The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist/Chapter 7
Dorothy Visits Phoenix
Washington D.C. Fasting – August Hiroshima Fast—1950
(Phoenix – Washington, D.C. – Mott St. – Hopiland)
I had not met Dorothy since September 1941 in Milwaukee. I had written letters to her and the CATHOLIC WORKER. She had come to Albuquerque a few months after I left for Phoenix in 1947. Now I was overjoyed to get a card from her saying that she would be here Dec. 29th. I met her at the bus. She had been a chain smoker until 1940 and now that she had quit as a penance she had a relaxed and peaceful countenance instead of that nervousness that goes with cigarettes. She stayed at Rik's. On New Year's Day we both met Father George Dunne, nephew of Finley Peter Dunne, the humorist, and now at St. Francis Xavier church here. He had been changed from St. Louis to Los Angeles and now to Phoenix because he was ahead of the ecclesiastical authorities on the race issue. He is not a pacifist nor an anarchist, but a fine brave man. We went with Father Rook to the Indian Yaqui mission in the desert southeast of Tempe. Here the Indians who are very poor had built this church or rather had added to the old one—and all without any games of chance or bingo parties.
The leading anarchist of this country happened to be in Phoenix just then, so I asked him if he and his atheistic Italian anarchist friends would like to meet Dorothy. Accordingly we met one evening in an anarchist home. The atheistic anarchists led off by saying that anarchism as defined by Bakunin negates all authority: that of the state and that of God. Therefore for Christian and especially Catholic anarchists to use the name anarchism is unethical. Furthermore it hurts the feelings of Italian anarchists who have felt the lash of the Catholic hierarchy.
Dorothy listened carefully to this reiterated statement and replied that this argument had not been brought to her attention before and deserved careful consideration. She felt that man of his own free will accepted God or rejected God and if a man chose to obey the authority of God and reject the authority of the state it was not unethical to do so. She inferred that we were born into a state and could not help it, but accepted God of our own free will. She and Bob Ludlow are converts to the Church.
The atheistic anarchist answer was that it was entirely illogical to use the anarchist conception of freedom to accept the authority of God which denies that freedom. Dorothy felt that the authority of God only made her a better rebel and gave her courage to oppose those who sought to carry over the concept of authority from the supernatural to the natural field where it did not belong. She said that the use of the word anarchism by the CW might shock people; that Peter Maurin, although an anarchist had generally used the word personalist instead, but she felt that Bob Ludlow and myself used it rightly.
Another anarchist present thought that Ludlow had slipped over the use of the word anarchism on Dorothy. She replied that she stood back of all he said on the subject. This same anarchist repeated the regular argument that religion was opium for the people and that the Catholic Church always stood for the rich against the poor and that the CW was as bad as the history of the church. The anarchist leader felt that if the CW was only called the ANARCHIST WORKER instead of the CW it would be the best anarchist paper going. It was the word Catholic that spoiled it. These atheistic anarchists felt that if I had not hid behind the CW I would have been arrested long ago for my tax refusal. Dorothy answered that I had been a Christian Anarchist long before the CW was ever heard of. The anarchist leader said that Tolstoy in his Appeal to Social Reformers denounced the regular anarchists of his time and therefore should not be considered an anarchist.
I replied that I had read that article of Tolstoy's long ago and that Tolstoy was simply decrying the atheism and violence of various types of anarchists, and saying that without pacifism and the Fatherhood of God there could not be an effective anarchistic brotherhood of man. I also quoted from a book Tolstoy the Man by Prof. Stirner issued by Fleming Revel Co. about 1902. Prof. Stirner visited with Tolstoy and quoted him as saying that he was such an anarchist as Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount had made him; not to be afraid of the word anarchism, for the time would come when people would know its true meaning; that one who had accepted and obeyed the laws of God was thereby divorced from obeying the laws of men and did not need them. Stirner was sort of a Fabian Socialist, and he asked Tolstoy if Socialism was not a step on the way to anarchism. Tolstoy answered that it was not, and that it would end in a terrible dictatorship.
Dorothy mentioned the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, original sin, etc., emphasizing the fact that rebels who sacrifice for a cause need this supernatural help to remain true. The anarchists misunderstood this idea or else were physically unable to accept the importance of sacrifice, saying that what they wanted was better material conditions and not pie in the sky; that religion made people willing slaves. Under pressure from Dorothy and myself they admitted that a good martyr now and then like the Haymarket men and Sacco and Vanzetti, was a good thing; but they did not like the emphasis upon sacrifice.
I felt that this was the trouble with the present atheistic anarchists: that they were not willing to sacrifice enough. I reviewed my prison history to prove that what changed me from being a Socialist and an atheist was the example of that true rebel Jesus. That thus my sanity had been saved and I had emerged from prison an anarchist. That I was associated with the CW because of its brave stand in publicizing my anti-tax campaign when anarchist and pacifist papers said very little about it. That my idea of God was not an authority whom I obeyed like a monarch but a principle of good as laid down by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, which I interpreted in day by day decisions as the forces of the state came in conflict with these ideals. And that in the same manner every person had to make a choice between his conception of good and of evil. The anarchist leader still felt that religious people had no right to use the word anarchist, although we knew that he as an anarchist could not go to law and prevent it. I replied that the atheistic anarchists were more atheistic than they were anarchistic so he should not be adverse to allowing Christians or Catholic Christians to be at least as religious as they were anarchistic, if not more so.
That the atheistic anarchist should be glad that the CW had left the state worship of ecclesiastical authorities and were anarchists. I said that the atheistic anarchists did not realize that it was possible for a Catholic to accept spiritual authority and not—like most Catholics, accept the state and temporal authority; that the atheistic anarchist should be glad that someone was fighting authority in one sphere—and the most difficult sphere at that—where the atheistic anarchist stood no chance of being heard. Dorothy told of losing over half of the CW subscribers because the CW opposed Franco and World War II. The summary of Bob Ludlow on this subject seems conclusive: "There is an incompatibility between anarchism and religion only if the Christian insists on transforming the authoritarian set up of the Church to the temporal field or the anarchist insists in rejecting authority in religion. In both cases it comes from a confusion of the supernatural with the natural."
