by Gordon M. Hahn
Although America’s authoritarianizing revolution from above (RFA) is still in its early stages and may not be completed, it is worth comparing the early trends with the Soviet/Russian RFA of 1990-1991. My first book – Russia’s Revolution from Above: Reform, Transition, and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime (2002) – argued that the fall of the reforming Soviet Communist Party regime was not the consequence of a revolution from below led by societal elements seeking to establish a new form of rule (regime), nor a ‘pacted’ transition to a new form of rule negotiated between regime and opposition elements, nor an imposed transition to a new regime led by the old regime’ ruling groups and implemented using what is to be the old regime’s institutions. Rather it was a ‘revolution from above’ led by Party-state elements. The present American administration is attempting a revolution from above; one that began no later than the last year of the Barack Hussein Obama administration and its attempt to use state bodies such as the organs of coercion and law enforcement (FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, and the military) to overturn hundreds of years of free and fair presidential elections and thus actual republican (representative as opposed to direct democracy) governance by using illegal measures to prevent the Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump, from winning the 2016 presidential election on false charges of collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Definition and Model of RFA
I offered a short definition of RFA: “the illegal or extralegal takeover of some or all state institutions of political and/or economic power by high- and/or middle-ranking officials and bureaucrats in order to overthrow the economic, social, and political systems of the ancien regime with little or no participation by societal elements.” The model of ‘revolution from above’ emphasizes: (1) the role of elite autonomy from civil society, (2) the domination of the process of regime transformation by many of the former regime system’s governing institutions and personnel, and (3) the nature of the elites that dominate the process. All stages of the revolution are carried out using the newly won state bodies with little or no mass participation or violence. Revolutionaries FA from inside the state deploy the institutions of the old regime in order to create new institutions, laws, and practices for a new regime antithetical to the form of rule. Revolutionaries use the old institutions to transform the regime. Initially or partially, they may accomplish this without violating the old system’s laws and constitutions, but at some point by definition – given that any revolution violates the old regime’s constitution and/or laws – revolutionaries above will act in ways that violate the laws and/or constitution of the previous regime’s political system. The nature of the old elite making the revolution may be little committed to and/or schooled in the institutional design and function as well as the methods of political practice of the new regime type they pursue and therefore often act as a drag on the transformational process. Ultimately, they may wholly confound a complete regime transformation, producing a hybrid regime that may or may evolve over a long duration and arrive at the destination towards which the RFA started out. The new order can even revert to the old regime type or something much closer to it that the RFA’s original goal.
Most RFAs have been led by elements in the military against civilian-led governments. Kemal Ataturk’s RFA against the crumbling Ottoman theocratic authoritarian regime in favor of a secularizing republican regime and the Japanese Meiji revolt in the early 20th century are two classic examples. The replacement of monarchical autocracies by Arab nationalist and quasi-socialist Baathist and other forms of non-monarchical rule organized by military leader and the army rule with republican elements typify Nasser’s RFA in Egypt, the Assads’ takeover in Syria, Sadaam Hussein’s seizure of power in Iraq, among others. The first such attempted RFA in modern times might be the failed 1825 Decembrist uprising against Russia’s Tsarist autocracy by aristocratic officers, who sought to establish a republican system and abolish serfdom.
The Soviet/Russian RFA
The 1991 Soviet revolution was neither a peaceful revolution from below, like Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, nor a negotiated transition to democracy, as occurred in Spain, Poland and Hungary. Nor was it like the violent Russian revolutions against tsarist autocracy or the Chinese communist revolution from below won by political movements organized in “councils of workers, peasants and soldiers” rooted in society and independent from the state. The essence of the Soviet/Russian regime transformation was a bureaucratic, state-led revolution from above by Russia-level officials against the Soviet Union’s central organs of Party-state power. Opportunistic members of the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and state apparatchiks defected from the reform camp led by Soviet President and CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to the radical reform then RFA camp led by Boris Yeltsin, who had been elected chairman of the new RSFSR Congress of People’s Deputies in June 1990. These apparatchiks and their gaining control over Russia, the core administrative-territorial unit of the USSR, were instrumental in overthrowing the CPSU regime. Soviet Party bureaucrats and younger members of its nomenklatura ruling class won control in mid-1990 over the core republic in the Soviet Union – the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic – and used its state bodies to carry out a creeping bureaucratic revolution against the central Soviet Party-state order. Neither Bullets nor ballots were the key weapons of Russia’s revolutionaries from above. Their weapons were RSFSR state institutions, presidential decrees, administrative orders, and and RSFSR Supreme Soviet and Congress of PD laws – not the marches, strikes and bullets of revolution from below.
Power never made it to the streets as the partocratic state was dismantled. Instead it was picked up on its way down from the central USSR Party-state apparatus and new institutions addended during perestrioka by the RSFSR proto-state’s institutions as well as by its regional sub-divisions. While this state apparatus was weak, it was not as weak as the Union state apparatus or state apparati in the midst of the kind of state collapse that usually accompanies revolutions from below. Instead, one state apparatus proactively seized or by default received state power formerly held by the partocratic Union state. These structures included and coopted former bureaucrats, very few of whom were radical revolutionaries. The old and young nomenklatura retained power and redistributed property from above. Therefore, there is less of a need to regain control over the usually more anarchic processes typical of revolutions from below, in which power and property are seized by individuals and organizations autonomous from and often antagonistic to the state. Nothing could have been further from the truth with regard to Russia’s revolutionaries from above. Unfortuantely, this meant that there was no ideological deficit for orgabizing a thermidorian reaction and a reversion to authoritarianism. Reaction and revolution came to power almost simultaneously. The former one out over the latter by dint of both domestic influences (culture and the mode of RFA) and foreign factors (NATO and EU expansion and Western color revolutionism or aggressive ‘democracy-promotion).
