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No. 81 "Alternatives To The American Form Of Government: An Examination of Three European Dictatorships Whose Underlying Theories Bear upon Present Attempts to Regiment Industry and Agriculture in the United States," December 16, 1935.
No. 81 "Alternatives To The American Form Of Government: An Examination of Three European Dictatorships Whose Underlying Theories Bear upon Present Attempts to Regiment Industry and Agriculture in the United States," December 16, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_81 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 81 "Alternatives To The American Form Of Government: An Examination of Three European Dictatorships Whose Underlying Theories Bear upon Present Attempts to Regiment Industry and Agriculture in the United States," December 16, 1935. American Liberty League. American Liberty League. Washington, D.C. 1935. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). 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Pamphlets Available â˜… Copies of the following pamphlets and other League literature may be obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: Statement of Principles and Purposes American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget Message Economic Security Inflation The Thirty Hour Week Bill The Holding Company Bill Price Control The Labor Relations Bill The Farmers' Home Bill The TV A Amendments The Supreme Court and the New Deal The Revised AAA Amendments The President's Tax Program Expanding Bureaucracy Lawmaking by Executive Order New Deal Laws in Federal Courts Potato Control Consumers and the AAA Budget Prospects Dangerous Experimentation Economic Planning Mistaken But Not New Work Relief The AAA and Our Form of Government The National Labor Relations Act Summary of Conclusions from report of the National Lawyers Committee Straws Which Tell How to Meet the Issue Speech by W. E. Borah The American Bar The Trustee of American Institutions Speech by Albert C. Ritchie Fabian Socialism in the New Deal Speech by Demarest Lloyd The People's Money Speech by Dr. W. E. Spahr Legislation By Coercion or Constitution Speech by Jouett Shouse Recovery by Statute Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers The Impediment of Democracy Speech by Fitzgerald Hall The Test of Citizenship Speech by Dean Carl W. Ackerman Today's Lessons for Tomorrow Speech by Captain William H. Stayton "Breathing Spells" Speech by Jouett Shouse The Duty of the Lawyer in the Present Crisis Speech by James M. Beck The Constitution and the Supreme Court Speech by Borden Burr The Economic Necessity in the Southern States for a Return to the Constitution Speech by Forney Johnston Our Growing National Debt and Inflation Speech by Dr. E. W. Kemmerer Inflation is Bad Business Speech by Dr. Neil Carothers â˜… AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. â˜… â˜… ALTERNATIVES TO THE AMERICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT â˜… â˜… â˜… An Examination of Three European Dictatorships Whose Underlying Theories Bear upon Present Attempts to Regiment Industry and Agriculture in the United States "THey that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety de-serve neither liberty nor safety." benjamin Franklin AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE 7*iational Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. â˜… â˜… Document No. 81 December, 1935 Alternatives to the American Form of Government â˜… Communism in Soviet Russia, Fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany offer object lessons in present-day governmental trends. The theories underlying each have something in common with the regimentation of industry and agriculture which has been attempted in the United States. As extreme examples of dictatorships, the governments of the three European countries show what might be the ultimate result if steps already taken in the United States are pursued to their logical end. Constitutional inhibitions in the United States stand as a bar to a government which would follow the exact pattern of any of the three. Nevertheless, the legislation already enacted has brought about an extraordinary centralization of power. If those parading as "economic planners" are able to throw off the restraint of the courts, they will at once become an all-powerful group and exercise complete dominance over the economic order. The price paid by the American people would be the relinquishment of the liberties which are a vital part of their heritage. The three alternatives to the American form of government about which the most is known by reason of actual experience are Communism, Fascism and National Socialism. Consequently, it is appropriate to ascertain how these governments have infringed upon individual rights which are inherent in democracy. Examination of the systems now operating in Russia, Italy and Germany discloses these facts: 1. In all three governments individual rights are subordinated to the wishes of the dictators, always described as for the welfare of the nation. 2. The democratic principle of majority rule is ignored in each of the three. 3. Imprisonment, exile and even assassination are employed to overcome opposition. 4. Suppression of free speech and a free press is universal. 5. Education is restricted to a training of youth along the lines desired by the governments. 