In its fight against Fascism in this country, the American Civil Liberties Union Friday sent out to its 4,000 members a survey of the “shirt” organization striving for a dictatorship along Fascist lines in the United States.
Travis Hoke, the New York journalist and sociologist, is the author of the pamphlet, called “Shirts!” Copies of the pamphlet were also submitted to the Congressional committee investigating Nazi propaganda in this country.
Together with the pamphlet the Civil Liberties Union has also mailed questionnaires to be answered and returned to them. Members are asked:
“Are there any public activities in your community of these ‘shirt’ organizations? Of German American Nazis? Do they drill with arms? What local organizations or newspapers combat them? Can the national office of the Union be of any service locally?”
VARIOUS “SHIRTS” DESCRIBED
“The aims of the movements differ,” the pamphlet says, “but they have these things in common with each other and with Hitler; they hate Communism, Democracy and Jews; they would establish dictatorships; and they address their appeal to ‘Christians.'”
“German-American Nazis,” the pamphlet says, “have been having considerable success among even second and third generation Germans, especially in New York, New Jersey and the Middle West. The Friends of New Germany have recently become much bolder in and around New York.”
“Most vocal, most wild-eyed and in some ways, most dangerous of the ‘shirt’ movements is the Silver Legion,” the Union declares. “Its devotees are anti-Catholic, anti-Negro, anti-Red, anti anything that a 200 per cent American could think up to be against, but they concentrate it all on anti-Semitism.”
Less fuzzy and mystic than the Silver Shirts are the White Shirts, militant branch of the Crusaders for Economic Liberty, organized in 1931, George W. Christians, of Chattanooga, Tenn., a gentleman who equals Pelley of the Silver Shirts in mass appeal and excels him in cynical humor, is the president.
HITS “INTELLECTUAL FRONT”
Other groups cited are the White Legion of Alabama, “an organization of labor spies and strikebreakers”; New York’s “Gray Shirts” or “Pioneers,’ with an appeal to professional patriots; the Khaki Shirts, once loud and boastful, now “folded away in the bottom drawer” with Art J. Smith, the leader, in jail for perjury, and the “boiled shirts” legion, presenting an intellectual front for Fascism, and including Seward Collins.
“And so countless, variegated groups move on toward Fascism. The loudest and the strongest appear the funniest, but so was Hitler funny once,” the pamphlet concludes.