Could anyone explain to me what is really happening in the following passage from The Naked and The Dead by Norman Mailer? The first part of the quote is from a newspaper about a guy called Jimmy Andrew. I guess CIO is a trade union, which is understandable. If Gallagher hates communism, why doesn't he like the anti-Nazi movement?

The second part of the quote is about Gallagher's personal view of the bigot. "He'd mentioned it down at the ward headquarters, and the organizer had never come back." Why had the organizer never come back? AFL is a trade union as well?


It's just the old Andrews BALLY-HOO in Action, just like the last time he ran for State Leg. when his slogan was ANDREWS VS. COMMUNISM, remember? then what did he do about COMMUNISM? N-O-T-H-I-N-G as far as we can see. One of his workers at his headquarters was a vice-president of CIO and another worker was a director of the Anti-Nazi League of N.Y., remember this league that did not like Father Coughlin and wanted to boycott Catholic Franco.

Now Jimmy Andrews, Old Boy, remember the old gray mare Aint What She Used To Be, so don't start off on the wrong foot, don't kid the Public or the Veterans, make sure what you say. Help The Veteran -- Don't Kid. We're all on to you, Jimmy Andrews, and the voters of Ward 9 don't want a bigot. So watch out for the Company you keep. There's no place in the party for men like you. We're on to that old game.


Gallagher felt a dull anger as he read. It was those kind of guys you had to watch out for, the fuggin Communists. He remembered once when he was driving a truck and the AFL had tried to organize them. He'd mentioned it down at the ward headquarters, and the organizer had never come back. There was something funny there, he'd noticed there were guys in the party who would play around with the Red Labor Outfits, men like Big Joe Durmey, and this Jim Andrews guy, and they had no call to deal with bigots, Gallagher decided. Those were the kind of guys who were always working against him; no wonder he had never got anywhere. He felt a pang of envy as he thought of Whitey Lydon. Everybody was getting ahead of him while he was stuck here. There wasn't anybody you could trust. Dog eat dog.

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The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations were labor unions of the day, who would eventually unite in 1955. The 1930's were not good times for union organizers--at least until Roosevelt became president--and I would imagine that a Boston politician's sympathies would tend to be with local businesses than with an 'agitator' from outside.

The word bigot has come a long way from the days when it simply meant ‘obsessively religious! Gallagher is Boston Irish, and very Catholic—we see him more than once worrying about his next confession—and to him, ‘bigot’ simply means ‘anti-Catholic’. The Catholic Hierarchy was usually much more tolerant of fascists than of communists—unsurprisingly, given the communists usually directly opposed the church, while fascist leaders often conflated the church’s interests with their own. For instance, a pro-Franco propaganda film of 1938 was titled Defenders of the Faith. His attitude to Jews can be seen in this excerpt:

“Gallagher began to think of the gang. What a good bunch of guys they were, he told himself with pride. There had been the time they passed out pamphlets to get McCarthy elected in Roxbury. He had even made a speech afterward, saying that his victory was due to his loyal cohorts. And there was the time they had made that raid into Dorchester, and had taught the Yids a lesson.”

The pamphlet he received in the mail mentions Father Coughlin, who became extremely popular through the 1930’s broadcasting on the radio, and who became increasingly antisemitic—until he was abruptly shut down when the United States entered the war.

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