The following is the first of a series of articles, “This Fascist Racket,” by Mr. McGrady, exposing, from the inside, the workings of a typical Fascist organization here and revealing, through publication of the Fascist “chieftain’s” correspondence, how and in what manner these racial rackets are operated. The series will appear daily in the Jewish Daily Bulletin.
Some weeks ago George W. Christians, commander-in-chief of the Crusader White Shirts, president of the Crusaders for Economic Liberty, leader of “The American Reds” and “The American Fascists,” and, in private life, a hydraulic construction engineer, invited me to visit his headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The invitation developed out of my request for information to be used in a series of articles which has recently been published under the title, “Fascism In America.”
Christians is a disciple of that extraordinary school of thought which holds that “Every Knock Is a Boost,” and that “No News Is Bad News.” He magnanimously invited me to “watch us work, go through our files, and read our correspondence.” This I did, and according to my way of thinking there will be some blushing in high office, perhaps a deportation or two, and some confusion in the ranks of the White Shirts as a result of publication of my findings.
The commander-in-chief lost little time in informing me that I had been summoned to his “national capitol” in Chattanooga to be used for publicity purposes. Throughout the course of the days we spent together he indicated a ruthless disregard for the feelings and embarrassment of his supporters, the confidence of whom, he said, he was willing to barter for such publicity as he might receive here. He is welcome to the publicity.
When Christians fixed me rather sternly with those dictatorial blue eyes of his and announced, “I have invited you here to be used for my cause,” I was somewhat taken back by the man’s frankness. It must be said that I had full appreciation of the designs of this self-styled Fascist leader before I ventured on the Chattanooga trip, but, nevertheless, I was non-pulsed at the brazenness of the dictator, a bold frankness which I experienced continually during my stay at the “Fascist national capitol.” There were, of course, a few unavoidable gestures of evasiveness on his part, but these were overcome by the force of the utterly congenial and thoroughly frank direct question-and-answer relationship which marked the general course of this remarkable interview.
HARD TO GET
There was, for instance, Christians’ somewhat conquettish refusal to pose for pictures.
“You can have my picture, but you’ll have to snap it without my knowledge,” said the dictator of the White Shirts. Apparently, he had read somewhere that hard-to-get pictures of evasive personalities are most valuable both to newspapers and the reading public.
The commander later came around readily enough. He posed in White Shirt trappings with his arm extended in a form of a Hitler salute and with a revolver.
While Christians appears to be a fairly personable individual and superficially normal in so many ways as to belie the queer mentality that motivates his behaviour, he has been visited with two outstanding complexes. The first is the most magnificent ego ever encountered by this reporter in a normal American, and this shall be discussed throughout the account. The other is a psychosis that assumes a pernicious envisionment of large and small conspiracies. To the man, few occurrences come about as an act of God or as a natural consequence. There is some devilment behind every development to his way of reckoning.
Hence it was that toward the close of our conversations he asked me quite openly whether I really had come there as a reporter for the Jewish Daily Bulletin or at the behest of some band of scheming Jews, who desired to keep their identity secret. He did not refer to the group by the name that has recently become so very common in the Semitic, anti-Semitic, and general press, but by implication he made clear the reference was directed toward the mythical “International Jewish Money Bund.”
I think this discussion of Christians’ movement is justified, primarily, because it may afford the reader some share of the education and amusement experienced by the writer in gaining the material and in writing it. While it would be a mortal sin of the blackest calibre to help promote such theories of bloodshed and unsound economics as Christians advocates, there must lie in the American people sufficient reason to understand this scheme of the type of anti-Democratic conspiracy that prevails throughout the country and to be wary of those who set themselves up as prophets of a new and golden era under their personal incontroversible direction. Christians’ theory of publicity is not in sympathy with my own and, indeed, that of the present day school of propaganda, and I have a feeling that he will come out of this without having attained his hoped-for goal.
OUTSTANDING FASCIST LEADER
With the disappearance of Silver Shirt Chief William Dudley Pelley from the site of rivalry for Fascist supremacy in America (and considering revelations concerning his operations which will be reviewed later and his present indictment as a swindler, there is little doubt but that his star has sunk beneath the horizon) Christians stands out as the most important Fascist leader in the country.
I do not believe that Christians will ever go far in politics, because his economic theories are too immature and his credo of violence too much out of keeping with the reason of this nation to which widespread civil strife and criminal bloodshed are traditionally foreign. Therefore, it is not he nor his personal beliefs with which I wish to treat (for they are unworthy of serious consideration), but rather it is the general Fascist philosophy of gaining and retaining power that cries out for analysis.
The racketeering which Christians admits is incidental to promotion of his movement, the gullibility of certain persons in high office and in positions from which they may influence the mass of the people, the insane craze for power among his henchmen and rival leaders, and the unwholesome social diseases of racial, religious, and class bigotry that now appear to be so essential to our modern form of revolution,â€”all these elements of the general Fascist trend in this and other countries are set forth clearly in the evidence Christians so frankly sends through me to the readers of these articles.
Although Christians does not know it, he will prove himself to be quite a patriot to the present order of affairs by virtue of his disclosures. And I believe at some personal self-sacrifice.
WILL LOSE DECENT FOLLOWERS
With his type of movement set clearly before the American people, he can not help but lose the faith of any decent followers he might have. The private letters of his henchmen, which will be quoted later serve to show that they are paid agents of a national and international hate bund, many varieties of which are becoming common in this country.
Their profession is to sell the customer what he wants. To the bigots they dispense race hatred and religious intolerance; to the adventurous and blood thirsty they promise such rigid powers as have never been granted anyone in this country where individual suppression has no tradition in fact; to every narrow pervert group they promise sanction and support of their fetish, and to the ultra-patriots they promise to destroy all that are not made in their particular likeness and image.
For these wares, ballyhooed to the skies through ceaseless agitation, they receive hard cashâ€”blood money. And Iscariot, Sr., bides his time until the softer of us bow meekly before him and the sturdier ones are broken on his Fascist rack.
The second instalment of “This Fascist Racket” will appear in tomorrow’s issue of the Jewish Daily Bulletin.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.