On December 18th, 2020 a very ominous and in one sense a criminal meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House. The would-de-god, Donald J. Trump, floated the idea to various people in his entourage about imposing martial law and to thereby retain absolute power by any means possible, including the manipulation of the American Armed forces. We should now remember another incident that took place during World War II in fascist Italy.It was in the late evening of July 24 and into the early hours of the 25th, 1943, the Grand Council of the fascist government met to discuss the immediate future of Italy. However, it was those very fascist leaders in attendance who fearful of countermanding their cult leader, Mussolini, had been defeated by overwhelming military reverses suffered by the Italian military. Still the motion was passed to rid themselves of their narcissistic leader, Mussolini. There were a few fascists in the room who balked and would later try to convince Mussolini to have those who voted with Grandi arrested, but Il Duce displayed a confusing and vacillating course of action. Eventually, Mussolini and like others before him who cannot follow through with their insidious crime of treason towards their people are punished, in that they are disposed with in one form or another. We only have to remember what happen to Nero, when he overplayed his hand against his generals and the pretorian guard. He was assassinated. In Trump’s case, although having a similar grand and narcissistic behavior like Mussolini, and with a noticeable pathological character like that of the Italian, fascist dictator, he reacts differently to the ultimate crises of retaining political power. Unlike Mussolini, Trump in fact tried to get thosesycophants gathered around him that December evening in the White House, as thousands of people were dying of the Covid-19 plague across the country, to follow him in eventually ordering martial law with an arrogant disregard for the will of the American people, who had voted in their ultimate choice of who would become President of the United States.
The American workers are not the ones who are mirroring themselves in the treason, as it is not their explicit fault there is no revolutionary theory or professional revolutionaries to lead them during their harsh hour of need. But then, it is not a revolution that we see developing in the United States but a horrifying implosion that has not been seen since the broken political vessel known as the ancient city of Athens lay in ruins after the defeat by the Spartans and her allies, and the experimental democracy that was actually for the few would come to an end. Those who knew no ‘democracy’, as we know by the evidence of history, were small farmers, the small artisan class, and thousands of slaves created from inside and outside the colonized city states. In the United States the American workers created by the sweat of their hands and blood from their fragile lives a modern experimental democracy.
However, that does not mean that the American workers were more enlighten that their ancient predecessors in Athens or Rome. It cannot be said that the American workers were not lead astray, because in fact they can out of desperation, along with their own backward history of racism and religious zeal to quell their deeper desire for emancipation, have been lead now a road to destruction. In fact, there were thousands of workers, out sheer desperation against the hatred for neo-liberalism that voted for Trump. Time and again they were duped by the likes of men like the Bushes, Clinton, and Obama, who saw themselves as leaders of the American people which they were not, for they always represented the ruling classes, regardless of their pious utterances of democratic values. As an example, like to play the role of a Cicero, forgetting what happen to Cicero when he over played his hand against men far more deadly in the game of political power plays than him.
The American working people have felt and lived for that social freedom for a few years after the first American Revolution, which was in fact a bourgeois revolution brought on by Anglo-American landowners. The other period of a whiff of happiness was amid a dark and heroic struggle during and after the American Civil War. But then, the American Workers again became chained to the various onslaughts of the rise American capitalism which would eventually culminate in a military industrial complex not seen since the time of Imperial Rome. Now, not seen since the first days of the American Civil, after the election of Lincoln, is there a possible scene and sounds of American troops with their boots on the ground in their own homeland.
As the Daily Atlantic phrased the martial scene as a possibility so succinctly, with words that were both calm and cold words:
With the pandemic at a deadly peak, Americans learned that the president, still set on overturning the 2020 election results, went so far as to discuss martial law. His refusal to accept the outcome will leave a dangerous legacy.The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump discussed further attempts to cling to power, including the possibility of imposing martial law, during a meeting with advisers.Trump’s attempted coup will fail, one Atlantic writer argues, but it won’t be without consequence: His antidemocratic maneuvers set a dangerous precedent.
