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Jan 7 · Last update 4 mo. ago.

What does the storming of the Capitol building tell us about the state of the U.S.?

In January 2021 armed supporters of US President Donald Trump stormed the Congressional Capitol building in Washington DC, in an attempt to halt the transfer of power to Joe Biden and overturn the 2020 election that Trump has maintained was fraudulent. As part of a “Save America” rally protesters broke into the Capitol building while the U.S. Congress were in session, forcing entry into the building on foot and through broken windows, while looting and damaging the buildings offices, fittings and furniture. An armed standoff ensued between police and demonstrators in which one protester was fatally shot, the day ended in four deaths and countless injuries amongst protesters and law enforcement. The storming of Congress ended with the use of tear gas and smoke grenades inside the Capitol building, and the protests around the building came to an end when the National Guard and DC police provided back up and imposed a citywide curfew. This is a massively significant event both in US history, and ahead of an expected handing over of the presidency in two weeks. But what is the wider significance of the Trump supporters storming the Capitol building? Was this a demonstration, an insurrection, or a failed coup? What are the implications of these events?
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Possible the end of the US interventionism
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The cherry on top of failed leadership
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Proving Trump right...
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Failed racist policing
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The anti-media element
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Historical significance - Failed Coup
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The problem is bipartisan
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Possible the end of the US interventionism

The US Capitol siege is further evidence that the country is the world's worst custodian of democratic values, and the days of the US being able to oversee or interfere with other nation's elections or political processes should be numbered. In its history the US has often supported far-right fringes and far-right military coups in countries all over the world, and has spent trillions of dollars to effectively colonise countries militarily, economically, or both. A large cross section of US society have meanwhile been left behind after decades of globalisation, which has seen the US de-industrialise and seen parts of the country completely crumble, causing widespread rage. But most people can't put their finger on the causes of this change, but are susceptible to empty platitudes of “drain the swamp” or “make America great again”; Trump channels this incoherent rage of people and there has been no effective response on the other side.

There are vast international implications of the US Capitol riots, they go some way to undermine the US' global authority and position as a leading democratic nation, and considering the country's history this is evidence of America's chickens coming home to roost. Indeed these events caused critiques from militarily adversarial nations who underlined how much this undermines the United States position. For example high-ranking Russian politicians have suggested that, "an archaic United States electoral system that does not meet democratic standards, and the politicisation of the media, were to blame for the unrest in Washington, DC and divisions in the country" [1].

Police are suspecting a growing number of police officers and arresting a growing number of military veterans for involvement in the Capitol riots. These people are attracted to these jobs as they are bullies, they are attracted to Trump because he is a bully, and the police intercepted a number of people with bombs, armour-piercing ammo and machine guns, this all could have been a lot lot worse. The United States has a clear white supremacy terrorist problem and moving forward they will likely find that those terrorists have invaded the police and military as both are institutions that are fundamentally racist, and built on a racism system.

Politically America was founded on the coattails of a racist colonial society that had enslaved people based on their race. This racism was present during the devising of the US Constitution, the Electoral College and the foundation of the US Senate, the wing of the government which has functioned to protect the interests of slaveholders. That racism was present every time the Senate has filibustered to assure the supremacy of white landowning slaveholders, a legacy that lives on in American politics today and that racism is still clearly ingrained in modern US society also.

That racism has been at the core of US foreign policy also and has informed the colonial number of foreign regime change wars and secret operations in the country's history. This foreign policy has seen the US establish a de facto global empire as it protects its industrial interests and exploits instability abroad to profit economically. Such policies are based on a white supremacist premise and have seen the US support genocide and terrorism all over the world, but US foreign policy has finally been turned inward during the 2021 Capitol riots. The storming of the US Capitol building made it clear that the US needs a constitutional overhaul, and America needs to sort out a number of terrorist problems that go from the police, to their military industry, and their international regime change apparatus...