6. Abolition of opposition parties makes it impossible for citizens to express themselves on political issues and removes the factor which in 2 the United States helps to prevent excesses by the party in power. 7. Parliamentary government is eliminated entirely or weakened to such an extent as to give dictators unrestricted authority. 8. Private property is abolished under Communism and made subject to the whims of the government under Fascism and National Socialism. 9. Industry and agriculture are collectivized under Communism and regimented under Fascism and National Socialism, with consequent restriction of the individual initiative characteristic of American enterprise. 10. Planning has failed to provide a panacea for economic ills under any of the three dictatorships; on the contrary a lowering of the standards of living has resulted. 11. The vaunted elimination of unemployment in a nation whose economic policies are wholly controlled is as meaningless as would be unemployment in a chain gang. Russian Communism Individual Rights The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has gone farther than any other nation in the world in the assumption of control of all economic activities. Necessarily, under such a system, individuals are subject to more restrictions than anywhere else. The liberties which are accepted as a matter of course in the United States are non-existent. The American people simply could not endure such a situation as is the lot of Soviet citizens. In Soviet Russia the government decides where a person shall live, what he shall do, what he shall eat, what he shall be taught, what he shall read and when, if ever, he shall travel. If a person's abilities shall be somewhat above the average, he has little incentive to develop them. A. leveling down process has taken place in which a person with a somewhat superior previous status has been reduced to that of the rank and file. Private Property. The most important feature of Communism as distinguished from Fascism and National Socialism is public ownership of land and of the means of production and distribution in industry. Here we have the Marxian substitute for capitalism. The "surplus value," the capitalistic profit of which Marx complained, no longer exists. The workers theoretically receive the full fruits of their labor, but the amount of such fruits is woefully small. 3 It requires little study, therefore, to reach the conclusion that American workers as a class would not change places with Soviet workers. In Russia those who had accumulated property prior to the change in government had it taken away from them. The process was accompanied by enormous losses and waste as an irresponsible government assumed control. Terrorization The ruthless extermination of all opposition to the Soviet regime continues. Not only is it hazardous to criticize the Communist Party from outside its ranks but it is equally dangerous for members of the party to dissent from policies of those in control. Communist leaders out of sympathy with prevailing policies have been summarily executed during the past year. Thousands of persons have been exiled to Siberia and elsewhere. The attitude toward the kulaks, small farm owners who resisted collectivization, has been especially severe. Similar policies could not be adopted in the United States without uprooting all the traditions of American life. Political Methods. The Soviet government is a dictatorship of the proletariat. The system of Soviets provides for representation in regional bodies and in the Union Congress of Soviets. But the voting system is such as to make the peasants dominant over other classes. In the one-party system which prevails it is impossible for any group of individuals to organize a movement in opposition to the policies of the government. Democratic principles are unknown. Free speech is banned and such press as there is can exist only as the mouthpiece of the dictatorship. Economic Control. The whole industrial and agricultural system is in the hands of the government. Industry is handled through trusts and combinations owned by the government. The economic system in the Soviet Union was reorganized in 1921, factories then existing being distributed among a number of trusts which were in turn divided among syndicates and later among combinations. The Supreme Economic Council was given general control with final authority over the combinations and trusts. The Council nominates the directors of the combinations which in turn name directors of the trusts which in turn select directors of the factories. The Council also acts as a connecting link between various industries and has general supervision over the distribution of profits and losses. Profits above percentages allotted for capital extension and other special purposes go to the 4 government. If considered desirable from the standpoint of general welfare, goods may be sold below cost of production, the government meeting the loss. Industries are financed both by subsidies and by credit from the government-owned banks. Economic planning, which has been developed in greater detail than in any other country, is entrusted to a state planning commission, the so-called Gosplan, under a Council of Labor and Defense. The plans for the development of industry are transmitted to the trusts and combinations through the Supreme Economic Council. The Gosplan decides the number of tons of steel to be produced, the number of tractors