Madison Area Democratic Socialists of America condemns yesterday’s right-wing extremist attack on the U.S. Capitol building. It is extremely disturbing that this attempt to disrupt the confirmation of the November 4 presidential election results was both predictable and temporarily successful. Yesterday’s right-wing violence and destruction was an undeniable attempt to overturn democratic norms and rob people of the limited democratic rights they’ve been granted in the United States. As socialists we are committed to the principles of democracy and in this case, the results were clear: the people want Donald Trump out of the White House.
We are also distressed by the part that police played in facilitating this attack. We are not unclear on the role of police in a capitalist society, or the reactionary and racist nature of policing in the United States in particular. We know that there is significant overlap between members of law enforcement and the growing far right movement in the United States. However, after seeing protesters across the country brutalized by police at protests following the murder of George Floyd and the attempted murder of Jacob Blake, and after experiencing brutality ourselves in the form of tear gas and pepper spray from Madison police, it was still galling to see the difference between police response to our protests and yesterday’s calamity. What we witnessed yesterday is another argument in favor of defunding and ultimately abolishing police in the United States.
Politicians who encouraged and abetted these attacks by feeding into false narratives and conspiracy theories about election fraud must be held accountable, from Trump himself to Republicans like Wisconsin’s own Senator Ron Johnson. They should resign immediately and if they will not, they should be removed from office for their attempts to undermine democracy and stoke right-wing violence.
Finally, yesterday’s attack was a chilling reminder of what’s at stake for the socialist left in the months ahead. The tepid offerings of a Biden administration will not stop the growth of the far-right. In fact, four more years of status quo neoliberal politics of austerity will only fuel their movement. The left must begin to organize now to face the fascist threat posed by these groups. These forces are still a fringe minority in the United States, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the potential threat they pose. We are eager to join other organizations in Madison and throughout Wisconsin in defending the results of this election and the transition of power that must occur, with an eye to the long-term fight against fascism.