Stephen Wellington

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism–ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power…Among us today a concentration of private power without equal in history is growing.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House Coup of 1933

The introductory words by FDR are extremely profound given the history of his term in office. On November 24th, 1934, Marine Corp Major General Smedley Butler testified to the McCormack-Dickstein Committee that from July 1933 to September of 1934 he was petitioned by Jerald McGuire, a New York City Broker, to lead a private army of World War 1 veterans to overthrow American democratic rule and establish a fascist government in the White House. The New York Times Headline on Nov 24th 1934 read:

“Gen. Butler Bares ‘Fascist Plot’ To Seize Government by Force; Says Bond Salesman, as Representative of Wall St. Group, Asked Him to Lead Army of 500,000 in March on Capital — Those Named Make Angry Denials”

Jerald McGuire, was not alone in his desire to be a part of a fascist Coup d’Etat. McGuire was backed by some of the wealthiest capitalists in America at the time. John Buchanan, a specialist on right-wing movements in the 1930’s said, “These super wealthy capitalists wanted to pose such a threat to Roosevelt that he would step aside and if he would not they would execute him.”

When petitioning General Butler to become a part of this ‘superorganization’ McGuire said, “Did it ever occur to you that the President is overworked? We might have an Assistant President, somebody to take the blame; and if things do not work out, we can drop him …You know the American people will swallow it. We have got the newspapers. We will start a campaign that the President’s health is failing. Everybody can tell that by looking at him, and the dumb American people will fall for it in a second.”

The funding would come from bankers and businessmen who would step out of tenebrous Wall Street politics and into a crypto-fascist quasi-american lobby group called the ‘American Liberty League’. “We need a Fascist government in this country to save the Nation from the communists who want to tear it down and wreck all that we have built in America,” said Mcguire.

However, the fascist overthrow of government was primarily seen by private power as a way of solving the mass unemployment problems during the great depression and a way to deal with the growing power of the unions that were pressuring the Wall Street Bankers to relinquish their hold on wealth.“He [McGuire] had a very brilliant solution of the unemployment situation…He [Mcguire] had seen it in Europe. It was a plan that Hitler had used in putting all of the unemployed in labor camps or barracks-enforced labor. That would solve it overnight, and he[McGuire] said that when they got into power, that is what they would do; that that was the ideal plan”

Just as Mcguire said, the American Liberty League was formed a few weeks later, and was on the front page of most New York and Washington D.C. papers. The American Liberty League read like a who’s who of corporate America. Some prominent capitalists that backed the American Liberty League were J.P. Morgan, The Warburg banking family , General Motors President John J. Rascob, President of Heinz inc. Howard Heinz, Irenee Du Pont, Nathan Miller from US Steel and many others. The plot was to receive financial backing particularly from J.P. Morgan banking.

Now this is where the Bush Family comes in. Later in the McCormack-Dickstein Committee Hearings the Hamburg-American Line was accused and found guilty of providing free passage to Germany of U.S. Journalists to write favourable reports on Nazism and is alleged to have brought Nazi spies and fascist sympathizers to the United States. Interestingly, the executive manager of the Hamburg-American line was none other than Prescott Bush, the grandfather of George W. Bush.

After hearing the McCormack-Dickstein Committee Press Release on November 24th of 1934, General Butler accused the committee of editing out the names of the business people he had linked to the plot in his testimonies. In a radio interview on the 17th of February, 1935 Butler said of the committee, “Like most committees it has slaughtered the little and allowed the big sharks to escape. The big sharks weren’t even called to testify. They were all mentioned in the testimony, why was all mention of these names suppressed from the testimony?”

Of the American Liberty League, Roosevelt said, “They steal the livery of great national ideals to serve discredited special interests…. This minority in business and industry… engage in vast propaganda to spread fear and discord among the people. They would gang up against the people’s liberties…. They seek the restoration of their selfish power…Our resplendent economic aristocracy does not want to return to that individualism of which they prate, even though the advantages under that system went to the ruthless and the strong. They realize that in 34 months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people’s government this power is wholesome and proper. But in the hands of political puppets of an economic aristocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people. Give them their way and they will take the course of every aristocracy of the past – power for themselves, enslavement for the public.”

