The Wall Street Fascist Plot

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Chris Trotter’s essay on the possibility of civil war erupting in the United States is timely, at least if the events which lead to two previous attempts are anything to go by.

While many suspect there have been a number of “unrecorded” coup d’état in US history, the first acknowledged is that which sought to overthrow the then fledging US government in 1783, at the end of the American Revolutionary War, which only failed because George Washington withheld his support

The second and most recent recorded coup attempt, known as the Business Plot (also called the Wall Street Putschor The White House Putsch) was a political conspiracy that took place in 1933 when powerful business interests plotted  to overthrow the government of President Franklin Roosevelt.

Also taking advantage of veterans’ discontent, the plot was revealed when, in 1934, retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler testified under oath that wealthy interests, concerned by Roosevelt’s dropping of the Gold Standard and the effect that would have on their fortunes, were planning to create a fascist veterans’ organization, with Butler as its leader, to depose Roosevelt.

Major General Smedley Butler was one of the most decorated US war heroes of his time, but even more remarkable were the names of those he testified were behind the plot – names like Robert Sterling Clark, Grayson M.P. Murphy, and Prescott Bush, founder of the family that was to later produce two US Presidents.

While news media at the time mocked Butler’s story, which itself is now thought to have had political support, so as to both spare the plotters from conviction in return for their support of FDR’s ‘New Deal’, recently uncovered records have revealed the truth of Major General Smedley Butler’s claims.

Born in 1871, the eldest son of a Quaker family, Smedley Butler was a veteran of several of the late 19th and early 20thcenturies’ major conflicts.  Renowned for bravery and resolute leadership, he was both highly decorated by his country, and highly respected by the men who served under him.

According to a thesis written about him; “ He was the type of leader who always got on better with his enlisted men than with his colleagues or superiors; he represented an egalitarian anti-elitism that contrasted sharply with the highly structured hierarchy of the Marine Corp”

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After leaving the service in 1931 Smedley Butler became a champion of veterans’ rights, as they lobbied for payments of bonds issued to veterans prior to WW1. And it was Smedley Butler’s positive public image and clear ability to rally people to him, which, in 1933, prompted business interests to try enticing him to be the face of a planned coup d’état

Approached by two senior members of the American Legion, an organization meant to support veteran rights, Smedley Butler began to suspect that something was amiss when he became aware of the huge amounts of money being put at his disposal

Believing there was little chance a group of veterans had access to such a vast sums, Smedley Butler was even more dismayed at the speech he was expected to deliver, which was less to do with veteran affairs, and more about attacking Roosevelt’s recent move away from the gold standard, to his “Goods not Gold” policy.

The abandonment of the gold standard left many bankers and the wealthy US elite fearful that gold-backed loans would not be paid back in full by the President’s ‘New Deal” policies, and that as a consequence vast fortunes would be decimated.

Sensing something sinister, Smedley Butler insisted on meeting with the plans’ principal architects and found himself speaking with Robert Sterling Clark, heir to the Singer Sewing fortune. Clark told Smedley Butler that his real interest was in preserving the gold standard, even claiming that he “had $30 million, and was willing to spend half of the $30 million to save the other half.”

At this point Smedley Butler refused to be further involved.  And he heard little more from the plotters till some months later when they again pressed him, citing the examples of the French Croix de Feu government of the day, which was run by veterans, as being the sort of thing he could lead.

The only way to save the country from FDR’s “ill-fated” policies, they asserted, was to create a military state run by former servicemen, with Roosevelt serving as a figurehead.  And, promising Smedley Butler an army of 500,000 men and financial backing from the wealthy elite, he was pressed to lead a peaceful march on the White House to displace Roosevelt.

Concerned that nobody would believe his telling of such a treasonous plan, Smedley Butler involved a former Philadelphia police captain and a reporter he knew, both of whom, once they had gained the trust of the conspirators, were able to corroborate his story

Subsequently they testified that the conspirators believed a fascist state was the only answer for America, and that Smedley was the “ideal leader” because he “could organize one million men overnight.”

But on 24 November 1934 Major General Smedley Butler’s testimony before the Special Committee on Un-American Activities received a luke warm reception.   Discounting a large part of Butler’s address the committee declined to subpoena men like John W. Davis, a former presidential hopeful, or Thomas W. Lamont, a partner with J.P. Morgan & Company.  However, once Smedley Butler’s two corroborating witnesses had testified, the committee began to investigate further and found all of Smedley Butler’s claims to be factual.

