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Sam Marcy

Fascist ‘Christian Mobilizers’
Open Drive in New York City

(25 May 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. IV No. 21, 25 May 1940, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

The Fascist Christian Mobilizers have filed a notice with the police department that they intend to commence outdoor meetings during the month of May.

They intend to follow two new lines of demagogy in their campaign this summer, in addition to their usual anti-Semitic poison.

Their first line will be to exploit the anti-war sentiments of the masses, especially the Catholic masses, by palming off the war as a “Jewish plot of International Bankers.” The cue to this line was given to them by Coughlin long ago. It is significant to note in this connection, that the Catholic News, which has the approval of the Archbishop Spellman of New York, printed without comment sections of Coughlin’s Sunday broadcast in which he assumes the innocent role of the guardian of the peace.

Congressman Thorkelson of Montana, vicious anti-Semite, recently came here to address a meeting of Christian Mobilizers at Ebling Casino in the Bronx. It is said that he wove his story of international bankers, gold and Jews, so skillfully, that he had his hoodlum audience yelling for a pogrom.

Fascists Use Catholicism as a Cover

The other line of demagogy was exemplified at a meeting, called by the “Parents Defense Fund,” to protest the indictments of the 17 defendants, members of the Christian Front, who are now on trial in Brooklyn. In reality the Parents Defense Fund is nothing but a stooge for the Christian Front. The line was that “Catholics and Christians are being persecuted.” The Reverend Curran, head of the International Catholic Truth Society, and a rabid follower of Coughlin, openly spoke for the Christian Front. In commenting on some of the stories in the press about the trial of the Christian Fronters, Father Curran proposed to “surgically remove the malady” of a “free” press. The cry of “persecution of Catholics” is being skillfully cultivated by the Coughlin-Curran-Cassidy combination in the state and city government departments, especially in the New York City police department.

The cry of “persecution of Caholics” is never raised on behalf of Catholic workers, when they are clubbed by police during strikes, or brutally beaten at relief bureaus, or discharged for union activity, or dismissed from the WPA rolls. Coughlin’s poison sheet, Social Justice, or its miserable echo, in Brooklyn, the Tablet, have yet to raise their voice on behalf of Catholic workers! The Coughlin-Curran-Cassidy combination and its organized expression, the Christian Front and Christian Mobilizers, utilize Catholicism merely as a sanctimonious cover behind which they propagate the blackest reaction.

Why So Many Cops Are Coughlinites

It has been said that as many as a thousand members of the police force belong to the Christian Front. This is no secret to Police Commissioner Valentine or his “liberal” Chief, LaGuardia. To date they have done nothing to break up the organization except to address a questionnaire to the police force as to whether they belonged to the organization. This questionnaire naturally was nothing more than a sop to public opinion. It accomplished nothing except to cover up the Christian Front of the police department.

Perhaps it is not out of place here to explain exactly why so many members of the police force belong to the Christian Front.

During the so-called era of “prosperity,” graft and corruption flourished in the city of New York more than in any other city with the possible exception of Chicago. It fed a constantly growing network of racketeers, gangsters, and all sorts of underworld elements. But with the coming of the crisis they had to be “eliminated,” to some extent, as a “measure of economy.” The LaGuardia Administration in

conjunction with District Attorney Dewey made it their task to “cleanse” the city. Everyone knew of the irreparable connection between the underworld and the police department. To “cleanse” the latter, would expose and discredit in the eyes of the masses the “forces of Law and Order.”

Hence a different method was used – the method of “attrition,” i.e., quiet dismissal, resignation, and retirement. The police force became very jittery with each new exposé of the criminal underworld. A wave of suicides in the force totalled more than 100. With such a mood prevailing among the police, someone was bound to take up their defense. The Coughlin-Curran-Cassidy forces had their connections with the cops. They knew their sentiments, and fears. They took up the cudgels for them.

Results in Brutality Against Demonstrators

But they could not defend their case on the merits; hence the insidious campaign of a “Jewish plot,” persecuting “Catholic policemen,” and the “Jewish Communist-controlled government” who hold the cops back from performing their duty when reds “create riots.”

The last mentioned lie has become so widespread that Commissioner Valentine recently at a Communion Breakfast of the police department admonished the police “to be rough, tough, and as obnoxious as possible to hoodlums and gangsters.” The recent brutal assaults upon the demonstrators at the French Consulate and other places show that the cops understood the police chief only too well.

Thus the Coughlin-Curran-Cassidy combination has reason to believe that they will be amply “protected” by the police in their activities this summer.

The imperialist war abroad should not blind the workers to reaction at home. The answer of the workers to the Coughlin-Curran-Cassidy combination must be: Workers Defense Guards!

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