On Jan. 6, 2021, thousands of neo-fascist Trump loyalists converged on Washington with the aim of forcing the annulment of the November election (which Democrat Joe Biden won by 7 million votes). There they were met by Donald Trump himself who addressed the mob, falsely claiming that he won, that he would never concede defeat, and encouraging them to fight to keep him in power.
Meanwhile, inside Congress Republican representatives and senators from the extreme right issued formal challenges to the Electoral College vote (which also spelled overwhelming defeat for Trump). Like their neo-fascist counterparts outside the Capital Building, these anti-democratic, anti-union law makers were actively seeking to carry out a coup against the majority will of the American people.
The Electoral College certification was stopped when the halls of Congress were violently stormed by rabid Trump supporters. Reports are circulating that at least one person was shot, and many injured. Despite the violence, police and National Guard units deployed by Mayor of Washington, D.C. have thus far remained loyal to the democratic republic and order has been restored within the Capitol Building.
Let us be VERY clear… This is a coup attempt. The fascists Trump has called into the streets are no different than the mass tactics deployed by Benito Mussolini (via his Black Shirts) in the 1920s and Adolf Hitler (via his SA) in the 1930s. Coupled with the sizable minority bloc of Trump loyalists in Congress, the danger our democracy now faces is unprecedented and cannot be overstated.
The Vermont AFL-CIO will call for a general strike if there is not a transfer of power on Jan. 20, 2021 as our U.S. Constitution requires.
Furthermore, the VT AFL-CIO executive board will meet in the coming days to discuss political developments as they are unfolding, how we can best defend democracy in the Green Mountains and beyond, and various means by which we can expedite other projects already underway which may aid in the struggle against fascism.
Further, the Vermont AFL-CIO has opened dialogue with the Vermont National Guard requesting that they clearly affirm their loyalty to the democratic republic and refuse any unlawful orders that may emanate from the Trump administration which may seek to use them as a tool in their coup attempt. The Vermont National Guard communicated to us, in part, the following earlier today: “The Vermont National Guard serves the Governor of Vermont, and are sworn to uphold the Constitutions of Vermont and the United States.”
When asked about potential orders from the Trump Administration concerning what would amount to armed political activity, the Guard responded as follows: “We have received no such requests at this time”
Vermonters: The question is NOT who you voted for on Nov. 3 or what party you are a member of. The grave crisis before us now goes beyond political affiliation. What is at stake is the very notion of democracy itself.
We do not ask you to place blind allegiance with any leader, and we do not ask you to agree with us on all issues.
We simply state that the blood spilled by our Green Mountain Boy ancestors, by those that gave all combating slavery in the Civil War, by those that died on the beaches of Normandy fighting Nazi Germany, and those that faced firehoses and attack dogs during the civil rights movement must be honored by the honest act of doing whatever it takes to defend the democratic rights that their sacrifices made possible.
The Vermont AFL-CIO therefore asks that you stand with us, union member and non-union member alike, be prepared and ready, and to heed the call, should it come, to defend democracy and in fact to build a deeper democracy whereby working people can be secure in knowing that it is our voice and our dreams that define society and not the whims of a dictator-in-waiting.
“They Shall Not Pass!”
David Van Deusen, president of the Vermont AFL-CIO