to be manufactured and other similar matters. There are subsidiary planning sections in the Supreme Economic Council, which is the People's Commissariat for Industry, and also in other Commissariats such as those for Trade and Transport. More than 70 per cent of the population of the Soviet Union is on the farms. In agriculture as in industry it is part of Communist theory to operate in large units. Quite rapidly the collectivization of agriculture has gone forward, opposing elements being "liquidated" by force. Minor concessions have been made to individualistic desires of the peasants. Ninety per cent of the cultivated land is occupied by collective, communal or state farms. The workers in industry and in agriculture in Russia have a status which would be repugnant to Americans accustomed to opportunities for individual effort and advancement. Each worker must perform the task assigned to him and at the compensation fixed for him. Results. In spite of a good many years of economic planning the Soviet Union has not succeeded in obtaining a standard of living for its people comparable to that of western European countries or the United States. While unemployment has been done away with as might be true of any nation with complete control of all economic activities, the standard of living has declined during the depression even below its previous pitiable level. The mistakes of "planning" have been quite as costly in Russia as have "uncontrolled" events in other countries. In spite of a program for an increase in agricultural production, there are thoroughly authenticated reports that each year a large number of people die of starvation. There have been abnormally large losses of foodstuffs on account of poor management, inefficiency and 5 carelessness in government administration. Enormous discrepancies exist between the goals for agricultural production set up in the first and second Five Year Plans and actual accomplishments. Industrialization of Russia has made substantial progress. Many of the objectives of the first Five Year Plan with respect to industrial production were realized. The makers of the Plan, however, failed to comprehend the expansion of transportation facilities which would be necessary. Distribution of industrial and agricultural products became clogged as a result. There were serious miscalculations also with respect to the mechanism of industrial costs, including wages and prices. Real wages of workers did not advance as the planners supposed they would. The currency system failed to operate as intended. Altogether, economic planning in Russia offers little which could be helpful in a solution of American problems. The Russian experience demonstrates that a planned economy is not an automatic panacea. Italian Fascism Individual Rights. According to Fascist theory, law, order and efficiency are more desirable than the liberty of the individual. Development of a finer type of individual is claimed through the supremacy of the government over activities of citizens, the baser tendencies otherwise being likely to gain the ascendancy. Citizens do not gain true personality and freedom by giving expression to their individual inclinations and capacities but rather by submerging themselves in family, church and above all the state. Such rights as individuals possess are those conferred upon them by the government. The will of an individual in political matters counts for nothing unless it coincides with that of the ruling powers. The public interest always must outweigh the welfare of individuals, the nation being more important than any or all of its citizens. The political obligations of citizens are more important than their rights. The Fascist "totalitarian" state, which recognizes no sphere of individual life as immune from governmental authority, offers a marked contrast to American democracy in which political power is restricted by individual rights and government is designed in the interest of the individual welfare. Under the Fascist doctrine all individual desires must be suppressed by an all-powerful hierarchical government. Education. Mussolini has made education, insofar as it has to do with the shaping of the character and ideals of youth, a monopoly of the state. The elementary and secondary schools are used by the government for the dissemination of Fascist propaganda. The boys and girls are given no opportunity to learn anything adverse to Fascism. An oath must be taken by university professors to maintain loyalty to the Fascist regime and to inculcate Fascist ideals in the minds of students. Just as in Russian Communism and in German National Socialism, the Fascists hold it to be an essential function of government to instill the faith of the ruling group in the minds of the rising generation. The training of Italian youth is such as to make war appear inevitable and even desirable rather than avoidable and obnoxious. Ideals drilled into Italians of all ages include military obedience and sacrifice for the Fascist state. Military and Fascist training is now given to 1,500,000 boys between the ages of six and eight as preliminary to the regular military training which is given to boys between the ages of eight and fourteen and also between the ages of 18 and 22!