The firing of FBI Director James Comey by President Trump is an extremely ominous development. It is a major escalation and strategic maneuver by the Trump/Pence regime to further consolidate and institutionalize fascist rule in America.
To review salient events of the last week: the arbitrary removal of Comey; the slipstream of shifting and contradictory explanations by Trump mouthpieces and Trump; and the revelation that Trump demanded Comey’s full and complete “loyalty” to him—which, by extension, would be the standard for any future FBI director.
In firing Comey, Trump is not simply seeking to block investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election in favor of Trump, along with possible collusion by people close to Trump. He is flouting and shredding norms established in the wake of the 1972-1973 Watergate scandal and resignation of then-President Richard Nixon—who had fired a special prosecutor investigating criminal activity on the part of the Nixon election campaign, including a subsequent cover-up.
More ominously, Trump is seeking to bring a key element of the repressive apparatus of the state, the FBI, under the air-tight control and deployment of the regime. To remove the slightest independence the FBI might have and to be able to wield the FBI to target, harass, and suppress any and all enemies of the regime’s designation. This is part of the direction and momentum of fascism. The FBI is no friend—it is a monstrous enemy—of the people. But Trump’s maneuver poses real dangers to the people. (See the sidebar excerpt from Bob Avakian on why the imposition of a fascist program on society requires going after and replacing the norms and institutions of bourgeois democracy, especially those that pose obstacles, like the press, the judiciary, and other sections of the ruling class.)
Meanwhile, the regime is moving viciously forward to implement its fascist program. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed federal prosecutors to go for the harshest, “most serious” charges in drug cases, including marijuana. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has been stepping up raids and “disappearances” of immigrants (into detention centers and deportation). Trump has created a new “election oversight” commission, headed by his vice president, Mike Pence, and Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and a notorious anti-immigrant/voter-suppression advocate.
An Opening to Push On, a Moment of Flux
The events of the last week have touched off shock and outrage among broad sections of society. Here is former CBS anchor Dan Rather: “I have seen weeks of far greater darkness, of war, and death, and economic despair… But I have never seen a week where a president of our nation has behaved with such cavalier disregard for the norms and institutions of our democracy.” Commentators have spoken of an approaching “constitutional crisis.”
Indeed, there are signs of sharpening differences at the top of society, differences that could accelerate towards such a crisis. The Democrats are raising calls for an independent counselor/prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and possible collusion. A few Republicans have broken ranks and expressed differences with Trump over the firing. Trump is doubling down. This is a fraught moment.
It is a situation of flux… including in people’s thinking.
While there have been protests and outpourings in response to the Comey firing, these were not commensurate with what is needed. Democrats are attempting to channel real outrage and concern into the demand for a special prosecutor. This demand doesn’t fundamentally address the underlying problem of rolling fascism. Further, the Democrats are packaging the call for a special prosecutor with all manner of anti-Russian hysteria—and Putin is no more and no less imperialist than the Democrat and Republican rulers of the U.S.
Even though these are largely the terms of opposition right now, there is the turmoil at the top… there is the flux at the bottom of society… and there is no saying what potentially could come out of this situation if people do what is actually needed.
What is needed: As the Call to Action of Refuse Fascism states, to “ORGANIZE: working with all our creativity and determination toward the time when millions of people can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate—Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until the Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power. This is what is needed, nothing less.”
There is a real moment now to make a leap towards this objective, to tap into mounting anxiety and to give it organized expression.
The Advisory Board of Refuse Fascism issued a statement in response to the Comey firing, updated on May 15. In part it says, “What matters now is what masses of people do: acting together with determination and creativity, expressing outrage and anger, taking to the streets with the spirit of no business as usual and demanding that this regime be driven from power. In dealing with the extraordinary, we must rid ourselves of ordinary thinking. The Refuse Fascism Call to Action needs to get before hundreds of thousands of people now. The Refuse Fascism ‘NO!’ already seen in protests around the country needs now to be everywhere—including everywhere in the face of the fascists and those Democrats who accommodate them.
“Start with those you can gather and go out and grow. Make a Statement. Reach out to organizations. Do not underestimate the power of the people when we struggle with courage and conviction.”
This can take different, impactful forms: people going into the streets; expressions of defiance in the arts and performance; and other creative and defiant manifestations. But all of this has to be sounding the alarm and proceeding along the orientation of uniting people around urgently working towards the single mission and objective to drive out this fascist regime—and to seize on every opening, like this moment, to advance towards that.
People should connect with Refuse Fascism, follow it in the social media and on its website, and join and act with it in spreading the “NO!” Not a day can be lost to make big leaps towards what is needed.