Harold Draper

Gerald L.K. Smith

America’s No. 1 Fascist

(August 1945)

Pamphlet produced by Los Angeles local of the Workers Party.
Serialized in Labor Action, Vol. IX Nos. 32–38, 6 August–17 September 1945.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 32, 6 August 1945, p. 3

(When Smith began his series of meetings in Los Angeles, the Workers Party of that city attempted to organize united action to demonstrate against him. Failing in that, the party organized its own picket-demonstrations of two such meetings. These preceded the Community mass meeting reported in last week’s issue of Labor Action. This pamphlet against Smith, by Hal Draper, is part of the campaign of the Workers Party against the native fascists. It will run serially until completed. See ad.Editor)


There is a sign of the times for all to see.

The Nazi power has been defeated in Europe. Mussolini is a battered corpse in an Italian grave. But in the victor countries of both America and England, the forces of home-grown Fascism are lifting their heads with renewed vigor.

In England, No. 1 Fascist Sir Oswald Mosley announces the reorganization of his frankly Fascist movement. In the Midwest, ex-Senator Reynolds of North Carolina launches his “Nationalist Party” with the backing of Ohio industrialists.

And in California, the leading Fascist demagogue in the United States pokes his head out of the hole he had crawled into. He proclaims his intentions of using Los Angeles as the base for rebuilding a national Fascist outfit.

This is Gerald L.K. Smith.

Fuehrer Smith has announced his invasion of Los Angeles. He has challenged every decent working man and progressive in the city to stop his plans to spread religious and racial hatred and organize Fascist terrorists.

Now is the time to stop him! The labor and progressive movement has done it before, in one city after another from which he has been driven by aroused opinion and action.

Let us make known to the people of Los Angeles WHO he is, WHAT he stands for, HOW he works, and WHY he is a sinister threat to everything we hold dear.

As a contribution to this fight, the Los Angeles section of the Workers Party presents this exposé of Gerald Smith.

Who Is Gerald Smith?

The Rev. Gerald Lyman Kenneth Smith is a graduate of the Huey Long machine in Louisiana. How he got into it is interesting.

In the heyday of his power, you may remember, Long got himself into a drunken brawl in New York and came back to Louisiana with a black eye both physically and morally. He looked around for a whitewash, and found the pastor of a wealthy church in Shreveport to do the job.

The Rev. Smith’s energies were even then looking for a sideline. He was a solid success as the glad-handing, fund-raising minister to the souls of the fashionable rich, but Huey offered him a bigger job. Smith left the pulpit. He became a leading hustler and stumper for the notorious “Share-the-Wealth” fakery.

Huey Long has described Smith as a “better rabble-rouser than I am.” Smith went into the business for himself.

Smith had already been an early member of Pelley’s “Silver Shirts.” Unlike Smith today, William Dudley Pelley made no bones about his out-and-out Fascism, his rabid anti-Semitism and anti-Negro hatred, or his admiration for Hitler, Mussolini and their doings. Pelley is now serving 15 years in a federal jail. Smith learned to be more subtle.

On August 15, 1933 Smith wrote to his boss Pelley:

“By the time you receive this letter I shall be on the road to St. Louis and parts north together with a uniformed squad of young men composing what I believe will be the first Silver Shirt storm troop in America.” (Carlson, Under Cover)

When the would-be Fuehrer from Shreveport made his first independent bid for influence in 1936, he already had behind him an apprenticeship under two of the most notorious Fascist gangsters this country has spawned.

In 1936 Smith decided to “take over” the Townsend Old-Age Pension movement which was then booming.

That year was a high-water mark of the American Fascists.

It was after six years of unemployment and depression, starvation and bankruptcy in the richest country of the world. It was after four years of smiling promises by Roosevelt, and disillusionment with them. There were 17,000,000 unemployed and the capitalist profit system was grinding gears and sputtering like the worn-out machine it is. The industrialists of this country, faced a rising sea of discontent. Millions said, “There must be a change.”

With mysterious but plentiful funds shelled out by the worried coupon-clippers and Fat Boys, Charles E. Coughlin was operating a million-dollar Fascist propaganda mill from Michigan. “Democracy is doomed,” he stated and “I take the road to Fascism.”