The number of anti-constitutional and extra-constitutional measures was great. The RSFSR (Russian republic, in short) Supreme Soviet declared Russia sovereign in June 1990; all RSFSR laws and the RSFSR constitution were deemed to hold greater legal force than USSR law and Soviet constitution, with no constitutional or legal measure stipulating the possibility of such legal supremacy having been adopted at the Union level. Russian law then transferred all property, financial and natural resources in Russia from central Soviet control to RSFSR jurisdiction. The Russian Central Bank and new quasi-commercial banks destroyed the Soviet centralized financial, banking, and interbudgetary systems. By winter 1991, Russia took the first steps toward establishing its own presidential, KGB and military institutions separate from Union structures. Upon election as RSFSR president in July 1991, Yeltsin decreed the removal of Party organizations from all state institutions and enterprises in Russia, though constitutionality or lack thereof of this measure is open to dispute. During the August 1991 coup, Yeltsin compounded the aconstitutionality and illegality of the crisis by placing under RSFSR control all Soviet institutions, including the KGB and military. When the coup was defeated, Yeltsin’s Russia banned the Party, effectively abolishing the old regime. With the Party gone, Russia fully abolished or expropriated virtually the entire Soviet state apparatus, ministry by ministry, including all the power ministries or siloviki (military, KGB, MVD, etc.). With the regime and state apparatus gone, there was little reason for the republics to maintain the Union. Yetsin withdrew Russia from the negotiations on a new Union Treaty in November 1991, Ukraine voted for independence in a referndum in December, and Yeltsin recruited Ukraine and Belarus into a new Commonwealth of Independent States, declaring the Union dead. The Soviet Union was tossed into history’s dustbin.
Throughout this period, the masses were not all that mobilized, excepting during a few pivotal crises. They never to demonstrated for, or attempted the overthrow of the Party-state regime from the streets in a revolution from below (RFB), except in the Union’s periphery in places like the Baltic republics and Georgia. Most often, the country’s nascent and weak civil society mobilized onto the streets in order to defend the revolutionaries from above, not to overthrow the remnants of the partocratic regime. This explains the limited extent of social revolution and the lack of violence during and after the fall of the Soviet regime. Thus, it also explains much of the troubled development of republican governments and the market economies in post-Soviet Russia and other former republics. The co-opting of Party and state apparatchiks and entire structures of the Soviet Party-state by the revolutionary Russian regime – most threateningly for republican governance the siloviki – left the nomenklatura in power along with its limited understanding of and weak commitment to building political and economic institutions based on the rule of law.
A key feature of RFA is the use of institutional creation and reorganization as a weapon of the internal political struggle between pro- and anti-reform factions. For example, Gorbachev instituted semi-free elections to the soviets and created and held such elections to the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies (CPD) in 1989 and a Soviet presidency in 1990 in order to break the resistance to his early, modest, and non-political reforms by the CPSU and Soviet state apparati. Party apparat hardliners forced through the formation of a CP for the RSFSR (RCP) to counter Gorbachev inside the CPSU and the rising influence of Yeltsin in the newly empowered RSFSR Supreme Soviet and newly created RSFSR CPD. Gorbachev also began to separate the CPSU apparat from the siloviki (military, KGB, MVD), to which harline Party apparatchiki and siloviki created new organs – more robust unit Party organizations and committees and a new all-union umbrella Army Committee in the case of the military, for example – reconnecting their institutions to the Party, though not its apparat. In response to these moves, Yeltsin created a Russian presidency, as did the leaders of the other fourteen union republic CPs, and he began to create Russian military and KGB bodies. All this created institutional confusion, dysfunction, and even greater infighting and dislocation, which undermined institutional and state loyalty, administrative-territorial integrity, economic performance, and financial solvency. These multiple crises of political division, growing separatism, economic collapse, and cultural-ideological disorientation confounded Gorbachev’s reforms and effectively dissolved the Soviet Party-led regime and state. All of this explains in good part, though certainly not entirely, the stalling out of democratization and marketization and the reversion to authoritarianism in Russia and most of the other constituent entities of the USSR.
While the vector in the emergent American RFA from republican-market order to a single-dominant party socialist state is in the opposite direction from the Soviet-Russian one, the overall pattern and practice are the same. These are: (1)unconstitutional state actions, (2) ideational and ideological support for a new form of rule inherent in those actions and many of the articulations of those carried them out, (3) the reform, destruction and/or creation of new institutions for waging the revolutionary political battle, and (4) limited but significant popular mobilization are the same.
The American RFA Nascent
Obama came to the presidency with the goal of the ‘fundamental transformation’ of America, in his own famous words. By the last year of his second term administration, he had made some modest headway. He intensified interracial antagonism, brought another 16 percent of the economy under the control of the state, and created an ‘imperial presidency’ the likes of which Richard Nixon would envy, in the words of liberal constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley. But to continue the revolution, he needed an equally radical, ‘transformative’ successor. That was supposed to be his former Secretary of State and wife of former US president Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton’s record of massive corruption and lust for power in the name of social transformation in the feminist-socialist ‘nanny state’ mode was well known and popular within the radicalizing Democratic Party. However, Hillary had a problem: Donald J. Trump and the American people’s loss of all patience with Washington’s corruptionaires and elites. In order to prevent Trump from having any chance of defeating Hillary, Obama, his vice president Joe Biden and the Clintons hatched a plan implemented through FBI, other state bodies, and Democrat Party (DP) operatives to frame Trump as a colluder with the foreign white supremacist, homophobic, and ‘conservative’ bogey man of the American identitarian left: authoritarian Russian President Vladimir Putin. The irony of violating the principles of republican government and the rule of law while invoking the authoritarian bogeymen of the ‘fascists’ Putin and Trump was lost on many.
