When Mob Rule Comes to the United States of America
The parallels between the Leninist power usurpation in early 20th century Russia and the Trumpian brigades in today’s United States are becoming ever more eerie.
- James Madison, one of American Founding Fathers, was greatly scared of mob rule. Almost 250 years later, his nightmare is coming to life in today’s America.
- Nothing in modern Western history has come so close to the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg as the events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
- The mainstream Democratic Party denounced the left-wing riots of 2020. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has transformed itself into the Party of Trump and therefore into the Party of Mob Rule.
- True, Russia had always been an autocracy of one form or another even before the Bolshevik revolution, while the US has been a democracy for nearly 250 years.
- Few people could have ever predicted that the U.S. system of checks and balances built by Madison and the Founding Fathers would crumble so easily. Even fewer people foresaw that the Republican Party would turn itself into a Mob Party.
- As had been the case with the Leninists in Russia, Hitler’s elevation owed much to mob rule.
Alexander Kerensky, the head of Russia’s short-lived Provisional Government, wrote some very pregnant words about the overthrow of the Czar that may foreshadow developments elsewhere in the 21st century.
“Hanging aimlessly and uselessly in space”
“The word ‘revolution’,” Kerensky wrote, “is quite inapplicable to what happened in Russia. A whole world of national and political relationships sank to the bottom, and at once all existing political and tactical programs, however bold and well-conceived, appeared hanging aimlessly and uselessly in space.”
Kerensky was describing the emergence of a mob, which swept Czar Nicholas II from the throne in February 1917 and shook all institutions of the Russian state to the core.
From Russia’s street mob…
A republican government was then formed in St. Petersburg and Kerensky became prime minister. It tried to govern, attempting to bring to Russia a democracy similar to France, Britain and the United States, its allies in World War I.
But throughout the few months of the Kerensky government’s existence, Lenin and his Bolsheviks were stirring up the mob, telling the assorted rabble that they needed to grab power.
In November 1917, the mob then stormed the Winter Palace, chased the Provisional Government out and installed Lenin.
… to 1930s German mobs
In the 1920s, Germany lived through the trauma of hyperinflation, which was a key factor in facilitating the Nazis’ rise to power.
As had been the case with the Leninists in Russia, Hitler’s elevation owed much to mob rule. As it did to a national-conservative establishment that thought it could control the bizarre clown with his sickening pathos for bravado.
… to mob rule in the United States
Fear of mob rule has long been a real worry in the United States – even before the founding of the American republic.
James Madison, one of the most prominent American Founding Fathers, was one of those greatly scared of mob rule.
His alternative to having an authoritarian leader take over was rule of law and strong representative institutions. And yet, his nightmare is now coming to life in today’s America.
The mob and “social” media
The mob in the old days was a crowd of people in a city square. Rabble rousers made fiery speeches, stoking violent emotions in the streets. They identified enemies and sent the mob to get a hold of them, leading to murder and mayhem.
With the advance of communications technology, the nature of the mob has changed. It moved to the internet and into social media.
The old hatreds are still there
But the old hatreds are still there, directed at perceived enemies, and so are the lies. The rabble rousers are still the same, but they are sitting in their mother’s basement in front of a computer monitor.
While germinating in cyberspace, the mob still occasionally bursts out into real life.
A (former) president as fire propellant
It almost always comes to life at Trump rallies across the United States of America, which all too often are old-fashioned mob gatherings. A contemporary variant in the age of corona are anti-vaxxers’ protests.
But nothing in modern Western history has ever come so close to the storming of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg as the events of January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C., when a riotous mob stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Ironically, these forces were out to preserve the rule of their “Czar”, Donald Trump, who had been defeated for re-election.
Don’t forget the left-wing mob
The mob in today’s United States is not always right-wing. The mob on the left also showed up in the summer of 2020.
It turned legitimate protests against police brutality into a violent mob bacchanal.
The difference between Democrats and Republicans
There is a difference, however. The mainstream Democratic Party has denounced those riots.
Meanwhile, the Republican Party has transformed itself into the Party of Trump and therefore into the Party of Mob Rule. It is channeling its inner Leninist and baiting the mob.
What is even more stunning is that Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill did not even change their complicit stance after they were themselves in danger of being attacked by the mob.
This is amply evidenced by the fact that they refused to take part in the investigation of the attempted coup and are now shielding the putschists.
The Democrats and Kerensky
Even more starkly, the Democrats are trying to govern — the way the Provisional Government in Russia did in 1917.
They passed an infrastructure bill and are proposing many long overdue measures to improve the lives of ordinary people. To this end, they are offering better health care, services for the elderly and educational assistance.
Meanwhile, their Republican “colleagues” are stirring hatred in the mob toward all those measures — just like Lenin did back in 1917.
Mobs are notoriously fickle. They can turn on a dime and attack their handlers at the slightest provocation — the way they turned on Mike Pence during the Capitol riot.
And mob rule doesn’t last. The Russian experience shows that those whom the mob brings to power promptly crush them and tighten the screws.
Is the U.S. on the road to reincarnating 1917 Russia?
True, Russia had always been an autocracy of one form or another even before the Bolshevik revolution, while the United States of America has been a democracy for nearly 250 years.
On the other hand, few people could have ever predicted that the system of checks and balances built by Madison and the Founding Fathers would crumble so easily.
What is even more shocking than that is that it is a major American political party — a conservative party to boot — which would turn itself into a Mob Party.