In May I wrote about the ongoing revolutionary warfare being conducted in the US by elected and appointed Republican officials at all levels of government in America in general, and how Senator McConnell’s blocking a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the insurrectionist attack on the Capitol on 6 January as a specific example of it.
Last night, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House Minority Leader, decided it was time for him to up his game.
Here’s audio of @GOPLeader’s comment on @SpeakerPelosi: https://t.co/tSmcteVcdk pic.twitter.com/yLC4lzGEVV
— Vivian Jones (@Vivian_E_Jones) August 1, 2021
Before go forward, here’s what I wrote in terms of defining revolutionary warfare back in May:
In Fall’s The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency he delineates two equations that explain his theory of what he calls Revolutionary Warfare. The first is for Revolutionary Warfare the second for countering it. From page 2 of his essay, which was adapted from a lecture (emphasis mine):
Let me state this definition: RW=GW+P, or revolutionary warfare equals guerrilla warfare plus political action. This formula for revolutionary warfare is the result of the application of guerrilla methods to the furtherance of an ideology or a political system. This is the real difference between partisan warfare, guerrilla warfare, and everything else. Guerrilla simply means ‘small war’ to which the correct Army answer is (and that applies to all Western armies) that everybody knows how to fight small wars; no second lieutenant of the infantry ever learns anything else but how to fight small wars. Political action, however, is the difference. The Communists, or shall we say, any sound revolutionary warfare operator (the French underground, the Norwegian underground, or any other European anti-NAZI underground) most of the time used small-war tactics, not to destroy the German Army, of which they were thoroughly incapable, but to establish a competitive system of control over the population. Of course, in order to do this, here and there they had to kill some of the occupying forces and attack some military targets. But above all they had to kill their own people who collaborated with the enemy.
But the ‘kill’ aspect, the military aspect, definitely always remained the minor aspect. The political, administrative, ideological aspect is the primary aspect. Everybody, of course, by definition, will seek a military solution to the insurgency problem, whereas, by its very nature, the insurgency problem is military only in a secondary sense, and politically, ideologically, and administratively in a primary sense. Once we understand this, we will understand more of what is actually going on in Viet-nam or in some other places affected by RW.
What McCarthy’s “joke” demonstrates is that the revolutionary warfare being waged by Republicans and conservatives against the United States and their fellow citizens is that the small war that Fall writes about – the violent guerrilla portion of revolutionary war – has merged with the political action that he also writes about. Just as we’ve seen the lines blur between kinetic and non-kinetic, or lethal and non to less than lethal actions in the low intensity wars that the US and its coalition allies have been fighting over the past twenty years in Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, so to are we seeing the same dynamic here. Just as al Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, al Shabab, and other similar groups have learned to be just as effective using information and psychological warfare, as well as economic and cyber warfare, so to have the Republicans and conservatives waging their revolutionary war against the US and their fellow Americans. This is, in itself, not a new innovation. Guerilla warfare, or small wars/warfare, have always included using information and psychological and economic warfare. What has changed is our technology. Now the cyber domain is both a domain of warfare and a weapon system unto itself at the same time.
McCarthy’s remarks are a great example of how the political action that he, the members of his caucus in the House, the members of the Senate Republican caucus, Republican elected and appointed officials at the state and municipal levels of government, and both conservative movement leaders and conservative media personalities – news, social, and/or digital – have made a significant portion of their political action are also guerrilla warfare. In some cases, like McCarthy’s remarks last night, this is to reference violence against their opponents as something that is casual and no big deal, which simply sets the conditions for stochastic terrorism and revolutionary violence in the future. In other cases, like Trump’s debate call for the Proud Boys to stand back and stand by, which the Proud Boys interpreted as being an order by Trump for them to prepare for imminent political violent action, the calls are anything but casual.