Scholars, , economists , & politicians (i.e. Ronald Reagan being a good example ) believe that even though FDR voiced opposition to the American Liberty League, elements of fascism were incorporated into The New Deal as a form of ‘soft’ fascism. Herbert Hoover also acknowledged the influence of corporations on Roosevelt as he tried to cooperate with big businesses in an attempt to bring the country out of economic depression. Regarding Roosevelt’s attempts to assuage the business community Hoover stated, “Among the early Roosevelt fascist measures was the National Industry Recovery Act (NRA) of June 16, 1933…this stuff was pure fascism; that it was the remaking of Mussolini’s ‘corporate state…” In this case, the NRA was part of FDR’s New Deal reforms, that on a critical note, not only ended regulation of Wall Street at this crucial time but it allowed heads of industry greater political and economic monopoly which was contingent on providing workers with suitable work conditions and wages.

The McCormack-Dickstein Committee agreed that there was indeed a real threat of a corporate fascist coup, however the newspapers downplayed the findings of the committee and unbelievably, no legal proceedings were taken. It is interesting that Hoover feels that Roosevelt acquiesced with the conspiratorial corporate elite. This shows that FDR’s definition of fascism comes from political experience. Interestingly, Historians believe that deals were made around this time between Roosevelt and the economic establishment so that they would cooperate with his New Deal reforms and in return FDR would turn a blind eye to their foiled coup. In summary John Spivak states, “The class basis of social forces is nowhere more clearly revealed then in this situation [the white house plot] – capitalists, including Jews, making common cause with anti-Semitic fascist and potentially fascist organizations, in an effort to crush labour.”

The Bush Family as Part of Corporate Fascism

The story of Prescott Bush’s involvement with the Nazi’s goes much deeper than the Hamburg-American Line. The Guardian newspaper in London has recently corroborated that “a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism. By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world’s largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler’s build-up to war.”

Trading with the Nazi’s during the 1930’s was not illegal although it began to defy the economic provisions of the Treaty of Versailles due to Hitler’s remilitarization. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and the DuPonts were responsible for a “marriage” cartel with I.G. Farben, a major Nazi conglomerate in the 1930’s. Interestingly, the DuPont family were also at the centre of the fascist plot as was J.P. Morgan who was linked with the Rockefeller family by marriage and business.

Six days after Pearl Harbour was attacked by the Japanese, FDR signed the Trading With the Enemies Act (TWEA) making any economic trade with the Nazi’s illegal. In the fall of 1942 all of Prescott’s business assets with Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. were seized by the American government under the TWEA.

A conversation between John Buchanan and John Loftus, a former Justice Department War Crimes Prosecutor is as follows:

Buchanan: Should Prescott Bush, George Herbert Walker and the Harrimans have been tried for treason?
Loftus: Yes, because they continued to support Hitler after the U.S. entered the war. As a former prosecutor, I could have made that case.
Buchanan: What were they most guilty of after the U.S. entered the war?
Loftus: They shipped gold through axis countries after the U.S. entered the war. That certainly was treason, because it gave aid and comfort to the enemy, and assisted them economically.

Naomi Wolf, the author of “The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot” and “Fascist America: 10 Easy Steps” and Amy Goodman, the radio host of Democracy Now recently hinted to the reasons why Prescott Bush was not convicted in the Nuremberg Trials:

Namoi Wolf: Prescott Bush, Bush’s grandfather, was making millions in consolidation with Krupp, Thyssen, and it’s very interesting to me, because in the Nuremberg trials they went after these industrialists like Krupp, and so there was a moment at which the Nuremberg trial was about to identify supporters of these war crimes who were US collaborators.
Amy Goodman: But they didn’t.
Naomi Wolf: But they didn’t. But I think it’s interesting that there is that historical memory in the family.
Amy Goodman: It’s the question of who controlled the trials, right? It’s the question of who controlled the trials and not wanting their own people to be involved.

