From a purely factual perspective, Trump is correct that what is going on now is a class-based insurrection, and not merely a protest movement, a series of riots, or a crime wave. From a purely legal perspective, the 1807 Insurrection Act does indeed give the President the authority to call out the military to suppress domestic rebellions.
But facts and legalities have nothing to do with power dynamics. Thus far, the military hierarchy has expressed discomfort with Trump’s idea of sending out the military, which is a powerful indication that the true power elite in the US does not yet feel threatened by the rebellion. Instead, they regard the theater of “democracy” to still be worthwhile as a self-legitimating ideological superstructure and institutional framework, Trump’s Spiro Agnew comedy act not withstanding.
The power elite is divided into different sectors and layers, with the managerial class occupying space immediately below that of the power elite. The upper strata of the power elite are those who control the industrial-financial-technological-military-intelligence-nuclear sectors.
If the upper strata power elite truly felt threatened, they would step and use their influence to suppress the rebellion, just as they used their influence to provide themselves with a “bailout” or “stimulus” following the Great Recession of 2008 and the present Great Depression Two. Martial law would be declared. Demonstrations would be strictly prohibited. Protest leaders would be jailed on treason and terrorism charges. That such charges might be untrue is irrelevant. Again, what matters is power dynamics. Dissident media would be ordered to shut down. Looters would be shot on sight. Curfew violators would be rounded up and sent to detention centers.
The next step in the rebellion would then be a full-scale armed insurgency of the kind that is more familiar in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, i.e. a literal civil war.
Krystal and Saagar discuss Trump’s decision to deploy the U.S. military on the protests that continue to unfold over the death of George Floyd.