On Friday it was reported that Congressman Cawthorn, got himself crosswise with another member of the House Republican caucus, then made threats against him because Cawthorn was “in the mood for a fight.” This was just a couple of days after Cawthorne threatened Adam Kinzinger, not just with a primary opponent, but with action so terrifying that Kinzinger would have to abandon his reelection campaign and flee his district with his family. Between these two incidents it was reported that Cawthorne forgot where his GLOCK was and had to leave it with the TSA back in Asheville because he had it in his carry on bag. Cawthorn is a great example of the fusion of the non-kinetic forms of guerrilla or small warfare and political action in the revolutionary warfare that is being waged by Republicans and conservatives against the US and their fellow citizens. And in Cawthorn’s case, against his fellow Republican members of Congress.
This elision, this blending of the two parts of revolutionary warfare into a more unitary activity, into political violent action, is a problematic development given that far too few elected or appointed Democratic officials and members of the center, center left, left, and left of center movements and demographics that form the Democratic Party’s base even recognize that this revolutionary war is here and that it has been here for a very, very long time.
Fall also explains how to counter revolutionary war. Specifically:
And this leads to the second of Fall’s equations, which he does not make explicit, but does describe on pages 15 and 16 of the essay. Counter-Revolutionary War=Counter-Guerilla Warfare+Counter-Political Action+Civic Action (CRW=CGW+CP+CA). Fall defines Civic Action as:
Civic action is not the construction of privies or the distribution of antimalaria sprays. One can’t fight an ideology; one can’t fight a militant doctrine with better privies. Yet this is done constantly. One side says “Land reform,” and the other side says “better culverts.” One side says “we’re going to kill all those nasty village chiefs and landlords.” The other side says “Yes, but we want to give you prize pigs to improve your strain.” These arguments do not match. Simple but adequate appeals will have to be found sooner or later.
Unfortunately, as I also wrote back in May, there are simply things that political action taken by Democrats, Democratic leaning Independents, and apostate Republicans and conservatives who are now in opposition to the Republican Party and the conservative movement can not counter or even reverse. Foremost among them is an extreme gerrymander. As Berman explains in his reporting, unless something is done very soon to make gerrymandering illegal, the Republicans are going to retake the House of Representatives in 2022 just based on gerrymandering in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas in the redistricting that will begin this autumn. In fact they may be able to do it just based on redistricting in Florida alone! So for those joking that McCarthy will never be Speaker of the House, while that may be true because his caucus is almost so far gone that even if they don’t do something completely crazy, like install Trump as Speaker if they retake the majority, he may once again get passed over for someone more performativfly extreme than he is.
Another thing you can’t overcome by political action is the Republican majority in the Georgia state legislature taking control over the administration of elections in Fulton County ahead of the 2022 elections. They are not doing this just to get ahead of things for 2024, they are also doing this now because Senator Warnock has to stand for reelection in 2022 as he’s finishing out the term of Republican Senator Isakson who resigned because of health concerns. Senator Warnock will need to hold his Fulton County, GA base to stand a chance of reelection. The state’s Republican legislature taking control of Fulton County election administration, combined with their other efforts to suppress Black and other minority votes in Georgia, will go a long way to making Senator Warnock’s reelection that much harder. Which, in turn, makes it that much harder for the Democrats to maintain their slim majority in the Senate, let alone expand it.
As I wrote back in May:
I cannot express just how dangerous a place we are in right now. No matter how much work Stacey Abrams does, no matter how many other places Democrats or liberals and/or progressives seek to emulate her work, as David Schor correctly states: “the idea that you can organize your way out of a 3% bias in the median seat is pretty wild.” Translated into non election jargon, if the gerrymanders that are going to be put in place during the next round of redistricting are audaciously large enough, combined with the inherent disparities that already exist in how the Senate is comprised and, as a result, how the Electoral College functions are large enough, no amount of political work at election time to turn out the vote is going to be enough to overcome artificially created electoral roadblocks of that size! And no amount of Marc Elias’s yeoman’s legal work will be enough to prevent it!
