First, let us be very clear about what happened last Wednesday. On January 6, 2021, over three thousand Trump supporters attempted an insurrection on our nation’s Capitol building. They were able to gain access into the Capitol building in Washington DC. At the time, Congress was in session finalizing the certification of electoral votes to declare Joe Biden as the 45th President.
We believe this was a coup attempt that was both planned and orchestrated. A coup is an illegal seizure of power from the government. Oftentimes, and by many definitions, it is with aid of the state or military. We believe that Washington DC police officers taking selfies with insurrectionists, helping right-wingers carefully down the stairs to go home, and removing barriers and waving people to come inside is absolutely aid and assistance. The mere intentional unpreparedness of protecting elected officials in a government building is blatant assistance and aid. These events made it abundantly clear that institutions of white power will always support each other.
We understand why people are hesitant to call this a coup attempt. This coup attempt isn’t like any other we’ve seen globally as it is white supremacists fighting for power from other white supremacists. This coup attempt isn’t like others in Guatemala, Haiti or Venezuela where actual oppressed people are fighting a government that continues to violate human rights and exploit its own citizens. On the contrary, the situation that unfolded at the Capitol involved Nazis craving more power over marginalized communities that they already agree should be oppressed.
We believe that this coup attempt was orchestrated. We saw several posts from Donald Trump asking for everyone to come to DC on January 6th and that, if he were not elected, there would be hell to pay. We also saw his speech that clearly incited the coup attempt at the Capitol. This is by no means the first time Donald Trump has incited violence during speeches; on the contrary, this is a consistent pattern we have seen since the commencement of his 2016 presidential campaign. As recently as May 2020, Trump incited violence by proclaiming on social media, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” This quote was taken directly out of the very aggressive and authoritarian playbook of Walter Headley, the former police chief of Miami, Florida. Plenty of the insurrectionists planned to travel to the nation’s capital — for example, bigots in our very own state organized for seven buses to transport 300 people from northern Ohio to Washington DC. People brought guns and zip ties to hold people hostage and had full intentions of murdering innocent civilians.
There are several reasons why this coup attempt occurred. The 2016 election of Donald Trump alone allowed for the further coalescing of a community of white supremacists and white nationalists, along with the continuous allowance of Donald Trump’s racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in person and on social media platforms. His deliberately unchecked bigotry allowed for misinformation, or “fake news,” about the 2020 election results to spread easily. Republican elected officials used the saga of misinformation after the 2020 election as their catalyst to object to the certification of electoral votes.
Please stop saying that this isn’t the America you know. Black people have been imploring you to take a closer look at what has been taking place for centuries. America is cruel, violent, and deadly. January 6th happened because of ongoing legacies imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. America values power over others. America values individualism over collectivism. America — especially white America — will continue to move in this dangerous manner until a massive shift in power happens. We are abolitionists for this reason; we wish to dismantle and overthrow a society that is borne from enslavement and genocide. Our “democracy” has been stained with blood since its inception, this disgraceful insurrection attempt on the Capitol was just a continuation of this tide of hatred.
We will never forget the awful police violence that countless Black people across the country have experienced for centuries and most recently during the Summer 2020 uprisings. There are clear distinctions in the way Black Lives Matter protesters were treated. BLM protesters were met with state sanctioned violence in all of its forms, including rubber and wooden bullets, tear gas, bear spray and other chemical agents along with LRAD machines to cause neurological damage. BLM protesters were also met with tasers and flash bombs, both of which were causes of death for individuals during the coup attempt on January 6th.
Any fear and panic elected officials felt last week is a mere fraction of the current reality for many people across this country. Furthermore, it is these same elected officials who represent the empire that deals death to oppressed people worldwide. Don’t forget that we have been left to die in droves during a pandemic while Capitol Hill debated on whether to issue measly $600 checks.
For those who have long endured the peril of this so-called “democracy,” we implore you to be your comrade’s keeper, especially during these very troubling and trying times. It’s our shared responsibility to build something anew. Black people are the greatest creators of the world; surely we can create a better world involving a delicate balance of freedom, love, safety, and care. Now is the time for us to get organized so that we can be a formidable threat to those who want us dead.
With love and solidarity,
Black Queer & Intersectional Collective (BQIC)