/2- Eighteen months in the regular army follows the final training period and subsequently ten years of service with the reserves are required. According to Mussolini, "war brings out all human energies to a maximum tension and places the seal of nobility on the people who have the courage to face it." Under restrictive policies applied to education and to public expression by a highly centralized and all-powerful government, the freedom is lacking which is necessary for the fullest development of cultural life. Italy has failed to produce outstanding figures in science, literature and art under the Fascist regime. Political Methods. Fascism denies the validity of the democratic theory of majority rule. The mere fact that a majority of the people believe in a particular policy does not make it a desirable one. The tradition of democracy is outworn, according to Mussolini's viewpoint. The proper system, he believes, is one wherein an aristocracy of intelligence and morality governs. This inner group under the Fascist doctrine must be dominated by an outstanding leader or dictator. In keeping with Fascist theory parliamentary government has been largely abolished. Instead of the Chamber of Deputies as formerly constituted, there is a corporative parliament representing not local constituencies but official groups created by the government and controlled through the Fascist party which is legally a part of the governmental structure. All opposition parties were dissolved in 1926. Prison sentences await any who dare to attempt the revival of other parties. Members of the Fascist party must take an oath to follow without question the orders of II Duce. A breach of party discipline means expulsion from political life. As part of the policy of suppression of individual liberties, moral intimidation and physical compulsion are used on behalf of the government. Criticism of the government and the spreading of what are regarded as false or exaggerated views are criminal offenses. Crimes of this character are tried before a special tribunal chosen by II Duce from military officers. The procedure of a court martial is followed. Opposition to Fascism by an Italian residing abroad may be penalized by deprivation of citizenship and seizure of property. A free press is unknown in Italy as in other countries ruled by dictatorships. The government controls rigidly the policies of all publishers of newspapers, magazines and books. Directors of the publishing companies must be approved by the government. Contributors to publications must be registered and approved. The journalists are organized in government-controlled syndicates. Socialist and liberal periodicals have been prosecuted and suppressed. Strict censorship is exercised. Even foreign newspapers which do not meet the approval of the Dictator are banned. The policies pursued in matters of this character would be intolerable in the United States. Economic Theories. All economic questions are treated by the Fascists from the standpoint of national utility. The nation rather than the individual is properly concerned with the production and distribution of wealth. The doctrine of laissez-faire (non-interference by the government in economic affairs) is repudiated. Fascism, however, does not go to the Socialistic extreme of public ownership. While private ownership of property continues in Italy, Fascism refuses to recognize the unassailable private rights to property which exist in the United States and are protected under our Constitution. The Fascists believe that private ownership of property is useful as part of their economic structure because of the incentive to productive activity. At all times, however, owners of property must subordinate their individual interests to the national welfare. If the government chooses it may at any time intervene. Such intervention may take the form of supervision, promotion or direct management. If private owners fail to use their property in the public interest it may even be confiscated. Industry and Agriculture. Italian industry is organized into what is known as the Corporative State. The system includes syndicates, which are associations of employers and employees; corporations, which are agencies somewhat comparable to the NRA code authorities with supervisory power over groups of industries; and a National Council of Corporations with supreme authority over the whole structure. Industry is completely regimented. Wages and prices may be fixed. Strikes are prohibited, labor courts being provided for settlement of disputes involving workers. Each corporation is a governing authority for a section of economic life. Regulation of costs, prices, imports and exports and planning of production and distribution come within the extensive powers of the corporation. Every action within the system of syndicates and corporations, however, is subject to approval by the National Council of Corporations which in turn is subject to the dictatorship of Mussolini. Banking operations and foreign exchange are under strict control. Agriculture is embraced within the scope of the Corporative State. The Fascist position is that small farms are out of date and incompatible with the best interests of agriculture and the progress of humanity. The agricultural program is designed to provide self-sufficiency in the supply of cereals and includes the reclamation of marsh lands for use in agricultural production. Results. The economic planning under Fascism has not averted the hardships of depression. Wages and salaries have gone down while the cost of living has not decreased to the same extent. Public