So what is to be done? Democrats, especially elected officials at the state and Federal levels, need to actually clearly recognize what is going on and actually call it out and describe it in plain terms. It needs to be hammered until the media is unable to both sides the coverage of it even as Republican elected officials and conservative movement leaders and commenters squeal like stuck pigs. And those same Democratic elected officials, where they have any leverage and power have to use it and fast to either stop what is happening or prevent it from happening. They have to engage in counter-political warfare and civic action! Because the bottom line of this lesson is if they do not use the power they have right now, if they do not develop an effective counter-political warfare and civic action strategy and execute it, it will not matter if the policies they are proposing are better for Americans because the Republicans opposing them DO NOT CARE ABOUT POLICY! They care about obtaining power and doing so in order to never have to relinquish it again!
If action is not taking by this Autumn, especially at the Federal level, it will be too late. Once Congress goes into its Autumn recess, which is when the 2022 midterm campaigns will begin in earnest, Congress’s work for this term will effectively be over. It is all well and good that Senate Majority Leader Schumer has scheduled Senate Bill 1, the Senate equivalent to House Resolution 1: The For the People Act, for a vote during the June work period. That is a great start. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader does not have the votes to even bring the bill to the floor for debate as long as the silent filibuster remains in place.
We find ourselves in the midst of a revolutionary war. Our leaders need to recognize that fact and begin to act like it. This is not business as usual. The next seventeen months, but especially the next six months, will determine if we remain a small “l” small “d” liberal democratic self governing republic or if we become a managed, illiberal democracy. It can not only happen here, it is happening as I type this!
These challenges cannot be defeated with better policies. They cannot even really be met with political actions that meet the need of Americans. They can only be defeated by effective counter-political action combined with effective civil action. As Fall teaches us: Simple but adequate appeals will have to be found sooner or later.
‘Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them’, for real.
Adam L Silverman
I’m going to walk the dogs. Back in about 45 minutes or so. You’ll have to occupy yourselves while I’m gone.
Cawthorn sounds like a real horror show.
That Kevin, funny as a heart attack.
There was a video that was really popular a few years back, of Pelosi giving the giant gavel to then-Speaker Boehner, who then whacks her with it. I wonder if that’s what McCarthy was referencing.
First thing I thought to myself was that Manchin sees the writing on the wall and is prepping to be a good little quisling.
Even though I’d rather not think so, Federal voting rights legislation has to be a top priority. Without it, nothing else will get done.
I bet Cawthorn isnt even disabled
We can shut down trade from red states…we can March on every state Capitol and we can let Covid do its worst
West of the Rockies
I’ve seen a lot of spinals, dude…
P.s. at some point, if violence is what they want, we have to be prepared to use our technologies against them…
@Parfigliano: C’mon dude. Be better than that.
I agree that voting rights legislation needs to pass. My big concern is that, unless it also includes a clause exempting it from judicial review, it will get cut down in court immediately after it gets passed. Without that exemption*, it will be doomed.
*This won’t stop the conservatives on the Court from trying to cut it down, but if they do that their legitimacy will be completely destroyed. Alito and Thomas won’t care.
One thing that is pretty obvious is that the one thing we can all agree on is that…
Kevin McCarthy is a moron.
A good article about him, from 2020:
Nothing he says entirely checks out. He’s the future of the Republican Party. Like a reality tv show. He’s crafted. An invention.
OMG, I saw a note he wrote to some winger in his caucus that he’s bickering with. It could have been written by a fourth grader.
That’s why I think the Trump decline isn’t over with Trump gone. These are just really bad hires. Really bottom of the barrel people. The GOP will be markedly worse over the next five years, barring some kind of dramatic intervention and turn around. This is the seed corn.
@Kay: Cawthorn seems like the type to have a spectacular career implosion involving handcuffs, tears, and lots of cameras going off.
@Keith P.: He strikes me as the two-wetsuits-and-a-dildo type.