As two of those present were vegetarians, our Italian hosts gave us all that diet. Despite the excitability of the Italian temperament there was good humor and goodwill present at all times. I felt that a fair summary of the question would be that whenever we of the CW became cowardly because of pressure from the Pope, then it would be time for atheistic anarchists to decry our use of the name anarchism. And that as long as they had no Pope to tell them what to do they ought to assert their native anarchism and come out and be as brave fighters against war and capitalism as were Bakunin, Berkman and Goldman, whom they revere.
Now on Jan. 14, 1950 I mailed a statement to Mr. Stuart, Collector of Internal Revenue in Phoenix explaining why I was refusing to pay my income tax. It said:
- As a non-church Christian Anarchist and a follower of Gandhi the man of the Half-Century, I refuse to pay my income tax for the seventh consecutive time. Enclosed find my statement of earnings in 1949. I have instructed my various farm employers that I am working for nothing on the day that you come to garnishee my wages, so that I receive nothing, and so do you. As in the time of Matthew, the tax-gatherer (aside from the hangman) has been the least honorable of the human species. However I hold no ill will against you personally. Your allegiance is to Caesar; mine is to God.
- I believe that the state is immoral inasmuch as it lives by war and operates by the return of evil for evil in legislatures, courts and prisons.
- I believe that the church un-Christian and immoral in upholding war and this return of evil for evil by the state, thus denying the Sermon on the Mount.
- There are millions of well-meaning Christian people who pay taxes for war. How, then, do I set myself up to judge them? In older times prophets came out of the desert who warned the people of certain destruction awaiting them because of their evil ways. Today we cannot wait for leaders, but all of us who pay for the Bomb must take our responsibility. The extreme of the Atom Bomb brings the need for the extreme message of Christ: the Sermon on the Mount. The following ethical analysis leads up to such action as I and a few others have been and are taking; Love without Courage and Wisdom is Sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without Love and Wisdom is Foolhardiness, as with the ordinary soldier. Wisdom without Courage and Love is Cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. Therefore, one who has Love, Wisdom and Courage is the one in a hundred million who moves the world, as with Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi. The people in this country who approximate this difficult ideal are the leaders of the Catholic Worker movement who publish the Christian Anarchist monthly, the CATHOLIC WORKER.
- The argument is an old one, old as Jesus driving the money changers out of the Temple and being crucified for His rebellion against the corrupt church of His time. It is as old as Socrates who drank the hemlock rather than cater to the corrupt politicians of his time. It is as old as Tolstoy who defied the Czar and the subservient Orthodox Church which enslaved the Russian people. It is as old as Gandhi, who by his non-violent Satyagraha campaigns overcame the great British Empire and his chief detractor, Churchill, who called him a "naked fakir." I am acting in the tradition which Jefferson, Paine and Emerson gave to this country. I am acting in the tradition of the early Quakers who refused to pay taxes for war and openly broke the law by hiding escaped slaves. I am practicing the same idea as that of Thoreau who refused to pay taxes for the Mexican War and slavery.
- The refusal of myself and a few others to pay taxes will not stop World War III, the continuance of conscription, and the fraud of the Welfare State now being slipped over on the American people. The question is not "Can we change the world?" but "Can we keep the world from changing us?" The Unforgivable Sin is that committed by our politicians, clerical and intellectual leaders when they make pipsqueaks of young folk who start life with high ideals. In the past a few men like William Lloyd Garrison and Eugene V. Debs stood in the way of evil politicians and corrupt union leaders. Today those few who might speak the truth have been fooled into becoming leaders of pressure groups. If they get something for their group at the expense of the rest of us they have won their battle—and their own individual life pension.
- The fallacy of seeking to change the other fellow and to get his name on the dotted line for some party, union, religion, or other pressure group has prevented people from doing the one thing which they are capable of doing which is to change themselves, to refuse to be a part of the dominant lie, to live the truth no matter what the consequences. In order to do this one must not have much baggage; one must live a life of voluntary poverty, of dedication to the ideal.
- The validity of this proposed action is supported by the following analysis of events and trends in present day society. The great mass of people are kept busy gaining a living and in being victims of "escape" activities of their senseless world, rather than in trying to think matters through on the coming war and the Servile State. To those who are ready to question the acts and purposes of their lives this summary, though harsh, is essentially true.
- The whole propaganda of the capitalist and high-up clergy against Communism is a camouflage; their cry for Free Enterprise and Freedom of the Will, for the American Way of Life, and against the Servile and Welfare State does not come with good grace. The capitalist who grew rich at the expense of the small business man, the farmer, and labor, now cries against subsidies granted to others than himself. The dominant clergy, whose churches pay no taxes on their immense holdings and who do not have an Inquisition and a state-supported church, or the old Puritan Blue Laws and Prohibition simply because they cannot get away with it, now wish released time for so-called religious education in the schools and free bus transportation for parochial schools. The capitalist is not interested in Free Enterprise; he is interested in his freedom to exploit you. The dominant clergy are not interested in your exercise of Free Will but seek to enslave you to their dogma and will.
- To oppose the enemies of Communism does not mean that I approve of Communism. The racket of the capitalist and the clergy has been exchanged for the racket of the Commissar. Real communism was practiced by the early Christians, who also refused allegiance to Caesar in the army and refused to go to court, one who did so being denied communion. There is no communism in Russia today, only state capitalism. They have not been used to freedom so do not miss it. In this country we are free to talk but few pay attention because or the noise of the Mammon Arts. Capitalism is doomed. It cannot last because its machinery produces more than the wages given to workers can buy back. Hence the depressions and wars. Despite the give-away Marshall plan (we fought two wars and are not free from England yet) and the talk of Christian missionaries about a Jesus whom they have, perhaps unconsciously, discarded for churchianity and worship of capitalism, the Communists are destined to rule the world as capitalism continues to fall. Whether the Christians will become true followers again when they are forced underground and whether a free civilization can emerge when the Communist dictatorship falls of its own weight of bureaucracy and tyranny is a question.
- The efforts of the confused man in the White House with his deficit spending and election promises of increased income for everyone, and with his hypocritical quoting of the Sermon on the Mount will be of no avail. His one good quality is his loyalty to his fellow gangsters. The only part of the Sermon on the Mount he practices is where it says; "Give to him that asketh of thee and to him who would borrow of thee turn thou not away." Only it is not his increased income that is squandered but the heritage of the American people. The Republicans are not better for they advocate such policies as pouring money into the dead-end of Formosa. Meanwhile big trust funds and Democratic politicians are relieved of full payment of taxes and the poor man has his taxes withheld to pay for the atom bomb and future and past wars. The only reason that the Fascist Franco has not been officially blessed is that our politicians do not feel that they can put it across.