The slight of hand by Trump was raised in the night hours, with the words of “conspiracy’, “fraudulent election” and “martial law” a part of the theatrics in the White House. With all the drama, as if it were a clumsy melodrama of a coup d’ etat to be seen by Americans in the millions on late-night news casts, it was reported on American television channels, online newscasts, and newspapers, that echoed a quickening danger for the world. What was missing was the deeper political and military thought of such a crude scenario, and that is when a government is required to impose martial law within the boundaries of its army’s own homeland, there is the unsaid code of conduct that should be understood before such a deadly decision is made. There is a code of military ethics that transcends Left and Right political movements, that if not understood within the context of history and within the context of a carefully planned military course, can have a destructive consequence that takes years to repair and to regain the trust of a people.
No modern military force is an identity unto itself, that is no army, nor its nominal secondary forces which include navy, air force and technological war machinery, is an apolitical weapon. An army and the other armed forces are a political extension of a political government or political regime that imposes either a benevolent hand to the people or instead crushes the political as if it were an iron fist. Thus, all armies are accountable for their actions either as a manifestation of the peoples’ will or the will of a monarchy, oligarchy, autocratic, democracy, or fascist regime. The only armies known throughout history to side with the people, that is the common working man, the poor, the national minorities, and those progressive classes who have an allegiance with revolutionary socialism are armies led by the proletariat class, with its military leadership being of proletariat origin. That is not to say that there are not officers of the imperialist regimes that do not willingly side with the people during a revolution, but they are realistically far and few between. On the other hand, the NCO’s and enlisted men of capitalist armies are capable with the correct education through aggressive propaganda and militant action by professional revolutionary elements are capable of swaying these forces to the side of the people who desire and demand a revolutionary change in their existence. With the above overview in mind, let me say a few words about the American military, its Pentagon generals, and the so-called U.S. presidential election in November.
The major factor in deciding which side the Pentagon generals will throw their weight to if the American armed forces must intervene regarding the outcome of the presidential election is the following: Can they follow the current Republican, regime leadership which is fascist in intent as far as its domestic policies are concerned and whom its main interest is the accumulation of more wealth and greater, military hegemony throughout the world; or cast their lot with a Democrat leadership which is a mixture of neo-liberalism with fetters of progressive political reforms but which is still a part of the American imperialist nucleus of endless American regimes. We must ask ourselves in the utmost honest way, does the American army possess a military virtue that is consistent with the democratic will of the American people, or is its services at the command of the wealthy elite and the military corporate enterprises that have a vice grip over the American and the American workers who are basically enslaved by a capitalist system whose goal is profit by any means and nothing else?
In a very interesting essay published in The Washington Post, the author wrote with an in-depth penetration on the question of American military intervention and the November election by at one point towards the end of the essay stating “Crucially, a contested outcome lasting beyond Jan. 20 would force the military to make an implicit decision about who is commander in chief. According to the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, Trump would cease to be president on noon of Jan. 20 if Congress does not certify him as the winner, passing his authority as commander in chief of the military to the acting president, the speaker of the House of Representatives. “This is where the Constitution’s procedure would matter,” said Stephen Vladeck, a professor and constitutional expert at the University of Texas School of Law”. In other words, there is no mention of “military virtue” regarding the values of the leadership and the men and women of the armed forces, but rather the author is concern more about Constitutional procedure should the outcome of the election be contested from either the Left or Right political forces. But regarding the American Constitution, if there is no political and national military virtue among the American army and its generals, the Constitution will be seen as nothing but an outdated document and what will count more in the final analysis will be a more pragmatic choice as to which political force will give the generals and their army what they think they need and want for self-preservation.
When Clausewitz wrote in his classical work ON WAR regarding the military virtue of an army he said something very specific which goes to the heart of the matter regarding how any army may react in time of peace or war, in that “Military virtue in an army appears as a definite moral power which we can abstract, and the influence of which we can therefore estimate as an instrument, the strength of which may be calculated”. What has to be calculated is there a military virtue of the American enlisted men and women of the various armed forces to follow blindly the orders of their generals to uphold a would-be tyrant who is a fascist in intent if not purpose regarding his domestic and foreign policies, and who has nothing but loathing for the American people and national minorities? If there is a moral decay within the American armed forces which is entirely different of military virtue, then that very moral, political depression can destroy the military virtue within its ranks. Thus, this very calculation must be part of the analysis of how the American forces will be welded in a time of national crises such as the American people are going through at this time. And another fact to be abstracted and calculated is how much influence does the American corporate financiers have over the generals in the Pentagon? This economic influence cannot be overlooked, as it will also play a pivotal role in the decision that the Pentagon will have to make if it is placed in a position of deciding the fate of the contested presidential election. There are modern examples of such military interference in nation-states from the Pinochet coup d’état in 1973 to the Argentine military coup d’état in 1976 , which in the American case, the latter coup seems closer to the calculated truth.