These well-heeled demagogues were wording hard to earn their pay with the tried Fascist technique: promise pie in the sky, denounce the labor movement, slander the Jews, bait the Negroes, capitalize on blindness and prejudice, organize a storm-troop movement which would first bind the people hand and foot and then deliver them to their paymasters, the capitalist rulers of the Sixty Families.

This is the job of Fascism for which the masters of profit pay in cold cash.

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 33, 13 August 1945, p. 3

Smith Moves Into Big Time

Gerald Smith tried to move into big time via the Townsend movement. It had masses behind it. These masses did not see why the richest country in the world could not afford them an old-age pension,

They were right. But they did not understand that in the way of economic security for the people stood capital’s greed for the security of its profits. And that the capitalists had the power because they owned the wealth of the nation. On top the Townsend leaders played with the Fascists.

Smith’s talents as a rabble-rouser at the 1936 Townsend convention got him recognition as a leader in short order. He dramatically proposed the organization of “Youth Battalions” – storm troops again. He negotiated with Coughlin and Townsend,and these Unholy Three got together in a pro-Fascist united front for the 1936 presidential election, with Lemke as their candidate.

It didn’t last long. A united front of rival Fuehrers is apt to he unstable.

Both Townsend and Lemke soon repudiated Smith, and some dirt came to light in this thieves’ falling out. Townsend’s assistant publicly stated that Smith was in the pay of William Randolph Hearst.

But Smith has maintained his admiration and support for Coughlin and proclaims it today.

In the latter part of 1936 Smith moved on to Coughlin’s stamping grounds in Michigan and later took over Coughlin’s broadcasts. He had begun as an underling for Huey Long, worked through a partnership with Townsend and Coughlin, and now he hung out his own sign. It was called the “Committee of One Million” – because, he said, “a million” of his friends had asked him to organize it.

Now Gerald L.K. Smith really had a job”. It taxed even HIS rabble-rousing talents to the full.

For the CIO was organizing all over Michigan and the Midwest. It was organizing the workers in auto, steel, rubber, machinery – most of them into unions for the first time.

It was reaching into the robot factories where workers were whipped on to belt-line speed and then flung on the scrapheap of unemployment like empty pea-pods. The backbone of the American working class was striking for a living wage. They were “sitting down” – and winning!

The bosses were yelling “Red” and “Communist” till the air stank of red herring. Even Ford was being cracked! Ford’s personnel manager, Harry Bennett, commanded a private army of goons, scabs, provocateurs and stool-pigeons, but was barely stemming the tide.

Smith – Piece-Rate Strike-Breaker

From 1937 to 1939 this was Gerald Smith’s job.

He worked as a barnstorming strike-breaker at piece-work rates.

He went from city to city especially where there was “labor trouble” (as the sweatshoppers called it).

“Industrialists found him dependable. If a community was plagued with sit-down strikes, Smith could go in with his gospel of Americanism and the old-time religion and get results that pleased those who hired, him ... The CIO picketed the meetings, then hissed and booed and tried to break them up.” (American Mercury, Aug. 1942, art. by W.B. Huie)

He didn’t tell them a living wage was ungodly. No, he was for social justice too – some day! But he pounded the pulpit and shouted and bible-quoted and used every demagogic appeal he had learned from two masters to convince them that strikes were un-American, trade union organizers were anti-Christs, their bosses were misunderstood angels and any way they had to go back to work.

Patriotism and religion – flag waving and the Bible – these are the symbols which Smith warps to his devilish use.

He has described himself in his own words as a “pulpit-pounding, Bible-reading grass-roots American.” This is his formula for rabble-rousing and strike breaking.

Do you know any good folks who have said that Gerald Smith is “merely a crackpot” and that “decent people should just ignore him”? Then remember that this Fascist strike-breaker was considered by the Detroit corporations as one of their most effective anti-labor weapons. He got results. His poison acted where police clubs failed.

“Many of the lesser industrialists around Detroit make no attempt to deny their contributions to Smith. ‘Sure, I’ve given Smith money,’ one of them said. ‘Most of us have given him money out here. When the Reds drove this town crazy, Gerald Smith was the one man who could get results fighting them ... Smith knew something to do; he did it; and we paid him for it.’” (American Mercury)

In those prosperous days, Smith’s “Committee of One Million” had a weekly “take” of $5,000 from industrialists. Harry Bennett later even publicly admitted paying for some of Smith’s radio broadcasts. Smith could afford a bodyguard at $100 a week.

