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Susan Green

Would-Be Fuehrers on Display:

Here’s How to Smash Fascists

(26 April 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 17, 26 April 1942, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

In the issues of Labor Action of April 5, 12 and 19, the anti-labor fascist movement of this country – financed and backed by American industrialists whose ideal for this country is a Nazi totalitarian regime – has been exposed. Not only the “who’s who” of American fascism, but the “why” of the movement as a weapon of decaying capitalism against labor, has been explained.

Furthermore, the various angles of fascist propaganda have been analyzed and shown to be the rankest demagogy, designed to fool workers into sympathy with a movement to enslave them.

This final article of our series deals with the methods by which the Coughlins, Pellys, Kullgrens and other would-be American Hitlers hope to accomplish their barbarous aims. And most important of all, this article also outlines a program for stopping in their tracks these enemies of labor, of the Jews, of the Negroes, of society as a whole.

Fascist Objective Is Complete Political Control

The first thing that must be understood is that the American fascists are not conducting debating societies for letting off steam. They mean business, just as Hitler meant business. Their objective is to gain political and military control of this land.

In its issue of September 1, 1941, Coughlin’s Social Justice editorially “predicted” the future hoped for by every American fascist:

“The National Socialists in America – organized under that or some other name – eventually will take control of government on this continent ... We predict ... the end of democracy in America.”

“National Socialist” is the name demoniacally adopted by Hitler for his Nazi Party, with intent to fool German workers. The unscrupulous and shameless use of the word “socialist” in connection with the “end of democracy” is typical of the filthy nature of all fascist demagogy. For the aim of true socialism is to take democracy out of the realm of wishful thinking and make it a reality for the masses.

However, as Social Justice stated, by any name the purpose is the same. The American fascists are not mincing words. They ore out to get power, to become the political rulers, to settle the labor question in the Hitler way.

Promise All Things to All Men

As was emphasized in prior articles, the fascists promise all things to all men, like the quack who will cure everything from toothache to cancer with a bottle of colored water. They likewise organize in any and all ways that will bring them nearer the throne of power. They create a nucleus of fanatics for violent mob action, to be directed against the Jews and against labor organizations. But to lure the vast majority who do not approve of mob violence, they will form a political party and pretend to use legal methods.

The same issue of Social Justice that predicted the conquest of power by the American fascists and the end of democracy, also predicted. the establishment of a political party to help accomplish this end. “We predict,” reads the editorial in Social Justice, “an attempt to establish a National Socialist Party in America, with emphasis on the word ‘nationalist.’” It is well known that when the Coughlinites use the word “nationalist” it is a synonym for “fascist.”

Thus will the American fascist gorillas clothe themselves in legality. When asked in 1930 by a Leipzig court whether he intended to follow only “legal methods,” Hitler is reported to have answered, without hesitation, “Certainly!” We all know now hpw legal were Hitler’s barbarous methods of blood and fire. The American fascists follow the methods of their master mind. If they are permitted to exist and gain a following, they will organize a political party to coax the legal-minded into their spider’s web. Let the wprkers be on the alert for such “legal methods.”

A Nest-Egg for America’s Fascists

As yet, however, the fascists have not formed a political party. Fascist leaders are organizing along different lines. There is every indication of an underground movement. In a prior article we quoted from secret instructions issued to the fanatical followers of fascism. There is, however, a much wider grouping that the fascists here are drawing upon, namely, the America First movement. This movement – now officially dissolved – was a nest-egg for America’s fascists.

Under cover of its legality, an organization was being shaped along military lines. Key workers – mostly out-and-out fascists – were designated as “generals.” An undercover man in the American fascist underworld has made public an Emergency Bulletin sent to chapter heads of America First some months before Pearl Harbor. It reveals the military set-up employed by the America Firsters:

“Each general’s assignment is to get ten ‘colonels,’ who, in turn, will get ten ‘captains,’ who, in turn will get ten ‘lieutenants.’ Under this plan of action, you or the mail marshall appointed by you, should be able to phone each general, each general in turn, his or her ten colonels, each colonel his or her ten captains, and each captain his or her ten lieutenants, all in one day’s time.”

Nobody wise to fascist maneuvering supposed for a moment that the American gang, so instrumental in building the America First movement with its military set-up, have allowed it to disappear. They have been utilizing it right along.

Now comes more proof. One Horace Haase, fascist head of the Brooklyn speakers’ bureau of America First, has promoted an organization called “Americans for Peace.” The aim of Americans for Peace is, of course, to convert Americans to fascism. According to Life, April 13 issue, the entire America First set-up is being employed.