[1] aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/7/russian-officials-say-us-democracy-limping-after-capitol-riot rt.com/op-ed/505721-us-political-system-democracy alternet.org/2015/02/7-fascist-regimes-enthusiastically-supported-america thegrayzone.com/2019/11/20/human-rights-watch-bolivia-coup-massacre theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/19/global-battle-power-putin-trump-syria thehindu.com/society/the-decade-of-protest/article30412780.ece youtube.com/watch?v=w1wKSRpsp1w pbs.org/newshour/politics/electoral-college-slavery-constitution democracynow.org/2021/1/25/kill_switch_adam_jentleson_senate_filibuster

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Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
Politically America was founded on the coattails of a racist colonial society that had enslaved people based on their race. This racism was present during the devising of the US Constitution, the Electoral College and the foundation of the US Senate, the wing of the government which has functioned to protect the interests of slaveholders. That racism was present every time the Senate has filibustered to assure the supremacy of white landowning slaveholders, a legacy that lives on in American politics today and that racism is still clearly ingrained in modern US society also.

The cherry on top of failed leadership

Trump organised this and condoned the mob's behaviour on twitter as it happened, undermining the law and order rhetoric he has often utilised. Trump had riled up radical supporters, failed to tell them to stand down in time, and even failed to act during the events, either not understanding the gravity of the situation or being open to violent insurrection, either are indicative of a failure to lead effectively. Calls for Trump to stand down, or for a second impeachment, are growing in the Republican Party, the media, and society in general, while the US is left trying to decide whether Trump has unleashed an uncontrolled act of domestic terrorism or a genuine coup d’état.

Mike Pence was the one to call in the National Guard to rectify the situation, and many were left saying that Pence was effectively acting President of the US in the wake of the attack, in light of Trump's complete failure to govern. Many in the Republican Party were calling on Vice President Pence to remove Trump, representatives Ted Lieu and Charlie Crist joined many democrats in arguing for the use of the 25th amendment of the constitution to remove Trump. Many conservative commentators shared this desire also, with Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and John Podhoretz expressing support for the impeachment or removal of Trump from office. Other political organisations, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, joined the call for Trump to be removed as this was widely seen as an act of sedition and a threat to U.S. democracy.

The Capitol storming led the House of Representatives to impeachment of Donald Trump a second time, a historic first for a United States president as the majority are coming to see these events as part of a longer effort at insurrection, sedition, or coup d'état. Intelligence agencies have been left investigating domestic terrorism, as homemade pipe bombs, Molotov cocktails and other homemade explosives were found around the site. It is clear that this fiasco was a near miss in terms of extremism and political derailment. The repercussions of Trump's leadership will be long-lasting, and undoing the negative outcomes of such a presidency will take a long time and much effort, but whatever happens moving forward one thing is clear, Trump's failure as a leader.

fox5dc.com/news/over-50-people-arrested-14-officers-injured-and-4-deaths-reported-amid-pro-trump-protests-in-dc washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2021/01/06/dc-protests-trump-rally-live-updates nytimes.com/live/2021/01/06/us/electoral-vote#pipe-bomb-rnc cnbc.com/2021/01/06/fbi-says-it-is-investigating-suspicious-devices-in-washington.html sfgate.com/politics/article/Capitol-Trump-supporters-Ted-Lieu-Congress-impeach-15850750.php tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2021/01/06/charlie-crist-remove-donald-trump-from-office-by-invoking-25th-amendment cnbc.com/2021/01/06/national-association-of-manufacturers-calls-dc-protests-sedition.html

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Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
Mike Pence was the one to call in the National Guard to rectify the situation, and many were left saying that Pence was effectively acting President of the US in the wake of the attack, in light of Trump's complete failure to govern. Many in the Republican Party were calling on Vice President Pence to remove Trump, representatives Ted Lieu and Charlie Crist joined many democrats in arguing for the use of the 25th amendment of the constitution to remove Trump. Many conservative commentators shared this desire also, with Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and John Podhoretz expressing support for the impeachment or removal of Trump from office. Other political organisations, such as the National Association of Manufacturers, joined the call for Trump to be removed as this was widely seen as an act of sedition and a threat to U.S. democracy.

Proving Trump right...