Bennett’s strong-arm men (which the Ford Co. jokingly called its Service Department) were on guard at the anti-CIO rallies which Smith held for Ford workers all over Michigan. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, publisher of the powerful New York Times had him in lunch conference with the Times executives. Lowell Thomas presented him at the exclusive Advertising Club. James H. Rand (anti-labor specialist of the Remington-Rand team) took a fond and no-doubt financial interest in him.

The former fashionable Shreveport preacher and Huey Long henchman was getting up in the world.

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 34, 20 August 1945,p. 3

The War Hits Smith

With the outbreak of the war in 1939 Smith took to preaching a rabid isolationism of the most nationalistic variety.

He boasted of his intimacy with the isolationist bloc in Congress, certainly with some truth. He told reporters that several Congressmen often consulted with him. Reynolds and Nye wrote letters of praise for his magazine, The Cross and the Flag.

But isolationism never paid off like strike-breaking. There just wasn’t as much money in it.

And after Pearl Harbor business was even worse. With the no-strike pledge on, Smith’s special services were not as urgently needed any longer. The industrialists took care of things more easily, what with the War Labor Board, federal troops and union officials on hand.

Smith did get leads to a number of isolationist organizations which decided to disband after the entrance of America into the war. He contacted their members and tried to reorganize them behind himself. As he demonstrated from his files to Walter Davenport of Colliers, about 30 of the 65 groups were the kind with “Mother” in their title: Blue Star Mothers, the Mothers of Sons Forum, Mother’s Knee Inc., True American Mothers With Outstretched Arms, and so on.

In 1942 he started his magazine, The Cross and the Flag. His floor of offices in the Industrial Bank Building in Detroit was handling a national correspondence. He was attempting to take over Coughlin’s heritage in the area and partly succeeded, no doubt. He tried to push the organization of his “cells” in other Midwestern states. After running a poor race for the Republican senatorial nomination in Michigan, he tried to make a splurge in the 1944 presidential election. He began by booming Lindbergh, Reynolds and Col. McCormack of the reactionary Chicago Tribune for the Republican nomination, but wound up running himself as the “America First Party” candidate.

But with all this cost and energy he was getting nowhere, and least of all right in his home base, Detroit and Michigan.

“He has a small group of women who are ardent Smith fans, and he probably has some backing from the remnants of Father Coughlin’s supporters. But with the end of his radio broadcasts, and the demise of his Committee of One Million, his financial backing also has apparently dwindled! He still maintains offices in the Industrial Bank Building, but where his staff once numbered a score or more of persons, it has shrunk to four or five young girls and an office manager ... The political cards are stacked against any comeback he might attempt here.” (N.Y. Times, Apr. 23, 1944)

Notice that word “here.” That means the Detroit area.

The people of Los Angeles should be interested to know why Detroit got too hot for him.

It was accomplished in Detroit because Detroit is a stronghold of trade unionism. Its labor movement is among the most militant in the country. Labor took the lead among all progressives in exposing his poison and smearing him as an apostle of race hatred. Their indignation overflowed. More than once, his sheets had to report as they did only last March: “The crowd assembled in face of stinkbombs, stone throwing, window-breaking opposition and listened to a stirring address by Mr. Smith.” Every decent American can understand how Detroit labor, which knew him best, was provoked.

Detroit Labor Stopped Smith!

If the strike-breaking record of Gerald Smith was not fresh in their minds, the infamous Detroit race riots of June 1943 were. This was a deliberately organized pogrom upon the Negro people, one of the most shameful of recent years.

Bands of white youths roamed through the main streets and invaded the Negro neighborhoods of Detroit, looking for colored victims – beating, clubbing, maiming and killing. Thirty-four were slain, of whom twenty five were Negroes. Policemen stood around grinning or turned their backs. Hundreds were injured. Negro housing projects like Sojourner Truth were attacked. The stench of race hatred hung over the city. Cries were heard from some of the fascist scum: “The Jews are next!”

Everybody knew that this was a deliberately organized bloodbath. Who Were the Hitlerite fiends who were behind it?

