3 questions to John Catalinotto on the invasion of Capitol Hill

Investig’Action February 2, 2021

3 questions à John Catalinotto sur l’invasion du Capitole

3 questions to John Catalinotto on the invasion of Capitol Hill

Translated by Greg Dunkel

08 Jan 2021 Grégoire Lalieu

Capitol Hill was stormed on January 6 as Congress was expected to validate Joe Biden’s victory. Show of strength for Donald Trump. The incumbent president proved that he was still capable of mobilizing significant movement in his challenge to the vote. And even if order quickly returned to Washington, not everyone should go home with Biden taking office. A well-known figure of anti-imperialism in the United States, John Catalinotto enlightens us on the events on Capitol Hill and the four years ahead.

Instig’Action: What are the forces behind Trump’s continued challenge to the election results? Order has finally returned to Capitol Hill, but should the threat be taken lightly?

John Catalinotto: First there is Trump, his family and then the worst elements of his team, such as Rudy Giuliani. But then there are the police and the so-called police unions – it was clear that security was much less important for this event than for other demonstrations. Trump also has the support of a fairly large section of the wealthy, whom he helped a lot during his tenure by cutting taxes and relaxing regulations on environmental issues. There are also openly racist organizations, such as the Proud Boys. These movements are able to mobilize a fairly large part of the population that is hard hit by the economic crisis, but who do not have the keys to understand what is happening to them. This part of the population is likely to sink into racism.

The threat is real and substantial. Fascist organizations have taken Capitol Hill boldly and have gained the attention of many people; they will be able to recruit members and strengthen themselves. And even if Trump no longer occupies the White House, he may remain a magnet for right-wingers and racists.

I’A: It’s hard to imagine that the evil genie is going to return to his lamp after Joe Biden takes office. How do you see the next four years?

JC: Within the US ruling class, the struggle will continue between neoliberals and the uninhibited racists. The fascists will continue their mobilization. At the same time, U.S. imperialism will lose more influence in the world. The economic crisis will intensify. It is not yet possible to predict with certainty the evolution of the pandemic, but we already know that it has exposed the weaknesses and inability of the capitalist system to deal with such a crisis, just like the environmental crisis.

I’A: On one hand, there are reactionary plotters who feed on the contradictions of the dominant ideology. On the other, an establishment that always defends neoliberal values and is unable to provide real solutions to the problems of  workers. In this deeply divided country, how can truly progressive forces find their place and fight against poverty, wars, racism and sexism?

We anticipate the development of an anti-fascist or anti-racist movement in reaction to what happened in Washington. We are calling for such a movement. The Black Lives Matter movement has succeeded in mobilizing many people, including young white workers and students. It could be part of this movement we are calling for. It is also necessary to underline the work that has already begun in large companies without unions and which employ many workers like Amazon or Google. But our problem is to be able to develop a movement independent of the Democratic Party, which is an imperialist party, even if it is not as openly racist and sexist as the “trumpists”. The next four years are going to be difficult, but there will be struggles.

John Catalinotto is a Staff member of the International Action Center