National Union for Social Justice

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The National Union for Social Justice (abbreviated NUSJ) was a fringe organization in the mid-1930s created by demagogic Detroit priest Charles Coughlin in pursuit of social justice. Attacking banks and the gold standard, it used populist appeals in scapegoating Jews and rallying supporters into class hatred amidst the Great Depression, exploiting the perceived ineffectiveness of the New Deal policies instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The NUSJ helped form a left-wing coalition in 1935–36 which organized into the Union Party. However, due to the party leaders being opportunistic and seeking broad public recognition to advance their individual careers, presidential nominee William Lemke failed to garner significant support in the general election, and the backing elements of the populist movement were fractured.


On November 11, 1934, Coughlin gave a speech where he announced the creation of the organization and emphasized sixteen key points:[1]

  1. I believe in liberty of conscience and liberty of education, not permitting the state to dictate either my worship to my God or my chosen avocation in life.
  2. I believe that every citizen willing to work and capable of working shall receive a just, living, annual wage which will enable him both to maintain and educate his family according to the standards of American decency.
  3. I believe in nationalizing those public resources which by their very nature are too important to be held in the control of private individuals.
  4. I believe in private ownership of all other property.
  5. I believe in upholding the right to private property but in controlling it for the public good.
  6. I believe in the abolition of the privately owned Federal Reserve Banking system and in the establishment of a Government owned Central Bank.
  7. I believe in rescuing from the hands of private owners the right to coin and regulate the value of money, which right must be restored to Congress where it belongs.
  8. I believe that one of the chief duties of this Government-owned Central Bank is to maintain the cost of living on an even keel and arrange for the repayment of dollar debts with equal value dollars.
  9. I believe in the cost of production plus a fair profit for the farmer.
  10. I believe not only in the right of the laboring man to organize in unions but also in the duty of the Government, which that laboring man supports, to protect these organizations against the vested interests of wealth and of intellect.
  11. I believe in the recall of all non-productive bonds and therefore in the alleviation of taxation.
  12. I believe in the abolition of tax-exempt bonds.
  13. I believe in broadening the base of taxation according to the principles of ownership and the capacity to pay.
  14. I believe in the simplification of government and the further lifting of crushing taxation from the slender revenues of the laboring class.
  15. I believe that, in the event of a war for the defense of our nation and its liberties, there shall be a conscription of wealth as well as a conscription of men.
  16. I believe in preferring the sanctity of human rights to the sanctity of property rights; for the chief concern of government shall be for the poor because, as it is witnessed, the rich have ample means of their own to care for themselves.

According to Michael H. Parsons, the manifesto combined Catholic social doctrines and agrarian reformist advocacy which previously were present in the platform of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL).[2]


  1. The National Union for Social Justice. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  2. Parsons, Michael H. (July 1965). Father Charles E. Coughlin and the Formation of the Union Party 1936, pp. 29–30. Western Michigan University. Retrieved November 30, 2022.