Joseph Hansen

Stop Fascism in America!

Will Father Coughlin Become Dictator of the United States?

(September 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 68, 11 September 1939, p. 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.

(Eleventh Installment)

Norman Thomas, an American adherent of the Second International, even went so far as to send an appealing letter directly to the Radio Priest – Norman rested elbows devoutly on a pulpit himself – asking if the Radio Priest wouldn’t please remind his followers to desist immediately from further violence and disturbance.

The entire strategy of these self-anointed representatives of the working class can be summarized: “Help democratic capitalism stop Fascism!”

The situation which existed in Germany and Italy is being repeated and is reaching a dangerous stage in the United States – and that leads sharply to the question: How stop Fascism in America!

There is only one real answer: Socialism. A planned socialist economy. The working people must take the national industries and resources away from the Morgans, the Rockefellers, the Fords, DuPonts, Mellons, Girdlers – the Sixty Families – who now operate the mines and factories and railroads only if and when it pays them a profit.

The working people must end PRIVATE PROPERTY in the means of production and operate America’s huge industries for the benefit of the toiling masses. This would mean, contrary to the lies of the Radio Priest, an unprecedented flow of consumers’ goods for the private enjoyment of every individual in the nation.

America’s capacity to produce is unlimited.

Even today, without increasing efficiency one iota or even bringing the present factories up to full producing capacity, it is possible to guarantee every man a job at not less than $2,500 a year.

What could be done with all the unemployed holding down jobs and all the workers exercizing their ingenuity and enthusiasm to produce the greatest possible quantity of the good things of life for themselves – not even the boldest minds have foreshadowed the coming possibilities!

Socialism is feasible right today in the United States!

But Big Business in America is not different from Big Business in Italy or Germany.

It too will fight like a blinded python.

Already the fascist gangsters are forming nuclei over the entire country.

It is necessary to take energetic steps and to take them immediately. It is not only a question of establishing socialism. It is an immediate question of life or death.

There is only one way to meet the menace of fascism in America, and that is by organizing TRADE UNION DEFENSE GUARDS right now.

Every trade union local in the country must begin organizing its Defense Guard right now.

No more time can be wasted.

Study the program of Mussolini and the program of Hitler and then study the program of their American disciple.

Remember the terror and violence that desolated Italy and Germany.

And then take action FIRST.

Don’t wait for the concentration camps.


The fact that Father Coughlin spent his entire discourse on July 9, 1939, attacking the very idea of organizing Trade Union Defense Guards sounds a most grim and ominous warning as to his program and his intentions and his knowledge of the only force which can stop him.

On Sunday, July 30, 1939, in a discourse entitled The Call to Action, the Radio Priest hurled down the gauntlet to the labor movement in the United States:

“It is a death struggle ... You are either with me or against me ... You will see such a defense mechanism as the world has never seen. (A defense mechanism like that in Italy and Germany.) Do you know that units of the ‘Christian Front’ are forming in New York and elsewhere in the country? ... The ‘Christian Front’ is not a debating society, it is an ACTION society ... We will fight you in Franco’s way!”

The Socialist Workers Party, affiliated with the Fourth International, has dedicated itself to stopping fascism from ever gaining power in America.

But let there be no illusions – the fascist beast cannot be stopped with postcards!

IT IS A DEATH STRUGGLE. It is a death struggle that will require the whole heart and mind of labor, all its devotion, all its self-sacrifice, every last ounce of its fighting strength.

The Socialist Workers Party appeals to every militant worker to throw himself into this titanic struggle.

Every working man who is seriously concerned about protecting himself, his family and his union from fascism in the United States must become a CRUSADER for TRADE UNION DEFENSE GUARDS.

Every person who has the courage and the daring to dedicate his life to the greatest of all ideals – the emancipation of mankind – must come forward and take his place in the ranks of the Socialist Workers Party.



Last updated on: 13 March 2016