Fourteen labor, liberal and progressive national organizations publicly accused Gerald L.K. Smith of instigating the pogrom.

Smith denied it – but he could not deny that the crimes were worst in the districts where the bulk of Coughlin’s and Smith’s strength lay.

Smith denied it – but spilled some beans. He publicly defended himself against the accusation by stating that, though HE didn’t do it, he knew, who did, and would give the name to the authorities. HE NEVER DID. He also never explained where his inside information about the conspiracy came from.

Detroit labor, white and colored, would not believe him if he placed his bloody hands on a stack of Bibles. They know Smith. That is why they sometimes became noisy at his Fascist rallies, as we have seen.

All this is why Gerald L.K. Smith went West.

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 35, 27 August 1945, p. 3

Smith Invades California

His first stop was San Francisco and the United Nations Conference there. But San Francisco is the strongest union town on the Coast. He couldn’t even get a hall to hold a meeting in.

So on to Los Angeles. As this is written, Smith has already held a series of rallies and organization meetings in this city. He has announced his immediate goal.

It is: A FASCIST COALITION tying together the native Hitlerite grouplets and anti-Semites and Negro-haters, all the reactionary elements of the pension-plan bugs, money cranks, fundamentalists, and labor-baiters. The LEADER is to be Gerald Smith.

Who is behind him in California?

Check – Willis and Lawrence Allen, the bosses of the “Ham ’n’ Egg” organization, which-polled a large vote just before the war broke on the basis of its slogan of Thirty Dollars Every Thursday. The “Ham ’n’ Egg Hall” is the site of Smith’s secret organizing confabs. t is clear that the Allen brothers have made a deal with Smith and lined up with the Fascists.

Check – The disreputable Jonathan Perkins, who was the go-between for Smith and the Ham ’n’ Egg Allens – and is the author of anti-Semitic pamphlets and articles of the usual pattern.

Check – The “We the Mothers” organization, another one of the Fascist outfits for women.

Check – A couple of local anti-Semitic pastors, J.A. Lovell and Robert Shuler, who have been working away at Jew-baiting for years.

Check – Meade McLahahan, city councilman from the IVth District, who is acting as Smith’s hall renting agent.

This is a partial list of those who are out in the open. Labor must smoke out the rest.

Gerald Smith has set himself an ambitions scheme which is filled with dynamite. If he gains his objectives, let the labor movement beware!

The Fight Against Smith Starts

Smith’s first organizing meeting at the Embassy Auditorium was attended by about 1,500. Liberal author Carey McWilliams, writing in the New York newspaper PM, noted that “there were no demonstrations and no picket lines” at this launch meeting. At his next rally at the Philharmonic Auditorium, attended this time by 3,000, he did not get through so easily.

When Smith announced this first big rally in the downtown area for June 25th, we Socialists of the Workers Party said that action against this spreader of Fascist poison was necessary.

Trade unions and progressive organizations had sent in a flood of resolutions and protests to the city government and to the Philharmonic against the meeting. But while Smith has been refused meeting halls and frozen out of city after city (Minneapolis, Buffalo, San Francisco, Milwaukee were a few), he had reckoned better in Los Angeles.

It is significant that the Philharmonic management made him lay down several bonds in anticipation of possible damage to the building. But the meeting went on.

The Workers Party took action. There was going to be a picket line at the Philharmonic!

A call was distributed in mass at the industrial plants; the CIO and AFL unions were urged to throw their strength in; other Socialist groups were asked to work together on it.

But the trade union officials had not yet reacted to the danger. Pink Socialists were willing to talk against Fascism but could not be gotten off the dime when it was a question of taking action. The Communist Political Association was too busy with its current line of being “respectable” and super-patriotic and talking about increased production and “national unity” to do anything that smacked of militancy.

On a smaller scale there was being repeated the story of how the labor movement of Germany sat back while Hitler gathered his forces, or passed resolutions while he drove to power, or counselled patience and reliance on the government while he became bolder.

But at this first rally in Los Angeles, Smith’s supporters DID have to scurry past the singing, shouting, militant picket line organized by the Workers Party. While a hundred fifty picketed with anti-fascist banners and slogans, a demonstration of several hundred more workers booed the Fascists and applauded the picket line. Passing workers stopped, found out what was going on and joined the line. Their own trade unions should have been the ones to call them out!