finances have been in a precarious position and the balance of trade has been unfavorable. Such showing of prosperity as has been made has been possible through the government's manipulation of prices and a suppression of information as to unemployment, destitution and bankruptcies. German National Socialism Individual Rights. The philosophy of National Socialism in Germany as to individual liberties is much like that of Italian Fascism. It rejects the theory that the highest good to the community will result from freedom of individuals to further their own economic interests. The interests of the community must always have preference over those of individuals. The denial of liberties to individuals in the interest of the state is similar to the principle prevailing in Russian Communism as well as in Italian Fascism. Neither National Socialism nor Fascism, however, abolishes private property, as does Communism, or adopts the Socialistic scheme of public ownership of all essential industries. National Socialism, in fact, is more like Fascism than Marxian Socialism. Ruthless Tactics. Suppression of all opposition has been ruthless. After Hitler gained control the leaders of the political opposition were jailed or sent to concentration camps. The same policy was followed with respect to trade union leaders. Discovery of an alleged plot among Storm Troop leaders at the end of June, 1934, was followed by the summary shooting of about 80 persons. Afterwards a law adopted by the Cabinet provided that "the measures executed for the purpose of crushing the traitorous attacks of June 30 and July 1 and 2 against the state and the nation are hereby legalized as in self-defense of the state." Political Methods. The purpose has been to concentrate all authority in the government of the Reich. The former federal government of Germany has been transformed into a unitary government. The former government was a federation of states as in the United States. Early in the Nazi regime the powers of the federated government were weakened by decrees that gave the central government more authority. This step of the process corresponds to what has taken place in the United States. The Nazi Reichstag later passed a law transferring the sovereign powers of the states to the federal government. The legislative functions of the states were abolished. The Reichstag completed the creation of the dictatorship through a law setting aside the Constitution and giving Hitler blanket power for four years. Civil rights of citizens guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution were suspended. Powers of the President were assumed by Chancellor Hitler following the 10 death of von Hindenburg, approval being given in a plebiscite vote. Germany is a one-party nation like Russia and Italy. The Nazi party is the only legal one. All others were abolished. The election system is farcical. In such elections as are held the people have only the choice of voting for the Nazi candidates or against them. Of course, they may also fail to vote. Needless to say, the Nazi party is able to perpetuate itself. Hundreds of newspapers have been suppressed since Hitler came into power. They were either crushed by the government or their circulation dropped so that they had to suspend. The newspapers are not permitted to publish anything adverse to the government. As part of the relentless persecution of Jews there is a rule that newspapers may be published only by partnerships whose members can prove that their own and their wives' "Aryan" descent goes back to 1800. One excuse for suppression of newspapers is competition with Nazi organs. All newspaper writers must belong to a Nazi association and the law stipulates the spirit in which they must write. Radio broadcasts as well as the press are under strict governmental control. All of the legal framework of government domination is in line with the ideal of a "totalitarian" state wherein organizations and individuals exist only for the furtherance and glorification of the state. Education. The educational system not only is designed to inculcate Nazi ideals in the younger generation but tends to encourage militarism. Military training is a necessary part of education. Obedience, order and a sense of the common interest of Nazi Germany are held to be best taught by military training. The Nazi government has undertaken a reorganization of education as one of its primary concerns. Through education an attack is being made upon what is regarded as the cancer of Marxism, liberalism and democracy, the three being equally obnoxious to Nazi ideals. Students are taught that the welfare of the community precedes the welfare of the individual. Education is directed less to the development of the intellect than to the strengthening of the emotions leading to loyalty, self-sacrifice and acquiescence in the will of the state. Scholars and universities are agents of the government and are denied the right of freedom of research. Appointments to professorships in universities are under the control of the Minister of Educa-11 tion. Academic freedom such as prevails in the United States is now unknown in Germany. Economic Theories. Industry and agriculture are regimented to serve the best interests of the nation. There are no constitutional restrictions as in the United States against complete control of all economic activities. While private ownership of property is permitted, the