Through radical or virulently partisan Obama appointees, the Democrats hijacked key state institutions such as the Justice Department, FBI, and the CIA to wage political battle against the Republican Party, which Obama designated as the ‘enemy,’ the first time an American president publicly castigated ‘the other side of the aisle’ as such. Throughout Obama’s pivotal eight years in the White House set the stage for the RFA by moving subtly towards authoritarian methods of rule similar but still more limited in scope than those used by bogey man Putin. As I have detailed elsewhere and will do so again in a longer research version of the present essay, Obama in unprecedented fashion centralized power in the executive branch using executive orders, financed DP-tied organizations through the state budget, and ran roughshod over opposition journalists’ rights.
As the 2016 preidential election moved forward and Donald Trump began to emerge as the Republican Party (RP) frontrunner, the DP frontrunner and favorite Hillary Clinton came under investigation for illegally using a home server to handle top secret documents when serving as Obama’s Secretary of State. This was a clear violation of the law and a threat to U.S. national security. Despite having conclusive evidence that Clinton had in fact violeted the law, FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch violated the rule of law and the constitution by rejecting indictment. When it appeared possible that Donald Trump might defeat Hillary Clinton as a result of the leak to Wikileaks of DNC emails and documents showing the DNC conspiring with the Clinton campaign to defeat Bernie Sanders in the presidential nomination process, Hillary went on the offensive. A real danger arose that some might figure out or assert that the electronic theft of the Hillary-DNC emails and documents had been of Hillary’s home server, meaning that top secret documents may also have been poached.
In an apparent attempt to distract the media and the public from these debacles, Hillary Clinton, as reported by the CIA to Obama at the time (another possible deception to make it appear he was playing no role in the plot), hatched a plan to accuse Trump of collusion with the Russians and the eternal bogeyman Putin. Hillary, DNC and Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussman, now miraculously indicted perhaps as a scapegoat on the basis of evidence compiled by Trump-appointed special prosecutor John Durham, hatched a plan to give false evidence to the FBI and the ubiquitous leftist pro-DP media indicating cynically enough that Trump had a secret server connected to ‘pro-Kremlin’ Russian ‘Alfa Bank’ through which he laundered secret communications with Putin. Specifically, Sussman was indicted for falsely representing himself to FBI agents when submitting dirt on Trump as a ‘concerned citizen’ when he was actually promoting first of the many false ‘Russiagate’ claims. The indictment shows that there was no evidence to support Sussman’s claim, that Sussman conspired with a big tech executives and cybersecurity experts to interpret electronic ‘data’ in order to frame it as Trump-Putin communications (which the CEO and cyber-technicians deemed an impossible task), fed media with disinformation and guests journalists repeating it, including Hillary Clinton herself, and met with high-ranking FBO officials to hand them the faked data reports. The FBI concluded that Sussman’s claims were not reliable, Indeed, the FBI remained silent for months as Sussman’s media campaign continued to trumpet the fake news that the FBI was investigating the Alfa Bank angle (www.washingtonpost.com/context/u-s-v-michael-sussman-indictment/ae5ef5ba-6576-4190-a340-9cc854d08f23/ and https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-indictment-of-hillary-clintons). Durham’s investigation has also uncovered the involvement of some eight Defense Department contractors who were involved in Hillary and Sussman’s Trump-Alfa-Kremlin scam (https://thepoliticalinsider.com/durham-probes-pentagon-computer-contractors-in-anti-trump-conspiracy/?fbclid=IwAR1i9JXZQ3jBD2-55qhjSPxRKXPCc9Muj7t9mxGhh74lyyBtPiKxRi_wrZk).
A plot with better prospects soon emerged. It also was hatched by Hillary and Sussman, and this time the FBI would play along with with more gusto, givin the allegations longer legs that would run for years: the alleged hack of the DNC allegedly by ‘the Russians.’ The Sussman indictment states that around April 2016, Hillary’s DNC “retained Sussmann to represent it in connection with the hacking of its email servers by the Russian government. In connection with his representation of the DNC as the victim of the hack, the defendant met and communicated regularly with the FBI, the DOJ, and other U.S. government agencies. In or around the same time period, Sussmann was also advising the Clinton Campaign in connection with cybersecurity issues” Around 30 April 2016 the very same Sussman hired the cybersecurity company ‘Crowdstrike’ headed by Dmitrii Alperovitch and former FBI cybersecurity official Shawn Henry to investigate the purported hack of the DNC’s email server (www.washingtonpost.com/context/u-s-v-michael-sussman-indictment/ae5ef5ba-6576-4190-a340-9cc854d08f23/). In May DNC operative and Ukrainian nationalist Ali Chalupa informed the DNC of impending interesting developments she was working on with regard to Trump. In mid-June CrowdStrike announced discovering Russian malware on the DNC’s server. The next day, self-described Romanian hacker Guccifer 2.0 said he hacked the DNC and gave the documents to WikiLeaks. He soon posted online some DNC computer files that contained metadata that indicated Russian involvement in the hack. Guccifer 2.0’s actual existence or identity has never been disclosed and no U.S. government effort to find him/her has ever been touted or described. The Russian hack story begins to follow the same pattern of the Trump-Alfa-Kremlin server story: Sussman gets involved with an entity, and suddenly there appears ‘evidence’ of alleged Russia activity in support of Trump. On 5 July 2016, FBI Director Comey publicly exonerated Hillary of any criminal wrongdoing when she stored on and communicated highly sensitive and classified information with her private email server. Seventeen days later and days before the DP national convention, thousands of DNC emails were published on WikiLeaks demonstrating Hillary campaign-DNC collusion to promote Clinton’s candidacy against that of Bernie Sanders.
Six days later, on 28 July CIA Director John Brennan informed then-President Obama on Hillary’s plan to frame Trump as a Russia colluder as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server” ahead of the upcoming presidential election. Brennan’s notes (which were not declassified until 2020) read in part: “We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED]…CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.” Six weeks later, on 7 September, U.S. intelligence officials submitted an “investigative referral” to FBI Director Comey on Hillary for her “plan concerning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections” in order to distract the public from her server scandal (https://spectator.org/john-durham-and-the-mysterious-dnc-email-hack/ and www.foxnews.com/politics/dni-brennan-notes-cia-memo-clinton. Comey ignored the referral and in a 2020 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing denied remembering the submission of any such referral to his office.