- There is a way of life that is not at the same time a way of death. (Armaments and war preparations have not saved any nation, but only aggravated wars.) It takes something more than conversation and prayers to attain this New Way of Life. If we believe in some thing differing from this dog-eat-dog system under which we live we have to act as if we believed it. This means that we cannot be a part of the system which lives upon Rent, Interest, Profit, and the weaknesses and vices of its members. If we mean business we cannot register for the draft, pay taxes for war, accept ration, social security, pension or subsidy from the government which we consider immoral. We will then have to simplify our lives and live on the land. We must be producers, not parasites. We cannot vote or ask for police protection but must know that "All things work together for good to those who love God." Despite our white man's arrogance, we must not permit ourselves to be deluded into thinking that we have something to offer the primitive people, such as the Hopi Indians, whose civilization without war and government can teach us many lessons.
- I do not intend to pay any income tax now or in the future, and plan to picket your office on March 14th in protest against payment of taxes, not only for war and the bomb, but for the support of an anti-Christian government which denies the Sermon on the Mount daily.
About this time I had a letter from a teacher in Fairhope, Ala. where I had taught in 1924. Her name was Miss DaPonte and she had refused to pay taxes. She told of some boys, Quakers whose parents I had taught when I was there, who had refused to register. The judge in Mobile told the boys: "Well, you pay your taxes, don't you? And a large amount of our taxes goes for war purposes. If you were consistent in carrying out this belief, you would also refuse to pay your taxes."
The main "shrine" of the cult which my wife and daughters follow is at Mt. Shasta in California. I had written every week to my family, and after the girls had been sufficiently indoctrinated in this cult no letters were written by them to me until 1949 when they met me in San Francisco. I did not blame them and even hoped that my wife would get over this infatuation with fake religion, as she had with numerous other cults. She had been raised in the atmosphere of envy of the rich, which is the motivation of too many radicals. Despite my talk of Tolstoy and refusal to cooperate with government, she had never appreciated the real basis of religion as given in the Sermon on the Mount. I was not sure if my girls received the letters and enclosures of articles I had written.
Now, after twelve years of separation I felt that morally my wife and I were divorced although legally we were married by the common law of New York state. I do not believe in either marriage or divorce by the state so naturally would not seek a divorce. I remembered the good times we had when hiking those four years, and of the early days in the woods where the girls were born in Wisconsin. If she was happy with this patriotic and materialistic religion I had no right and, I felt now, no purpose, in bothering her. So I wrote to the girls each week but not directly to her. With my Life at Hard Labor, vegetarian diet, and mind on The One Man Revolution, I did not have to have physical contact with any woman: I had work to do, and despaired of finding any woman who could stand the pace and who would not seek to tame me.
This did not mean that emotionally and in a platonic manner I had no attachment in my mind toward a certain woman. I had not seen her for nine years and had written often but received a reply only a few times a year. In a few days of conversation we had been able to understand that we had a common devotion to both pacifism and anarchism; and, sad necessity or undue asceticism as it might appear to others, a common practice of a celibate life. She had helped me to formulate my ideas on tax refusal more clearly and, almost alone, had publicized them. She had never once mentioned the subject of joining the Catholic church to me: simply saying that she always prayed for me along with many others. I also included her in my non-church prayers for years. So when Dorothy left, I felt a new reason for continuing my One Man Revolution.
I had become a radical the same year that Tolstoy died. I had a letter and a card from Gandhi in 1934 when he was in prison. I had written to him, "Gandhi. India" and he received it. I had never met these great spiritual leaders yet loved them. How much more then should I appreciate one such leader who was a contemporary and whom I had known for thirteen years. At any age in life the fact that she was a woman did not make as much difference as it would have twenty years before. The men I had known in my radical life had either all turned bourgeois, married women who had tamed them, or had died. So it was natural that I should enjoy the companionship of the one person I knew who lived the ideals which I believed. In 1941–42 I had walked ten miles each Sunday evening to attend a Quaker meeting. Here in Phoenix the Quaker meeting was held in the morning when I would normally be selling CWs. If there had been one at night I would have attended. As it was I felt the need of spiritual strength in my picketing so attended mass and prayed for peace and wisdom before picketing. In the spring of 1949 the scabbing of seminarians per orders of Cardinal Spellman in the graveyard strike in N. Y. City aroused me. The opposition of the CW to this disobedience of the famous Encyclicals of the Pope, and their picketing of St. Patrick's Cathedral caused me to wish to praise God for such brave action. The best place to praise God was in the Catholic Church so from that time forward I prayed for grace and wisdom at mass, wherever I was selling CWs. But I still had the regular Protestant attitude toward the Catholic church, as being the worst of them all.
Around this time there was a Brotherhood meeting in the first Methodist Church down town. Levi Udall, Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court was to speak for the Mormons. Frank Toothaker, Supt. of the Methodist Church in this district, and a pacifist of many years, was to speak for the Protestants. A leader of the Jewish charities, Mr. Kaplan, was speaking for the Jews, and Fr. Xavier Harris was speaking for the Catholics. It has always been my custom to read the daily papers carefully to see who is invading my territory, so when these leaders announced that they would speak on Brotherhood I wrote each of them a personal letter telling them that if they talked of Brotherhood and followed their respective churches in supporting war I would get up and say something about it if I had a chance. Also I enclosed my current leaflet and told them that I would be selling CW's outside of the church that night. The Mormon and the Jew came first and greeted me cordially and took a CW. Rev. Toothaker had already read the CW and I found that Fr. Harris had taken it for years.
There are many good things to say about the Mormons: their canning of waste food; their social life around the church; and their tithing. But Judge Udall gave a Fourth of July speech, with little depth or religion or real patriotism. The Jew seemed apologetic and rambled on seeming to want to say something without hurting the feelings of anyone. Rev. Toothaker did not say anything that was especially wrong but sidestepped anything of importance. Fr. Harris gave a real spiritual message but I doubt if many who were there appreciated it, including myself. There was no opportunity for questions. Later I became acquainted with Fr. Harris and found him an understanding radical of the CW type, although not accepting pacifism and anarchism with capital letters.