But the committee’s final report was never made public and the major media was able to belittle and deride Smedley Butler’s testimony. And those allegedly implicated, ranging from the DuPont family, the Goodyear Tyre Company, to Prescott Bush, the grandfather of future President George W. Bush, laughed off Butler’s claims.

Evidence of the validity of Butler’s testimony was not released until the 21st century, when the committee’s papers were released into the Public Domain. No one was ever prosecuted in connection with the plot.

For his part, Smedley butler continued advocating for veterans. And he also became a staunch opponent of Capitalism, which he said fed war mongering interests. His views were published in his well-known short book War is a Racket, which was published in 1935.

Smedley Butler later became a staunch opponent of Capitalism and an outspoken critic of American wars and their consequences. In 1935, Butler wrote a book titled War Is a Racket, where he describes and criticizes the workings of the United States in its foreign actions and wars, such as those in which he had been involved, including the American corporations and other imperialist motivations behind them. After retiring from service, he became a popular advocate, speaking at meetings organized by veterans, pacifists, and church groups in the 1930s.

“I helped to make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is too long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras ‘right’ for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested….Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”

– Smedley Butler

 

Malcolm Evans

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2021/01/13/fdr-roosevelt-coup-business-plot/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newburgh_Conspiracy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

https://digitalcollections.wesleyan.edu/object/ir-1133

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. That, was brilliant @ ME.
    I’m poorly educated so I only have my commonsense to guide me. Much of what you’ve written isn’t a complete surprise to me. I only need to look around our own AO/NZ to see the same taints and stains that Butler stood up against seeping out of our very own leafy suburbs.
    ‘Democracy’ is a mechanism. It isn’t a politic.
    Democracy is a fragile thing and can be easily turned against we, the people. It all depends upon what’s installed in the democracy.
    Right now? In AO/NZ’s democracy? Capitalism is the soft ware installed on our democracy’s hard drive.
    That means we, the people, under the current soft-ware politic have little or no control, ultimately, over the behaviour or direction taken by our democracy. As we can see. Aye boys?
    Back in the early part of the 1900’s a politic of bankers and money lenders coalesced into today’s modern national party. They then demolished the farmers union and renamed that dead duck walking ‘Federated Farmers’ where any and all dissent against the banker and money lender party, the national party, was lured then quietly suffocated.
    Why? Well, money of course dear boys and girls. Lovely, lovely, lazy, dirty, sneaky, swindled money that was never earned by those now with most of it. Just like the good ol U$A. Again. Aye Boys?
    In short. We’re living on a paradise of a land mass but NOT in a level of comfort that’d be the envy of the world simply because dirty crooked fuckers have rort our primary industry almost to death then by using logical fallacies have taught us to hate and mistrust those we should love and hang out with and adulate and fawn over those who suppress, exploit and abuse us.
    We urgently need a latter day Smedley Butler.
    Again. A fantastic piece @ Malcolm Evans. I’m off to read the links you’ve posted.

    The Guardian.
    “Our bullying corporations are the new enemy within”
    George Monbiot
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/07/bullying-corporations-enemy-within-business-politicians

  2. Smedley Butler one of the true American patriots, wearing flag patterned boxers doesn’t make you a patriot, caring about the nations people does.

    It’s worth remembering FDR wasn’t some closet socialist he was a patrician member of the American ruling class but had the foresight to see that changes needed to be made to ‘save capitalism’ something our LINOs should take to heart, they may not like it but if they don’t do something we and the system that sustains the administrative class is doomed to spiral down, their long term survival as a class now depends on real systemic change..not good PR presentation.

    • gagarin You get the chocolate fish – that comment should be a leitmotif for next year.
      …but if they don’t do something we and the system that sustains the administrative class is doomed to spiral down, their long term survival as a class now depends on real systemic change..not good PR presentation.

      I was just reading that Germany had a perfectionist philosophy or something. The leitmotif doesn’t have to reach perfection to me, it just has to reach out to the people and help get them to get skills we all need to make a satisfying and sustainable life.

  3. I thought this bit particularly interesting. Smedley Butler was even more dismayed at the speech he was expected to deliver, which was less to do with veteran affairs, and more about attacking Roosevelt’s recent move away from the gold standard, to his “Goods not Gold” policy.
    The abandonment of the gold standard left many bankers and the wealthy US elite fearful that gold-backed loans would not be paid back in full by the President’s ‘New Deal” policies, and that as a consequence vast fortunes would be decimated.

    The human problem of placing virtual systems in the place of real, physical artifacts has to be looked at.
    The electronic message sent through an oligarch’s business, which would once have been written on a piece of paper and sent through a public communications service, for instance. The very heart of our society is being dominated by the wealthy.