government retains the privilege of naming or approving the directorates of corporations. The Nazi government is aiming toward self-sufficiency and has adopted a foreign trade policy consistent with nationalism. Exports are held to be desirable in sufficient volume to pay for necessary imports of raw materials. The agricultural program contemplates production of practically all necessary foodstuffs. Restoration of a balance between city and country and between industry and agriculture is a fundamental part of the economic policy. Industry and Agriculture. German industry is regimented under the control of the Minister of Industry. All industries must be in the hands of individuals who will put the interest of the state above that of the stockholders. While Hitler and other leaders have sought to encourage private initiative in business, the party program advocates abolition of unearned incomes, the nationalization of big business and department stores, the confiscation of land for community purposes and the abolition of interest "slavery." The government controls 70 per cent of the stock in the German banking system. The German government has power to restrict new factories, machinery and investments, establish new cartels, control prices and regulate profits. Amalgamation and reorganization of associations and trade groups have been taking place which will fit into the scheme for regulation of industry. Strikes are prohibited and German workers must submit to the wage scales and working conditions decreed by councils in the government-controlled corporations. Property of labor unions has been seized. The laboring groups have no such freedom to demand their rights as in the United States. Results. Just as in Russia and Italy, the economic planning of Nazi Germany has failed to grapple successfully with the world-wide depression. German methods of dealing with economic problems have not proved superior to 12 those which have been tested under our constitutional system. While the official figures show a great decrease in unemployment in Germany under National Socialism, the statistics are misleading. Unemployment at the beginning of the Hitler rule totaled about 6,000,000, recent official figures showing a reduction to less than 1,750,000. Industry has been forced to put more men to work than are actually needed. Workers between the ages of 16 and 25 have been removed from unemployment registers and sent to "voluntary service camps." Women workers and Jews have been dismissed in large numbers and their places given to German men. The lists of unemployed have been further reduced by the elimination of various groups regarded as opposed to the government. Large numbers of workers have been placed on farms during the harvest period, the farmers supplying food and lodging and the government paying a greater part of the wages. Other workers previously on the unemployed lists have been absorbed in public works projects. The price of the absorption of the unemployed has been a decline in the standard of living. The sharing of the work has forced a lowering of wages. In spite of governmental efforts to hold prices down, the tendency has been upward. Finances of the German government are in a precarious condition. Unemployment reduction, made work and rearmament have been expensive and have necessitated borrowing. Loans have been obtained by commandeering the resources of banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Such budget statistics as are published are misleading and unintelligible. Democracy The United States is the outstanding democratic nation of the world. The form of democracy provided under our Constitution has stood the test of wars, domestic strife and depressions over a period of nearly a century and a half. The rights, privileges and opportunities of democracy have become an ingrained part of the lives of the American people. The nation has prospered under the policy of freedom from rigid economic control. Other nations with different governments have similarly been affected by world-wide forces of depression. Recent trends toward centralized authority, regimentation of industry and agriculture, and curtailment of individual liberties, all character-13 istic of Communism, Fascism and National Socialism, represent a departure from democratic theories. An autocratic bureaucracy infringes upon, if it does not destroy, traditional American liberties. Russia, Italy and Germany have definitely rejected the fundamental principles of democracy. If we are to pattern after them, or any one of them, it means abandonment of our form of government. Temporary benefits resulting from measures of control are deceptive. In the long run surrender of liberties cannot fail to be injurious to the welfare of the nation. Individual rights once given up are not easily regained. Benjamin Franklin's remark that "they that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" is as pertinent today as in his time. Democracy has not broken down as some advocates of a dictatorial government would have our people believe. Certainly Russian Communism, Italian Fascism and German National Socialism offer nothing which is comparable to the advantages assured the masses of the people by our own system. The experiences of these three governments give convincing evidence of the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution and of the desirability of adherence to democratic principles. 14