Johnstone, am the new President of the United States.

Have I just instituted a “coup”? Or does my complete inability to put such a claim into effect make the use of that term silly?

And now Trump has conceded. My what a funny looking coup …

… read her full post here …

Others have been making similar arguments. I deem Louis Proyect – self styled ‘unrepentant marxist’ – wrong on some matters, notably Syria, and loathe his ad hominem debating style. But there’s much he gets right. As I was saying back in October:

Louis points out that Trump poses no fascist threat for the simple reason that such a threat can only arise where there is a communist threat. This truth can be ascertained logically. Fascism is an expensive option for capitalism, an extreme solution when not only profits, but the ‘right’ of a ruling class to appropriate surplus value, are under threat. And it can be ascertained empirically – as the cases of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet and Suharto show.

I understand the liberal media getting all frothed up about this. For one thing, bigging it up to the extent they have sells newspapers, ups audience ratings and wins advertisers. For another, liberalism has from the very start been insistent – in defiance of all the evidence of what the Bush, Clinton and Obama regimes did, and what the Biden regime will do – that Trump marks some egregiously evil deviation from the shining path taken by all previous helmsmen of the most reckless and frightening nation on the planet.

(Failure to see these truths has various drivers, none more central than media induced blindness to the fact that ours is an imperialised world, as I claim in the Tragedy of Corbynism. And that the most predatory imperialism of all, in the face of stiff competition from such as Britain and France, is the USA. These truths are quite independent of the antics of the 45th President but it sells copy and keeps up Overton Window appearances to insist otherwise.)

But when Marxist groups like the Socialist Equality Party, hosts of an otherwise excellent World Socialist Website, peddle the same claptrap it’s enough to make a grown man cry. For sanity we have to turn to a rottweiler like Louis, or a seemingly non Marxist radical like Caitlin.

Still, mustn’t grumble …


8 Replies to “Stop trivializing the term, coup!

  1. Trump and his deranged fanatics should have heeded that old, wise saying – ‘I’d rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy’. They should be commended for bringing shame, ridicule and disgrace upon the ‘sacred institutions of US democracy’, in whose name nuclear weapons were dropped on Japanese civilians, death squads launched on five continents, hundreds of millions murdered, the ecosystem brought to the point of destruction etc etc etc.

    Trump et al’s ridiculous antics should not distract us from what is truly sinister… as I said in my Facebook comment on recent events:
    ‘As Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap’ (Galatians 6:7).

    On Washington, 6 January 2021, USA got a taste of its own medicine: Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Congo 1961, Iraq 1963, Indonesia 1965, Chile 1973, Venezuela 2002, Haiti 2004, Honduras 2009, Bolivia 2019 – a short excerpt from a long list of US-orchestrated right-wing coups.
    Remarkably, the specious arguments used by Trump’s far-right supporters to justify their behaviour are identical to those advanced by successive liberal and conservative US presidents to justify their violent subversion in countless other countries — namely to stop leftists/socialists/communists from taking away our freedom/property/way of life etc etc…

    So now we have to listen to a procession of liberal hypocrites, from Joseph Biden down, excoriating Trump supporters for doing what they themselves have done and are doing to so many people in Africa, Asia and Latin America!!!

    ‘Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye’ (Matthew 7:5)

    • Trump and his deranged fanatics should … be commended for bringing shame, ridicule and disgrace upon the ‘sacred institutions of US democracy’, in whose name nuclear weapons were dropped on Japanese civilians, death squads launched on five continents, hundreds of millions murdered, the ecosystem brought to the point of destruction etc etc etc.

      Hear hear!

      Love the bible quotes!

  2. Yes, unfortunately it wasn’t a coup. To clarify, it would have been good if it was a semi- but not wholly successful coup which might introduce a period of low level conflict in the US, followed by the succession of the US into at least two competing polities. There is certainly a (minimal at present) pressure for a split into red and blue states – people are reported as moving house according to new-neighbourhood politics.

    Even better would be a split into five or so new state unions. The result would be no single Federal government, no unified military-industrial money source, competing foreign policies, break up of the US armed forces.

    This may seem pie-in-the-sky right now, but there are significant separatist movements certainly in Texas, and to a certain extent in California. If Biden does nothing to upgrade US infrastructure, solve the problems of non-existent health care for the poor, the Black Lives policing problem, the gigantic deficit which will be made real by the progress of de-dollarisation etc. etc. – and there is no signs in his previous history that he will, then these centripetal forces may become much more real. Another attempted coup might be just the thing to start it all off.

    Let’s hope so, because that’s the only thing I see as saving the world from a Third World War between China, Russia and the US

    • Interesting comments, Jams. To be sure, the challenge from a China led Eurasia rising – One Belt, One Road, Asian Infastructure Investment Bank and growing possibility of a renminbi threat to petrodollars – seems unstoppable by non military means. This will cause rifts between neoliberals and neocons not only in the Beltway – indeed, not only in America – but within Western ruling classes at large.

      One possible manifestation, envisaged in my November post, God’s Warriors … would be a right-wing populist challenge, more coherent than Trump’s, from America’s scary Christian Right in the 2024 US elections, after four years of Democrat ‘austerity’.

      • Yes. It’s significant that Trump’s vote increased from his original election figures, even though Biden got even more. The US is terminally divided, and some of those on the right are pretty keen on armed insurrection. The rancher who challenged the US government a couple of years ago to move his cattle off Federal land won his battle and his cattle are still, illegally, there. The US state bottled out, although it would probably have been different if it had been the Black Panthers who were ranching. A similar result was shown by the reactions to the last BLM march and the chicken-coup on the Capitol. Which just shows how much the US state is complicit in far-right white fascism.

        The whole thing is a powder keg – Biden will concentrate on foreign affairs where he ‘knows’ what to do. But there is no pressure from the oligarchy to deal with widespread poverty, unemployment (if you don’t have a degree), black rights or any of the other sticks of dynamite sweating it in the country. The rich think they are immune, but if enough of these weird far right groups get together and put a real plan into action, with the support of the ‘poor whites’ it will be another civil war. And though it would mean the waste of a number innocent lives, it may be a good thing for the rest of the world. At the very least it would be a change for the US to suffer what it has very often inflicted on the rest of the third world.

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