At this time the priest in charge at the big St. Francis Xavier Church here did not allow me to sell CW's there. Friends told me that Fr. George Dunne on Feb. 5th. at mass had told of the visit of Dorothy and myself to him early in Jan. He said that he did not agree with us but he praised the courage and holy life led by Dorothy; gave a summary of my prison experiences, and announced the picketing which I would do on March 14th at the office of the Collector of Internal Revenue. At this time most of the local pacifists seemed afraid to be seen with me in public, and of course none of the ministers who said they believed in peace dared mention that there was a person in town who did not pay taxes openly.
"There's only one way the poor class of folks can beat this system," said the poor tubercular Oakie as we shivered together on the cotton truck on a dull February morning.
"What is that?" I asked.
"I could take my wife and six kids; rent me a few acres in Arkansas away from the main highway; get me a mule, a cow and an old sow, and no one could boss me and starve me like they do now. I did it once, and I'll do it again one of these days if I ever get away from this damned desert."
"I agree with you. Many professors have written books about just that way of life but few have gone back to the land," I answered.
"Folks hereabouts was talking the other day of breaking in the stores to get something to eat. But I told them they are beat before they start at that game. Got to get back to the land. That's what I told them, but they, didn't want to get too far away from the dime stores, shows and taverns," he continued as we came to the cotton field.
This field had been picked over before and now just the bolls here and there that had been missed and the few that had matured late were left. The Oakie went one way and I worked next to two young Negroes. We snapped off the bolls and all the visible cotton, and went half a mile, two rows at a time, before we were back to the truck. I had but thirty-six pounds and when the girl paid me I found that 2c a pound was the rate instead of 3c. I mentioned this to one of the Negroes as we were picking and he said:
"Lucky we gets the 2c. The other day they gave us slips of paper and told us to come the next day if it didn't rain and they would have the money. I told them to go to hell with such paper; I wanted something that got me my eats and I walked off the field. But most of the others stayed on for they had families."
This reminded me that I still had the slips for $4.18 for cotton I had picked in November at the Jim Crow ranch, fifty miles away, in the desert beyond Arlington. The Negro went to eat some lunch and his row was taken by a husky white man who had lost his job in a laundry when his boss had sold the plant in Phoenix. One of his sisters had married a Church of the Brethren man so he was receptive to my conversation about Conscientious Objectors and nonpayment of taxes for war. Here the cotton was a little thicker and when we came back to the truck I had 72 pounds.
"Got to watch these belly robbers. They'll doctor up the scales and cheat you of half the cotton. The other day I picked around 100 pounds and the weigh man said he was only paying for 50 as he was not making much money on this second grade cotton. I wonder what the hell he thought I was making. I didn't like it but I stayed for the day, but did not go back the next day."
"Yes," I replied, "I heard the fellows at the fire by the curb, as we waited for the truck this morning, talking about a cotton contractor who 'short-weighed and ticket-paid' the pickers and made a thousand dollars month from poor folks as poor as he had been a month before."
He wanted to know if I was a Witness. I told him that I belonged to no church, for each one prayed more and did less than the other. I mentioned about the Oakie who had wanted to go back to the land and he replied that he was sorry, he had gone out for day work for he had had more real income and satisfaction on the land. He spoke of several relatives who had made from $50 to $100 a week all during the war in war work. When they had lost their jobs they went to live with his old father who had but $70 cash income a year but always had his cellar full of something to eat from what he had raised on the land.
"You can't farm in this commercial valley though. Takes too much for machinery and if you lose a crop through lack of water, bugs, or poor prices, then the big company grabs your land for what they want to give. Have to get in the sticks," he added with a smile, "away from the places where you think you have to spend money."
We then discussed unions, radical organizations, churches, and the different methods of making a better world. The aim of the Brotherhood of Man and the Fatherhood of God was there but so many thingsto make us all forget it. All these organizations came first and we forgot our aim.
"And the more noise, the more traffic and the more big whirring machinery, the more we seem to forget that the man next to us is our brother. I know folks back home in the country who never saw a city who feud like all blazes though, so it isn't only where you are or what you do that counts; it must be what you have inside," my friend said as we quit for the day. He had picked 130 pounds and I had picked 111. It was 4 p.m., and as he lived down my way I pocketed my $2.22 and rode with him eastward. On the way we saw some men forking cauliflower culls into trucks for their cattle, and stopped to get some culls. But they were all gone and only the leaves that were cut from the top of the box as they were packed were left.
One morning I had gone down the highway to wait for the first bus to Coldwater, where I had heard they took on cotton pickers. I had previously asked the colored family on the corner, with whom I had worked, and they said that cotton trucks did not come by on this highway since the holidays. The trucks in town only picked up regular customers and did not bother with the slave market at Second and Jefferson in Phoenix. A young driver of a milk truck which bore the sign "no riders" picked me up before daylight and took me toward Coldwater. His first pickup was way beyond Buckeye. After a time we noticed people gathered by the side of the road, and stopping, we saw a motorcycle tangled up against a telephone pole and a young man whose brains were scattered over the ground. Later we found out that he had worked nights irrigating and by some mishap—perhaps being sleepy—had swerved across the road and had been killed as he came home from work. It was not yet daylight. The driver of the milk truck wondered why he stayed here for $75 a week when he had left a $125 a week job in Ohio. And the work of lifting heavy cans of milk on the truck was strenuous. I remembered in 1943 in Albuquerque, when I had swung cans of milk onto a truck for a farmer where I worked. One morning a new truck came for the milk which was an inch higher than the one previously used, and I could not adjust my swing of the can to this higher level for half an hour. It looks easy to swing these cans. One sturdy driver picked up a full can of milk in each hand and held them out at arms length, but he was an exception. When I got off the truck a mile beyond Coldwater I waited for an hour.
A farmer was discing with his tractor. I refused offers of half a dozen lifts as I wanted to be sure to arrive at a cotton field. A young fellow who was walking along told me that a corner, a mile east, was where trucks picked up cotton workers. I had met the Baptist preacher of this small town at a recent Fellowship of Reconciliation meeting. He was a subscriber to the CW and liked Ludlow's articles especially. I had brought several pieces of pacifist literature along. In case there was not work I would visit with this preacher.
Coming to the fire built along the curb for the prospective workers to keep warm while waiting for a truck, which fire consisted of an old tire burning and smoking, I discussed the prospects of work with young and old, male and female, white, colored, and Mexican who were there. One burly, middle-aged man in a bright mackinaw came with his bedroll over his shoulder, a small package of clothing, and a three-cell lantern in his hand.
