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Susan Green

Would-Be Fuehrers on Display:

Who’s Who in U.S. Fascists

(5 April 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 14, 5 April 1942, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Let no worker think that the Coughlinites and Nazi-fascists of other names have folded their tents and stolen away. They are carrying on their dirty work of spreading Nazi propaganda. The methods of these enemies of the working class are the approved Hitlerian ones of anti-Semitism and lying demagogy.

A worker must realize that in the very nature of fascism it will not voluntarily fold up. Only the worker, can prevent it from accomplishing its aim of annihilating the unions and the whole working class movement. The ruling class will not do the job for the very good reason that fascism is created to serve the ruling class.

The truth is not altered by the fact that the authorities are now jailing a few American Nazis. In the present military clash of German and American imperialism, the immediate interests of the ruling class are connected with winning the war. So the Nazi propagandists who go “too far” are silenced.

What Churchill Said About Hitler

But the true attitude of the ruling class toward Hitlerism was enunciated on November 6, 1938, by Mr. Winston Churchill – who today declares himself a democrat second to none – in these words:

“I have always said that if Britain were defeated in war, I hoped that we would find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful place among nations.”

The only addition to be made to the above is that those capitalists who are depending on fascism for salvation do not rely on FINDING a Hitler. They make sure that there WILL BE a horde of fascists and a generalissimo.

Just whom they are grooming for Hitler’s role in this country is still a secret. But it is no secret that many aspire to the honor – and are building up their following. The ex-Bundists, the Coughlinites, Christian Fronters and Christian Mobilizers, the Pelleyites and Shifters of various colors, and the Ku Klux Klan are the raw material for the Storm Troopers of on American Hitler – who would trample on the Jews arid destroy the strength and independence of labor.

The propaganda of these Nazi organizations had no effect on the American working class when they came out in their true cnolors. Whe/i the Nazi McWilliams screamed: “I want to do in America what Hitler has done in Germany,” a few hoodlums applauded. No worker wants his unions destroyed, his civil rights taken away and the iron heel on his neck – on the Hitler pattern. Neither will a worker swap Solidarity Forever for the Horst Wessel Lied of racial hatred.

It was only when the Nazi devils pulled in their horns and sprouted wings in the America First movement of pre-Pearl Harbor days, that they became more dangerous to the working class. Some workers opposed to war joined the Firsters, not realizing that it harbored the American Nazis – their worst enemies. Some Irish-American workers, having | tasted the butt end of British imperialism and not desiring to fight for it, unwittingly made common cause with the agents of Nazi imperialism, in the America First movement.

None of these misguided workers knew that the phrase “America First” was originally used way back in 1934 at the same time that “Britain First” became the slogan of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists. “America First” was then incorporated and set up with headquarters in Washington. James True was made director. His offices became a clearing house for anti-Semitic and pro-Hitler propaganda. This is the same True who obtained a patent for a special nightstick which he called a “kike killer.” It might also have been called a “unionist killer.”

When war broke out in Europe, the Nazis here saw their chance to serve the cause of Nazism by infiltrating into isolationist groups. Many of the real activists of America First were the Nazi-fascists.

It is a well known fact that John T. Flynn, chairman of the Manhattan chapter of America First – an isolationist, and not a fascist – denounced the Nazi, Joseph McWilliams, before an audience of 22,000 in Madison Square Garden. But what is not so widely know is this: When Father Coughlin turned a furious barrage against Flynn, for his attack on McWilliams, General Robert E. Wood, national head of America First, sided with Coughlin. In a letter published in Coughlin’s falsely named Social Justice, the general wrote:

“Replying to your letter of July 5th, I have not rejected the Christian Social Justice movement. I welcome their support of our common objective ...”

It isn’t hard; to guess who was the real boss of the America Firsters. And Coughlin is no friend of the American workers.

Like Maggots in Rotten Meat

Throughout the country, from New York to Los Angeles, the American Nazis infested the America First movement like maggots on rotten meat. In Los Angeles, for instance, Benjamin F. Bullard, organizer of the American Guards, which sponsors abolition of labor unions in Hitler style, was chairman of a chapter of America First.