As is known, the FBI never investigated the server itself with its in-house successors to Mr. Henry, but instead relied on the Crowdstrike report redacted by the DNC. In short, the alleged victim investigated the crime and identified the perpetrator for the police. The investigations by former U.S. intelligence officials concluding that the exfiltration of data from the ‘DNC’ servers occurred not from an external but from an internal DNC source, likely downloaded on a flash drive (https://spectator.org/john-durham-and-the-mysterious-dnc-email-hack/ and www.thenation.com/article/a-new-report-raises-big-questions-about-last-years-dnc-hack/). The FBI approved of the DNC’s investigation, and the entire intelligence community then issued its professional opinion on the basis of the same documentation that with ‘high confidence’ the Russians had hacked the DNC. Thus, the FBI, Justice department, and U.S. intelligence community conspired wth Hillary Clinton and the DP to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential as well as the other elections of that fateful year.
The Steele dossier has been so discredited that even those who propagandized it, such as journalist Michael Isikoff, have renounced it. Suffice it to say here that the FBI and Clinton campaign sponsored the ‘opposition research jointly, and the FBI falisified documents for its brief to the FISA court in order to acquire a warrant to spy on the Trump campaign and frame three of its officials with false Russian collusion charges — Carter Page and General Michael Flynn – and charges having nothing to do with Ukraine more than Russia – Paul Manforte. In the case of Page, in addition to using the faked up dossier to secure surveillance authority from the FISA court, FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith submitted a falsified claim to the FISA court by lying and submitting an altered email to the court in order to win the warrant to surveil Page, whose name was plastered all over the country for years as a colluder with Russia and who was forced to stop working for the campaign and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself. Clinesmith admitted in court to such in August 2020 and was convicted in January 2021 (www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/ex-fbi-lawyer-gets-probation-falsifying-carter-page-surveillance-application-n1256179). In the case of Flynn, FBI chief Comey ordered his agents to “get him to lie,” so they could charge him with perjury. In the case of Manafort, he was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and witness tampering for which he was sentenced to 90 months in prison, which he served in part before being pardoned by President Trump in December 2020. None of the charges he faced suggested collusion with Russia. Page and Flynn have been completely exonerated, and none of the three have been found to have been involved in any Russian ‘collusion’. In other words, the FBI, JoD, and U.S. intelligence indicted three men on false charges, the dragnet of which succeeded in uncovering unrelated crimes committed by just one of them.
The plotting intensified as Trump’s inauguration approached. An infamous 5 January 2017 meeting in the White House endorsed the impeachment narrative, though Biden proposed deploying the Logan Act in some way. Present at that meeting were Obama, Biden, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, CIA Director Brennan, DNI Clapper, FBI Director Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. Biden asked whether the Logan Act could be thrown at Trump to prevent him from being inaugurated. During this period, the aforementioned Defense official directly participated in the so-called Five Eyes intelligence-sharing agreement involving NSA, its British counterpart GCHQ, and other allied nations and witnessed a significant spike in ‘end-around’ intelligence sharing between GCHQ and Obama’s NSA (https://andmagazine.com/talk/2020/10/11/exclusive-coup-plotters-considered-never-allowing-trump-to-be-inaugurated/). FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe at the time told the Justice Department inspector general’s office that he believed the Steele reporting needed to be included in an intelligence community assessment because “President Obama had requested ‘everything you have relevant to this topic of Russian influence’” (www.foxnews.com/politics/ica-steele-dossier-claims). The conspiracy was clearly being run by the president himself, at whose pleasure the state principals’ had begun America’s RFA.
On 10 January 2017, just five days after the White House coup summit, the Obama-Clinton Steel Dossier told Americans that (1) Trump had compromised himself in Moscow with prostitutes and Putin had relevant ‘kompromat’ or compromising materials, rendering Trump beholden to the Kremlin, (2) that his campaign colluded with Putin in the DNC hack, and (3) that Trump was a Putin agent and ‘Manchurian candidate’ (www.buzzfeednews.com/article/kenbensinger/these-reports-allege-trump-has-deep-ties-to-russia and www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html). A year later Isikoff was already backing away from the now entirely discredited Steele dossier (https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/18/steele-dossier-michael-isikoff/2347833002/).
After the inauguration, the Democratic majority in Congress, the FBI, DoJ, and intelligence organs staged a pair of show trials to cripple Trump’s presidency. The first – the commission to investigate ‘Russiagate’ headed by Comey’s and Henry’s former boss at the FBI Robert Mueller – was produced to justify and feed the hourly drumbeat of Trump collusion ‘news’ aired by the DP’s allied media in order to keep the plot on the ‘front pages’ for almost the duration of the Trump administration. Again, all of the above was undertaken in order to rig the 2016 election outcome and cripple a U.S. president from the ‘enemy’ party, even as the 2020 election approached. If successful in 2016, the first phase of Obama’s RFA would have left DP in power by illegal means on an objectively illegitimate basis, setting the stage for further DP efforts to rig the political system through the federal state apparatus and deepen the ‘imperial presidential’ policies of the Obama administration.