    I have been reading about Danilo Dolci who agitated for people who lived in a corner of prosperous Italy; existed rather, without supplied water, sewers, electricity, which suited their overlords the Mafia, who were compatible with the church, and the local and national government as well. The price of a fair working democracy with morality is high in the work for able citizens watching and managing the powers given to representatives. The price sky rockets when citizens allow power to cross over and be held by others looking for advancement, resulting that power not held in in trust but in possession, similar to an Enduring Power of Attorney perhaps. When people are poor and scrabbling to feed and water themselves, family, support animals, where do they have time and individual or group power over the better provisioned? Fascism reigns then; we are getting a larger very poor class with PTB deaf and unseeing of people’s travails.

  4. It’s also worth recognising one of the great ‘Democrats’ of our time, Robert Kennedy jnr. a man FULLY versed in the machinations of Hate and deception; a man who has Prosecuted and won major court cases against some of the greatest corporate criminals in History; the nephew of John Fitzgerald KENNEDY [And what stature of ‘Democrat’ do we acclaim to him?] is saying LOUD and clear : The real coup is NOW. By those very same destructive and hateful forces BUTLER exposed all those decades ago (Pfizer? anyone?)
    That that fascist entity has in the meantime devised and morphed networks and technologies and alliances with and Under an extortive Globalist Medical tyranny; backed by our idiot elites; to launch this, the greatest challenge to the free peoples of the world: this present coup .
    I wonder how the outcome will read in 50years.

  5. I wonder why FDR really chose to ‘let it go ‘… They were Big names. Precursor names like DuPont. Dupont know all about genetically modified organisms. They know how the septic cleanliness of a SERCO prison works on dissidence.
    History is littered with Black sites. The ‘collective’ and evolving fascism winning the last war has built them
    around the world. Filled with mercenary graduates of the Military and Intelligence and PHARMA Industrial Complex. Well versed in ‘the arts’ of control and power.
    Why even try influence it’s sacred decisions. If they have created the ability to identify and liquidate leadership against them ? If they build the guns. The gas. The thought viruses ‘psychologically’ developed in those same dungeons and now deployed; to rage among us. An epidemic of one version of crazy set up against another version of crazy.
    All this while making good money.
    Gaining a lot of control.

    Why even try influencing power like this:

    If privateers of the biosecurity deepstate synthesised mRna codes, and are injecting them for the first time in the history of science into the sacred helix ; binding into whatever it is we think we are a code from the laboratories of Maryland or Wuhan —

    why wouldn’t I trust them to do no harm.

  6. Hey guys.
    Don’t worry about the second comment.
    The first one covers it and I thought you weren’t going to post it.
    So thanks.
    Seasons greetings.
    rmo

  7. early 70s in the UK was riven with rumours of coups, from ex-SAS officers to armed public school boys(eton rifles by the jam) even in entertainment ‘guardians’ LWT tv drama and the reggie perrin spinoff ‘a very secret army’ and not forgetting the noxious right wing propaganda of BBCTVs ‘1990’ and the usual media crap….some plotters had actually booked a cross channel ferry (unironically the ill fated ‘spirit of free enterprise’ if I remember right) as a floating prison for the labour cabinet and others.

    so yes plans were in the air and so normalised that both drama and comedy could refer to them knowing the audience was aware. It’s not something the UK likes to remember.

    • And so ‘drama and comedy’ won out in the best of British ways, yeah? Hats off to the Brits, – they are a hard act to follow !!! Such an amazing collection of people they truly are ! 🙂

  8. I used to have a copy of ‘war is a racket’ (it was a boomerang that never came back) don’t know if it’s still in print, probably not but if you can dig out a copy, well worth a read…..it underlines in thick red sharpie..the more things change the more they stay the same.

  9. My compliments for Smedley have disappeared. I thought you had a principle of free speech, Martyn, rather than mere pragmatics.

  10. New Zealand, (and the US), is a capitalist liberal democracy.

    It is understood that capitalist enterprises are autocratic in their internal operation and management, with zero democracy.

    The general rule of capitalist democracies is that democracy is forbidden to regulate finance capital and the acccumulation of private profit.

    To even spell out this obvious self evident rule of capitalist democracies feels somehow sacriligious.

    In turning his back on the corporate state and American Imperialism, General Smedley Butler was an exception. (And then only on his retirement from active duty.)

    All of New Zealand’s military and intelligence leaders are deeply tied to American Imperialism and corporate domination of foreign and domestic policy.

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