Investing in fascism: The corporations backing the Republican coup caucus
A protestor holds a sign at the Capitol, on Jan. 6, 2022, anniversary of the Trump coup attempt. | Evan Vucci / AP

What happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was not merely a riot, as the corporate media and liberal pundits still persist in mislabeling this watershed moment in U.S. history.

It was a fascist putsch, one instigated by the occupier of the highest office in the land, organized by a motley assortment of militant MAGA fanatics, carried out by violent white supremacists and armed militias, some hell-bent on murdering select politicians, and roundly applauded by tens of millions of deluded disciples of Trump throughout the country.

And it almost succeeded.

In fact, even after the blood was cleared from the Capitol, 139 members of Congress openly echoed the putsch’s political goal and voted to obstruct a peaceful transition of presidential power. Rather than being arrested and charged with treason or sedition, this “Insurrection Caucus,” a cancerous core in the body politic, was rewarded with hundreds of millions of dollars for their 2022 congressional campaigns from among the most reactionary forces in corporate America.

An analysis of their funding sources underscores the veracity of Communist Georgi Dimitrov’s profound 1935 insight in identifying fascism as “the power of finance capital,” “the most bloodthirsty monster of finance capital,” and “a most ferocious attack by capital on the mass of working people.”

The most reactionary elements of finance capital and their allies in corporate America filled the congressional campaign coffers of these clearly exposed seditionists in order to advance their nefarious march toward a fascist America in the near future. They must not succeed.

The Insurrection Caucus

The violent attempted fascist putsch of Jan. 6 forced all members of Congress, the Vice President, and their staff to abruptly suspend their mandated deliberations, abandon chambers, and quickly seek shelter in secure quarters, where they remained for hours while the mob ransacked their offices, destroyed government property, and desecrated the Capitol building.

That frightening experience evidently caused six Republican U.S. Senators to reverse their intended opposition to certification of the electoral vote. However, even after such a harrowing time of having to hide huddled for hours from that maddening and potential murderous mob, 139 U.S. Congressional Representatives and eight U.S. Senators nevertheless joined the mob in endorsing the overthrow of the 2020 presidential election.

This formidable Insurrection Caucus has remained in power, for the most part, over the past 22 months and likely will continue to do so after the midterm elections. Only one compliant Senator—John Kennedy of Louisiana—is on the 2022 ballot. However, 123 House members of the Insurrection Caucus, many of them also unopposed, face re-election. For a variety of reasons, 16 Insurrection Caucus members are not on the 2022 ballot.

During the 2019-22 election cycle, this Republican conglomeration of insurrectionists managed to raise a composite sum of $237,802,400 for their campaign committees. An analysis of the sources of this insurrection largesse exposes the fierce determination of the most reactionary elements of finance capital and its anti-democratic allies to retain, even monopolize, political power.

Investing in fascism

Data on the identity of the investors and the amount of their donations to each member of the Insurrection Caucus presented here is derived from information provided by Open Secrets for the 100 top campaign donations over $200 during the 2019-22 election cycle. In other words, there are many small donations which are not included in this summary.

All the identified donations are from individuals or Political Action Committees associated with the named corporation, a cosmetic campaign finance regulation which, in effect, amounts to the functional equivalent of a direct corporate donation. There were many more donations than are listed below, but these were grouped together as “Retired” or “Republican/Conservative” without their specific identity revealed.

It is important to note that all donations were explicitly given to the congressional re-election campaigns of Republicans who had all voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and perpetuate the tyrannical Trump regime. These are essentially investments in fascism.

A few ideologically-charged smaller PACs, like Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “Save America Stop Socialism” and Steve Baugh’s “Stop Collectivism or Totalitarianism Triumphs,” have made modest contributions to fellow Republican House members, such as Mary Miller of Illinois who publicly praised Adolf Hitler at the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill rally.