When the glitter on the Russiagate fabrications began to fade by dint of contrary revelations and attention fatigue, a new plot was hatched on the basis of which a second Washington show trial staged, all carried forth by many of the same state actors. The impeachment and Senate trial of Donald Trump were another attempt to tilt the electoral process – this time the 2020 election in order to preclude a second Trump term. The perpetrators were similar: federal executive officials (National Security Council), military and intelligence personnel, and DP congressional representatives. DP congressman from California Adam Schiff, who played a lead role in the Russiagate hoaxes, played the role of Iosif Stalin’s Great Terror inquisitor Andrei Vyshnskii, as impeachment hearings chairman. The trial’s chief witness, a Ukrainian nationalist U.S. colonel named Alexander Vindman (Windman) reported that Trump had bribed newly elected Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy so he would prompt his prosecurtors to investigate the business activity of DP presidential candidate Joseph Biden’s son Hunter and influence peddling by both Bidens. Despite being a known drug addict and having no knowledge of the natural gas industry or Ukraine, Hunter had been hired on the board of the natural gas company Burisma founded by criminal oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskii and headed by another suspect Ukrainian businessman Mykola Zlochevskii, both known in Kiev for massive corruption and crimes, for which the former had been barred from entry into the U.S. Moreover, documents showed that Hunter had laundered money through a bank in Latvia. In his call to Zelenskiy, Trump mentioned aide to Ukraine, which was eventually delivered, separate from his request for an investigation. But Windman concerned, as many other inside the state apparatus are, about Ukraine’s vulnerability to supposed Russian plans to seize Kiev, decided to inform similarly inclined intelligence and White House officials that Trump had issued a quid pro quo. Between future U.S. aide and the investigation.
Oddly, Windman and his like-minded bureaucrats issued no complaints when VP Biden in a major speech at the Council on Foreign Relations described his issuing during a trip to Kiev an ultimatum to then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to fire his Prosecutor General, who indeed was investigating Hunter, or Kiev would not be getting the $400 million in U.S. aide he had ‘brought with him’ to Ukraine. “Son of a gun,” Biden quipped, “the prosecutor was fired.” So here we have federal bureaucrats exercising a double standard. On the one hand, Windman and his associates, expressed alarm over a dubious quid pro quo supposedly uttered by the president from, and leader of the ‘enemy’ party but completely ignored Biden’s overt, widely advertised threat to do precisely the same thing as acknowledeged their vice-president himslef. The impeachment hearings and indictment noted that in making the alleged threat Trump had engaged in extortion in order to improve his re-election prospects. The impeachment hearing, indictment, and trial all occurred in the year before the 2020 election—that is, during the 2020 election campaign – and were used to deflect the media and public attention from the mountain of evidence that Hunter had broken the law and VP Biden had benefitted financially. Trump’s FBI would acknowledge that it was in possession of Hunters lost laptop, which it seized in 2019, and was investigating his business activities only after the campaign. As even CNN admitted: “After going quiet in the months before the election, federal authorities are now actively investigating the business dealings of Hunter Biden” (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/09/politics/hunter-biden-tax-investigtation/index.html). As with Hillary’s server and the ‘Russian hack’, the FBI and intelligence officials had covered for one party while turning on the other this time to help defeat a sitting president in a ‘free and fair’ American election.
On the background of this and other criminal activity – such as funding gain of function research for biological weapons development in communist China leading to the mishandling of materials and the COVID-19 pandemic – and intimations by Trump that the origins of ‘Russiagate’ and COVID-19 needed investigation, Obama, Clinton, and Biden had to prevent Trump’s re-election at all cost. The pandemic became the pretext to mount the greatest effort to rig an American election. DP state governors, secretaries of state, and election commission officials often in violation of constitutionally mandated procedure implemented sweeping election reforms that allowed massive voting by mail (a practice that even a report by former Democrat U.S. President Jimmy Carter was fraught with the risk of massive fraud), the foregoing of signature verification, the harvesting of ballots and other methods violating the states’ own laws on ballot security, and much else (see the appendix on DP election fraud in 2020 in https://gordonhahn.com/2020/12/29/the-authoritarianization-putinization-of-america-parts-1-and-2-complete/).
In many of the states and almost all the swing states, the pandemic emergency election changes were promulgated by executive branch orders not in laws or amendments to law passed by the states’ legislative assemblies as required by the U.S. and states’ constitutions and this was done late in the election campaign. In Wisconsin, the state’s supreme court struck down the 2020 electoral changes but only after the election. The court found illegal the discarding of voter identification (ID) requirement (https://sharylattkisson.com/2020/12/wisconsin-supreme-court-rules-coronavirus-is-not-reason-for-voters-to-be-exempt-from-proving-identity/). In Virginia, a circuit court ruled illegal the decision by the Virginia Board of Elections that allowed elections officials to count mail-in ballots lacking a postmark and arriving up to three days after the 2020 presidential election (www.lifezette.com/2021/01/judge-rules-elections-board-in-virginia-broke-the-law-with-rule-about-late-absentee-mail-in-ballots/). In Pennsylvania the pandemic emergency election changes were not passed by two votes by the Pennsylvania state assembly as required by the Pennsylvanian constitution. In an important challenge after the election, a local Pennsylvania judge ordered a halt to the confirmation of the state’s electoral college delegates because of this violation of constitutional procedure, but the politicized state supreme court stepped in without having been sent an appeal request and overturned the lower court’s decision. The changes are again under legal challenge in the Pennsylvania court and could lead to the repeal of the pandemic emergency voting rules if not the recall of the electors. The plaintiffs argue that Democrat Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf violated the constitution in declaring “emergency and police powers” in response to the pandemic and using those powers to enact election process changes. “Wolf’s unconstitutional actions were part of a designed, nationwide strategy to undermine the 2020 election,” the lawyers note, arguing that the DP governor favored urban Democrat districts over rural Republican ones (https://justthenews.com/accountability/watchdogs/conservative-watchdog-challenges-pa-gov-wolf-court-over-unconstitutional).