I have spoken in this essay about military virtue and I would like to expand on with the following quote from a bourgeois literary and culture commentary magazine called The Atlantic which an American general is quoted in saying about military virtue the following:
“He doesn’t understand the warrior ethos,” one general said of the president. “The warrior ethos is important because it’s sort of a sacred covenant not just among members of the military profession, but between the profession and the society in whose name we fight and serve. The warrior ethos transcends the laws of war; it governs your behavior. The warrior ethos makes units effective because of the values of trust and self-sacrifice associated with it—but the warrior ethos also makes wars less inhumane and allows our profession to maintain our self-respect and to be respected by others. Man, if the warrior ethos gets misconstrued into ‘Kill them all …’ ” he said, trailing off. Teaching soldiers about ethical conduct in war is not just about morality: “If you treat civilians disrespectfully, you’re working for the enemy! Trump doesn’t understand.”
The military analyst can only bring the words by the American general’s term of “warrior ethos” within the context of a living experience. How the American soldier reacts to the actions of his officers regarding to act or not act in a political intervention will be based on the overall behavior of the army itself. An understanding of the objective crises at hand, the caution, if not hardship that is required in making a momentous decision for the army and its leadership to take an ethical stand on a disruptive and violent civilian election can be a matter of life and death for a nation.
The Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley has signaled that concerning the American presidential election that “"In the event of a dispute over some aspect of the elections, by law U.S. courts and the U.S. Congress are required to resolve any disputes, not the U.S. Military," Milley added…. I believe deeply in the principle of an apolitical U.S. military," What can a military theorist or military analyst derive from such a statement, when it is known throughout recorded history that an is not apolitical by nature, but the very arm of the political force that leads into war or peace? Elections are class war by another means, and only the most astute and professional military leaders know this to be truth, although they may not admit it in public.
There is always a state of antagonism in elections and the election process Within the political intercourse of the various parties involved there is a state of mutual political war with its various political contradictions. In modern states, the soldiers, navy men and women, the air force men and women, which includes the leadership of these various armed forces participate in the voting process, unless the nation or country in which it is the political-military arm, decides otherwise.
In contemporary modern societies, there are quasi-fascist states that do not encourage the armed forces to vote unless it is for the benefit of the fascist party or the ruling Oligarchy that has repressed the people. An army, regardless of the state it serves, is never separated from the political intercourse.
The political element is always a part of a military doctrine, and to say otherwise is a falsehood. The armed forces’ does have detailed planning concerning civil unrest and street protests which is always a part of its tasks in times of peaceful stability. The process of reaction to the needs of a people who are in protest regarding their rights for social, economic, and political justice cannot be meet entirely by a nation’s army. For if the army is not imbued with the needs and aspirations of the people, then it is in essence an enemy of the people. What is understand without qualification in that in a capitalist society, the armed forces are not consistent with the historical demands of the people, and that only a People’s Army can achieve such a task. In a People’s Army the political policy is embedded within the ranks of the civilian population. The army is the sole instrument of the people only under a socialist way of life, and it cannot be otherwise. History and the objective goals of the armed forces is only intelligible to the citizen, when its true motives are clear, and this applies to the electoral process as well. If the army betrays the people and ensues upon a political course of its own, regulating its force to the whims and nascent coercion of one man’s repressive measures against the people, then such a coup , although successful for a period of time, will eventually bring its full bearing of trials, prison terms, and death even upon the military leadership involved. As Joseph Stalin said about military force and the reality of class struggle “…until the bourgeoisie is completely defeated, until the wealth is confiscated, the proletariat must have a military force at its disposal, he must have his own ′′ proletarian guard ′′ with which he will deflect the counter-revolutionary attacks of the dying bourgeoisie”. Elections are won by those who count the votes, by those who have the allegiance of political and military power at its disposal. A coup d’ etat is not a game for children, because for those who play such a game there is not only blood on one’s hands, but eventually those who play that game are hung on the gallows of history.