The Crusaders

The Crusaders, were largely funded by members of the du Pont family. This fascist organization was a front group for the American Liberty League.

By John Spivak

There is an organization known as the Crusaders with national headquarters in Chicago which has been broadcasting on a national hook-up twice a week and carrying on an intensive propaganda campaign of printed matter. The Crusaders were originally organized to fight for the repeal of the Prohibition Amendment. At that time Wall Street financiers, fighting against increasing taxation due to unemployment relief legislation thought that by giving the people beer and liquor they could get their own taxes reduced. The Prohibition Amendment was repealed and the Wall Street interests 'which had backed the Crusaders, instead of letting the organization die, decided that so well organized a body could be used. It was next used in matters involving monetary changes, which was Wall Street's particular problem at that time. When the inflationists, won out and the 59-cent dollar was established the Crusaders were then used as a political and anti-labor body, this being the first time that this organization, first organized to fight prohibition, began openly to participate in politics and anti-labor moves.

Its first active work was to help defeat Upton Sinclair for the governorship of California. The California financiers and industrialists were afraid of the effect of a victorious campaign based, as Sinclair's was, on the deep-seated discontent of the masses of the people. The Crusaders jumped into the fight on the air and in disseminating countless thousands of leaflets and throwaways. Samples of the sort of propaganda they issued can be seen in their comment upon a meeting of unemployed. Their headline was:


In other propaganda they warned that "The California Crusader Rides Again." Most of their warning was against "radicalism" and the rising militancy of the California workers.

Today the Crusaders following pretty much the same tactics, keep the sources of their income a deep secret; it thus becomes important to see who are their active supporters:

There is John W. Davis, J.P. Morgan’s chief attorney.

There is James Warburg, of the Kuhn-Loeb Warburgs. I name just these two to show the tie-up of Morgan and Kuhn-Loeb interests when it comes to supporting a fascist body actively participating in anti-labor moves. These two represent apparently opposing financial interests as well as different racial and religious groups, both of which are now working together in promoting a fascist organization like Crusaders - an invaluable help to capital in carrying propaganda against militant labor.

The Crusaders are still in the organizational stage and are trying to get 10,000,000 members. They are extremely active among military men and in military schools. Most members do not know that one of the organization's chief functions is "fighting subversive elements," particularly in the schools. In charge of this branch of their activities is Col. Roy Felton Ferrand, head of St. Johns Military Academy, Delafield, Wisconsin, a member of the Crusaders' Advisory Council.

Other Crusaders
Other Crusaders on school and college boards are also using their influence "to protect the country from subversive elements" like Fred I. Kent of New York, vice-president of the Morgan-controlled Bankers Trust Co. Kent is President of the Council of New York University where studeat anti-military movements have been rigidly suppressed.

Kent also is an officer of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce which recently issued a broadside against "subversive" elements and particularly against elements which are trying to organize workers.

The Crusaders’ National Advisors include:

* Wallace McK. Alexander, a big business sugar planter, is a trustee of Stanford University, where faculty started an anti-radical drive after formation of the Crusaders.

* Sewell Avery, a director of the Morgan-controlled U.S. Steel, is a University of Chicago trustee.

* Francis B. Davis, Jr., a right-hand man of the du Ponts, is a director of Morgan-controlled, New York Trust

* Cleveland Dodge, vice president of Phelps Dodge Co. (big copper producers) is a City Bank Farmers Trust Co. director (tied up with the Hearst-Anaconda copper interests) and Board chairman of Columbia University’s Teachers College. Its Dean, Thomas Alexander, works with an agent of Royal Scott Gulden, head of the anti-Semitic, espionage group, Order of ’76.

* Albert Lasher, is a member of the American Jewish Committee.

* Alfred Sloan, Jr., President of GM, is a director of du Pont and other Morgan-controlled industries.