Well this is all very alarming, and I don’t disagree that urgent and continuing action is necessary, but I don’t think (1) Republican politicians casually advocating violence against Democrats is particularly new, (2) a strategy that involves “the media” being “unable to bothsides” has much chance of success, or (3) that the kind of organizing that “Stacey Abrams does” is doomed to failure. Re (1) just look at rhetoric during the Nixon years, not to mention rhetoric by Trump or his followers for the last five years or so. Re (2) business, career, and social incentives for media owners, managers, and personalities are simply too strong; it’s only in the last month or two that they’ve taken to openly calling claims by Trump and his supporters that he won the election “lies,” and the election was nine months ago. And re (3) the work that counts is not just “get out the vote” but also organizing between elections, building organizations, organizing on issues, creating structures that not only turn out voters but also produce volunteers, funds, candidates, and media presences. And I would add that those need to be applied at state and local levels — as Republicans have done for decades — as well as in national-level races, precisely so that Republican advantages in state-level processes such as redistricting and election administration can be countered or eliminated.
I’m personally a little pessimistic about the next few cycles — the media won’t call out Republican tactics, Dem advantages at the Federal level are too thin and depend on a few very weak people, and I fear raw Republican tribalism will make up for the serious and widening cracks in their coalition — but there’s still a lot of runway. Nevertheless, I think Dems need to plan for the long haul and for some time in the opposition. But things were pretty bleak in GA after the then-S of S arranged to get himself elected governor, and look what happened just a few years later.
@Ksmiami: @Ksmiami: You are really just a couple of steps from “Exterminate all the brutes.”
Yes, thank you for that. It’s tough enough reading Adam’s alarming post without having to read those kinds of comments too.
I’m off to read a book (Levenson’s Hunt for Vulcan) for the rest of the evening.
Adam L Silverman
@suffragette city: He announced on one of the news shows yesterday that he is opposed to changing the 60 vote threshold in order to move voting rights and electoral reform legislation. Until or unless he moves on that, they’re not going to happen.
Adam L Silverman
@Kay: That note to representative from WV is what I was referring to in the paragraph about him in the post above.
Quevin MacQuarthty: shitbird not related to Kevin Nunes in the CA central valley.
Instead, our fearless leaders spent the time between May and now trying to negotiate an infrastructure bill with the ringleaders of the revolutionary warfare.
Maybe five years ago. Now there is nothing, nothing that will end a career in the GOP outside of being beaten in an election by a Democrat. He cannot violate the standards in that Party. They have none.
The accusations against him while he was at the Christian college were and are credible. Didn’t even cause a ripple. I mean, what could he do to get kicked out? Has to be worse than Gaetz, right?
@Omnes Omnibus: nope but you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think that’s their plan…
Stop that. However much you disapprove of Madison Cawthorne, it’s not a thing to make insinuations about.
@Adam L Silverman: he’s an idiot and dooming the Democratic Party to oblivion but “bipartisanship” is so crucial…
Side note: how much am I enjoying the utter hatred the Gosar siblings have for their brother Paul? Damn.
@Adam L Silverman:
I just cringed. He’s never had a job, Madison. This is his first job.
@Kay: their Representatives are lower than pond scum and far less useful. It’s like Twitter trolls that come to life… And the worst part is they offer no real solutions or ideas-just fear
@suffragette city: @Adam L Silverman: He’s been pretty consistent on voting rights. There has been a strong campaign against S.1 in WV, it’s a very red state, and it’s lily-white — now third whitest in the country. He’s a weak reed — one of the ones I was talking about — and he’s no more dependable as a vote against S.1 than as a vote for it, but I’d put long odds against him doing the right thing.
Adam L Silverman
@Kay: Also, we now know what home schooling gets you in terms of your ability to compose a coherent letter. Not much.
@Adam L Silverman:
I love the weird attempt at formality. Again- 4th grader. When they’re trying to impress :)
@Amir Khalid: I think parfigliano might be referring to the plot of a well-known movie: _Bob Roberts_.
