Stop Trivializing The Term ‘Coup’: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Caitlin Johnstone
6 min readJan 8, 2021

Stop trivializing the term “coup”. It’s a real thing the US government really inflicts on other countries in a way that actually does topple governments and cause immense destruction. You cannot take over the US government with a small squadron of wingnuts. That’s not a thing.

A coup attempt doesn’t have to be successful for that term to be legitimate, but it does have to have some possibility of success. Trump has no more likelihood of being in office after January 20th than I do; he’s got nothing resembling the kind of support from the military, political establishment, oligarchs and other backing he’d need to accomplish such a thing.

I hereby declare the US election invalid and I, Caitlin Johnstone, am the new President of the United States.

Have I just instituted a “coup”? Or does my complete inability to put such a claim into effect make the use of that term silly?

And now Trump has conceded. My, what a funny looking coup.

It’s very telling how fast the plutocratic media have been to use the word “coup” to describe some idiots interrupting congress for a few hours, since they bend over backwards to avoid using it when their government enacts blatant coups of infinitely greater destructiveness.

Here are some of the headlines from when the US-backed coup in Bolivia was taking place:

“Bolivian President Evo Morales steps down following accusations of election fraud” proclaims CNN.

“Bolivia’s Morales resigns amid scathing election report, rising protests” reports The Washington Post.

“Bolivian Leader Evo Morales Steps Down” says The New York Times.

“Bolivian President Evo Morales resigns amid fraud poll protests” declares the BBC.

“President of Bolivia steps down amid allegations of election rigging” we are informed by Telegraph.

“Bolivia’s President Morales resigns after backlash to disputed election” says the Sydney Morning Herald.

In reality Morales was forced from office by the military after winning a legitimate election, which is exactly the thing that a coup is. This has never been anywhere remotely close to a possible outcome for Trump, but since it doesn’t interfere with imperialist agendas they’re allowed to use it.

Narrative managers have been falling all over themselves to tell us that conspiracy theories on the internet are going to get everyone killed. They want conspiracy theories censored, especially the ones about how the government murders people around the world and lies about it. FYI your government is many orders of magnitude more dangerous, deceitful and deadly than even the craziest conspiracy theories.

Also, nobody who spent years saying the highest levels of the US government had been taken over by Russia has any business bitching about conspiracy theories.

Modern liberalism is just QAnon for people with diplomas on their walls.

The left is always the real target of pushes for more censorship and surveillance. They’re not worried about rightists, who support most of what the establishment wants and who can be manipulated into compliance with a simple 8chan psyop. They’re worried about the faction that wants to dismantle the oligarchic empire.

Rightist wingnuts are always used to justify policies that are designed to neuter the left. That’s why any leftist who’s cheered internet censorship for the wingnuts has been applying their own muzzle on behalf of the authoritarians. Many still don’t realize this.

Sometimes things happen that make people frightened and angry, and there’s a major push (always spearheaded by the plutocratic media) for more authoritarian government control to shut down the bad guys. You can choose to get swept up in that frenzy. Or you can choose not to.

Just so we’re clear, the policing lesson of the Capitol Hill riots was not that cops should have been more brutal with the Trumpers, it was that they should have been much more restrained during the BLM protests but chose not to be. Don’t let them troll you into cheering for police brutality.

None of Trump’s post-election shenanigans rank anywhere near the top ten worst things he’s done while president. Mass media coverage hasn’t reflected this fact because they regard imperialist warmongering as normal presidential stuff and don’t regard its victims as human.

It will never stop being hilarious when Americans rend their garments about the death of a “democracy” that does not exist.

Americans finally discover they can storm the Capitol to demand what they want, and they do it to defend a corrupt plutocrat.

Americans think only about America while their rulers think only about conquering the rest of the world.

What’s it going to take to get American progressives to understand that the Democratic Party is explicitly and deliberately rigged against progress? It’s simply not the tool for advancing progressive agendas. It’s like watching a kid try to open a can of beans using a sneaker.

FYI you don’t actually need to keep begging for the permission of condescending gatekeepers to push progressive agendas; you can just do it. They’re not the left’s supervisors, they’re just people who speak in a forceful and assertive tone. You are the left.

You’re trained to see one mainstream political faction with all its politicians, pundits and rank-and-file members versus the other faction with all its politicians, pundits and rank-and-file members. Really it’s the politicians and pundits of both factions versus everyone else.

While the poor have been inundated with religions glorifying poverty, meekness and obedience, the rich have been circulating their own private doctrines among themselves about why it’s fine for them to have so much while everyone else has so little. They have their own religions.

Feel free to reject anything at all about your society, your culture, or any traditional relic at all. Our species is now staring down the barrel as a result of everything we’ve done up to this point. The old ways have failed. They are demonstrably bad. Try something new.

Unless we make drastic changes, and make them approximately now, we will likely go extinct due to climate chaos or nuclear war. Everything that brought us to this point has failed as spectacularly as anything can fail. Don’t cling to the old ways. Bring in the unprecedented.

Trust is a very simple thing: you can trust people to act out the behavior patterns they normally act out. Behavior patterns are generally pretty trustworthy. You can trust nurturing people to do nurturing things, and you can trust destructive people to do destructive things. As long as you’re trusting someone to do what they normally do instead of what they don’t normally do, your trust will probably be well-placed.

We’re so far from justice that even the table scraps of “You’re too crazy to extradite” are welcomed. You want justice? Free Assange, shower him with awards and compensation, and lock up everyone who helped persecute him. That would be justice. Then you’d be getting somewhere.

We fight on.

Sometimes it knocks the wind out of us.

Sometimes it knocks us down.

And we lie there and blink a minute.

Just lie there.

And then, after a bit, the air begins sucking back into our lungs.

And the strength returns to our limbs.

And we get up.

And we fight on.


Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Poems For Rebels or my old book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2