The attempted American coup and sinister echoes of Germany’s Wiemar republic

Far right storms US Capitol
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Insurrection, The Coup & The Working Class With Professor Francis Boyle

Professor Francis Boyle talks about the coup and insurrection at the US Capitol and the role of the police and Democrats. He also discusses the action of the Congress to adjourn after their vote and not take immediate action against the first coup and insurrection led by a US president in the history of the United States. 

He talks about the role of the US troops in DC who are under Trump’s control and also the need of unions and working people to mobilize in action against the insurrection and coup. 

Professor Boyle was the past president of his union American Federation of Teachers Local 2287 and Delegate to AFL-CIO Board of Champaign County, Illinois. He is a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. This interview by WorkWeek was done on 1/8/21.


Professor Frances Boyle starkly describes the situation in which the US political establishment has equivocated over its response to an open attempted fascist coup. Once they had passed Biden’s election victory into law, legislators went home to bed, leaving the cleaning staff to sort out the mess and the whole Capital precinct under the control of a National Guard nominally answerable to the outgoing President who organised the coup attempt in the first place!! 

While the actual rioters who entered the Capitol building will no doubt be dealt with very severely, there is real hesitation about dealing with the chief conspirators. And this is not just Trump himself, but his whole coterie who (we should remember) only narrowly lost the election – in fact on the second largest turnout in history. 

As in the mid 1970s with Nixon, the “Land of the Free” is teetering on the brink of a right-wing takeover which would rip apart the facade of democracy and install the “Iron Heel” of unmediated dictatorship by capitalist oligarchy, based on gangs of de-classed thugs. 

All the tensions and crises of international capital impact on and pass through the US establishment, and despite Joe Biden actually finding his tongue in the midst of it all, there is no sign that the new administration has policies that can deal with it all without real disruptions, including further hard times for the US masses. 

This is an establishment which has used democracy as a screen behind which it has practiced every kind of banditry on behalf of capital for well over a century.

Quite rightly, the professor calls on the US working class to take up the defence of democratic institutions which the American ruling class seem unable to protect. But this only goes to reveal how much ground the working class movement has to make up (and against what difficulties).