Gold Cup Final – USA just scored!
GGGGGOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL USA 1 Mexico Fuck All
USA! USA! USA! GOLD CUP CHAMPS!
@Suzanne: Balloon Juice After Dark has started!
Also, who’s wearing the second wetsuit in this perp walk? And you have a very unique idea of what constitutes a prep walk. ?
@HumboldtBlue: ESPN is reporting 0 for Mexico. How much is fuck all – negative?
Adam L Silverman
@Ksmiami: Take it down a notch.
@mrmoshpotato: You obviously are not aware of all internet traditions.
Mai Naem mobile
Madison Cawthorn reminds me of the Bob Roberts character in the Tim Robbins movie in that 80s-90s faux Christian right wing conservative grifter way. And, yes, definitely somebody who may end up in handcuffs after a hidden video taped sting. I saw a blurb on him spending eleven thousand campaign bucks for a recent Waldorf Astoria stay. I wonder what his constituents would think of that.
We don’t need Radio Rwanda shit coming from our side.
When you have zero what do you really have?
@mrmoshpotato: That’s part of the Lexicon, my friend.
A very useful part of the Lexicon, too. It’s so relevant, so often.
The last Republican President backed by a Republican House and a Republican Senate blocked disaster relief from states and territories that didn’t vote for him and basically shut down Covid response once it seemed clear that it was hurting Blue states, urban areas and minorities harder than white people in rural Red states. He put refugees in internment camps and floated the idea of dealing with “the homeless problem” the same way. And long term, the entirety of the Republican response to the climate crisis is to make things even worse just to spite us. Fox News at this point is just short of Radio Rwanda territory.
At some point, we’re gonna have to acknowledge the fact that a sizeable portion of the GOP wants to flat-out kill us all, and an even larger chunk will go along with it if their taxes stay low. I don’t know how to deal with that. But when I move to NYC, my passport is going with me just in case.
@Mai Naem mobile: They don’t care. He pisses off the Libtards. That’s all that matters.
@mrmoshpotato: From the Lexicon, under T:
@Citizen Alan: Oh, don’t worry, most of them don’t want to actually kill us. They want the minorities to work for them for trash wages and the women to pop out their children and iron their shirts. Like Jeebus intended.
James E Powell
Lighten up, Francis.
West of the Rockies
I thought it was Big Lebowski reference.
@Suzanne: Well, now that you put it like that, how could we object, right? It all sounds so reasonable!
It’s how we keep our balance
@West of the Rockies: Nah. Bob Roberts. Remember the last five seconds, as he’s sitting there in the wheelchair? [A little late, one would think, to worry about spoilers ….] His foot’s tapping with the music?
James E Powell
He is also a thoroughly detestable person. Even the other Republican congress-creatures know he’s an asshole. There have to be three or four of them who spend all their free time planning for the day they stick the knife in his back.
They smilin’ in your face
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers
@Omnes Omnibus: I wasn’t aware of that Internet tradition.
You can do an awful lot of killing with a committed group of fanatics while the good Germans carefully fail to look beyond the ends of their own noses.
@Suzanne: But the minions that they inspire DO want to kill us. The most chilling bit of video from 1/6 was that mob searching for Pelosi. The guy chanting in that mocking sing-song, “Naaaaaancy! Oh, Naaaancy! We’re comin’ for ya, Nancy”, for all the world like the villain of every horror or woman-in-jep suspense movie ever made. If they’d actually found Pelosi, what do you imagine they would have done with her? Given her a stern lecture?
@JoyceH: Let’s remember that the Republican mob did beat and kill people. Let’s also remember that the terrorist attack on the Capitol was preceded by similar attacks on state capitols by similarly motivated groups. These people aren’t going to go home and repent of their crimes. They’re going to do their best to go further next time. And there will be a next time.
