Sinclair Lewis titled one of his books “It Can’t Happen Here”, a fictional story about a fascist takeover of America. He wrote it in 1935. While writing, he may not have been just working with elements in his head. Because in 1934, America actually was threatened by a fascist takeover. It’s popularly known as the Business Plot, and I don’t think enough people know about it. It was not in my history textbook, but I feel like a fascist coup attempt should have earned a paragraph or two.
One of the most noticeable characteristics of fascism is the fusion of big business and the government. Big business financed Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. Our plot was no different. Now we’ve all heard of the American Legion, right? Well, back then their bread and butter was strikebreaking. That is another feature of fascism, the destruction and dissolution of labor. The early Legion was heavily intertwined with fascist elements in America.
Here was the plan: send 500,000 Legionnaires to Washington and depose Franklin D. Roosevelt, claiming he had to step down because of his health.
The fascists chose Smedley Butler, a former commander of the Marines, to spearhead the operation. That turned out to be a big mistake. Not only did Butler refuse to go along with the plot, he blabbed to Congress. The McCormack-Dickstein Committee was formed to investigate.
Many businessmen with knowledge of the plot were called to testify. They did not.
No one went to prison for trying to overthrow the government. The plot was largely dismissed by the press as a hoax.
Now I am not saying that the criminals who tried to upend the election and attack the seat of democracy on January 6th will escape justice. But we are on a time clock. Democrats are in danger of losing the House in 2022, and the January 6th Committee will be scattered to the wind. If we don’t get some sort of action from the Department Of Justice, fascist forces will have again gotten away with trying to subvert democracy.
How many times will they be allowed to try before they succeed?