Joseph Hansen

Stop Fascism in America!

Will Father Coughlin Become Dictator of the United States?

(September 1939)

Source: Socialist Appeal, Vol. III No. 67, 9 September 1939, p. 3.
Transcription/HTML Markup: 2016 by Einde O’Callaghan.
Public Domain: Joseph Hansen Internet Archive 2016; This work is completely free. In any reproduction, we ask that you cite this Internet address and the publishing information above.

(Tenth Installment)

What is a corporate state?

According to the Fascist and Nazi “theoreticians” it is a state in which both capitalists and workers “submerge” their conflicting interests and submit to the will of the “state” as embodied in the person of the dictator.

This pretty theory has not yet been put into practice in either Germany or Italy. In each of these countries the dictator is an agent of the capitalists and all of his actions have been directed against the workers.

Corporate State means in practice the ABSOLUTE RULE OF THE CAPITALISTS.

Father Coughlin, the Radio Priest, wants a state in America like the corporate state of Mussolini and the corporate state of Hitler.

“Today the outposts of Germany are the frontiers of our civilization.” (Broadcast, March 24, 1935)

Father Coughlin, the Radio Priest, wishes to import the Middle Ages to modern United States. In issue after issue of Social Justice, he praises dictator-ridden Portugal to the heavens arid holds it up as a model state. Portugal, he explains, 2as once governed under “Christian principles,” that is, the principles of the Roman Catholic Church.

This happy land of feudal barons and miserable serfs was disrupted by the French revolution of 1789 – but now thanks to Dictator Salazar, “the world’s outstanding Christian statesman ... who has founded the new Portuguese State, as a firm bulwark against Bolshevism, upon principles of Christian Social Justice” (Social Justice, June 5, 1939, p. 24) the old state of affairs has been restored. Happy Portugal! To wipe out even the capitalist revolution that overthrew feudalism!

“What Portugal has accomplished America can accomplish, particularly since we have plenty available.” (Discourse of May 22, 1939. Quoted in Social Justice, June 5, 1939, p. 7.)

“If we would find a near parallel to Salazar’s Portugal we must go to the high middle ages: the, Christian monarch, hierarchy, property resting on social sanctions, custom, duties and social Justice. But in the Middle Ages we had unity of religion, a totalitarian religion.”

Small wonder that Father Coughlin, the Radio Priest, has never been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church!

The Radio Priest’s public program leaves an odor in its wake astonishingly like that of the public programs of Il Duce and Der Fuehrer before they reached power.

The Radio Priest attacks “loan capital,” the “international bankers,” the “non-religious Jews,” the “Bolshevik” leaders of the trade unions. He advocates the government taking over the trade unions (interview published in the Detroit Times, October 10, 1934). He attacks the “reds,” the “socialists,” who he says are not at all different from Roosevelt and democratic capitalism. He attacks “majority rule.” (He advocates a “just living annual wage,” “monetary reforms,” “labor’s right to organize,” “broadened basis of taxation on capacity to pay,” “lower taxes,” “conscription of wealth in event of war,” and preservation of PRIVATE PROPERTY.

Would the Radio Priest keep his promises if he gained power?

Let his own words satisfy that question with all the finality of a funeral knell:

“Practically all the sixteen principles of social justice are being put into practice in Italy and Germany.” (Social Justice, February 13, 1939, p. 7)

Coughlin Favors War and the Army

Now that the great wave of Roosevelt’s popularity has subsided and the people fear that Roosevelt is preparing to enter the war, the Radio Priest turns out golden phrases against the war beast.

But these dabs of anti-war paint don’t hide the cloven hoof of his real program.

Coughlin favors a war machine and the declaration of war.

“A policy of decent preparedness must prevail. Our people mast be protected even at the cost of our lives from unjust aggressors. This shall always be the policy of every American citizen who is ready to lay down his life in a war of self-defense.” (Discourse entitled, The Next War, Father Coughlin’s Radio Discourses, 1931–1932, p. 129)

That is the professional war-monger’s propaganda without so much as a covering fig-leaf. No ruler of a nation ever began a war without telling the suckers that it was in “self-defense” and that the enemy was the “aggressor.”

“In no sense, my fellow Americans, do I wish to be accused of being a pacifist. To quote Gerald W. Johnson, who wrote in Harper’s Magazine last November: ‘I took no part in the “No More War”demonstrations of a few years ago.’” (Discourse entitled, The Next War, Father Coughlin’s Radio Discourses, 1931–1932, p. 138)

”Social Justice” by that or any other American name it chooses would not be different in its essentials from Fascism in Italy or Nazism in Germany.

If the Radio Priest gains power in the United States, his military expenditures will make Roosevelt’s multi-billion dollar army look like a troop of Boy Scouts playing cops and robbers. Stop Fascism in America!

The postcard campaign against Fascism has started. Many people have written to the Chief of Police and the Mayor of New York “demanding” that the police force because of its rank partiality and favoritism toward the Coughlinites be “purged;” and that the “democratic officials” strip the Coughlin movement of “every last vestige of power.” (See The Nation, July 22, 1939)

(Continued in Next Issue)


Last updated on: 13 March 2016