“In private conversation Haase has explained how this would be done. Small ‘peace’ groups, led by comparative unknowns, are to be organized in various localities. They will carry on their work locally and not seek to form a national organization. They will carry different names and appeal to all kinds of political prejudice. Haase has used the Brooklyn mailing list of America First to circularize over 400 chapter chairmen and other leaders of this movement.”

Social Justice’s Instructions

America’s fascist leaders are furthermore directing their followers to join all kinds of war organizations. Social Justice has published such gems as: “There is another shortage with which we are concerned. It is the shortage of Christian Americans inside patriotic organisaitions.” And again: “What will happen to the Christian future of America ... Therefore, Americans, Social Justice advises you to get into every patriotic organization in America.” By “Christian Americans” they really mean “anti-labor, anti-Semitic, anti-Negro fascists.”

To summarize the organizational methods of the Coughlins and Pelleys: If they are permitted to gain strength they will hlossom out into a political party, as Hitler’s Nazis did. This will give them prestige and the eloak of legality. In the meantime they follow devious open and underground ways of spreading their poisonous doctrines and building a following. Their ace of spades as the war continues will be their fake “peace” propaganda and various fake “peace” movements, to cash in on the growing popular yearning for peace.

They will also “bore within” every organization they can get into. They will, furthermore, form phony “workers’ organizations” like fhe fascist National Workers League in Detroit – which reactionary outfit has distinguished itself by attempting to incite white working people against their brothers of darker skin.

How to Stop the American Fascist Menace

Can the American workers nip the fascist movement here in the bud? They not only can – they must. It is their job to stop the fascists in their tracks. Don’t think Attorney General Biddle is going to do it.

To be sure, the government will put some fascist leaders behind bars, and no worker will be sorry to see them there. Some of the filthy fascist sheets will be suppressed, and nobody but the fascists will miss them. But such measures are being taken against the American fascists only because the government believes they are impeding the war effort – and for no other reason.

In the post-war period, when the expected depression and chaos set in, when more industrialists and scions of America’s ‘’Sixty Families” use their war profits to finance the fascist movement here, what then? Will the government stamp out the fascist movement supported by the pillars of capitalist society? Will it not help capital keep itself in power by smashing labor?

The republican government of Germany allowed Hitler’s gangs of Storm Troopers – financed by the industrialist Thyssen and others – to be organized under its very nose. The same thing happened in Italy. When it comes to a choice between the fascists and the workers establishing a socialist order of society, the capitalist government invariably aids and abets the fascists.

Hitler’s Important Confession

Hitler has confessed: ‘’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 new movement.” And his side-kick Goebbels declared: “If the enemy had know how weak we were, it would have crushed in blood the very beginning of our work.”

Obviously, the capitalist republic of Germany, with the police and military forces at its command, could have ended the Nazi movement at will. Ah, but here’s the rub – the republican government of Germany was NOT the adversary and enemy of Hitler’s movement.

When Hitler and Goebbels referred to their adversary and enemy they meant the workers, labor unions and labor’s political organizations. They knew they had nothing to fear from the republican government. But they did fear labor.

The American workers have it from the very leaders of German Nazism that THE WORKERS could have crushed Nazism. That is the lesson the American working class must learn regarding fascism – only the working class can crush it.

While this war is raging among world imperialisms, the workers must not forget that the source of American fascism is right here. Outstanding fascist leaders may be put in jail, but the industrialists behind them are making plenty of war profits to finance a more powerful fascist movement for post-war use.

Labor Action, therefore, calls upon the American workers to fight the fascist movement in this country.

We Must Ferret Out the Fascist Rats

Every worker must be able to smell a fascist a mile away. Every union local must ferret out these groups of fascist rats, and at union meetings and in union papers expose them for what they are and for what they do.

Every local union must make itself ready to defend its headquarters, its press, its leaders, its militant members, against fascist mob violence”. Every working class neighborhood must be prepared to protect itself against fascist attacks. Every Jewish neighborhood and every Negro neighborhood must do likewise. The workers must stand solidly behind the Jews, the Negroes and every racial minority. In doing so they defend their own basic interests against a common enemy.

On the political field an independent class-conscious labor party is imperative. Labor must win the political power away from the politicians who are the lackeys of the capitalist class. Neither Roosevelt nor Willkie is an insurance against the spread of American fascism.

The salvation of the Jews and the Negroes is bound up with the salvation of the working class. Jewish and Negro workers should know this. Jewish and Negro small-business and professional people who struggle along for a living must learn this. Capitalism throughout the world is Sat the cross-roads. If the American workers allow capitalism here to take the road to fascism, the Jews, the Negroes and all the workers will be the victims. If the workers take the lead, turning society onto the progresive road to socialism, there will not longer be a racial problem.

Labor Action calls on all the oppressed to join with the workers in the fight against the American fascist movement.

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Last updated: 8 September 2014