12 January 2021

An unnamed senior lecturer at Kent Law School responds to the storming of the Capitol: “[T]here is something unsettling about the way it is this ramshackle effort on the part of Trump and his supporters to circumvent the ‘peaceful transfer of power’ — not the ‘Muslim ban’; not the ‘pussy-gabbing’; not the abandonment of the Kurds; not  the ‘fine people on both sides’; not the attack-dogs called on BLM ‘rioters’; not the ‘China virus’ (etc) — that has turned out to be the final straw for American law-makers and world-leaders alike. The actions of the protesters were undoubtedly criminal,  ‘bordering on sedition’, but the election was decided on a knife-edge. Trump received 46.82 per cent of the popular vote; more than 74 million individual ballots. Just over seven million more votes and this ‘mob’ would have been correct to describe the House of Representatives as ‘ours’. There would have been no public outcry; no ‘assault on the citadel of liberty’. On the contrary, ‘liberty’ would have been vindicated. No wonder poor Elizabeth got such a shock when she was maced in the face. … But the point is not only that fetishising the procedural helps to render the substantial continuity of white supremacism, dispossession and violent discrimination uncontroversial, if not completely invisible. The point is also that under a system of law which allows the individual’s  ‘fundamental’ right to liberty to be elevated so easily to the point at which even taxation becomes a tyranny to which death is preferable (quite literally, on the part of at least four of the 6 January protesters) — ‘democracy’ will inevitably resurface as ‘fascism’ at a certain point. This is usually a point of acute material inequality.”