Such improper and illegal pandemic emergency laws allowed machinations to add to Biden and the DP’s take in the election and perhaps push them over the top in these key swing states. For example, DP-supporter Facebook’s Marc Zuckerberg spent $419 million to take advantage of the loopholes created by the states’ DP officials to manufacture and collect pro-DP ballots (https://nypost.com/2021/10/13/mark-zuckerberg-spent-419m-on-nonprofits-ahead-of-2020-election-and-got-out-the-dem-vote/?fbclid=IwAR20MNLzC3kHrWY85yPx40T1M_wGMevo3vKTZSRy6HFtm0-LttGZ05HmfAo). Zuckerberg’s money went to pro-DP NGOs which partnered secretly with state election commissions to get out the vote in pro-DP voting districts and help ‘challenged’ voters fill out and turn in their ballots. Just as Russian oligarchs during and immediately after the RFA privatized the state and effectively stole billions of dollars in formerly state property and financed Yeltsin’s RFA-consolidating 1996 election campaign in exchange for more property holdings at bargain prices, American oligarchs effectively bought and rigged an election by privatizing the states’ election management. Thus, one of the Green Bay, Wisconsin partners of the two pro-DP NGOs given grants by Zuckerberg, The National Vote at Home Institute (NVHI), was sold as “a ‘technical assistance partner’ that could ‘support outreach around absentee voting,’ provide and oversee voting machines, consult on methods to cure absentee ballots and even take the duty of curing absentee ballots off of Green Bay’s hands. A few weeks after the cities received their grant, CTCL e-mailed Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, to offer “an experienced elections staffer that could potentially embed with your staff in Milwaukee in a matter of days. The staffer leading Wisconsin’s portion of the National Vote at Home Institute was an out-of-state Democratic activist named Michael Spitzer-Rubenstein. As soon as he met with Woodall-Vogg, he asked for contacts at the Wisconsin Elections Commission and in the other cities. Spitzer-Rubenstein would eventually take over much of Green Bay’s election planning from the official charged with running the election, Green Bay city clerk Kris Teske” (https://nypost.com/2021/10/13/how-zuck-bucks-helped-flip-wisconsin-for-joe-biden-after-hillarys-2016-defeat/). The produced ballots were often deposited in boxes located highly disproportionately in pro-DP districts. The Zuckerberg boxes violated ‘chain of custody requirements mandated by state laws, including special seals, 24-hour camera surveillance, methids of conveyance to vote counting centers, where Republican election observers were often intimidated and routeinely kept to far from the ballot and signature verification process to carry out their legally mandated functions (see the post-election state assemblies’ hearings on the massive fraud in the the appendix in https://gordonhahn.com/2020/12/29/the-authoritarianization-putinization-of-america-parts-1-and-2-complete/). Moreover, the effort involved sending specially hired curators sent to homes for the elderly and mentally ill to ‘cure’ ballots, help sign and submit mail-in ballots, and recently the first whistleblower of sorts, a Wisconsin county sheriff has disclosed to the state legislature evidence of the kind of benefit this may have brought to the Biden campaing. In one nursing home, 8 of 42 ballots were filled out by elderly persons, whose relatives testified were mentally incapable of performing such an act (https://nypost.com/2021/10/13/how-zuck-bucks-helped-flip-wisconsin-for-joe-biden-after-hillarys-2016-defeat/ and https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/wisconsin-county-sheriff-reveals-findings-investigation-election-law).
The pro-DP fraud, facilitated by state officials who allowed Zuckerberg and others to use the changes improperly, clearly amounted to a possible stealing of the election and appears to have been a well thought out strategy to effectively rig the election turnout and thus the election itself. Thus, the findings of an official audit carried out in Arizona and completed in September showed that there were 55,000 illegal or improper ballots that should not have been counted in a state where Biden won by a mere 11,000 votes (www.publishedreporter.com/2021/09/30/arizona-election-audit-results-reveal-possible-shenanigans/). In just one county in Georgia, where auditing and investigations continue, nearly 7,000 mail-in ballots had no chain of custody record, meaning they probably were completed and inserted into the system illegally in order to commit fraud (https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/georgia-sec-state-raffensperger-missing-chain-custody-docs-6995-absentee).
Trump’s mistaken and indeed irresponsible decision to go beyond challenging the election processes and results in the courts and to hold a rally in the center of Washington, D.C. on the day the electoral college votes were being certified offered the DP state network another opportunity to conduct two additional show trials – a second impeachment of Trump already out of office and a “Select Committee” staffed by radical Democrats to investigate the events of January 6th – and intensify the RFA through policies designed to begin the formation of a single-party dominant regime. Illegality surrounded Biden’s two show trials. The first – the second impeachment hearing and trial – took the aconstitutional step of impeaching and trying in the U.S. Senate a president already already out of office. Obviously, the U.S. Senate has no authority to try a private citizen. The Select Committee to investigate the events of January 6th is also unconstitutional, as numerous Supreme Court decisions have ruled that Congress has no authority to investigate a crime, which comes under the purview of the executive and judicial branches alone. Moreover, 1/6 is being used to exact cruel and unusual punishment against hundreds of those arrested for their participation in the Capitol riot in violation of U.S. Law and the Bill of Rights (See Glenn Greenwold’s excellent research on this at https://greenwald.substack.com/p/civil-liberties-are-being-trampled).
Moreover, joint propaganda was issued by the DP, FBI, DoJ, Washington DC mayor’s office, Capitol police, and the Democrat congressional leadership, most nefariously Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Trump had schemed with radical groups to prevent the certification of the electoral college votes in an insurrection designed to allow him to stay in power. This scale of this lie and the risk it poses to the republican political process and culture is on a par with Hitler’s Reichstag fire and Stalin’s spy mania during the Great Terror. Contrary to whipping up hysteria, Trump called on marchers in his Jan. 6 speech to be “peaceful” (www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2021-01-13/transcript-of-trumps-speech-at-rally-before-us-capitol-riot). We now know that contrary to the DP and state apparat’s joint propaganda campaign surrounding the events of 1/6, there was no coordinated plot whatsoever for Trump or members of his administration even to have orchestrated. To the contrary, it is now apparent that the FBI was deeply involved and may have manufactured and coordinated the groups that stormed the Capitol. It is now clear that the storming of the Capitol began long before those attending Trump’s speech arrived to the Capitol and that the FBI was in direct contact with those who had entered the building. The FBI was so deeply involved with some of the small groups it encouraged and helped come to DC and enter the Capitol that one wonders why it did not undertake pre-emptive arrests to block the ‘insurrection plot’ (www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sund-riot-national-guard/2021/01/10/fc2ce7d4-5384-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html; https://archive.is/1PO6b; http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/12/us/capitol-mob-timeline.html; http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/02/07/mark_meadows_president_trump_offered_security_assistance_multiple_times.html#!; http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/01/embedding-with-pentagon-leadership-in-trumps-chaotic-last-week; http://www.washingtonpost.com/gdpr-consent/?next_url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.washingtonpost.com%2fpolitics%2fsund-riot-national-guard%2f2021%2f01%2f10%2ffc2ce7d4-5384-11eb-a817-e5e7f8a406d6_story.html; http://www.revolver.news/2021/06/federal-foreknowledge-jan-6-unindicted-co-conspirators-raise-disturbing-questions/; www.nytimes.com/2021/09/25/us/politics/capitol-riot-fbi-informant.html; and https://archive.fo/g1iX9#selection-621.0-621.312). It increasingly begins to look like that the FBI, DP leadership, and Washington DC government set the ‘insurrection’ in motion and allowed the Capitol to be breached precisely in order to claim a Trump conspiracy and accrue massive political capital based on anger and fear in order to implement institutional changes for the RFA.