A major fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund was hosted in 2021 by multi-millionaire Jay Kemmerer, co-owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and, at a minimum of $2,000 admission, attracted the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and many other Trump loyalists.

Kemmerer donated over $200,000 to Trump’s re-election campaign and tens of thousands to the campaigns of far-right candidates like Lauren Boebert, Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, and Elise Stefanik, who replaced Liz Cheney as House Republican Caucus chair.

The billionaire Koch brothers are well known for their virulent anti-democratic legacy and vicious far-right politics. The co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, recently donated over $1 million to the senatorial campaign of MAGA candidate Walker.

And it should come as no surprise that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the strongest lobby against the liberation of Palestine, should also pour well over $1 million into the campaigns coffers of 91 seditionists opposed to democracy in America.

The enemies of democracy represented by these right-wing PACs find their financial base primarily among reactionary finance capital donors. Fascism, as described by Dimitrov, is “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic, and most imperialist elements of finance capital.”

Looking at where finance capital is putting its money, it’s clear that many are investing directly in a possible fascist future.

The danger

“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” That quote, perhaps falsely attributed to Sinclair Lewis, author of the 1930s novel warning of fascism in America called It Can’t Happen Here, was only half right.

The missing half has to do with a class analysis.

Labor does not fund fascism. Capital does. Hardly a single labor organization is found among the thousands of investors in the Insurrection Caucus. Nearly all of the over $237 million came from the ruling class, the most reactionary and anti-socialist components of capital.

It is the institutional, not ideological, dimension of fascism which provides it with much of its potency. That institutional support can also be found within the U.S. judicial system, which, to date, has largely failed to sufficiently punish participants in the putsch.

Despite having arrested some 1,000 participants, the Department of Justice has not charged anyone with domestic terrorism, attempted murder, or treason. No one was found guilty of hate crimes, and hundreds of these vile criminals plea-bargained their way out of jail.

The severity of their criminal actions on that fateful day stands in sharp contrast to the overall mildness of their imposed punishment. Once before, in the aftermath of a failed putsch in 1923, a key participant served less than a year in prison, an exceedingly mild punishment for treason. A decade later, Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party took total control of the German government.

Institutions which coddle fascist criminals invite their own existential threat. The alternative, as Dimitrov incisively points out, is the creation and fortification of a united front, one determined to “resist and smash fascist bands” and motivate government, even a bourgeois one, “to adopt measures of defense against fascism.” As he advocated: “Arrest the fascist leaders. Close down their press, confiscate their material resources and the resources of the capitalists who were financing the fascist movement.”

A successful united front against fascism must include institutional as well as individual activists. Organized religion, especially the Christian Left, needs to join organized labor in denouncing and resisting the fascist threat. Educational institutions, those not captivated hopelessly by anti-socialist dogma, need to revitalize and reclaim the Enlightenment legacy of scientific and critical thought.

Otherwise, the failed Jan. 6 putsch will become a prelude for a successful one, and that financially empowered cancerous core of congressional insurrectionists will metastasize.

However, there will likely come a time when the ossified ruling class will be unable to rule in the old way, and when the enlightened ruled masses no longer wish to be ruled in the old way. Should that revolutionary moment arrive, capital may openly resort to fascism to save itself.

A united front against fascism must not allow that disaster to befall our nation and world. Yet even if it does, fascism inevitably lays the seeds of its own destruction. Again, Dimitrov:

“Thus, fascism, which appeared as the result of the decline of the capitalist system, in the long run acts as a factor in its further disintegration. Thus, fascism, which has undertaken to bury Marxism, the revolutionary movement of the working class, is, as a result of the dialectics of life and the class struggle, itself leading to the further development of the forces that are bound to serve as its grave-diggers, the grave-diggers of capitalism.”

A luta continua. (in English: the struggle continues, was the rallying cry of the FRELIMO movement during Mozambique’s war for independence.)


CONTRIBUTOR

Paul Scholl
Paul Scholl

Paul Scholl is a retired educator and life-long anti-fascist.

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