“Under Cover” by John Roy Carlson, an original Anti-Fascist

Young Armenian immigrant John Roy Carlson went under cover in New York’s Nazi fascist community in 1939, where he participated and gathered information under an assumed identity for four years. He then immediately wrote Under Cover – it was revealing and important when written – and it’s still vital and relevant to understanding threats to the republic today.

Under Cover is credible and conveys the urgency of the time as WWII commenced. The writing is more raw than some readers might expect today, but you’ll be rewarded by the content. Consider it the 1943 equivalent of a real-time effort.

Carlson makes the point that hate is the essential ingredient of fascism. Hate (and its close cousin fear) gives us fascism and its other name, nationalism. Read the book for insight into the origins and tenets of fascism in America. Carlson was an original American anti-fascist, and his weapon was the pen. He named names, including politicians and socialites.

If you are watching and questioning what is happening to our republic today,  see the tactics of fascism as called out by Carlson (splitting the people, manipulating truth and false narratives, political complicity, threats, organized violence, etc.) – and these tactics seem to be growing and in increasingly flagrant use today.

passage from Under Cover by John Roy Carlson, copyright 1943 passage from Under Cover by John Roy Carlson, copyright 1943

You might be surprised at the significant role that Detroit and area played in launching fascism, particularly my town of Royal Oak, where the Catholic Church was harmed by the demagogic powers of Father Charles Edward Coughlin. From the Shrine Of The Little Flower that he founded at 12 Mile and Woodward Avenues, Coughlin was a pioneer in the use of radio to spew out high-impact pro-fascist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.  In collaboration with people  directly tied to Hitler, he published and distributed the most aggressive propaganda of the time, under the innocuous title of Social Justice.

Carlson mentions Detroit, Royal Oak, and Father Coughlin throughout the book, and featured two dedicated chapters: Coughlin’s Christian Crusade, and Detroit is Dynamite. Here is more on Under Cover’s Detroit Fascism Connection.

I am privileged to have been given a copy of Under Cover from the original year of publish, 1943, when WWII was still going on. 

The book holds respect among informed activists seeking to slow the ramp-up of fascism and preserve democracy.  You can buy Under Cover from Amazon and a free PDF is available on Wikipedia under the author’s true name, Arthur Derounian.