Joseph Hansen

Stop Fascism in America!

Will Father Coughlin Become Dictator of the United States?

(September 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 65, 5 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.

(Eighth Installment)
Will It Happen In America?

For ten years a blighting depression has stifled production in the United States. In the great industrial sections, factories are running far below capacity. Many of them are practically idle. Around the plant gates, men rot waiting for jobs.

Unemployment rages in the land like a pestilence and a scourge.

Estimates of the number of unemployed vary from twelve to seventeen MILLION!

Warehouses are crammed with food, clothing, automobiles, building materials. Crops are destroyed, pigs slaughtered, cotton plowed under. The skeleton of hunger stalks through the richest land on the earth.

No one dares count the number who are starving.

The depression has shattered the future for youth under capitalism. Millions of young people each year leave school to pursue that mirage called a job in private industry. In the cities they pound pavement, make out fruitless applications, pore over the want-ads, learn all the bitterness that one word “sorry?’ can contain ... On the farms they stagnate, their future under capitalism as hopeless as the crops rotting in the fields.

The depression has laid ruin and bankruptcy on the door step of the small merchant. Taxes steadily increase. The chain stores have taken over his customers. The depression has eaten like a corroding acid into the fixed salaries of the white collar workers. Cut after cut has been forced upon them to “help” the company out of its inability to keep paying out the old rate of profit. Files are crammed with applications from skilled men ready to work for anything.

The depression has taken away the income of doctors, dentists, and other professional people. It has forced them into a quiet grave in the back office of some giant corporation, or left them stranded with a heap of bills in an office that no one ever visits. Their clothing begins to reveal the seedy appearance of failure.

The depression has placed the housewife on a wrack of torture. Dwindling pennies must be stretched endlessly into rent, meals, clothes and shoes for the children, doctor bills. The fear of unemployment hangs over the home like a death sentence.

Food prices and sales taxes rise relentlessly.

The depression has cut hundreds of thousands of small farmers away from their land. They wander like pariahs from the middle west to California where they are lashed with all the land-owner prejudice that once was wielded against the Chinese, the Japanese, the Filipinos, the Mexicans ...

The depression has brought those who own their farms into slavery under the whiplash of the Big Banks – the mortgage doesn’t hang on the wall like the shot gun but it is far more deadly. And the farmer and his family live off the vegetable patch, worry about cash for clothes, seed, repairs to the farm machinery. In the evening for cheap recreation they thumb through the only touch of prosperity in the house – a shiny mail order catalog filled with glistening pictures of modern conveniences, stylish clothes, deluxe radios, canned dainties – all the goods which jam the warehouses of the bankers and overlords of industry.

The depression has wound the speed-up to an unendurable tension, slashed wages, lengthened hours, regimented the industrial worker into an industrial slave. Chained to a belt-line, he strains every nerve and muscle to keep going with the speed-up. Labor spies report every careless word; every time the boss passes by with a mouth as sour and profit-conscious as the company cash register it may mean the last pay check. Outside in the streets, those who worked last year gaze with hungry and desperate eyes ... If the boss finally goads the workers into taking action, then it is strike-breakers, thugs, tear gas, maybe a bullet.

The depression has struck the security of old age like a consuming sword. How many look forward to old age with assurance in the United States? No job. No pension. Relatives too poor to sponge on. Try to get on relief! Every day the newspapers report what want in the midst of plenty means to the old people – a rope, gas, a leap from a building ...

Should only those born into the wealth of the Sixty Families enjoy the right to live like human beings?


A small handful of people – the Sixty Families – plug the horn of plenty which could pour out untold wealth for America’s working people.

Despite the fact that markets are glutted even now, the big basic industries owned by the Sixty Families have re-conditioned their plants for super-production. During the past five or six years they have streamlined their mills and plants with the latest word in machinery. One man does the work it took scores to do even a few short years ago.

But this does not make a market where goods can be sold at a profit. The interest on the investments of Big Business is rapidly reaching zero.

It is a life and death matter for Big Business to slash wages, lengthen hours, and to do so in the near future.

The democratic form of capitalist government as represented by Roosevelt has confessed its bankruptcy. Of all its boasted attempts to help the Forgotten Man, nothing remains but a drive to convert him into the Unknown Soldier.

The “NEW DEAL” that Roosevelt promised the Forgotten Man turned out to be a RAW DEAL. Now Roosevelt’s brain trust is trying one last trick with the alphabet. They have taken the word, “RAW,” and spelled it backwards. That makes it Roosevelt’s WAR DEAL.

But what will democratic capitalism do after the war has ended? Does it plan another League of Nations? Another World Court at the Hague? Another Versailles Treaty?

In Italy King Victor called Mussolini to Rome.

In Germany President Hindenburg called Hitler to Berlin.

In America?

Perhaps it will happen before the war breaks.

(Continued in Next Issue)


Last updated on: 13 March 2016