The Defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment, NOW and Me

During the time when my family was trying to determine whether to stay in retail business or go exclusively into wholesale, and while I was floundering trying to make a living from our retail outlet, I was also writing. It was, in fact, one of my first real endeavors to get into writing professionally. I succeeded in getting a few pieces published, primarily letters to the editor and a few poems.

I was concerned about a number of issues during this time. The Vietnam War, the McGovern candidacy, the environment and, last but not least, the women's movement and the Equal Rights Amendment.

The Equal Rights Amendment was claimed by the Republican Party, because it was originally written and proposed by a female Republican Senator. It is interesting to note that it was the GOP, not the Democratic Party, that fathered--or mothered--this amendment.

But one of the other ironies about the ERA is that it was probably, in retrospect, a victim of the "moderate" wing of the Republican Party. The key to this is an understanding of the make-up of a seemingly potentially powerful political organization, the National Organization for Women. NOW was founded in 1963 by Betty Friedan, author of one of the foundation books of modern feminism, The Feminine Mystique.

The NOW is still extant, and its membership is and has usually been, relatively large, in terms of rank-and-file, person in the street members. I've been a member for periods of time in the past, myself. But a key to understanding a vulnerable spot for the NOW is that it is bipartisan. Many Republicans of good will, of course, participated in the NOW. But what is key here is understanding that Republicans associated with Barbara Bush, and, through her, George Bush, "infiltrated" the NOW.

I say infiltrated because one of the things that becomes apparent now about George Bush is that he was never a "moderate" Republican. The 1992 presidential election saw George Bush taking over the reins of the GOP from Ronald Reagan. The convention should therefore, if Bush's projected image as a "moderate" Republican was accurate, have been a home for a more moderate political viewpoint, one espousing more tolerance on such issues as abortion, civil rights, equal rights for women, the environment, and so forth. Instead, the 1992 GOP convention was, if anything, representative, not of a moderate position, but of a position still further to the right than Ronald Reagan's had been.

This is an interesting phenomenon. It can't be explained by mere coincidence, and it didn't just occur on a single night of the convention. The Far Right dominated the entire GOP convention process in 1992. And George Bush was running the show. The GOP didn't moderate its positions from those of Reagan. Instead, it became even more conservative. And it gave podium space and time to persons whose political affiliation put them clearly on the far right.

How could this be? Based on what I've learned about Nelson Rockefeller's Standard Oil in World War 2, I believe that Prescott Bush's son should never have been understood to have been anything but what he was: a right wing conservative almost as far to the right as a Nazi. He is anti-Israel, anti-black, a eugenicist, like his father--and he doesn't hold the moderate views he's been credited with.

People affiliated with Barbara Bush joined the NOW and supported the ERA.

But, in addition, persons who knew both Barbara and George joined shortly thereafter. It is this latter group that needs to be re-examined.

George Bush affiliated himself with persons so far on the political right that, if high-level persons in the federal government hadn't covered for them, they'd have been indicted for war crimes in World War 2. These include:

Laszlo Pasztor: acted as a courier to the Nazis in Hungary and Germany. He carried messages to Berlin from his own Hungarian version of the Nazi Party, called the Arrow Cross. Pasztor claims that he never helped the Nazis in the Second World War. He bases this on the fact that he never directly participated in the massacre of Jews. But he fails to mention that his actions provided intelligence information to Berlin, allowing Germany to adjust troop movements and re-position personnel so as to minimize their casualties and maximize those of the US and our allies. Thus, while Pasztor can't be accused of exterminating Jews, he can be accused of something at least equally as bad, from the perspective of most Americans: he freed up German troops to more effectively attack--and kill--American GI's. He can hardly be accused of helping the US in World War II.

Yaroslav Stesko: George Bush signed a photograph "To the Honorable Yaroslav Stesko, with Best Wishes, George Bush." Stesko ruled the Ukraine as a Nazi puppet governor from 1941 until the Russians drove the Germans out. During his rule, over 400,000 Jews and other groups targeted by Hitler for extermination, were exterminated. This occurred with the full compliance of Yaroslav Stesko. Stesko used his local militia to carry out these operations. This latter act not only indicted Stesko as an anti-Semite who engaged in the extermination of Jews. It also provided the final charge needed to convict Stesko of waging war on the United States of America and its military in World War II. For, by using his own militia to carry out these acts, he freed German military personnel to engage in other activities, such as the killing of American GI's in Europe and North Africa. It is important to realize this connection, because this man often professed to be a "great patriot."

These are just two of several Nazis and Nazi-sympathizers Bush regularly associated with. They are hardly the kind of company one would expect for someone who supported Civil Rights legislation., as George Bush allegedly did.

