MIA: History: ETOL: Document: Education for Socialist Bulletin: The Fight Against Fascism in the USA 7.

Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line

—Socialist Workers Party [US] Education for Socialist Bulletins—

The Fight Against Fascism in the USA

Coughlin Delivers Fascist Blast Against Workers Defense Guards

By Joseph Hansen

Reprinted from the July 14, 1939, issue of Socialist Appeal

In a violent one-hour tirade last Sunday over his nationwide radio hookup, Father Coughlin attacked the formation of antifascist union guards, as if he feared that any minute they might mop up the fascist gangs he is organizing.

Father Coughlin’s attack was specifically directed against Harry Milton’s proposal to Local 66 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union that they

organize Antifascist Union Guards. Coughlin’s attack on Milton should dispel the last doubt which might linger in anyone’s mind that Father Coughlin is deliberately planning to introduce fascism in America.

This attack proves once and for all that Father Coughlin realizes perfectly that antifascist union guards are the ONE FORCE which can stop him cold.

Father Coughlin began his bitter and slanderous attack against the formation of antifascist union guards by reading over the air a resolution which had been introduced in Local 66 of the ILGWU by one of its prominent members, Harry Milton.

Union Guard Resolution

The resolution urges the ILGWU immediately to organize an antifascist union guard in order to defend itself from fascist groups and preserve the democratic rights and civil liberties of labor.

The resolution is now under consideration by the International Executive Board of the ILGWU.

Father Coughlin slandered Harry Milton throughout his entire period on the air, asserting that Milton “marched against the people of Spain” under the domination of the Stalinists.

Milton’s Actual Record

Harry Milton served with the Independent Labour Party contingent of the 29th Division of the Loyalist Army, heroically defending on the battlefields the Spanish

workers against the attack of General Franco’s fascist legions. Milton was arrested by the GPU Stalinist secret service—and imprisoned with hundreds of his fellow militiamen, anarchists, socialists, and other militants. Only by the narrowest of margins did he escape death at the hands of Stalin’s GPU.

In introducing the resolution in Local 66 of the ILGWU which was attacked by Coughlin, Milton stated:

“We must not wait until our own union is broken into and smashed by fascist gangs, as they will attempt tomorrow or the day after, but to stop the fascists now, wherever they attempt to deprive any workers or workers’ organization of its constitutional rights.”

“The Coughlin gangsters have already broken into a workers’ headquarters—the Debs School—and have succeeded in breaking up numerous meetings of labor organizations in the city. Last week they tried to break up an American Labor Party meeting where Michael Quill, president of the Transport Workers Union, was the speaker. Fortunately, the transport workers were prepared.”

A few weeks ago beside the above-mentioned attacks against labor, the Coughlinites knifed a school teacher on 14th Street in New York City and attempted to break into the headquarters of the Socialist Workers Party, knifing an antifascist who was on guard.

Father Coughlin fears the formation of antifascist labor guards more than any other single force which might attempt to stop him in his plans to thug his way to fascist power in America.

“Only one thing could have broken our movement—if the adversary had understood its principle and from the first day had smashed, with the most extreme brutality, the nucleus of our movement.” (Hitler)

“If the enemy had known how weak we were, it would probably have smashed us to jelly. . . . It would have crushed in blood the very beginning of our work.”


Coughlin understands that the formation of antifascist union guards will prevent him from introducing fascism in America!

That is why he opposes the formation of antifascist union guards with such a deadly fear.