In Chicago, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, Donald Shea, Nazi leader of the Jew-hating National Gentile League, was an energetic Firster. In Detroit and Philadelphia America First rallies featured the Rev. Gerald L.K. Smith, a member of Pelley’s Silver Shirt League – a militarist organization based on the storm trooper model, that has “distinguished” itself by anti-strike activity.

In the South and elsewhere the Ku Klux Klan was distributing its poisonous literature with that of the America First committee. Throughout the heyday of this fraudulent movement the poison presses of the Nazis were working overtime, and filthy fascist propaganda was widely circulated along with official America First literature.

It is vitally necessary for the workers to understand the composition of America First. Though officially the Firsters are now dissolved, the fascist forces that utilized it as a COVER to strengthen themselves, definitely are not. They are today using the mass contacts they made through America First to spread their gangrenous ideology. Workers must be on their guard.

Another word, therefore, on who financed the fascist-infested America First movement. This will complete the picture and tie up with the introductory remarks to the effect that the capitalists build up the nazi movements everywhere.

Big Business Behind Movement

Writing under the name John Roy Carlson, an undercover man in the Nazi-fascist movement of America, reported in the American Mercury:

“Ernest T. Weir [the steel magnate of bloody fame] is known to have given heavily. Thomas N. McCarter, former chairman of the Public Service Corp. of New Jersey, is another heavy donor. H.L. Stuart, president of the leading investment house in the Midwest, is a financial supporter and so is Sterling Morton. The wealthy meat packer, Jay C. Hornel, has given liberally, as have Mrs. Janet Ayer Fairbanks and Max Wellington Babb, president of Allis-Chalmers. A glance at this list makes it apparent that the movement is backed by a small clique of industrialists and big business men.”

Militant workers have had first-hand experience with the Hitler-like anti-labor tactics of such industrialists as bloody Weir and the die-hard bosses of Allis-Chalmers. The iron heel of a Hitler on labor’s neck is their idea of a bosses’ paradise. Apparently they are willing to pay for it.

Just as before Pearl Harbor the American Nazis capitalized on the anti-war sentiment in the country, today they are busy employing, for their own blackguardly purposes, the discontents bred by the war.

The America Firsters officially dissolved themselves with the official declaration of war – in name, at least. The elements dangerous to the working class, comprising the ex-Bundists, Coughlinites, Christian Fronters, Christian Mobilizers, Silver Shirts and Ku Klux Klan, are very much in evidence.

Their blatant propaganda circulates all over the country. It emanates from the various vile publications of the veteran Nazi, William D. Pelley. Pelley’s The Galilean is printed on expensive paper, is profusely illustrated and bears evidence of plenty of financial backing.

George W. Christians – now under indictments – heading the Crusader White Shirts of Chattanooga, Tenn., is another source from which spreads the poison of Hitlerism.

Father Coughlin – whose radio speeches at one time paralled German Nazi utterances almost word for word – in his falsely named Social Justice – with subtlety and cynicism misinforms and misguides his followers.

Out of the industrial town of Wichita, Kan., comes Publicity, publicizing the Nazi cause. From Haverhill, Mass., Destiny rattles the chains of Hitlerite slavery. From Muncie, Ind., The X-Ray reveals nothing but the fascist aims of its publishers.

The above is by no means the whole list of the American Nazi poison propaganda press, but only a rough idea of its extent. It bears all the earmarks of generous financial backing. Some of the filthy lucre undoubtedly comes from Dr. Goebbels – some of the “clique of industrialists and big business men” in America who hate labor’s guts.

The next article in this series will be an analysis of the widespread Nazi propaganda. Their anti-Semitism, their fake criticism of the “plutocratic” war, their call for assassination and violence, their pretended opposition to the “bankers and princes of privilege” – all will be put under the searchlight of working class interests.

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Last updated: 8 September 2014