Source: New Masses, Feb. 5, 1935. In Press for Conversion! magazine, Issue # 53, "Facing the Corporate Roots of American Fascism," March 2004. Published by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade.

Order a Copy: Order a hard copy of this 54-page issue of Press for Conversion! on the fascist plot to overthrow President F.D.Roosevelt and the corporate leaders who planned and financed this failed coup.


More on the Crusaders

Here are several additional sources of information on the Crusaders:

George W. Christians was an odd combination of comedian and sinister revolutionist. Secret Service men kept him under surveillance when he threatened to cut off electric power in Chattanooga the night the President was to arrive. "Lots of things can happen in the dark," he said:

"The Crusader White Shirts, known as the American Fascists, is a military auxiliary of the Crusaders for Economic Liberty [CFEL]…. It embraces the Fascist idea of personal leadership, unity, force, drama and nationalism."

With a toothbrush mustache that resembled Hitler's, George Christians…. once issued orders…to seize control of the Government: "The first- objective should be to take control of the local government in the following manner: March in military formation to and surround the government buildings. Then, by sheer numbers and a patriotic appeal, force the officials to accept and act under the direction of an economic adviser appointed by the President of the CFEL."
Source: John Roy Carlson, Under Cover: My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld of America, pp. 149-150.

The American Liberty League…subsidize[d] such affiliated organizations as the openly Fascist and anti-Semitic Sentinels of the Republic and the Crusaders, who were urged by their leader, George W. Christians, to consider lynching Roosevelt. One night when the President was scheduled to arrive in Chattanooga, Christians threatened to cut off the city's electric power and warned grimly, "Lots of things can happen in the dark!" This protege of the American Liberty League was kept under surveillance by the Secret Service.
Source: Jules Archer, The Plot to Seize the White House, 1973

At this time, the Crusaders for Economic Liberty rose in their glory. They succeeded in attracting to their fold the Congressional representative from Pennsylvania, Lewis T. McFadden, who made a brilliant speech on the floor of the House to the effect that Franklin D. Roosevelt was the .servant of the international money Jews of the world to whom he had turned over all the gold and lawful money of the country. The scheme of Mr. Pelley's Silver Shirts was to secure the reign of Christ on earth; the plan of Mr. Christian's Crusaders was to establish economic liberty under capitalism by destroying the money monopoly, and by inaugurating the Golden Rule through the introduction of a new monopoly system.
Source: The Conquest of Power: "Fascism Arrives," part 32: "Fascist Trends In The United States"
The Albert & Vera Weisbord Archives

"The reader…should not…make the mistake of minimizing the potential danger of the White Shirts and the rapidly rising tide of fascism that is sweeping this country. In all fascist movements one naturally finds much that is infantile and barbaric. This fact, however, has not impeded the progress of the fascists in the past and there is no indication that it will in the future."
Source: Murray Braun , "Fascist Organizations in America," Class Struggle, March 1934. Published by the Communist League of Struggle, New York.

Starting in 1933 du Pont provided financing for the American Liberty Lobby, Clark's Crusaders who claimed 1,200,000 members and the Liberty League
Source: Charles Higham, Trading with the Enemy, Barnes & Noble, 1983, p162.
cited in The 1930s: Nazis Parading on Main Street

Who funded the Crusaders?

For a sizable list of donors to the American Liberty League and its front groups (for example, the Sentinels of the Republic, Crusaders, Southern Committee to Uphold the Constitution, and other fascist American organizations in the 1930s), refer to a table of data prepared by Senator Black (originally published in the Digest of Data, Special Committee to Investigate Lobby Activities, 74th Congress 2nd Session). It was later published in 1000 Americans, by George Seldes, Boni & Gaer, 1947, p. 292-298.
This table of data on donations to American fascist organizations is now availale online by Glen Yeadon, The Nazi Hydra in America, 2004.
"Appendix 1: Big Donors to the Pro-Nazi Groups, The 1930s: Nazis Parading on Main Street."