Labor Must Answer the Challenge

But these picket lines are only a token of the fight to which labor’s organizations must be aroused! White it is natural that a fighting Socialist organization, such as the Workers Party is, should show the initiative when the trade unions do not respond yet–

Burn these words into your mind:

Only the aroused action of the Los Angeles labor movement, CIO and AFL, can drive these Fascists out of the city! And we must do it NOW, before Fuehrer Smith secures a bridgehead, while his organization s in its first stages. It is up to you, and you, and YOU in the trade unions!

As we go to press Smith is preparing for his biggest rally to date at the Shrine Auditorium (7,000 seating capacity). Answering the challenge, the Los Angeles Council of the CIO has called for a counter-rally at a larger auditorium, the Olympic, and is enlisting the support of other union, liberal, progressive and anti-fascist groups. This is a great stride forward in building a broad United Front of Action against Smith. Its aim must be to answer Smith’s future rallies with mass education and mass action – militant picket lines and labor rallies!

Gerald Smith’s answer to the picket line was typical. With the brazen gall that amazes decent people, he told his audience that the Negro brothers on the picket line were there because they were paid ten dollars by Rabbi Edgar Magnin!

Do you recognize this? Why does he pick on the Negro picketers to lie about? If he has to invent a face-saving slander, why does he ring in as villain a Jewish rabbi who had no more connection with the demonstration than George Washington?

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 36, 3 September 1945,p. 3

Smith Spreads Race Hate

Gerald Smith says he is against race hatred – when he has to say something about it. But the mark of the beast is unmistakable. He bellows that what we need is a “Christian America,” a Christian government,” “Christian patriotism,” with a none-too-subtle version of the anti-Semitism and racism without which no Fascist demagogue has a complete line of wares.

According to the magazine Current History, for October 1936, Smith in that year sponsored a movement to boycott the Jewish merchants of New Orleans. It failed only because the reorganized Long machine did not go for it.

He interlards every speech with anti-Semitic jibes. They used to be more veiled. Mark this: It is a fact that especially his closed meetings in Los Angeles have been more crudely and vilely Jew-baiting even than his wont. As this pamphlet goes to press, his very latest one at the Ham ’n’ Egg Hall was largely turned into an anti-Semitic tirade! Here is this self-styled “Christian” at work on July 16, speaking to his “faithful”:

“I have been accused of saying that 95% of OPA violations are by Jews. I never said that. It is probably not more than 92½%.”

“Obscenity is a natural, characteristic of the Jews.”

“The Jews maintain a Gestapo to spy on me and other Christian Americans.”

“When I see an evil-smelling, long-nosed, bearded, filthy Jew reeking of body odor and call him a ‘kike’, am I being anti-Semitic?”

“They’re still the Christ-killers ... The Jews put pressure on the Roman government to crucify Christ”

“The Jews are largely not descended from the Israelites of the Bible. They are sprung from a tribe of roving bandits.”

“One day,” he has said, “someone will write a book about how to make an anti-Semite. It will be the story of my life.”

This is the man who denies that he is a Jew-baiter! He denied that he had incited the Detroit racial pogrom – but he begins to stir up the hornet’s nest of anti-Negro prejudice at his very first big rally in Los Angeles. It can be predicted with scientific precision that if he stays in this area long enough, we will be hearing from him about the Mexican people also.

Race hatred is a favorite weapon of these Fascist rabble-rousers because it is a device to pit one section of labor against another. Divide and rule! Let the discontented, take out their anger on racial minorities, and Big Business is safe. This is why Labor must build and unite its forces regardless of race, color, and religious or political creed.

But before our indignation runs away with us at this spectacle of warped hate and hideous lies, let us make a sober estimate of what Smith is. He has been called a crackpot. He has, been called a purveyor of “foreign isms.” He has been called a Fascist. And he is.

But we should be very clear about our understanding of these accusations. We must, understand him in order to fight him effectively.

Is Smith a “Crackpot”?