"Can't leave this stuff laying around. Folks will rob me. Damn working class is their own worst enemy," he muttered as we stood with our backs to the fire.
"You talk like a Wob," I said to him.
"Joined up with them during the free speech fight in Fresno in 1910. But after the war they lost that old fighting spirit. Couldn't beat them when they sang the old 'Pie in the Sky' song, but now nobody sings. Have to keep moving these days to beat all the rules and regulations the master class try to enslave a fellow with," he answered.
Joe Mueller, who had done three years in Sandstone with my friend Bill Ryan, came down from Chicago soon after Christmas and is staying with me. For the first time in eight years there has been a wet season in Arizona. I had but a day now and then chopping wood for the Old Pioneer, so when we saw an ad in the paper asking for cotton pickers we picked out a bright day in between rains and hiked ten miles north on lateral 14. We passed the Navajos in Deer Valley as they squatted in the carrot fields waiting until the carrot digger got out of the mud enough to prepare the way for their work. We saw three crews of cauliflower workers in a field but knew there was no opportunity for a day's work. The view of the mountains to the north and east was magnificent and well worth the hike. As we saw what we thought ought to be the advertised cotton ranch a couple in a very ancient car who were looking for the same work picked us up and we four came to the ranch. We were informed that the cotton was picked several weeks before and they had forgotten to take the ad out of the paper. We rode back with our friends to the bus line and on into Phoenix where we got some groceries, and books at the library.
The night after I had made the $2.22 picking cotton it rained. The field boss had said not to come to work if it rained, for then the cotton would weigh more and he might get cheated instead of cheating us. So the next day I sawed wood into appropriate lengths for our small stove and Joe split it, for although it is mild here in the winter a fire is needed on rainy days. The next day we got up early and walked down the lateral by daylight, getting the bus to Coldwater. No one was here at the corner yet so we collected some paper and wood. Just then two chunky good-natured Negro women came up with their cotton sacks and we all started the fire. As the flames leaped up a dozen or more potential cotton pickers emerged, from the nearby alleys and shacks. Trucks of Mexicans and Negroes whizzed by from Phoenix destined away beyond Buckeye it seemed, but the drivers did not glance toward us. One lanky red-faced, bleary-eyed and slobbery-mouthed individual danced around the fire and in jerky pantomime acted out this story he was telling:
"There is a certain kind of bullet and it only fits into a certain kind of a gun. When a fellow shoots with it just like this then he turns into a dog right away and a big bird comes and picks him up and carries him away and eats him as he carries him. Now if they only made more guns like that..."
"Have another drink of muscatel! Get a soapbox! I don't want to listen to such silly stuff. Get a soapbox, I say," spoke up an unshaven man by the fire. He of the imagination saw a truck stop for the two Negro women and ran over and jumped on. We saw him hanging onto it as it disappeared.
"No use of going on that truck. They just pick what cotton lays on the ground—can't make more than 70c a day," remarked the man of the unshaven countenance and continued, "Last night the chief of police knocked on my window and wanted to know my name. I told him to get the hell away; that I didn't care for his kind: and did he go!"
A huge fat man with whom I had picked cotton in November winked at me as we listened to this braggadocio. He told of an ad the day before asking for 300 women to sew parachutes in nearby Goodyear. When hundreds of applicants arrived they sorted them out and hired 25, which was all they wanted in the first place. Any who were over 30 or under 20 or weighed more than 120 pounds were not wanted. He added:
"A fat woman I know who is about my size and has had thirty years experience in sewing could not get a look in there. Getting so people's got to be all one size and one age, and I suppose pretty soon they'll want them to all look just alike."
A farmer came alone in a car and picked up two women who had worked for him before. This was all he wanted. Joe had been talking to a young man who lived in a shack for which he paid $30 a month. He received a soldier's pension of $90 a month so life was not quite so tough for him as for many others. My Oakie friend told of his wife giving the last of their food the other night to a big man who asked for a handout. After he had eaten he explained that he had been on a drunk and spent his $70 pension and would now have to mooch until his next check came. The Oakie had been in the store the day before and a poor woman with two small children asked for bread, saying she had nothing to eat for today and there was no cotton to pick because of the rain. The storekeeper (who charged from 10% to 30% too much anyway) had answered that he was not running any relief and would not help her.
It was now after 9 a.m. and no trucks came. People drifted away slowly. I asked where the bridge was that went over the Salt River to the Pima Reservation, intending to visit my Pima friend Martin with whom I had worked in the lettuce last year. There was a bridge at lateral 20 I was told, so Joe and I walked down that way. After a few miles one young fellow who had been standing around the fire drove by and stopped, giving us a ride for the remaining four miles to lateral 20. He spoke about not liking to stand around a fire with colored folks and remarked about how he would like to shoot one just as well as to look at one. We did not ask him how many notches he had on his mythical gun but tried to insert a word against such bigotry, but doubt if it did much good. We walked toward the river for a few miles and finally came to a dead end road. It seemed that the bridge was two miles up on lateral 22 and another bridge below at lateral 17 and no one we spoke to knew just where the Reservation was located. So we walked back toward home, stopping to pull a few carrots and sugar beets from the fields for our dinner.
We met some Oakies clustered around a woodpile in their yard enjoying the sun. One boy was wielding an ax and the father rested, snuggled a few inches away against a log, much as cartoons depict certain long whiskered hill billies. The subject of continued rain here and snow further north came up. One young man remarked that it wasn't fair to drop food to the Indians while the white ranchers got nothing. How much he knew of white ranchers was another thing. The inference seemed to be that no airplanes dropped anything near this particular woodpile. All the poor kid knew was depression and war so for him to think of an All Time Santa Claus was understandable.
Nearing home we were picked up by a colored man, partly Indian, whom I had known before when he came to visit me in my cabin last winter when he was irrigating near the Molokon's where I lived. He was, as he described it. "A Witness, for they gives and they don't take, and they are not Jim Crow."