America’s RFA Manifest
With Biden’s inauguration a new phase in America’s RFA began. No longer was the DP and its state bureaucratic network willing to submit to the constitution, the rule of law, the ‘whims’ of the American citizen, especially the white ‘supremacist’ heterosexual male, or uncertainty in elections and governance. Thus, the Biden administration has moved to shape the population and political system to ensure its permanent hold on the U.S. presidency, Congress, and Supreme Court. Biden’s first order of business upon entering the Oval Office was to submit HR 1 to the Congress for approval. The “For the People Act of 2019,” or H.R. 1 would have federalized all elections. Specifically it stipulated:
—that all states implement universal, automatic voter registration based on information generated from state databases, such as the notoriously out-of-date voter rolls and other sources bound to contain the names of large numbers of ineligible voters, including illegal aliens.
—that all states allow felons to vote.
—that all states extend periods of early voting.
—that all states allow same-day voter registration, ending states the ability to check information submitted by those registering.
—limiting the ability of states to cooperate and prevent registeration of individuals in multiple states.
—forbidding election observers from working with election officials to challenge suspicious voter registrations.
—disallowing states from adopting their own mail-in voting laws.
—no-fault absentee ballot requirements; the tool easiest and most frequently used by those attempting to steal elections and cast illegal votes.
—requiring that voters without an ID be allowed to vote if they sign a statement attesting they are who they say they are.
In other words, HR 1 would have legalized all of the illegal and improper 2020 election rules: no ID requirement, no signature verification, universal mail-in voting. The Democrats failed to get this bill through the House, forestalling the RFA and establishment of one pillar of the DP’s envisioned single-party dominant regime (https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/1). With this defeat, the DP moved to the local level to achieve one of the main golas of HR 1: to allow non-citizens, including illegal aliens to vote in America’s elections (https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/elections/democrats-press-forward-non-citizen-voting-vermont-emerges-newest). The DP’s attempts to legalize 15-20 million illegal aliens through amnesty and make minority-dominated Washington DC and Puerto Rico states are of the same stock as HR 1. They are designed to bring into the polls large populations who will tend to vote for the DP’s candidates.
Another way the DP is a moving to dominate a new authoritarian order is their attempt to pack the Supreme Court by adding during the Biden administration additional justices to the court’s traditional nine justices since 1869. Such a move would guarantee the adoption of almost all of the DP’s policy preferences and the Party’s ability to block any moves challenging the constitutionality of the legislation, election practices, and law enforcement practices. Biden set up a commission to study the issue, and it has decided that packing the court would not violate the constitution. So far the body’s only qualms about allowing one administration to shift the high court’s majority in the favor of his own party for decades to come is that it might undermine the court’s authority and legitimacy (www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/bidens-own-supreme-court-commission-undercuts-court-packing-ambitions).
If the DP and its bureaucratic network (deep state?) eventually can get the above measures passed, it will mark to onset of single-party rule and soft authoritarianism in the U.S. With this change of system, the U.S. will be transformed from what is now an increasingly weak republican multiparty system to a de facto (potentially de jure in future) single-party system soft authoritarian system. Although there is a still a long way to go before this is accomplished, the first steps have been taken.
Culture and Ideology in RFAs
One of the weakness of Russia’s RFA and its goal of establishing a constitutional republican market system was the lack of knowledge of, and commitment to the principles, norms, and values requisite for such a system. The overwhelming majority of Yeltsin’s supporters and fellow officials making the RFA were long-time Party-state apparatchiks steeped in Marxism-Leninism not market economics of Jeffersonian, Madisonian, and Masonian cnsttutional republicamism. Moreover, almost all of the old Party-state system’s institutions were incorporated into the ‘new’ Russian state apparatus. These apparatchiks and the institutions they still dominated were used to looking to the Party for guidance and a strong state, unaccustomed to compromising, adopting, and implementing policy through a pluralistic legislative process, and increasingly corrupt due to the breakdown of discipline during the perestroika era. This was one of the key breaking mechanisms confounding republican consolidation in post-Soviet Russia and elsewhere in the post-communist world.