In the first place, it is a grave mistake to put him down as “merely a crackpot” because of the kind of raving rant which is his specialty on the platform. That is his technique. As a matter of fact, Smith has often referred to himself as a “rabble-rouser.” It means a demagogue who tries to sweep an audience into hysterical emotion without thought. He is as proud of that special skill as a machinist is of his control of the lathe. To take one example only, he has told an interviewer:

“I’m an isolationist. I’m the organizer and leader of the America First Party. Oh, I’m a rabble-rouser. Put that down – a rabble-rouser. God made me a rabble-rouser. God made me a rabble-rouser of and for the Right. Better spell that Word Right with a capital R ...” (Colliers, Mar. 4, 1944)

In speaking, he lashes his 220 pounds into a fury of shouting, hysterical, denunciations, emotional appeals and vivid phrases, till he is bathed in sweat and his enormous expenditure of energy has prevented the hearer from remembering that he is saying nothing at all.

It is a technique. He has found that it works. Remember that.

A crackpot? A warped reactionary mind – yes. But that is why he is dangerous.

It was a crackpot like Smith, with the same technique, who seized power in Germany, launched his bloody terror and made good his threat that “heads will roll in the street” Hitler was called a crackpot by millions of good people – who understood nothing of what he was getting at. Mussolini was called a posing buffoon. Their work was made easier because of the people who sneered and said “Pay no attention.”

In the second place, don’t be fooled by your own words when you refer to Smith’s ideas as a “foreign ism.” It is perfectly true that Smith is an ape-like imitation of Adolf Hitler. It is perfectly true that we are used to thinking of fascism as existing somewhere overseas but not here in this country.

But don’t try to base a real understanding of Smith on the belief that he is merely a stooge of foreign fascism. The CIO Council has rightly called for an investigation of Smith, but don’t be too disappointed if he turns out to have had no direct foreign connections. As a matter of fact, Smith has already been investigated three times and the FBI is reported to have been unable to find any evidence of any substantial link with Nazism or foreign influence.

For Smith really IS NOT essentially an agent for any foreign fascism. He looks for support not from abroad but from the Sixty Families of THIS country’s plutocracy. He counts on THEM to put him into power. He is the “Made in U.S.,” dyed-in-the-wool, blown-in-the-bottle, homegrown, native AMERICAN VARIETY of Hitlerite!

The field for fascism is a fertile one in this country. The soil has been, tilled. The same moneyed interests are here to further it in their own interests? The defeat of Hitler in Europe changes none of that.

Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 37, 10 September 1945,p. 3

What Does Smith Count On?

In the third place, don’t expect Gerald Smith to come right out with it and LABEL himself a fascist. Especially now. The word is discredited for public consumption.

It was his teacher, Huey Long, who said that when fascism came to the United States it would come in the guise of being opposed to fascism. And he knew. That was what he was trying to do.

Smith’s name for it is “Christian Nationalism.” Every decent member of the church will proclaim that it is no more “Christian” than Hitler “national socialism” was socialist.

But get behind the name. Look at the thing itself. Learn to recognize its innermost nature.

See it mirrored in Gerald L.K. Smith.

Smith once told a reporter:

“You know what my ambition is? I think chaos is inevitable. I want to get to as many people as I can now, so that when chaos comes, I’ll be leader.” (The Nation, July 25, 1936)

Leader of what? Leader of – chaos?

Perish the thought – get wise to Smith. He made this statement in the 1930’s when even solid bankers’ magazines and Wall Street organs were talking fearfully of the danger of “revolution” and the breakdown of the profit system. In their dictionary this is always called “chaos.”

Today once again, even before the war boom is over, the capitalist class is fearfully quaking before the prospect of the terrible crisis that shapes up for the profit system as soon as the shooting ends.

The depression that ravaged the world for ten years from 1929 to 1939 was temporarily lifted only by the outbreak of war. Capitalism went from mass starvation to mass slaughter. The profitable markets that could hot be found for a surplus of goods and capital, though millions were in dire need – were found on the battlefields. Now they know that peace under capitalism will mean 20,000,000 unemployed.

That is what Smith is waiting for.

Capitalism will have to deal with a working class that was told to sacrifice its all, and that will be rewarded with breadlines. They will strike out for a living wage and jobs.

The workers will say: “We were told to ‘work or fight.’ Now if yon don’t let us work on your idle machines – WE WILL FIGHT – FOR OURSELVES THIS TIME!”

