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Shirley Lawrence

Home-Grown Fascism at Work in U.S.

(30 July 1945

From Labor Action, Vol. IX No. 31, 30 July 1945, p. 4
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

It is about time the people of this country sat up and took notice of the pernicious and reactionary native fascist groups in their own country, instead of allowing all their attention to be directed to foreign brands of fascism. Fascism is not a local phenomenon, but has an international character; it feeds on economic chaos, and since capitalism cannot guarantee economic security, freedom, or peace, the danger of fascism is universal.

It is no wonder the people of the United States visualize their country as a land of the free and the brave. Capitalist propaganda tries with all its might and main, through the school, press, radio, movies, church, and other propaganda means to permeate all with its hypocritical and misleading philosophy that the United States has always been in the right, and a champion of the downtrodden and oppressed, that the peoples of this country are free and equal. –Yes, free to be killed in war and to be jobless, and starve and live in slums, in eras of unemployment and depressions. And equal ... but who does believe that? Surely not those whose crime is that they’ve been born with a black skin.

Fascism is latent in all capitalist economies. When the owners of the industries can no longer earn profits because of the restrictions and contradictions inherent in capitalism, which creates economic crises and depressions, and which cannot develop any further without planning, they see a way out in fascism. Because under a totalitarian rule, they have a tight grip on wages, hours and working conditions.

Hypocrisy of Fascism

Fascism in all countries has always been financed by big business, although it skillfully disguises itself at first by pretending to be anti-capitalist, even revolutionary. That is how it attempts to gain adherents. It promises everything to everybody. Hitler and Mussolini before gaining power, talked of the workers’right to strike, of workers’ participation in management, of the sacredness of trade unions, and the necessity for realizing the basic aims of socialism. Fascist propaganda often sounded more left than that of its mild socialist opponents.

But the workers are the first to be deprived of their rights. They became regimented under the fascist regimes and lost all of their hard-won gains. Their trade unions were mercilessly smashed. It is a lie that the German workers supported Hitler; he received only 43% of the vote in the Reichstag elections on March 5, 1933, in spite of all the terror methods used to gain support. His vote came from the middle class and reactionary groups. The workers, who hated fascism and wanted to fight against [it], were betrayed by their leadership, who sought to fight Hitler by “legal means.”

The further accomplishments of German or Italian fascism do not need re-telling.

That the United States is not immune to fascist ideology is attested by the bizarre assortment of native fascist parties in this country, headed by such rabble-rousers as Father Coughlin, Huey Long, Gerald L.K. Smith, W. Lee O’Daniel, Gene Talmadge, etc.

We, Labor Action, previously reported on the activities of the most recent sect – the Nationalist movement. At present, Sen. Reynolds’ Nationalists and Smith’s American Firsters, capitalizing on prejudice and discontent, are embroiled in a fury of recruiting activity, and attempting to unite all of the dissident crack-pot groups on the West Coast into ah organization which they hope will become a dominant force in American politics. The Nationalists are preparing to make a bid for Congressional seat sin the elections of 1946. With a program of racial hatred, exploitation of labor strife, and glorification of dictatorship, they expect to gather enough strength by 1948 to influence the presidential election.

Fascism on the March

Recent exposures have revealed the activities in Cleveland and elsewhere, of Joe McWilliams (alleged “seditionist” and friend of Fritz Kuhn, former leader of the German-American, Nazi Bund), and of J. Victor Malone, Mr. Reynolds’ representative, both of whom are soliciting industrial contributions for the Nationalists.

Evidence has also been accumulated by Eugene Segal of the World Telegram, showing a scheme of operation and organization indicating similarity to the methods by which Hitler’s Nazis rose to power. The Nationalists have started a campaign of infiltrating the ranks of groups which may have a real or fancied grievance against the federal administration and its policies.

They have taken over a Midwest farmers’ organization –the National Farmers Guild, which is composed of a large percentage of former followers of the Reverend Coughlin.

Their henchmen are moving into key spots in labor unions. Some of them are establishing cells in Detroit auto factories, and in CIO and AFL unions as well as the United Mine Workers Union,

Foremost among the groups active on the labor front are the United Sons of America, a revival of the old Ku Klux Klan, with headquarters in Detroit, whose members are, getting into stewards’jobs in union shops. The organization is moving against Negroes and the unions. With a large number of Negroes working in war plants, Detroit will become a danger spot as the Nationalist movement develops. The United Sons distributed anti-Negro propaganda before the Negro race riot in June 1943.

They have formed two veteran’s organization, which are holding out bait to attract returning servicemen.

They have started a youth movement which they claim is represented in seven Midwestern states, and which is called the Christian Youth for America.

They have won the affiliation of certain church groups and have the backing of an old, established theological seminary, which preaches a hate creed in the school’s official publication.

Through allied organizations, the party is bidding for the support of small business.

It is making common cause with some American foreign language groups from countries which have been occupied by Russian forces.

Several monetary organizations are associated with Smith and other Nationalists.

Even men under indictment on charges of sedition, were contacted by Reynolds’ representatives.

The Nationalists are anti-Negro, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, anti-foreigner, as the situations demand, but apparently they will accept any convenient alliance.

(Part II – Next Week)

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