It’s all happening as I write, but here are a few reactions:
1. Fortunately we see Q-Anonics, Loud Boys and other right wing crazies invading the Capitol Building and not Black Lives Matter or the Left. Think how many lives would have been lost if it had been the other way around.
2. It will be interesting to see how deeply investigators will delve into the lax security preparations for today’s senate meeting.
3. In the end, it all comes down to one question: where do the loyalties of the police and armed forces lie? That is always the bottom line, but we can go for decades without confronting it directly. When the left challenges state authority the issue is never in doubt, at least in the U.S. When the challenge comes from the right we have to hold our breath. There were video images a few moments ago of police gently escorting Trumpists out the door and down the stairs with no apparent thought to arresting them. This indicates at least some softness toward the cause on their part. On the other hand, I don’t expect there will be military or police resistance to the eventual securing of the building. If the folks in uniforms were to go over to the other side, that would be the end of the political order.
This has happened in the past. The end of Reconstruction was marked by white mobs that assaulted elected Black officials and were backed by “law enforcement”. That was a counterrevolution that succeeded. Around the world it has been a general rule: civil rebellions succeed if and only if the police and military are turned or at least neutralized. It all comes down to that and always will.
4. Invading and shutting down the capitol makes sense if you think that a demonstrably fraudulent election has been imposed on the public. If crooked election officials had doctored the results, those trying to stop the process would be heroes. Actually, I wouldn’t want to live in a world in which people meekly assent to real evidence of stolen elections. What makes today a travesty is that there isn’t a shred of evidence to support allegations of fraud; it is a product of cynical disinformation sponsored by people who believe honesty is an unnecessary constraint on attaining and exercising power. Anyone who has propagated this disinformation is responsible in part for what has now happened: an insurrection is the predictable end product of widely-disseminated claims of electoral fraud.
The same goes, incidentally, for those purveying baseless claims that the coronavirus is a hoax imposed on us by Bill Gates, George Soros and their puppet Anthony Fauci. If there really were a fake public health crisis seized on by governments to permanently regiment their citizenry, storming state capitols would be justified. Disseminating disinformation along these lines is assuming responsibility for potential insurrectionary responses or violent attacks on public health and other officials.
The heroic defense of democracy and the fascist putsch take the same form, invading and occupying places of government and disrupting its operations. The difference depends entirely on whether the motives derive from genuine evidence of wrongdoing or cynical, power-hungry bullshit.