breeding places of racial and religious intolerance and their financial statements show them to be petty rackets.
"As an example of this type of organization, we cite the 'Order of '76.' This small group has been led into thoroughly un-American channels by its leader, who admitted that the organization had never been incorporated; that no books or records were kept; that no bank account existed.... Its real and hidden purpose is racial and religious intolerance.
"Some of these groups and organizations referred to under this general heading passed the incipient stage, as was the case of the Silver Shirts, founded by William Dudley Pelley and patterned after the Storm Troops of Germany.
"For years Pelley, according to testimony, had been writing on metaphysical subjects, with 9 out of 10 of his followers being women who gave him, and from whom he borrowed, varying sums of money: in one case receiving bonds valued at $14,000.
"Early in 1933 he founded the Silver Shirts with headquarters at Asheville, N. C., a few days after Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. Pelley told people who testified that the idea was copied from Germany. Immediately his prolific writings changed from the sublime into violent, vitriolic, and scurrilous attacks against certain religious groups.
"Evidence before this committee shows that overtures were made to Nazi groups and Nazi leaders in this country. Pelley had as his 'foreign adjutant' Paul von Lililenfeld Toal, who helped make contacts with officials of German steamship lines by whom he was employed.
"Pelley's weekly publication changed its entire tone at this time and became the mouth piece for the Silver Shirts. Another more vicious weekly was started in Oklahoma, where State authorities told them to 'get out.'
"Chapters of the Silver Shirts sprang up throughout the country, although at that time the organization was not incorporated. When the organization was incorporated, its structure was such that no member had a vote and the powers of dictator rested with Pelley on a self-perpetuating basis.
"Evidence taken by a subcommittee at Los Angeles proved that many Silver Shirts at San Diego had been armed, that Government ammunition from North Island had come into their hands through nefarious methods and that a target range nearby was utilized for practice and maneuvers. In fact, two members of the United States Marines swore that they had been asked to and did instruct the Silver Shirts.
"Another of these organizations is the American Vigilante Intelligence Federation, of which Harry A. Jung, Chicago, is the founder, promoter, and honorary general manager.
"Testimony of Jung's secretary, Miss Rose Peterson, taken at Chicago, stated 'we have never gotten around to getting up bylaws or electing officers.' Her testimony and corroborating records showed that a solicitor had been paid 40 percent of all money he collected as his fee and that many nationally-known organizations and individuals had contributed. The committee finds the contributors had no knowledge of the purposes for which the money was used.
"Miss Peterson's testimony showed that Harry A. Jung and the A. V. I. F., had published and circulated great masses of literature tending to incite racial and religious intolerance.
"Because this committee has seen the true purpose behind these various groups, it will lump them together and characterize them as un-American, as unworthy of support and created and operated for the financial welfare of those who guide them and who do not hesitate to stoop to racial and religious intolerance in order to achieve their selfish purposes.
"This activity your committee believes to be distinctly and dangerously un-American and we denounce, without qualification, any attempt, from any source, to stir up hatreds and prejudices against any one or more groups of our people because of either race, color, or creed. The guaranty of freedom of religion and the equality of all persons under the law is not only expressly written in our Constitution, but is of the very essence of American freedom, and any assault upon these guaranties is dangerous and un-American.
"We believe that the surest safeguard for those fundamental principles of American liberty is an aroused and intelligent public opinion."
THE SHIRTITIS EPIDEMIC
The Silver Shirts, or "Christian Militia," claimed a membership of over two million. Their official paper Liberation had a circulation of 8,000. Fritz Gessibl, an official of The Friends of New Germany, testified that the Silver Shirts wrote the Nazi saying:
"We are assembling our forces for a deadly onslaught on the bureaucracy in Washington. Working with the American Hitlerites, we are launching an anti-Semitic boycott throughout the entire nation.
The Italian Black Shirts was the first "Shirt" outfit in America. The American Fascisti, another Black Shirt group, with headquarters at Atlanta, Georgia, claims a paid membership of 30,000. The Blue Shirt Corps, whose headquarters are in Montreal, is spreading over the Middle West. The National Blue Shirt Minute Men claims a membership of 10,000 around Brooklyn. The American Blue Corps, the third Blue Shirt organization, is active distributing propaganda among the workers in the steel mills.
The White Shirts, who call themselves Crusaders of Economic Liberty, claiming a membership of two million, with headquarters at Chattanooga, Tennessee, propose to organize a march on Washington, seize the government and repudiate the public debt.
The Khaki Shirts, organized by Art Smith, a soldier of fortune, anti-gold standard, anti-chain stores and anti-Jewish, collapsed when Smith was sent to prison for perjury in a murder trial resulting from a slaying in a riot between an anti-Fascist group and the Khaki Shirts.
Labor organization surveys show more than one hundred Nazitype organizations in America, selling membership cards, shirts, uniforms and golden promises.
FREE SPEECHFREE PEOPLE
The McCormack committee recommended remedial legislation to Congress among which was:
Is this the answer?
The substance of this recommendation is similar to the Alien and Sedition Laws passed by the Congress in 1798, signed and enforced by President John Adams. The Sedition Act provided for a penalty not exceeding two years in prison and a fine not exceeding $2000 for writing, printing or publishing "false, scandalous and malicious statements against the government of the United States, or either House of the Congress, or the President with intent to bring theminto contempt or disrepute."
One man who said that President Adams had an "unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp" was fined one thousand dollars and sent to jail for four months. Ten, most of whom were newspaper editors, were convicted. The law suppressed a free press and free speech. The laws were mainly responsible for the defeat of the Federalist Party in 1800. Thomas Jefferson, on becoming President, pardoned all who had been convicted under these laws, and remitted the fines. He said the laws were unconstitutional and wrote Mrs. Adams: "I consider that law a nullity as absolute and palpable as if Congress had ordered me to fall down and worship a golden image."
The Seditions Conspiracy Act of 1861, a Civil War measure, and the Sedition and Espionage laws of 1917-18, World War measures, were even more severe than the old Federalist Acts of 1798.
The expression of individual opinion is guaranteed under the constitutional provision of free speech. (First Amendment, 5th Article.) While we have confined everything in "Forward-March!" to statements of facts and have refrained from drawing conclusions or stating personal opinions, letting the facts speak for themselves, we feel inclined to make an observation. During such periods as we are now in, with unrest, discontent and disloyalty giving the nation a bad case of nerves, it behooves those patriotic Americans who are intent on saving our democracy to move cautiously and not permit hysteria to bring about the passage of laws which might create the very instruments to be employed in the destruction of free government.