The reaction to the US Capitol riots demonstrates a clear effort to manipulate the narrative and attack President Trump in his last days in office. Despite being depicted as an insurrection instigated and supported personally by Trump, in an online video Trump ended the riot, asking rioters to go home, saying, "you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order" [1]. Although Trump did ask his supporters to protest at the US Capitol building, Trump specifically did so by asking supporters to go "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard" [2], not the language to mount a serious coup. Democrats, on the other hand, have long advocated for their supporters to target congressmen and women, and have tried to abuse the 25th amendment, and again the impeachment process, to attack Trump during the last days of his presidency.

The invoking of the 25th Amendment would likewise throw fuel onto this fire of American hyper-partisanship, as dysfunctional media and tech companies, and a manipulative democratic party, are twisting democratic norms and American values to attack Trump. Such parties that desire a return to the pre-Trump status quo are now attempting to even block any future Trump presidency; this will only rile up Trump supporters even more and threatens to amplify the situation. Following a year of nationwide riots, many of which were supported by democrats this is 'the pot calling the kettle black' as democrats and the "crooked" media prove Trump right in trying to silence and block him in unprecedented ways.

Trump's supporters have likewise cast doubt on the whole event of the Capitol riots, for example Texas attorney general Ken Paxton retweeted a conservative writer who asserted the assault on the Capitol was a false flag operation staged by Antifa to implicate Trump supporters. Likewise strong doubt has been cast on at least one protester, the prominent "horned" man with American flag make up, Jacob Chansley aka ‘Jake Angeli', has since been found to be a professional actor and YouTuber [3]. Some Trump supporters have also claimed that Trump was in fact stopping a coup, it seems far from clear what actually happened during the storming of the Capitol building. But whether rooted in reality or not this perfectly illustrates the divisiveness and damaging hyper-partisanship of how this has been handled and how it just proves Trump's strong assertions right.

rawstory.com/texas-ag-promotes-conspiracy-capitol [1] realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/01/06/trump_to_rioters_you_have_to_go_home_now_we_have_to_have_peace.html [2] abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-told-supporters-stormed-capitol-hill/story?id=75110558

[3] heavy.com/news/jacob-chansley-jake-angeli youtube.com/watch?v=olBU619Dlsc gatesofvienna.net/2020/11/coup-detat-in-america-a-limey-viewpoint

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Jan 25
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[3] https://heavy.com/news/jacob-chansley-jake-angeli/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olBU619Dlsc https://gatesofvienna.net/2020/11/coup-detat-in-america-a-limey-viewpoint/

Failed racist policing

The storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters on January 6th 2021 is just further proof of the level of failed policing and institutional racism in the US. The BLM protests were handled much differently; why were black civil rights protesters pre-emptively tear gassed, shot at, and man handled when far-right Trump supports were allowed to storm Congress with guns, largely unopposed? Institutional racism is in every facet of US society and has caused the government to spend decades fighting terrorism internationally while ignoring growing white-supremacist terrorism domestically. American police have meanwhile shown their willingness to act like terrorists, while allowing terrorists to operate, as long as they are of the white supremacist persuasion.

This whole event was instigated by Trump in an earlier speech and was encouraged by him online as events unfolded; it is widely regarded as a law enforcement failure, even by law enforcement agencies themselves. Police found a number of improved explosive devices including pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails, clearly the incident could have been, and was intended to be, much worse than what actually transpired. The US Secret Service were forced to review security ahead of inauguration on January 20, 2021, but clearly the much deeper review of US policing that the BLM movement was calling for is long overdue.

In the weeks following the storming of the Capitol the issue of actual police involvement in the coup became more apparent, with multiple cases of military and police officer found to be taking part. Far from the disorderly array of random protesters, analysis of video has allowed authorities to track the individuals that took part in the rioting and they included Seattle police officers, New York police officers, and a number of Philadelphia Transit Officers. Likewise Psy-Ops Army personnel were found to be involved, and even one of the casualties was an Air Force veteran, law enforcement are now accused of double standards and are scrambling to root out officers with connections to far-right groups such as the Proud Boys. The evidence is becoming clearer and clearer, even with institutional racism aside, American policing is broken and needs to be reformed or abolished moving forward.