Prescott and his business associates were never tried for war crimes. This, along with The White House Coup, is firstly, a demonstration to the American people that the true threat to their liberty and justice comes from within. And secondly, it also shows that financial and economic class considerations are more important than the rule of law, justice and every other kind of consideration, including racial and religious ones.” Prescott Bush was eventually given his holdings back (~$1.5m) and was elected to the Senate. He has had an influence upon the development of the modern “corporate-state” model that is seen today. He has not only influenced pre and post-WW2 Presidents but has had two Sons who have carried his legacy of war criminality and insidious corporate crypto-fascism into the 21st century. Noam Chomsky has said, “If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.” In this case Chomsky justifies the inclusion of George H. W. Bush, due to his “unlawful use of force” as Vice President in Nicaragua and the invasion of Panama with the verdict coming from the International Court of Justice.

George Monbiot, a journalist with the London Guardian, in an article on October 17th 2006 entitled, “The Courts Are Starting To Accept that the War in Iraq is a Crime” (citing recent British court cases) has said that,” These cases cannot reverse the hideous consequences of the crime of aggression (the “supreme international crime”, according to the Nuremberg tribunals) that Blair and Bush committed in Iraq.” On September 16, 2004 the then Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan said, “I have indicated it [the Iraq invasion] was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal.” Even Benjamin Ferenccz, a former chief prosecutor of the Nuremberg Trials and expert in international law and war crimes has said that “a prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity, that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.” The point here is that a very good case can be made for the last 3 key Bush figures being guilty of war crimes with George W. Bush being tried for the supreme crime against humanity. There are striking similarities between Hitler’s invasion of Poland and Bush’s invasion of Iraq (both pre-emptive wars for the sake of National Security) bringing us to the realization that good American patriots like General Smedley Butler are needed to bring balance when its leaders and financial elites are quick to use jingoism and warmongering to prey on the good will and money generating capabilities of its own people. Major General Smedley Butler, back in 1935, wrote of American foreign policy and war, “It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes…it is dressed up into speeches about patriotism, love of country…This [WW1] was the “war to end all wars.” This was the “war to make the world safe for democracy.” No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with U.S. patents….but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket and are safely pocketed…Who provides the profits…we all pay them in taxation. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the U.S. during the [First] World War.” Has the tactic and reasoning to get America into “entangling alliances” changed much since 1935?

Fascism appealed to some nations of the 1930’s because of the increased security it promised in a time of poverty and depression. If the people of the Great Depression would be willing to sacrifice their liberty for security, could it also be possible for that to occur in our day? Benjamin Franklin reportedly said, “Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This maxim was paraphrased much during the American Revolution where the right to battle against tyranny is embodied in the Declaration of Independence.

Herbert Hoover noted how a loss of security and liberty might happen, “Every collectivist revolution rides in on a Trojan horse of ’emergency’. It was the tactic of Lenin, Hitler, and Mussolini…This technique of creating emergency is the greatest achievement that demagoguery attains.” There are echoes here of the ‘emergency’ rescinding of Habeas Corpus and other human rights since September 11, 2001 in the form of the Patriot Act.

Considering the unethical and alleged illegality of Bush family business practice and political conduct one must ponder on how they have come to dominate American politics over the last 60 years. Mike Gravel, a U.S. democratic presidential candidate for 2008 has said in regards to the new President’s role in restraining ‘corporate America’, “Congress could do a good job, theoretically, but it can’t. Why? It’s owned lock, stock, and barrel by corporate America. So you think you’re going to become president and you’re going to turn to the Congress and say, “Let’s really straighten out corporate America.” This is foolishness. It’s fantasy.” One must reflect on Gravel’s words and ponder back on Roosevelt’s definition of fascism. Could it be possible, that although the Corporate Fascist White House Coup was foiled in 1933, that the more subtle parts of the plans of the economic elites have somehow succeeded in the long-term?

I propose that they have and that it poses a real and treacherous threat to the sovereignty of constitutional government. The possibility for democratically changing the insidious fascism of corporatism, as premised by Roosevelt’s definition of fascism, within the current United States political climate is all but impossible. If there is any civil unrest or major socio-political protest about the current hegemonic corporate rule then the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) internment/detainment camps and the REX-84 program can be used along with the “suspension” of the U.S. Constitution. It will be at this time that the U.S. populous, and most likely the Western World, realizes that the rope on which the U.S. Constitution hangs has been surreptitiously frayed by the elites who stupefied them into being content with fast food, lifestyles of leisure, and cheap Chinese commodities.