At this time there were articles over the country about migrant workers starving out at Coldwater and nearby Avondale. I had been through these settlements in a truck on my way to the cotton fields and had talked to many who lived there. The starving children spoken of was not an exaggeration. Now that there has been the publicity the Red Cross came; barbers offered free haircuts; and the county hired a doctor by the month to attend to the cotton pickers especially. The little corner stores have slot machines and charge awful prices. The big companies import Mexican labor which is steady and of course much cheaper. All authorities deny this and say that only Mexican Nationals come when no local help can be gotten. But we all know this is a lie. Right now they are irrigating in the field next to me... The camp manager should have reported about the starving children but his job was to collect rents. A truck with huge cans of hot soup would help, but there is little chance of getting a CW house started there as long as I cannot get a Catholic to help me sell CWs.
Joe Mueller was a house painter but dabbled in portraits. He made a huge oil painting of an airplane dropping a bomb; and of a battlefield and a graveyard with crosses. I could not get in a bus with such a sign. Having no other means of transportation, I got up early and walked the ten miles into Phoenix with my two signs, pairs and leaflets, arriving by 8 a.m. The small yellow leaflet which I handed out was rather saucy and not a masterpiece. Rik varityped it. It read:
WHY AM I PICKETING?
Well, why aren't you? Do the A-Bomb and the H-Bomb make you sleep any better at night? Do you trust our politicians to protect us from destruction in an atomic war? Does it make good sense to foot the bill by paying income taxes?
- I am not paying my income tax this year, and I haven't done so for the last seven years. I don't expect to stop World War III by my refusal to pay, but I don't believe in paying for something I don't believe in—do you?
- Do you believe that anyone ever "won" a war? Or that any good can come from returning evil for evil? I don't believe it! And I don't believe I need preachers or policemen to make me behave, either.
- I do believe in personal responsibility, and that's why I am picketing. Why aren't you?
- Ammon A. Hennacy, R. 3, Box 221, March 14, 1950
Many people told me to go back to Russia. The wind blew and I was tired out, holding the big sign. The other sign told of the taxes that went for war and my refusal to pay taxes. The police did not bother me. A few people were sympathetic. One Catholic stopped me and said that Catholics had a bad enough time without my getting them in worse with such radicalism. I told him that I was not a Catholic but if I was I had a right to picket. He wanted to know if any priests supported my activity. I told him that Father Dunne did not agree with my ideas but had announced this very picketing at mass on Feb. 5th. "God bless you, then!" he smiled as he went on his way.
I was very tired by night and was glad when Rik drove me home. Joe had waited until my picketing was over and returned to Chicago the next day with his painting of the airplane that I had carried, The next day the ARIZONA REPUBLIC had a column by Columbus Giragi, old time newspaper man, deriding my picketing and saying that I should be locked up. I wrote to him and told him of two prominent men who disagreed with me but who were my good friends, and advised him to ask them about my sincerity. He did so and asked me to call upon him. I said I did not have time as I was going to Washington with the Hopi, but would see him when I returned.
Joe Craigmyle felt poor after his release from prison, so he departed from his ordinary life of fruit stand operator to help me rassle 65 pound cement blocks under the beams of the frame house of the Old Pioneer. This was only a job for thin men so Joe and I qualified. We snaked here and there among the gopher holes and skunk apartments for ten& days until the job was finished. Meanwhile we had notice from pacifist headquarters in New York that all varieties of pacifists were going to fast during Holy Week and picket the White House in Washington, D.C., against the piling up of atom bombs. If it had been just ordinary picketing I would not have bothered for I could always do that in Phoenix. The CW would be represented which would lend some spirituality to the project; and this would be an opportunity for me to picket the head of the U. S. Revenue office in Washington.
The Hopi had spoken of wishing to protest against the inclusion of their name in the Navajo–Hopi bill, so I wrote to my Hopi friend telling him I would collect money for his expenses from radical Catholics and pacifists here if he would accompany me. I told the Old Pioneer that I would leave on the 26th. of March. Joe is slow to make up his mind on anything and would not say whether he would go or not. When I got word that my Hopi friend was going, Joe decided that we three should go in his Willys pickup.
I already had my summer garden planted, except melons and later crops and irrigated it on Saturday. That evening Joe came out and got my sleeping bag. Rik made some picketing signs for me and we were there for supper. About 10:45 p.m. we received a phone call that my Hopi friend and Dan Kuchongva, spiritual leader of the traditional Hopi, were in town and would be over in a few minutes. They brought bed rolls with them and piki bread. Rik's children were wide eyed to see real Indians. We left at 7 a.m. Sunday. I reclined in the back; partly under blankets. We stopped at the Catholic church in Tempe where our good CW priests Bechtel and Rook, held forth, and said a prayer for the success of our journey, Dan sang Hopi prayers and Joe and I thought the best we could do was to say our pacifist–anarchist, non-church prayers. Near Florence we sawbeautiful cactus blossoms peeping through to enliven the desert. (Mother Bloor had hiked over the country at the age of 65 and said the most beautiful spot was this very place.) Before we got to Tucson it was snowing and raining and I shivered to think how far we were from our destination.
We went to the home of Ralph, a Hopi silversmith who had done time in chains at Keams Canyon years ago with Dan for non-cooperation with the white conqueror whose policy it was to kidnap the Hopi children and send them to missionary schools. His wife and daughter prepared us an excellent meal and as the rain let up we built the back of the pickup into a secure and nearly rainproof shelter for the one whose turn it would be to sleep there while the other three sat in front.
By 3 p.m. we were headed for El Paso. We had intended to take the middle route through Meredian, Miss., but storms in that vicinity sent us southward. A little later the sun shone through the clouds for the first time that day and Dan stopped and placed eagle feathers along the road side saying the appropriate prayers for our journey. He also scattered sacred corn meal before the car and about ten paces ahead, with prayers. Joe and my Hopi friend took turns driving and we did not stop except for coffee or gas until just before dark when we arrived at Dr. Herbert Shelton's rest home in San Antonio. He had told me to stop and he would give me free copies of his HYGIENIC REVIEW dealing with fasting, which is a basic therapy in his conquering of the disease of people who finally like the woman in the scripture "suffer from many physicians." He was not in just then but later Joe and I visited him and found him most gracious. He said that at times he felt more anarchistic and at other times more socialistic. He was not religious in the church sense, but strange as it seemed to us opposed birth control because it was unnatural. He felt that the CW program "coddled the unfit," but we did not argue with him for we felt that on the subject of health he was the master, and he did not pretend to be an ethical expert. We found later that a non-radical from Phoenix took a fast of 58 days and was cured of a number of diseases, any one of which could have killed him. Whether he went back to a diet of white bread, white sugar, liquor, cigarettes and canned goods and got sick again we did not know. Rest along with fasting and absolutely no medicine or vaccines is his method.