In such a crisis, in peril of its profits, capitalism moves to put the labor movement in a straight-jacket. It tries to tie labor hand and foot so that the parasites who live by owning can suck the last life-giving ounces of profit out of our labor without resistance.

This straight-jacket is fascism.

The Road to Fascism

The trick is to get it on the body of labor. That is where the fascist demagogue comes in. The Fords and the Morgans and the du Ponts cannot do it themselves. They are a handful.

They need the mass organization of blindly rebellious, hypnotized, hopped-up followers of a well-paid Fuehrer – followers especially recruited among despairing middle-class people, youth without a future, and unemployed willing to be regimented for a square meal. The capitalists provide the money.

They are told to destroy this “democracy” which is starving them, destroy the trade union movement, destroy all independent organization as all independent thought. And when it is done the same Sixty Families are sitting on top of the straight-jacketed nation, going through its pockets.

This is what happened, in Germany, to the letter. This is what Smith is organizing for here.

It is only doing on a bigger scale exactly what he did for Ford and other tycoons from 1937 to 1939.

That is what fascism is – the capitalist answer to “chaos.” It is the steel hoop which they put around the rotting barrel of the profit system.

Gerald Smith stands four-square for that profit system. “Public ownership? Not in anything!” he has said.

“I’d rather that a municipality didn’t even own the town pump. It would be better in private hands. Even the police department and the fire department. I mean it, everything.” (Current Biography, 1943)

The Socialist Answer

We socialists stand for the OTHER way out of capitalist chaos –the way of Plenty for All.

Our factories and plants can produce Plenty for All. This is not a dream any more. It is a solid fact.

But they will NOT be so used as long as they are owned by private profiteers, who allow us to work on THEIR machines only as long as they can make a profit out of our toil.

The working class must own and control these factories and plants if the products of THEIR LABOR are to he THEIRS. Socialists fight for a workers’ government which will take the means of production back for the people.


Without it, political democracy is doomed. Without political AND economic democracy, working men are SLAVES.


Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 38, 17 September 1945,p. 3

(This is the concluding installment of the above-titled pamphlet issued by the Los Angeles branch of the Workers Party. Copies of this pamphlet may be obtained by writing Labor Action Book Service, 114 West 14th Street, New York 11, N.Y. The price is five cents.)


The Workers Party is the socialist organization of American labor WHICH MEANS BUSINESS. We mean to push the fight against the black threat of fascism through every channel and every method.


This means AFL and CIO and Railway Unions TOGETHER, trade unionists and socialists together – all labor putting aside other differences and disputes to smash the fascists back!

That’s Point No. 1: WORKERS’ UNITY.

Smith and his friends are openly talking again of STORM TROOPS, in Los Angeles. They are serious about it. They will start with uniformed bodyguards and “color guards” and other devices. Their aims are those of Hitler’s – physical assault on the organizations of labor and terror against all progressives and racial minorities.

The greatest mistake the labor movement can make, in which it would be following footprint for footprint in the steps of the German trade unions, would be merely to say: Let the cops and the courts take care of these rowdies; WE will limit ourselves to protests and indignant speeches.


Labor must build its own defense guards.

Labor must answer the fascist storm-troops in the only language they know. It must protect labor meetings. It must not wait till Smith has gone too far. It must act INSTANTLY on the first sign of fascist violence. It must be READY.

Labor must depend on its own strength. It own industrial strength and its own political strength.

The Workers Party tells you that the LESSON OF GERMANY AND ITALY IS:

The profit system’s government will not stop the fascist assault on labor when things get hot. Pressure on the capitalist politicians will not WIN the fight against fascism.

Labor must BE the government. Labor must Strive for ITS OWN government. To this end it must organize ITS OWN INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ACTION, not merely as a tail on the Democratic or Republican Party kites, but in ITS OWN INDEPENDENT LABOR PARTY!


It is also the secret of the emancipation of the working class from this whole round of insecurity, fascist threats and slaughterous wars. IT CAN GO FORWARD TO A WORKERS’ WORLD OF PEACE AND PLENTY!

This is the Workers Party’s program. If you are for it, DO YOUR PART! Fight with us for real democracy and freedom, for this is the fight for the SOCIALIST WORLD OF ECONOMIC ABUNDANCE AND POLITICAL LIBERTY!

Last updated on 13 December 2017