Trump’s Plan to Send Military to Cities Aimed at Suspending Nov. Vote: US Analyst
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said US President Donald Trump’s threat to bring in the military to restore order in the country following mass protests over police brutality is a “way of providing an excuse for martial law nationwide, and suspending the upcoming November election”.
“He is now threatening to bring in the military if the states do not show enough muscle in providing some kind of order in their states, regarding the looting, but also against the people’s show of defiance against endemic police brutality. Many suspect this is not just a campaign tool but a way of providing an excuse for martial law nationwide, and suspending the upcoming November election,” Myles Hoenig, who ran for the US Congress in 2016 as a Green Party candidate, told Tasnim.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man, died after a US police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes despite his cries that he could not breathe. His death, captured on video, has sparked street protests across the US, which are being met with an increasingly heavy-handed police response. What is your take on the rallies and government’s response?
Hoenig: There are three aspects to the rallies that are not being covered fully. Clearly, BLM (Black Lives Matters) is the driving force. For 400 years the African and then African Americans have been treated as first slaves and then 2nd class citizens. It’s 2020 and full citizenship and rights are still not part of the African American experience, and likely will never be. Such rights include voting rights and voter suppression by both political parties is very well established. For the most part, the rallies are truly hiding their anger by being peaceful. In a way, they are letting off steam without going beyond rallies, banners, and pundits on TV bemoaning how bad the situation is. They are trying to follow in Dr. King’s footsteps by being non-violent, without acknowledging that not only did he have bodyguards that carried weapons, but he too had weapons in his home for protection. American protests often take the form of rallies and in these cases, blocking traffic, surrounding buildings, and lots of punditry, all thinking that it’ll make a substantial difference in their lives. It won’t. Laws may be passed that modify police conduct but the overall cause for black disenfranchisement, capitalism, will remain fully intact with the police remaining as an arm of control for Wall Street.
The second aspect would be the presence of anarchists, often young people and white, and others who feel the same way, who recognize that BLM is only a subset of the larger problem, capitalism. Passing legislation requiring modification of police policies is only for appeasement when a complete restructuring and re-thinking of policing is necessary. I’m not referring to community policing as that still demands the presence of the police but more of the total disarmament of police all over America. The police are here to protect and serve capitalism, not the average American. They are armed better than many countries’ armies. Their purpose is to intimidate the populous and protect the private property of large businesses. The police is an occupying army in our cities, always on patrol, looking for ways to intimidate usually people of color and the poor. The more they do so, the greater their budgets become.
The question is also why are big chain stores like Target and others being trashed and looted. To the media, which is always afraid that they are next for people to realize, and act on, their complicity, this looting is being done by thugs and will usually just film that which is done by black people. Of course, there are people, of all stripes, who take part in the looting just for its convenience of acquiring an early Christmas present but the reasons behind it are recognizing how these large businesses and corporations are part of an economic system designed to keep the poor where they are. They rarely pay a living wage and often don’t offer basic health care for their employees. So many of the largest companies, Walmart for example, have as much as half their employees on government assistance, as their profits often exceed the GNP of many countries.
The pandemic and the shutdown has exposed our economic system for what it is, and how horrible it is for the average American. Our health care system is nearly wholly dependent on having a job. Now with tens of millions of people losing their jobs, these same people are also losing their pittance of their health insurance. With the government only giving $1200 for the duration yet trillions to large corporations who have the profits to whether this storm, it is beyond obvious who Congress serves and why.
The third aspect which is not being publicized is that much of the looting and violence is caused by extreme right-wing elements looking to bring in a heavily armed military for the purpose of starting a race war. These are the people that President Trump appeals to and even encourages, as he even called for a MAGA anti-demonstration demonstration by the White House. The president’s behavior has been incendiary from the start, and from the start of his campaign for the presidency, and has encouraged the kind of behavior that the media will then equate with the Black Lives Matter movement, as a way of minimizing their concerns. It is also very likely that the police are playing a role in some of the looting and violence as well. We saw how during the Baltimore Uprising in 2015 that a highly publicized police squad took part in the looting, especially of pharmacies for the purpose of later planting drugs on people they arrest. That is a common police tactic, all over America.