Here in San Antonio we looked up my roommate of 1955 at the University of Wisconsin, Bill Brockhausen, whom my wife and I had visited in 1923 when we were hiking. He was an advertising executive with a big house and servants headquarters where the Hopi soon were sleeping peacefully. Bill and I sat up until early morning talking over old times. His father had been a Milwaukee Socialist of the old school and Bill had been a natural political compromiser. He greeted me gladly in the midst of that product which has made Milwaukee famous. I had always been an extreme radical in his eyes and I suppose brought back visions of Debs and the old days before he had become so prosperous. In his overflowing good nature he told me to make his home my picketing headquarters if I ever came to Texas to live. Then his old conservatism coming up he said, "You don't do anything constructive, Ammon. Here you are roaming the country with two Indians." I did not argue the point with my extra extrovert friend. We left early without waking him.
We bought some bananas at Houston, massive town of skyscrapers, and left CWs at a Catholic church near where we stopped. All along we gave copiesthe Feb. CW, explaining that the Indians mentioned in my article on the Hopi were the ones with us. I had the address of Dorothy DaPonte, a tax refuser in Mobile. She had moved but when we drove into Fairhope across the bay where I had taught history in the high school 26 years before we found that Miss DaPonte was a teacher there. She came of an old southern family and nearly caused her father to have a nervous breakdown last year when she refused to pay taxes and had bravely escorted a young Negro girl to the front seat with her in a Methodist Church. By now her father was getting used to her, only deploring that there were no others in the community who also refused to pay taxes. Two teachers at the school planned to fast with us although they had to stay there and teach. Miss DaPonte would have liked to have come along but had to stay as a witness in some trial about segregation. As many do who are new in a movement she asked why I did not fast-to-the-death on the White House steps against the H-Bomb. I felt that if such an act came as the natural conclusion of holy life it would be worthwhile if the persecution came from the State as it did in Gandhi's case. It was nothing to be entered into lightly, but required much prayer and fasting.
Several times when we became lost Dan would point a certain way and this would be the right direction. He did not know one state from another and could not read signs but he had a sense of direction. At midnight in Atlanta midst sewer repairs he knew where he was going and we didn't. Toward morning we came to Clarkesville, Ga. and soon to the 800 acres of the Macedonia Cooperative Community. Here my old friend had social worker from Milwaukee, Dave Newton and his brave beautiful wife, Ginny, were members of this adventure in living. Before the first draft in 1940 we had discussed non-registration, but Dave was a liberal, not a radical, he registered and spent about four years in CPS. About the time the war was over he walked out of CPS and was in Sandstone prison with Bill Ryan and Walter Gormly. He was paroled out to Macedonia. All of the families here were CO's, many of them also vegetarians. Here each family lives in a separate house and breakfast is at home. Coffee at 10 in the common room for those who desire it and a common meal at noon is the rule. Supper is generally at home. There is a common storeroom where such items as have to be purchased are kept. Each one has a key and can take what they like without anyone else knowing about it; only they mark the amount taken on a chart so the stock can be renewed without sudden famine occurring. The main source of income here is children's building blocks and other play apparatus.
Expensive machinery helps in this production. Del Franchen, who was already fasting and who would go to Washington for a few days as he made a return trip with furniture, was one of two who attended to a small dairy. They furnished milk for all in Macedonia and living expenses of the two families who attended to the cows. A few garden patches were cleared. One family had lived here for about three years but finally decided that such a life was not for them. It is difficult to find both man and wife who will put up with the deprivations and hard work necessary to make community life a success. For young folks who are raising children it is an ideal place—that is until the arguments commence about private or public school and the desire to raise children for success in a bourgeois world. If I was thirty and had a wife who could take it I would choose to live here, but as it is and I am single I favor living "out in the world" and doing my propaganda among the "heathen." We left about 9 p.m.
The Hopi wished to visit the remnants of Tsali's tribe who by their rebellion in 1828 had not been deported with the other Cherokee to Indian Territory, so we went the long and mountainous way to Cherokee. We knocked on all doors about 2:30 a.m. but could arouse no one. Likely the unreconstructed did not live on this sign-decked highway that catered to tourists so perhaps we did not miss anything.
Winding around the beautiful Smokies and asking numerous directions we finally brushed along side a wagon where armed guards were bossing a chain gang in road-mending. Finally we met tall and well built Tilly Brooks, wife of the CO Arle Brooks, of whom Judge Welch spoke in Philadelphia in 1940 that he felt like Pontius Pilate in sentencing Arle to prison for non-registration. I had corresponded with them some years ago. Arle was away in a mountain helping build a house. There was a new brick medical center with nurse and beds and Doctor at hand under Quaker supervision. Each of several families here at Celo, N.C. owned their separate few acres and made their own living as they could.
We drove on steadily, and at 3 a.m. on April first knocked on the door at Inspiration House, 1867 Kalarama Road and under the efficient ministration of Bayard Rustin we were soon sleeping on the floor in the front room. We were among the first to arrive for the fast which had been postponed until midnight. I had many letters from friends feeling that I should not endanger my life by fasting. One of the first people I met was Emily Longstreth, wife of Walter Longstreth, Philadelphia lawyer and Quaker who had also refused to register for the draft in 1942. Both of the Longstreths refused to pay taxes for the war. Also John Baily, a young student feeling his way midst the maze of World Government, back-to-the-land, pacifism, anarchism, etc. Lucile Lord, an FOR member of a month, a pretty young girl, was also a first arrival. We had breakfast of scrambled eggs together in a restaurant. (Before starting a fast you should not eat heavy food.) Soon I met Woodland and Olga Kahler, super-vegetarian Vendantist friends of Scott Nearing. They asked about anarchism and I loaned them my article on Christian Anarchism in THE ARK which had been published a few months before in San Francisco by a group of anarchists who were atheistic but had asked for my explanation of Christian Anarchism. The English pacifist Winifred Rawlins, with whom I had corresponded, was also there. J. B. Fenner, an elderly Unitarian from Pittsburgh, roomed near me. He had quoted my "love, courage and wisdom" in the bulletin of his church. All this anarchism was new to him and for an older man he did pretty well in trying to line it up with his idea of brotherhood in general. He stood up fairly well in picketing. Charles Huleatt of Tracy, Calif, was a young man of much energy whose duty it was to awaken the sleepers in the morning. He had emerged from a religious environment and at this stage called himself an anarchist. Grace Rhoades was an efficient and pleasant lady with whom I had corresponded on the tax refusal question. She spent endless hours typing for the group. Margaret Dungan was an elderly, smiling lady who taught in a high-class girls school. She is also a tax refuser with whom I had corresponded. She was a good sport in picketing and stood up in fasting much better than the super-vegetarians whom I expect watched their loss of weight too morosely.
