An anti-fascist movie distributed during World War II has gone viral in the wake of the white nationalist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.
Anthropologist Michael Oman-Reagan on Saturday tweeted out a clip from “Don’t Be A Sucker,” a movie produced in 1943 by the U.S. War Department in order to warn Americans against fascist language and teach citizens to denounce that behavior. It was released in 1947.
1947 anti-fascist video made by US military to teach citizens how to avoid falling for people like Trump is relevant again. pic.twitter.com/vkTDD1Tplh
— Michael (@OmanReagan) August 13, 2017
The short film features a scene with a man spewing hate-filled rhetoric, handing pamphlets out from a podium. A man in the crowd starts to agree before the Free Masons, a group he is part of, also gets attacked.
“I see foreigners with money,” the man says. “I see negroes holding jobs that belong to me and you. Now I ask you, if we allow this thing to go on, what’s going to become of us real Americans?” The speech in the film is very similar to the speech that white supremacists use today.
One man in the film says he “heard this kind of talk before, but I never expected to hear it in America.”
The angry man continues: “We’ll never be able to call this country our own until it’s a country without. Without what? Without negroes. Without alien foreigners. Without Catholics. Without Freemasons … these are your enemies. These are the people who are trying to take over our country. And it’s up to you and me to fight them.”
This speech calls to mind rhetoric that President Trump has used when it comes to Mexicans and Muslims entering the country. Trump famously called all Mexicans “rapists,” and one of his first orders of business as president was to call for a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority countries.
Back in the film, there is some back and forth in the crowd, and someone else in the crowd shouts, “In this country we have no other people, we are American people.”
From Oman-Reagan’s tweet, the clip soon went viral as people online found this old piece of American history especially poignant in the wake of violent alt-right rallies in Virginia.
On Friday, a group of white nationalists gathered to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert. E. Lee. They were met with counter-protestors, and the clashing of the two groups led to violence, which only intensified Saturday. When a vehicle driven by a white nationalist activist plowed into a crowd Saturday at the rally, Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal from Virginia, was killed, and 19 others were injured. More than 30 were hurt in total as a result of events at the rally.
This should be shown in every classroom
— slnasty (@sl1nasty) August 13, 2017
Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States…”
— Michael (@OmanReagan) August 14, 2017
— United for Progress (@United4Progress) August 14, 2017
— Girl Futurist (@GirlFuturist) August 14, 2017
"Don't Be a Sucker" (1947)
— AAR????N (@AaronLMGoodwin) August 14, 2017
"Don't Be a Sucker" – 1947
70 years later and still it continues. https://t.co/QWUfzosKXw
— Brad Willmore (@BradWillmore) August 14, 2017
A lesson already learned in the USA in 1947. How did so many forget?https://t.co/sJSJuLC9GK
— Andy Romero (@AndyTRomero) August 14, 2017
PSA in 1947 to prevent hate – Full Video
Let's spread it to all voters who have fallen for this kind of talk now. https://t.co/yN76C7zhAg
— SnowflakePrincess (@amandablount2) August 13, 2017