Perhaps equally important is the fact that George Bush's father, Prescott, was indicted in November 1942 for helping in the illegal sale of oil, petrochemical products and gasoline to the Nazis after the U.S. had gone to war with Germany. The news report about this appears on page 25 of the New York Times in January, 1944.

One other very important Far Right connection for George Bush must be brought out. William Stamps Farrish had been a top head of the Standard Oil Company going into World War II. He was indicted for treason, after it was discovered by Congressional investigators that he had not only withheld important new rubber technologies from the U.S. Navy, he had given those same technologies to the Nazis. He also sold oil and gasoline to the Nazis at a time when this was definitely illegal. He also encouraged Standard Oil's tankers to refuel Nazi u-boats in the Atlantic in 1941 and '42, when they were engaged in warfare against American shipping. He also worked with the Nazis to help them fly spies and propaganda into South America and, from there, into the U.S. He also helped them fly in illegal drugs.

In November, 1942, at the same time that Prescott Bush was being indicted for violating the Trading With the Enemy Act, Farrish was called before the Congress by then-Senator Harry S. Truman. Truman afterwards affirmed that Farrish had engaged in treason against the U.S. A few days later, Farrish died, possibly a suicide, possibly a heart attack, possibly something else. In 1948, George Bush became a business associate of Farrish's grandson, William Stamps Farrish III. Farrish had made several million dollars off the patents he sold the Nazis. His grandson inherited this money and used it to finance George Bush's congressional and presidential campaigns. Bush also used money from William Draper, a founder of the Auschwitz concentration camp who made millions off the sale of chemicals used to make poison gas to kill Jews in the camps. Draper stashed this money away in various banks around the world. After the war, Bush used it to finance his campaign

Why is this significant? Because George Bush was financially in hoc to the Far Right in any political endeavor he undertook, due to this money. Allen Dulles, Bush's father's attorney, had also illegally sneaked millions of dollars out of Nazi Germany that he had made off the operations of Hitler's Third Reich in various capacities, all illegal. Dulles gave much of this money to Prescott Bush. Prescott in turn saw that some of it made it to George's campaigns, adding to his obligation to eugenicists, such as his own father, and Nazi-sympathizers like Dulles, Farrish, Draper, Pasztor and Stesko.

The position of these people was total opposition to feminism, racial integration and other progressive measures. While George Bush might imply in occasional speeches that he supported these progressive measures, too, he never presented any specific legislation in Congress to support them. As President, he did all he could to end racial integration and oppose feminism.

Bush's political associates' joining the NOW in order to work there while it struggled for ERA and other feminist causes, thus, was not any guarantee of success for ERA. Barbara's own associates may have been sincere. But those persons associated with George were there to sabotage the operation.

For an organization of its size, NOW was extraordinarily ineffective in getting governmental action and legislation. Some observers commented on this at the time. But now, with the retrospect of Bush's continuing associations with Pasztor, Stesko, Farrish, Draper and a number of other Far Right Nazi activists in World War Two, we can see that George, having won women's trust, was determined to betray it. He was committed to doing so. So, his associates' activities in NOW were primarily actions of sabotage of the pro-ERA operations. Without the real base of support from Bush's end that the NOW top leadership had thought was there, ERA failed.

I recall my letters to the editor supporting it. I also recall how, shortly after my move to Houston and Jimmy Carter's defeat by Reagan/Bush, the ERA went down to defeat, after a segment of NOW turned over its operations to Bush's associates.

In order to succeed, we must learn from history. One lesson the women's movement can learn from what we now know about George Bush's secret Far Right political views, is not to trust a politician's own media machine to describe them the way they really are. In the case of women's trust of George Bush--on ERA and a number of other issues important to women--it was betrayed. Forewarned is forearmed. Let's not repeat this mistake.

Go back to the George Bush-Undercurrents Website

Works Cited:

Bellant, Russ. Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party (original title: Old Nazis, the New Right and the Reagan Administration). Boston: South End, 1991

Bowen, Brig. Gen. Russell S. The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed. Carson City, NV: America West, 1991

Higham, Charles. Trading With the Enemy: An Exposé of the Nazi-American Money Plot, 1933-1947. New York: Delacorte, 1983.

Loftus, John and Mark Aarons. The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People. New York: St. Martin's, 1994

Simpson, Christopher. Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War. New York: Delacorte, 1988

Tarpley, Webster Griffin, and Anton Chaitkin. The Unauthorized Biography of George Bush. New York: Executive Intelligence Review/Ben Franklin, 1991

Go back to the George Bush-Undercurrents website