Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How to Fight a Coup: The Role of the Workers’ Movement

More like the “role of the jerkers’ movement.” Of course, that would indeed make them the natural counterpart to the anti-fapper Proud Bitches.

By Alejandro Reuss, Labor Notes

“It can’t happen here.” That is the complacent mantra that a society with long-standing “democratic” institutions couldn’t possibly succumb to authoritarian dictatorship.

Sinclair Lewis used the phrase as the title for his 1935 novel imagining the rise of a fascist dictatorship in the United States. Even as the aspiring dictator rises in prominence and mobilizes a paramilitary army, many of the characters refuse to believe it.

Today there is ample cause for alarm. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to retain office by authoritarian means. His administration has made unfounded predictions of widespread electoral fraud, claimed that mail-in ballots would especially be characterized by fraud, attempted to interfere with postal delivery, suggested that mail-in ballots be thrown out altogether, refused to commit to the peaceful transfer of power, incited supporters (including far-right armed groups) to engage in voter intimidation, and more.

Fortunately, not everyone is assuming that “it can’t happen here.” Activists in various movements are discussing how to respond to a coup attempt, including with large-scale street protests. Some unions, too, have recognized the threat and begun to discuss possible responses, even up to a nationwide general strike, should it be necessary.


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