This may not be a problem for America’s RFA. First, the ongoing regime transformation is coming out of a pluralist system with freedom of thought, speech, expression, media and so on. Thus, Americam elites have had access to all brand of ideologies and ideas. Indeed, over the last half century principles, norms, values, ideas, and even ideologies very antithetical to capitialist republicanism have come to dominate many American social institutions, setting the stage for the RFA at the grassroots and elite levels. Such authoritarianized and radicalized institutions of the new cultural Marxist or communo-fascist bent include: most media, entertainment, and educational institutions. These have produced a nascent official ideological alternative to the traditional capitalist republican one. The DP state’s new cultural Marxist or communo-fascist ideology consists of post-truth nihilism, gender and transgender identitarianism, reverse (anti-white) racism or ‘critical race theory’, socialism (stakeholder capitalism’), and globalism. Its allied teacher unions and the National Association of Schol Boards along with local DP politicians have been working for years and are continuing work hard to install these ‘isms’ into school curricula after there long insidious degradation of university education in America, where censorship and the ‘cancel culture’ now rule the roost. The ubiquity of this authoritarian ideology among young people, the intelligentsia, and ethnic and gender minorities suggests that the ideological commitment and unity of the new movement is sufficient enough to support the new and reformed institutions being envisioned. This can be seen in the mechanistic legalism and legal nihilism in the legal professions and ends over legal means among key actors such as George Soros, the DP, BLM, Antifa, and their allied media. Court decision routinely flaunt the law and the U.S. constituton, reflecting a radicalization of the the courts, lawyers, and law schools and the dissolution of the traditional American legal culture based on the rule of law.
Institutional Redesign as Political Weapon
The reform, destruction and/or creation of new institutions for waging the revolutionary political battle evident in the Soviet/Russian RFA and discussed above are present in the developing U.S. RFA. The attempt to alter the conduct of elections and transfer jurisdiction over it from the states’ legislative organs to the federal government and the move to pack the Supreme Court are examples. Another is the recent move to expand the Capitol Police’s (CP) purview and functions by opening field offices outside DC, with the first to be set up in California and Florida, lending it intelligence-gathering functions, and partnering with local prosecutors. In addition, the House passed a new CP budget of $1.9 billion, meaning each congressperson’s security is backed by $3.5 million (https://news.yahoo.com/capitol-police-expansion-california-florida-014000738.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall and www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/us/politics/capitol-police.html). It is important to note that this comes in the wake of more than two years of often DP-supported calls to ‘defund the police’, local forces of which tend to be more politically aligned with the RP than with the DP. Together with the Biden administration’s and FBI’s recent claims that the main terrorist threat facing the nation comes from white supremacist groups, everything suggests whom this new secret police organ will be targeting. This development’s authoritarianizing implications are even more obvious when one considers the number of U.S. intelligence and police organs and the special status of secrecy that the CP enjoys. Being an organ of Congress, it is the only police-intel body not open to the scrutiny of FISA disclosures (www.rollcall.com/2020/06/15/capitol-police-a-department-shrouded-in-secrecy/).
Limited Popular Mobilization in the RFA
Finally, there is the issue of limited popular mobilization in our two RFAs. The Russian case briefly discussed earlier, we can turn to the American. If by mobilization we are speaking of street protests, marches and demonstrations, which occurred and were supported by the revolutionaries above in the Russian case, the point is that for an RFA to be an RFA and not a revolution from below (RFB), the overthrow of the regime must occur by documents – decrees, laws, orders, resolutions – issued by the state organs taken over by the revolutionaries above, as occurred in the Soviet/Russian case. If it occurs through mass disorder and/or violence, the stroming and seizure of government buildings, and capture of the ancien regime’s officials, then we have a case of RFB not RFA. There might very well be popular demonstrations and revolutionaries from above might well mobilize them, but revolutionaries from above will tend to ‘call off the dogs’ and maintain control over the destruction of the old order for themselves. Therefore, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa violent and destructive riots of summer 2020 can be seen as actions supported by the DP and state apparat revolutionaries from above because they could then be framed as critical of Trump and the RP and their ‘institutional racism’ and white supremacists. The mantra of ‘Trump is a fascist’ and so on served the DP state’s election needs for November. Since Biden has taken office, BLM and Antifa have gone almost completely silent. This is precisely because the center of action is inside state bodies now. With the executive branch again under DP control and DP majorities in the House and Senate, the revolution does not need to be ‘televised.’ It can be accomplished in the increasingly dark corridors of the White House and Capitol, hidden away from the American public by the ubiquity of pro-DP media.
The United States is in the midst of a burgeoning RFA. The outcome of the republican system’s destruction is far from decided, as the defeat of HR 1 testifies. As I noted in Russia’s Revolution from Above, regime transformations are highly contingent. However, revolutionary outcomes become more likely than imposed or pacted transitions one a revolutionary situation has been established. A revolutionary situation is defined as the establishment of a credible alternative claim to sovereignty and rule over a particular population and territory. The claim is made credible by the alternative ruling or opposition group possessing comparable human, financial, informational, intellectual, even perhaos military resources compared to those in the possession of the ruling group or groups representing and hoping to preserve the old regime. With the DP’s seizure of power in Washington and its willingness to run roughshod over the constitutuion and those hope to preserve it, one can conclude that a revolutionary situation has been established from above in the United States. But as I also wrote, revolutionary situations are also contingent and can evolve into RFB’s or one or another form of transition. Given the strength and commitment of those who hope to preserve the American constitutional republic, there will be no negotiations with the RFA. The options appear to be either RFB, civil war, or restoration of the old order in some reformed model – to include, for example, term limits, strict divide between government and business, and new guarantees of freedom of speech, thought, media in the new disinformation age – so that such takeovers as the one achieved by the DP and its state network in 2016-2021 can not occur again.
Although the Soviet/Russian RFA and the nascent American RFA each had a different trajectory, they may bring the two countries to very similar places. The former moved Russia from a decaying and reforming one-party totalitarian system to a weak, indeed very fragile constitutional republic and finally through a ‘thermidor’ bringing Putin’s soft, now more mid-range authoritarian single-party dominant system. The American RFA if it succeeds in destroying constitutional republicanism and market capitalism will bring the U.S. to a soft (at least initially) single-party dominant authoritarian regime. Something strange happened on the way to Andrei Sakharov’s ‘convergence.’
*The above is a general overview. A complete analysis is forthcoming.
About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, http://www.canalyt.com and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group, www.cetisresearch.org. Dr. Hahn is the author of The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (McFarland, forthcoming in 2021), Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the “New Cold War” (McFarland, 2018), The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.
Dr. Hahn also has taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and has been a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, and the Hoover Institution.