Joseph Hansen

Stop Fascism in America!

Will Father Coughlin Become Dictator of the United States?

(September 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 64, 1 September 1939, p. 2.
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.

(Seventh Installment)
The Defense of the German Workers

The workers in Germany were much better prepared to defend themselves than had been the Italian workers. Many of the militant workers had studied what had happened in Italy and therefore it was much easier for them to recognize exactly what Hitler’s promises and Hitler Storm Troopers meant.

Those who suffered broken heads and knife wounds from Hitler’s followers, again and again attempted to fight back in the only place that counted, in the streets. There were even several organizations of workers under the control of the Social-Democratic Party of the Second International and the Communist Party of the Third International with thousands of militant members anxiously awaiting the word to defend the labor movement against the Nazi Brown Shirts.

Wherever they actually engaged in struggle, they sent the Nazis cowering for cover.

“Hitler confessed in retrospect: ‘Only one thing could have broken pur movement – if the adversary had understood its principle and from the first day had smashed with the most extreme brutality, the nucleus of our new movement.’ And Goebbels: ‘If the enemy had known how weak we were, it would probably have reduced us to jelly ... It would have crushed in blood the very beginning of our work.’” (Fascism and Big Business, p. 107)

But the leaders of the workers’ organizations either through stupidity or “incredible cowardice” as Hitler puts it (Mein Kampf, p. 723) forbade the workers to engage in any conflict with the followers of Hitler.

“Torgler (a leader of the Communist Party) confessed later: ‘For a long time the Communists had ordered their members to renounce all terror. The formula, strike the fascists, was abandoned.’” (Fascism and Big Business, p. 108)

The leaders of the working class ordered the members of their organization to send letters of protest to the Chief of Police demanding that he do his duty.

An aggressive campaign was launched of – postcard writing.

The Chief of Police responded by lauding the Nazis and wishing that there were more of them.

Editors of workers’ newspapers printed headlines announcing the death of Nazism. They wrote editorials ridiculing the Nazis. They predicted that it was absolutely impossible for the preposterous Nazis ever to come to power.

They began an intensive election campaign to prove to the world that terror and violence don’t pay at the ballot box.

Even after Hitler had been summoned into power by Hindenburg, the Social-Democrats called on their members to remain “calm” and “not be provoked.” The Executive Committee of the Labor Federation sent a letter of protest to President Hindenburg, pointing out that they had always opposed terrorism and violence in all its forms.

The entire strategy of the heads of the labor movement could be summed up: “Help Hindenburg stop the Nazis!”

Torgler confessed that even after Hitler came into power in January, the German Communist Party aspired for only one thing: to last until the elections on March 5 when they hoped to win a huge victory counting noses at the ballot box.

To all persons in doubt as to which side to support, Hitler’s decisive and bold actions made him look like a sure winner, no matter what his program said.

The leaders of the labor movement sat on their hands as if completely stupefied and paralyzed, capable only of repeating, “Have you mailed your daily post card to the Chief of Police?”

The harried and desperate, seeking in every direction for a way out, turned from these strategists in despair.

Der Fuehrer dangled colored glass and glittering spangles of tin promises before their eyes. Above all, he promised action.

They moved toward him as if hypnotized.

The labor movement threw away its destiny and went clown in blood, bombarding Hitler’s allies with postcards.

The Nazi Terror

In order to launch his campaign of terror as quickly as possible, Hitler had the Reichstag, the building housing the legislature, burned down. He blamed this act of arson on the “Jewish communists.”

The legislature was dissolved. All democratic rights were suspended. Hitler won a smashing victory at the polls.

Now he had gathered a mass base strong enough to carry out the objective of his entire campaign. He put his program into effect.

He smashed every trade union in the country. Not one survived.

Not one.

Despite the fact that he was born in the Roman Catholic Church and admired its methods and institutions, he crushed even the Catholic trade unions. Like Mussolini, he understood that these unions were composed of workers, not priests, workers whether religious or non-religious.

He seized all the funds of the trade unions. Then he forced every man to join a Nazi union at the head of which sat an employer.

He melted down the statues of the great founders of Germany’s labor movement into bullets, and erected in their plate the Medieval chopping block. He showed absolutely no mercy. Blood flowed. Heads rolled in the gutter. Workers died under tortures that shocked the entire civilized world.

Some of the world’s finest libraries were gutted and the books heaped in the streets, drenched with oil and burned like witches at the stake.

Der Fuehrer lynched science and crucified art.

All the workers’ savings and insurance were confiscated by Der Fuehrer’s government.

Strikes were outlawed.

Wages were slashed as much as fifty per cent. Hours were lengthened all over Germany. The unemployed were herded into great concentration camps and worked like the slave armies of the Pharaohs, slowly starving to death on the vilest kind of rations.

Before 1933, swinging a sledge hammer on a boulder in chain gang rhythm would have been called “serving a prison sentence at hard labor.” Der Fuehrer called it “liquidating unemployment.”

Der Fuehrer compelled all workers to carry labor passports which the employer may keep if he wishes, even though the employee risk breaking the law and quit. Without that passport, no man can get a job.

Except for a heavy profit for Big Business, Der Fuehrer began pouring the entire wealth of the nation into the war machine. Even children of four and five are marched with wooden rifles under military instruction in Nazi Germany.

Der Fuehrer enacted laws giving the employers the right to shift men wherever they please in the nation at any wage and at any kind of work no matter what objections a worker might dare humbly whisper.

Of all the gilt and tinsel promises made by Hitler, he broke every one except this: he preserved PRIVATE PROPERTY.

(To be continued in next issue)


Last updated on: 13 March 2016