dailykos.com/stories/2021/1/6/2006469/-Trump-incited-the-storming-of-the-Capitol-Racist-policing-enabled-it blacklivesmatteruk.com/trump-coup-attempt-in-motion-as-fascists-storm-congress-police-watch thedailybeast.com/the-disturbing-ties-between-philadelphia-police-and-far-right-proud-boys statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2020/11/29/salem-police-response-black-lives-matter-proud-boys-protests-criticized/3766157001 washingtonpost.com/politics/capitol-breach-security-failures/2021/01/06/e1e09b80-5061-11eb-b96e-0e54447b23a1_story.html

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Jan 25
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DH edited this paragraph
The storming of the Capitol building by Trump supporters on January 6th 2021 is just further proof of the level of failed policing and institutional racism in the US. The BLM protests were handled much differently; why were black civil rights protesters pre-emptively tear gassed, shot at, and man handled when far-right Trump supports were allowed to storm Congress with guns, largely unopposed? Institutional racism is in every facet of US society and has caused the government to spend decades fighting terrorism internationally while ignoring growing white-supremacist terrorism domestically. American police have meanwhile shown their willingness to act like terrorists, while allowing terrorists to operate, as long as they are of the white supremacist persuasion.

The anti-media element

One aspect of the US Capitol riots that has received less analysis is the verbal and physical attack on media reporters who were attempting to cover the situation. Familiar shouts of "fake news" were clear from some rioters, while others targeted media equipment during the ransacking of the Capitol building. In his four years in office, Trump has completely undermined the media by sowing such passionate doubt and even hatred in traditional media institutions. But the blame for this trend doesn't just lie with Trump, the media have helped with their dysfunctional business model of sensationalising and cashing in on spectacle, both need to be addressed moving forward for the damage to be undone and for public discourse to become less toxic.

The media have failed to adequately push back against or analyse Trump while he was in office, and have preferred to sensationalise his presidency, favouring personal attacks and elaborate conspiracies rather than genuine analysis and adequate policy discussion. Investigative journalism seem to have almost completely died in favour of a more emotionally manipulative 'infotainment' format. The corporate media, especially in the US, have functioned to manufacture consent and stoke the fire of bipartisan politics, and in doing so they have lost touch with reality, with vast swaths of the public, and have failed in to carry the torch of public conversation. A public conversation that has now largely moved into the digital realm - which has seen many Americans fall into increasingly dangerous fringe echo-cambers and extremist propaganda spheres.

nbcnews.com/video/mob-swarms-media-outside-capitol-damages-equipment-98983493908 bbc.com/news/live/election-us-2020-55558355 nytimes.com/2020/11/06/business/dealbook/media-trump-bump.html theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/05/donald-trump-media-enemies/525381 youtube.com/watch?v=olBU619Dlsc

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Jan 22
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.nbcnews.com/video/mob-swarms-media-outside-capitol-damages-equipment-98983493908 https://www.bbc.com/news/live/election-us-2020-55558355 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/06/business/dealbook/media-trump-bump.html https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/05/donald-trump-media-enemies/525381/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olBU619Dlsc

Historical significance - Failed Coup

The 2021 storming of the US Capitol building will go down in history with events such as the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898 as the few examples of an actual insurrection in US history, a huge step backwards for the country. Not even during the nation’s Civil War was the confederate flag, the prevailing symbol of American white supremacy, flown in the US Capitol building until Trump supporter, Kevin Seefried, carried out this symbolic gesture in 2021. The extreme right-wing websites that were behind organising the most extreme fringes of the rioters during the Storming of the Capitol are now doubling down and planning another attack on the Capitol according to law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

The FBI has warned of possible armed protests in all 50 State Capitols in the run up to Biden’s inauguration, and are seemingly scrambling to investigate such far-right groups in a shocking act of tail-chasing that seems too little to late. But this period of white supremacist uprising, failed or otherwise, demonstrates that the US has sadly not moved on much in the last 100 years, since that last white supremacist insurrection, in which a white supremacist mob overthrew a biracial government in a Black-majority city. In some of the darkest chapters of US history similar events such as the Tulsa race (or black wall street) massacre, perpetrated one hundred years ago on June 1st, have seen white mobs armed by city officials to attack black residents. So while white supremacist violence or riots may not be completely unprecedented in US history, it is a hugely significant step backwards for US politics and race relations.