Yeesh. The way things are going it’s difficult to say whether McCarthy is aping full fascist and threatening violence anytime things aren’t going his way, or reverting back to his toddler days. I guess we’ll have to watch. If he keeps upping the threats to the point Pelosi can get a restraining order, it’s the former. If McCarthy next holds his breath and pees on the carpet, and stomps into his office pouting and screaming, then it’s the latter.
Or, as some commenters like to say, why not both? Both are the GOP way these days.
@jl: And you can see an awful lot of Republican wannabes working themselves up to a killing spree on the pretext of saving their country. To my mind, they are following the path that a lot of Southerners took towards the civil war – claims of righteousness, moderation, resistance to tyranny yadda yadda yadda – all in the service of a vicious and worthless tyranny driven by racism and a belief that the rich must always rule.
OT. Feeling a little on the nervous side. Just placed a reservation order for a new vehicle.
Let’s also note that Mattie and Margie are doing their little performance of calling up the jail to be sure the poor delicate insurrectionists are being coddled carefully enough. Which is just another stir up the base message. Judging from at least one local’s spittle-flecked lawn and porch signs, there are wing nuts who are being kept at a close boil at all times.
I don’t like it. This is several steps anything I’ve seen in my life. These people are happily embracing being part of a feral mob.
@NotMax: I hope you got the double-barreled laser cannon turret!
@Adam L Silverman: If action is not taking by this Autumn, especially at the Federal level, it will be too late. Once Congress goes into its Autumn recess, which is when the 2022 midterm campaigns will begin in earnest, Congress’s work for this term will effectively be over.
^^^ So it’s all over then. It was a good run while it lasted.
@jl: Yeesh. The way things are going it’s difficult to say whether McCarthy is aping full fascist and threatening violence anytime things aren’t going his way, or reverting back to his toddler days
^^^ does it really functionally matter for outcomes whether he is aping it or is a toddler? The end result is the same. Peolple do this a lot with pols (bad other people in their lives). “Oh so and so doesn’t mean it” “he’s just doing it for ratings” etc.
You see a lot of political elites and journalists in the village do it a lot. Look at how they have rehabilitated Boehner. Oh he just did what he did to be speaker. See his book shows how much he hated those idiots.
it’s a bizarre reflex.
@Edmund Dantes: and the frog never notices when the pot starts to boil… Don’t be a frog.
Mike in Pasadena
Trump on HRC, August 9, 2016 :
“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said to the crowd of supporters gathered in the Trask Coliseum at North Carolina University in Wilmington. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”
James E Powell
Not all of them, not even many of them. But FOX & the Republicans are working pretty hard to produce the next McVeigh. And when it happens, they will blame us.
@James E Powell: I think that the combination of Fox, the militias and the Proud Boys is a very dangerous one – especially when they are all obviously itching to start the violence which is their core attraction.
@Morzer: None of this is new. It’s just a twenty-first century version of the Jim Crow South. The magical 1950s in the South was a very scary place even for white people who didn’t buy into the segregationist world view.
We will all just have to dig in and resist and move forward. It’s a slow incremental process. Civil rights heroes did it before. We can do it again. The difference is that this time we know it is possible. Civil rights people just
hopedhoped and believed it was possible.
I would pay big money to see him take a poke at Nancy, and Nancy knock him flat on his ass. I would have to save that film.
@debbie: as a fighter, though, he’s more jeffrey lebowski* than walter sobczak
@Parfigliano: “walter, stop. he’s a cr*pple, man…”
@Suzanne: going in style.
@James E Powell: the next mc veigh — or at least next eric robert rudolph — was supposed to be cesar sayoc, jr.
still shocked the g-unit got to him as soon as they did. & really surprised christopher wray didn’t experience a sudden onset upper story window failure soon after.
I’m pretty much just a lurker here, but, with Cheryl Rofer’s departure today, I’d just like to affirm how much I appreciate Adam’s thoughtful contributions and invariable courtesy to commenters.