Joseph Hansen

Father Coughlin: Fascist Demagogue

Upon Whom Shall We Rely
to Fight Coughlin?

(July 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 47, 4 July 1939, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2016 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2016; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

Installment VII

Can Roosevelt Stop Fascism?

Father Coughlin is not alone among the representatives of Big Business who hears death’s knuckles rapping at the door of democratic capitalism.

President Roosevelt, nearing the end of his second term in the White House sees his New Deal collapsing like a house of cards built from an old and very dirty deck.

Only WAR can save Roosevelt – and then only for the briefest of periods.

But for this brief period he will pay the price of millions of lives of the workers, the farmers, the youth. That is why he is buying battleships with the relief funds of the unemployed.

That is why he has poured money without precedent into a war machine that outstaggers anything in the history of the country. He hopes to divert the attention of the desperate masses from their plight to a foreign enemy.

But even war is a temporary and unpopular expedient. The unemployed don’t want bayonets. They want food and jobs. Roosevelt’s war can only whip their fury to new heights. Father Coughlin knows all this very well. He has read a lot of fan mail since 1926.

He knows too that Big Business in its way is as desperate as the unemployed. Big Business fears the revolutionary might of the unemployed. It wants to preserve its clutches on national wealth. It wants to preserve the profit system.

Roosevelt’s usefulness as a stop-gap for Big Business is almost at an end.

Roosevelt is capitalism’s smiles and promises of last year.

Now the Sixty Families need a new demagogue with less smile and more promises.

General Smedley Butler has revealed that the Morgan-DuPont interests were ready to spend $3,000,000 with a promise of $300,000,000 more if necessary to finance a fascist army that would march on Washington behind the General.

General Butler turned the offer down. Perhaps someone else did not turn that offer down.

Can the Trade Unions Alone Stop Fascism?

The trade unions, bogged down with the bureaucracies headed by John L. Lewis and William Green, stand helpless before the terrible problems now facing the working class, the half-ruined farmers, the small business men, and the destitute unemployed.

The trade unions as fighting organizations of the working class won huge successes in the past, conquering many of the rights of labor and defending them during the upswing of capitalism. Today under the domination of Lewis and Green the trade unions if left alone and without help face disaster.

Father Coughlin understands the limitless strength of America’s laboring people far better than do Lewis and Green with their corner grocery outlook.

That is why he attempts to turn the unemployed, tooth and nail, upon those organized in trade unions.

That is why he denounces the C.I.O. and the A.F. of L. over his radio network. That is why he calls strikers “idlers,” and speaks of the “jobs they have left.”

That is why he calls every militant trade unionist a “communist,” a “socialist,” a “Jew.”

That is why he exerts every ounce of his voice and his: pen to build up a terrible hate for the words: communist, socialist, Jew.

The trade unions alone, especially as they have been caught in the death grip which democratic capitalism has clamped upon Lewis and Green, cannot meet the situation.

A new force is needed and needed badly.

A new weapon of the working class must be forged.

An Independent Labor Party, a fighting militant political party of the working class charged with vision, with daring, with invincible boldness must be organized as the battering rani that will smash this entire trashy structure of New Deal politics and the poisonous fascist growths that swell upward from its rotting foundation.

Fascism in America Must Be Stopped!

We must not repeat the mistakes of the labor movement in Italy and in Germany which permitted forgers, sidewalk spielers, and sideshow adventurers like Mussolini and Hitler to take over power.

The first lesson to learn is not difficult: LABOR MUST DEPEND ON ITS OWN STRENGTH.

Labor must have its own independent political party.

Labor must have its own defense guards.

The greatest danger of all is to depend on the Roosevelts, the LaGuardias, the police, and the boot lickers of these former bosom friends of Coughlin and his ilk.

The first task that labor must perform in stopping the fascist movement in America is the organization of a workers’ defense guard.

Every union local should begin the immediate organization of a guard to protect itself from the certain onslaught of the fascists in the near future.

The sooner these guards are organized the more efficient they will become in protecting the labor movement.

Trained, disciplined, and bold workers defense guards are the ONLY FORCE that can physically stop the fascists from overpowering the labor movement in America.

(Concluded in next issue)


Last updated on: 12 March 2016