Washington (7/2. – 25). “Storming the symbol of Democracy? So what Its Just a Building!“, said a political observer. The debate send shivers down the spine of the political elite in the U.S., cries of insurrection follows calls for using the full force of the law against the offender. The U.S. political scene is in turmoil with foot stomping, gravel banging, outrageous Teddy-bear throwing tantrums by Pelosi decrying the riots that boiled over the pressure cooker.
But, so what say many. It is just a building. An unlawful occupation and interference in proceedings perhaps. An insurrection, unlikely. Frustrations, certainly. The United States despite the rhetoric is just a shinning thing up the hill, its a building not. more. It has become a symbol of overblow grandeur of the American empire and its political elites.
Nathan Schneider from the America Magazine wrote, “the assault on the capitol was horrific. But occupying a legislature can be a legitimate act of protest.” Agreed.
He made a point that many argue quoting the Chinese politburo is reveling in Washington’s chaos of Jan. 6. A spokeswoman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recalled that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing protests in 2019, which occupied the city’s legislature, as “a beautiful sight to behold.” The occupation of her own legislature, in contrast, was a “shameful assault on our democracy.”
No love here with the Chinese but they have a point. U.S. politics is no longer the shiny example on the hill but nothing more than any other democracy. Messy, chaotic and occasionally needed.
Schneider noted that Congress’s approval rating is now barely in double digits. The Capitol has become a place of rancor and grandstanding, delivering little of what majorities of Americans actually demand, like affordable health care, sensible climate policy, infrastructure investments and election reforms.
The legislature’s inability to deliver sufficient pandemic relief is only the most recent example. Perhaps the new Democratic regime will bring a change of tone and a surge of hope, but the words of unity we heard from representatives the night after the incursion are already blowing away.
But, Little hope is forthcoming with the rhetoric from the left speaks of lists, deprogramming and other extremists views from the newly elected Democrats.
The events on the 6 January 2021 illustrate the fragility of U.S. politics. Pundits are quick to condemn the actions by a fringe group of followers but taken the commentaries by the protesters many spoke out against Antifa which were free to roam until now.
“It’s about white grievance playing out”, says Stuart Stevens in an interview on PBS Nightline, “Trump isn’t racist but he made it socially acceptable to be racist.” He is a product of decades of alienation of a large segment of the population who do not buy in the leftist, liberal agenda. The vote for Trump was a vote against the Democrats, no more.
‘Donald Trump didn’t create the riot but he is an accelerant”, the PBS interview continued. This may as it is, but the unlawful entry to a building is not uncommon despite the Democrats call for gun control, re-programming of Trump followers and other hair brained ideas. Having lived through a few revolutions the U.S. Capitol post reaction with a fence around it should give reasons for concern.
“We build the fence to keep the people out, but can’t finish the fence to stop drugs, immigration and human trafficking”, said one unnamed official. Many agree.
The fact remains storming of parliament buildings are not uncommon. Maybe the Democrats need to recognize the fact that a large number of Americans do not agree with the leftist policies. Trump is an outlier, and he will continue to be. But to demonize a large number of Americans will only inflame the unrest in the empire.
The U.S. Capitol has been a target before, too. There was the Bonus Army of 1932, when World War I veterans camped around the building, demanding money they felt they were owed in the depths of the Great Depression.
And there were the repeated sieges of the Vietnam era, such as the 1971 May Day extravaganza in Washington—prompting the largest mass arrest in U.S. history, in defense of the government’s ongoing massacre abroad.
Looking around the world protests involves routinely occupation of citizens to protest legislators. Maybe the U.S. can learn from it.
In April 2020, Italy dozens of MPs from the far-right opposition League party have occupied the Italian parliament in protest at the ongoing lockdown and the government’s emergency powers of rule by decree.
In October 2020, protesters occupied the presidential palace and parliament building in Kygyzstan’s capital, angry over the results of weekend parliamentary elections.
In 2010 the European parliament was occupied by the homeless.
In 1998, 4,000 occupied the East Timor parliament.
In 2014 and 2019, riots stormed the Hong Kong Legislative Council complex.
In 2014, when a secret trade deal with China was poised to pass, a student uprising called the Sunflower Movement filled the streets and occupied the island’s legislature.
That same year, Dutch Kurds occupied the parliament building in the Hague, calling for their government to take stronger action against ISIS.
In 2019, far left Marxists Extinction Rebellion protesters occupied the Scottish parliament.
In the same year the UK House of Commons saw naked protesters stormed the seat of the UK government.
In 2017 the opposition party in Poland occupied a month long the parliament.
In 2008 the Thai parliament grounds were breached by protesters. They surrounded the Parliament building and cut off its electricity, marched on the police headquarters and massed in front of the besieged government’s temporary offices at the city’s secondary airport.
In 1998, it was a student occupation of the parliament, welcomed by the legislators themselves, that ended the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia
In 2016 in Poland, it was a group of Parliament members themselves who occupied their legislature, in protest of the right-wing ruling party’s bid to ban media access to the legislative process.
In 2016, hundreds of Shia Muslim activists have stormed Iraq’s parliament in Baghdad. Protesters set up camp outside the parliament after occupying the chamber.
The list is longer but it provides the argument that the occupation of the U.S. Capitol is not unusual in the context of democratic protest.
Unfortunately lives were lost.