Washington Window: January 6, One Year Later

With apologies to FDR, we’re going to paraphrase his message announcing the attack on Pearl Harbor. It somehow seems appropriate when discussing the first anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection and invasion of the U.S. Capitol. Here’s our version:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 January 6, 2021—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan Donald Trump.”

There is no better way to describe the insurrection of white nationalist Trump supporters, aided and abetted by the Oval Office occupant’s top aides, and increasingly clearly, Trump himself.

And now the rest of us must gird ourselves for a long struggle against the forces of white nationalism, xenophobia, racism, hysteria and demagoguery, which dictator-wannabe Trump unleashed even before he entered the White House.

The director of the FBI has testified to Congress that such white nationalism is now the prime terrorist threat to the United States. And a noted GOP D.C. attorney, admittedly no Trump fan, started monitoring social media from extremist groups before the insurrection and invasion.

He reported in The Washington Post the nationalists have continued their vitriol, and their planning, online since their failed coup d’etat. He provided examples of their messaging.

And in its latest special report, Hate and Extremism in 2021, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation’s prime tracker of hate groups, reports disturbing trends growing out of the Capitol invasion and insurrection. We recommend you read the report, on their website.

“Trends on the far right’s fringe have become mainstream,” reads the headline on their lead article, on the invasion. “In the siege’s wake, another alarming trend also emerged: Many of those arrested were not members of a specific hate or anti-government group,” it warns.

“Groups of extremists are coordinating and organizing in a looser fashion, often with adherence to key tactical, cultural and ideological tropes,” Jacob Davey of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue told the Southern Poverty Law Center researchers.

“This is characterized by increasingly fluid and ambiguous boundaries between organizations and movements, direction and inspiration and online and offline activity.”

Added one Proud Boys chapter leader on a nationalist website: “The Rubicon has been crossed. The fire of revolution has been lit.” And he wrote those words after January 6.

The invaders also have added members since the insurrection, the center reported.

All this means that despite 600-plus arrests and multiple guilty pleas by Trump’s troops —not to mention revelations during Trump’s impeachment and from documents the House select committee probing the coup try released so far—the threat of an insurrection, invasion and overthrow of the U.S. government continues, intensifies and becomes ever harder to track.

What does all this mean for workers? Here’s the blunt answer:

Workers, along with historically oppressed groups—Blacks, Latinos/Latinas, women, Asian Americans, Native Americans and political dissidents—have the largest stake in ensuring the rule of law, however imperfect, prevails over the rule of rebellion, of the corporate oligarchy behind the invaders, or of the murderous mob.

 We have the stake in guaranteeing the United States flag, not the Trump banner, the Confederate flag, or both, wave over the U.S. Capitol and the United States as a whole. There are now entire states where the latter two pennants take political precedence.

That’s what the rebels of Jan. 6, 2021, demanded. That’s what they still scheme for.

And the point of the FBI director’s testimony, of the GOP lawyer’s posting of the nationalist vitriol and of the SPLC report, is the insurrectionists will be a lot better organized next time. But those rank-and-file traitors to democracy aren’t the only threat.

The invaders, insurrectionists and rebels of 1861 had sympathizers or advocates in the pre-Civil War U.S. government. So do the insurrectionists of January 6. Trump is then-Oval Office occupant James Buchanan, only worse. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo.—he of the fiery speech and raised fist to the mob—is Jeff Davis. And, like in 1861, there are others.

Guess who loses when the invaders and insurrectionists win? People of color. Women. Challengers to white “Christian” male misogyny and supremacy. Political dissenters.

And unionists. The insurrectionists “look for the union label,” and not in a positive sense. 

In other words, the right wing war on our freedoms and our constitutional government continues. FDR recognized the struggle to beat fascism would be long and difficult, but we had to stick to it until the war was won. In this combat, so will we.

Almost 50 years ago, Washington Window, then a college newspaper editor-in-chief, covered Watergate. This was and is worse, a lot worse. It’s why we will keep beating this drum of resisting rightist rebellion against the Constitution and rightist repression of the rest of us.

And reminding readers who’s responsible for the campaign to overthrow democracy. We will quote another president, Abraham Lincoln, about the ultimate goal we must all strive for, in these days after January 6:

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”   

Washington Window is written by Press Associates.