In response to the attempted coup by Trump, Fighting Words is reprinting the call issued by Moratorium Now Coalition – Detroit; Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement; and Peoples Alliance – Bay Area on November 17, 2020.
By Moratorium Now! Coalition
At some point, Trump may declare the 2020 election to be “null and void”. He would then order you, U.S. servicemembers, into cities and towns across the country, to suppress the millions of people who pour into the streets to protest his illegal coup d’état. Are you ready to shoot down civilians, just to keep Trump illegally in power despite the election outcome?
Union locals and labor councils across the country are already preparing for a national general strike if Trump refuses to recognize the people’s decision and overturns the election. Are you ready to bayonet workers standing up for our democratic rights?
Some 42 percent of U.S. soldiers are people of color. Are you willing to kill for this racist bigot as he tries to hold his grip of power and unleashes bloody revenge on any who oppose him?
The first thing that Donald Trump did after the 2020 election results showed that he lost by five million votes and the more than necessary 270 electoral votes was to fire his Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Esper had opposed Trump using the 1807 Insurrection Act to place thousands of federal troops in U.S. cities as a show of force, to suppress the Black Lives Matter protests of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others.
National Guard and U.S. military helicopters and chemical sprays were used on June 1st against peaceful protestors in Washington D.C. for a photo op showing Trump holding a bible in front of a church. This was clearly a dress rehearsal for Trump using the military to stay in power. Both Esper and Pentagon Chief General Milley condemned this as interference in U.S. politics. Of course, this enraged Trump.
So now Esper is out. Trump replaced a whole slew of top Defense Department civilian officials with his own cronies, ready to order your commanders to disregard the people’s vote and impose martial law, clearly a violation of the Constitution.
You do have a choice. We know that you have been told over and over again that you must follow orders. Trump may be for now the Commander-in-Chief, but you swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not Donald Trump. Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice dictates that you must follow only lawful orders.
You know that if Trump seizes power by using the military against the people, that would break the law. And “just following orders” would be no excuse.
If that day comes and Trump orders you to attack the people, stand down! Tell your commanders that you will not enable Trump to overturn the will of the people. Join with the people in the streets and help uphold all our democratic rights!
The Military Task Force established by the National Lawyers Guild has set up a system for free, confidential telephone consultations with attorneys to discuss possible illegal orders and related issues. Servicemembers can call the MLTF, at 619-463-2369, for referral to a volunteer attorney. In addition, the Task Force has now posted legal resource material for servicemembers, attorneys, legal workers and law students on this website. An audio Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminar presented by MLTF attorney James Branum is available on the website. A comprehensive legal memo is included as part of the CLE which discusses the law regarding illegal orders and alternative methods of avoiding compliance with such orders.