Tasnim: It seems that the United States is a contradiction. Its founding principles embrace the ideals of freedom and equality, but it is a nation built on the systematic exclusion and suppression of communities of color. From the start, so many of this country’s laws and public policies, which should serve as the scaffolding that guides progress, were instead designed explicitly to prevent people of color from fully participating. What are the reasons behind this?
Hoenig: This country’s Declaration of Independence was radical at the time, and became the founding principles of many newer countries. At the time, freedom was only for white males with property. The Constitution could only have been completed and signed by all 13 states if it recognized slavery and the power of the landed aristocracy, especially in the South. So even from the beginning, there was no pretense that the ideals of the Rights of Man included every resident of the new nation. But they tried to show it. The iconic paintings of Norman Rockwell depicting the splendors of American life. It was wonderful propaganda, especially used later in the 20th century against the Soviet Union, as it hid the horrors that so many Americans were suffering, often just for being people of color or poor.
Although the race was a driving factor in preventing full participation in American life, it still was a subset of capitalism. Slavery and then the institution of sharecropping was for cheap agricultural labor. The fight for unions and workers’ rights, especially in the north, often excluded the black laborer, and often with union leadership complicity. For example, after WW2 the GI Bill of Rights provided everything from good trade union jobs, educational opportunities, and housing to returning veterans. Union leadership often excluded black veterans from applying to the trades. Housing laws (federal and state) restricted black mobility. And being unable to move to ‘the suburbs’ also prevented the veterans’ children from acquiring an equal opportunity in education, as in America, our public school system’s budget is based on property taxes. With a dilapidated city structure, and an inability to move, our cities deteriorated, ghettoizing our black citizens and providing greater economic opportunities only to the white population.
Tasnim: President Trump has threatened to send in the military to restore order if governors didn’t do it. What do you think about his stance?
Hoenig: It’s becoming cliché but Trump is a tin-pot dictator. He is a racist to the core, has absolutely no understanding of democratic principles, and believes in strong-arm tactics. We’ve had plenty of such strong-arm politicians, from Huey Long to President Johnson, but they strong-armed legislators to bend to his legislative will, whereas President Trump is using such tactics with his military, his police, and his right-wing goon squads made up of ultra-right Confederacy supporters and neo-Nazis. Trump has shown his propensity towards violence, often for the purpose of amusement, to get his way. In his TV days, we see a video of him physically attacking and beating up a referee in a wrestling match. During his campaigns he called on his supporters at the rallies to beat up people who were there to disrupt or protest, even announcing he’d pay for the lawyers defending the thugs. He has praised neo-Nazis and others who have attacked peaceful demonstrators, as is the case with Charlottesville with the Unite the Right rally where a demonstrator was murdered.
Now that he is president he not only has his button on the nuclear trigger but has police and military forces all over the nation ready to serve him. The question now is how far they’ll be willing to go to put down any disruptions. History is not on the side of the American people. This is not unique though, as it was President Obama who used the military and police powers of the state to brutally crush both the Occupy movement as well as demonstrators against the Keystone pipeline. Trump, though, is using these forces with observable glee. The other night he used them to clear a path for him to do a photo op at a church showing his ‘leadership’ but the forces used tear gas and rubber bullets against unarmed, peaceful citizens.
He is now threatening to bring in the military if the states do not show enough muscle in providing some kind of order in their states, regarding the looting, but also against the people’s show of defiance against endemic police brutality. Many suspect this is not just a campaign tool but a way of providing an excuse for martial law nationwide, and suspending the upcoming November election. Ironically, this would most likely backfire as even ‘suburban moms’ far removed from any of the troubles would not like to see the military taking control of their streets. It’s bad enough for them right now that some are opposing the state just because they’re being deprived of their lattes and haircuts due to the pandemic. Restrict their travel with a military presence and even the most conservative person could see that something just isn’t kosher anymore in America.