blacklivesmatteruk.com/trump-coup-attempt-in-motion-as-fascists-storm-congress-police-watch archive.org/details/ReportOnTulsaRaceRiotOf1921 history.com/news/wilmington-massacre-1898-coup msn.com/en-us/news/politics/kevin-seefried-who-carried-confederate-flag-into-the-capitol-during-trump-fueled-riot-arrested-with-son/ar-BB1cL3lD?fbclid=IwAR3VitR4V6ho-sTHeMV9vxl0UAh64f2NTH7hN41gQpzX8-KIOZuJeI6KNl0 huffpost.com/entry/fbi-warns-of-armed-protests-at-all-50-state-capitals-in-lead-up-to-inauguration-day_n_5ffcb08dc5b63642b6fe2836

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Jan 22
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DH edited this paragraph
The FBI has warned of possible armed protests in all 50 State Capitols in the run up to Biden’s inauguration, and are seemingly scrambling to investigate such far-right groups in a shocking act of tail-chasing that seems too little to late. But this period of white supremacist uprising, failed or otherwise, demonstrates that the US has sadly not moved on much in the last 100 years, since that last white supremacist insurrection, in which a white supremacist mob overthrew a biracial government in a Black-majority city. In some of the darkest chapters of US history similar events such as the Tulsa race (or black wall street) massacre, perpetrated one hundred years ago on June 1st, have seen white mobs armed by city officials to attack black residents. So while white supremacist violence or riots may not be completely unprecedented in US history, it is a hugely significant step backwards for US politics and race relations.

The problem is bipartisan

While Donald Trump is clearly at the extreme end of wrong in his incitement of the violent protests at the US Capitol building, it’s clear from the backlash that US political problems are bipartisan, and Trump’s political opposition are just as inept at deescalating political turmoil. The situation could have undermined his position and naturally driven supporters away from Trump organically, if handled right. But the combined political, media, corporate, and social media reaction to these events is only going to embolden and separate hardcore Trump supporters further from the reality of the situation. Trump seemed defeated following this riot, but unprecedented calls for the political use of the 25th amendment undermined the Democrats retaliation as a political attack, they should have demonstrated what a rational political response looks like during such heightened tensions.

Likewise the blanket social media censorship, corporate divestment, and impeachment to block future political involvement are likely to just add fuel to the fire, when a measured considerate response would have been much more effective at deescalating the situation. In the wake of the Capitol riots, after Donald Trump released a video message where he concede the election, the mainstream media should have just ran stories in type-50 font that Trump finally conceded the election, spelling it out to even the most hardened supporter. This sequence of events may have conveyed just how self-defeated Trump really was, and took some of the wind out of this political movement's sails.

youtube.com/watch?v=nO7paBcllck countercurrents.org/2021/01/twitters-ban-on-trump-will-deepen-the-us-tribal-divide nytimes.com/2021/01/09/technology/trump-twitter-ban.html [1] cbsnews.com/news/trump-minneapolis-protesters-thugs-flagged-twitter newsweek.com/angela-merkel-calls-trump-twitter-ban-problematic-freedom-opinion-fundamental-right-1560562 straitstimes.com/world/united-states/trump-says-he-will-turn-focus-to-smooth-orderly-transition-after-capitol-siege

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Jan 22
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO7paBcllck countercurrents.org/2021/01/twitters-ban-on-trump-will-deepen-the-us-tribal-divide nytimes.com/2021/01/09/technology/trump-twitter-ban.html [1] cbsnews.com/news/trump-minneapolis-protesters-thugs-flagged-twitter newsweek.com/angela-merkel-calls-trump-twitter-ban-problematic-freedom-opinion-fundamental-right-1560562 https://www.straitstimes.com/world/united-states/trump-says-he-will-turn-focus-to-smooth-orderly-transition-after-capitol-siege
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