Hal Draper

Stopping the Cancer of Fascism –
By C.P.’s Methods, or By Ours?

Workers Can Choose the Daily Worker’s Line of Persuading
All “Decent Americans” to Pass Resolutions,
Or the Line the S.W.P. Recommends – Class Struggle Action

(June 1939)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 45, 27 June 1939, p. 6.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In its issue of June 14, the Daily Worker issues a call for “action” against the Coughlinites. Citing: the shocking case of the Jewish Baltimore schoolboy who was attacked by 40 knife-wielding Coughlin-inspired school-mates, it runs a front-page editorial under the head, Stop the Cancer Before It Spreads!

The workers, who echo the cry, “Stop Coughlin now!”, are thereby given a full opportunity to examine the line which the Communist Party recommends for the struggle against American fascism. For the Daily Worker editorial (1) cites what it considers the significant steps taken recently to stop Coughlin, and (2) lists in categorical, unevasive fashion the additional measures that would be required to finish off this menace.

What, in the eyes of the Daily Worker, has been done to block the spread of Coughlinism? Here is the paragraph:

“Decent America recognizes the danger. There has just been formed the Catholic Committee to Combat Anti-Semitism. The Sons of Italy have condemned race bigotry. The General Synod of the Reformed Church of America has condemned anti-Semitism. Others are moving to action.”

A Substitute for Action

Now every worker must welcome any sincere expression of hatred and opposition to the poisonous spread of anti-Semitism. He is entitled, however, to raise the question: Are these people “moving to action”, or are they passing resolutions as a substitute for action?

The group of Catholics featured by the Daily Worker, for example, gives the following prospectus in its” statement: “In order to oppose the dangerous aberration of anti-Semitism in the fullness of Christian charity, we are forming this Committee of Catholics to Fight Anti-Semitism... Our approach will be positive and dignified, and there will be no personal attacks against any one.” Anti-Semitism will be fought by explaining the Catholic teachings on racial bigotry; so far the Committee’s fight has consisted of quoting various Popes. This is action! We must not attack any one – that is, we must not attack Father Coughlin – says the Committee, for after all, anti-Semitism is only an aberration, and can be wiped out by properly explaining the meaning of Christian charity.

More action! The Reformed Church passes a resolution: “Even America is not free from the blight of anti-Jewish prejudice. Both Jew and Gentile are responsible for existing conditions and both must cooperate for their betterment. Christians must rebuke all anti-Semitism.” (Our emphasis) That’s all. What this organization means by “action” may be gathered from its simultaneous handling of the question of conscientious objection; it adopted a report upholding the admissibility of religious objection to participation in war but rejected a sentence immediately following promising to “support and protect him and his rights in the event of his taking such a stand.”

The Sons of Italy condemn “race bigotry”. It is perhaps enough to point out that this organization was a vehement propagandist in America for the justice of Mussolini’s war on Ethiopia and went so far as to vote a revenge boycott on British goods at that time.

Which Line Will Stop Coughlin?

It is this spurious “struggle” against anti-Semitism that the Communist Party puts before the workers as good coin! Now compare the C.P.’s attitude toward real action.

50,000 workers of New York City staged a counter-demonstration outside the meeting of the Nazi Bund, Coughlin’s allies, in Madison Square Garden. At this late date, Father Earl Browder finds that he has to return to this subject in his latest pamphlet on The 1940 Elections, answering an obscure Congressman who credited the C.P. with the action:

“There is no doubt that the Nazis were very happy about the Trotskyite disorders outside their meeting, and there is little doubt that the whole thing was, by mutual agreement, a mere division of labor.” No doubt, mark you, just as the “disorders” in Harlan County are a mere division of labor between John L. Lewis and the mine owners to embarrass the government. But the C.P., continues Browder proudly, “called upon the workers to boycott the meeting, to stay entirely away from it, once the authorities had authorized it and given it police protection.”

Two lines! The line of the workers who moved to action against the Nazi Bund – or the Communist Party’s line of having all “decent Americans” pass resolutions: which will stop Coughlin now?

The Daily Worker editorial calls for some more action:

“The Department of Justice of the U.S. must seize the criminals guilty of anti-Semitic incitement. The Federal laws against anti-democratic incitement, the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, make such action possible and necessary.”

Mr. Browder! Some questions from a worker!

Workers, Not Cops, Will Beat Fascists

Yes, Mr. Browder –



Go ahead and pass a resolution to that effect.

Last updated on 17 January 2016