Toward evening I was pleased to meet Dave Dellinger with whom I had corresponded for years. He is the one man there with whom I feel most in common, anarchistic and not super-religious. He has character and I love him like a brother. His adopted son Howie Douglas slept near me and was the youngest of the group. Janet Lovett, wife of Bill Lovett of the first CO group to go to jail, is a sweet girl always on hand to do her share. She and Bent and Taddy Andresen came from the group at Glen Gardner, N. J. where Dave prints ALTERNATIVE. Theare critical of religious ideas. Bent was on a long hunger strike in prison. I had known of Francis Hall but had never met him. He and his wife Pearl were religious, and quiet vegetarians, Francis tried to be fair but I felt he stressed religious observances too much.
I had known A. J. Muste, at times called the Number One Pacifist, in 1920 when he was a Trotskyite and again in 1942 in Boone, Iowa at a FOR Conference when he and I each thought we would get five years for refusing to register the next week, I had written to him for five years suggesting that he refuse to pay taxes. He finally came around to that position and does very well. He is edging toward non-cooperation with government. I had only eaten a banana and an apple during the day. Shortly before the fast was to commence Francis and Pearl Hall and Dorothy and I went to a restaurant where we had supper.
Dorothy had said that she would not picket during the week. She came here to pray. There was a long discussion about a 24-hour vigil before a candlepurchased for $3 when one for $1.00 could be had from any Catholic church. It was finally decided that those should pray, who liked, in a separate room. Each evening and each morning sessions were held to decide the action for the day. Leaflets were prepared and much discussion was held upon the exact wording. It was after midnight before the final form was mimeographed-while Bayard Rustin entertained those present with lusty songs of prison, accompanied by his banjo. The good old ladies upstairs could not hear this or they would have gone home at once in dismay it is feared. And all of this activity on an empty stomach.
On Sunday I went to mass with Dorothy, not because I believed in the mass, but because I believed in Dorothy. All these years Dorothy had not spoken to me much on theology. Once in a group she said to me never to join the Church because I loved her and the CW; it was the Church that had to be loved.
She gave out leaflets at Catholic University, and the Kahlers and I went to the Catholic Cathedral with leaflets. Joe did not know whether he wanted to sleep all day or not, but when we got to the Cathedral he was already there. Gordon Zahn, Dick Leonard, and other CO's and Catholics came to see Dorothy evenings. At one open meeting at night the Chairman asked Dorothy to explain about the CW movement. She said that she came here to pray and not to talk; that they should read the CW for information about the movement. Wednesday evening she was called back to New York by the serious illness of Charles O'Rourke, an old timer of the CW staff. Burly Dave Mason came the next day in her place to represent the CW.
Monday we picketed the White House. The group thought my sign saying I had paid no taxes for seven years was too radical, so I carried a sign saying that 75%, of the income tax went for war. Others carried signs about The Gandhi Way, not War, being the best, etc. We gave out leaflets and were not bothered. The paper next day had a picture of us. A Committee called on the White House to ask the President (who was in Florida) to rescind his approval of the H-Bomb and hinted that he should resign rather than continue his murderous way. Tuesday a committee headed by the Kahler's (Mrs. Kahler is Russian) were greeted warmly at the Russian Embassy and were told that Russia would disarm if we would. A telegram about this was sent to Truman. An Appeal to the Russian People was handed to the Embassy and handed out on the streets.
Wednesday was a day of rest and those who wished to visit did so. Several people felt weak and some had to take orange juice to keep up. I had fasted ten days in jail once and had been in a dark hole on bread and water for ten days in Atlanta, so the fast did not worry me. Voice of America and Tass were appealed to, to give the pacifist message. The Atomic Energy Commission was also visited, as was the National Educational Commission. Dave Dellinger had an Appeal to Workingmen which he wanted to give out at factories but because of the decision to visit Hugh Johnson's Pentagon Building there was a try at an open air meeting instead and this failing we gave out literature on the street for several hours. Thursday morning, which was stormy, saw Fenner, Lucy Lord, Winifred Rawlins, Ann Rush, a young married woman from Tracy, Cal., Ruth Hartshaugh, wife of a minister who tried to understand all this new anarchism, and myself handing out leaflets at a high school.
I did not want to picket the tax man until I had enough CW's to hand out so I waited until Thursday evening when they came from New York. The group (Dorothy absent in New York) voted not to allow me to jeopardize them by putting out any of their basic leaflets when I picketed the tax man. So on Good Friday morning I went along with Edger Bell, a young Negro tax refuser from Washington, D.C. It was quite windy but not very cold. We did not picket the U.S. Treasury, where they keep the stolen money, but the Department of the Collector of Internal Revenue, where they do the stealing. A cop came out at once and told me I could not picket government property. I told him that I had already picketed the Post Office which was government property, in Phoenix, and had gotten away with it.
"But this is real government property," he replied.
"There is a real Supreme Court around here someplace that says this is a free country and no permit is needed," I said quickly.
He replied that I would have to go up to 19th. St. and get a permit to picket or he would pinch me. I told him that was a long distance to walk and if I went there and did not get a permit I would picket anyway, and then he could pinch me. I said he ought to call his boss and see what the law was, and then act accordingly. He smiled and said he would check up, and there was no further trouble. We gave out all of our papers and some slips about my non-payment of taxes. Workers came out of the building and asked for copies. Only 15 people who passed refused to take our literature, so we considered our work a success.
While I was picketing the tax man, the group had a discussion about tactics at the Pentagon Building. The nice old ladies would not take any part if there would be any arrests or trouble. And Wally Nelson, a courageous Negro from Cincinnati who picketed Ashland prison when Jim Otsuka was there, would not take part if pipsqueaking tactics were used. I was not present but I understand that A. J. Muste weakened and allowed the old ladies to have their way. They had left for the Pentagon by the time I got back from my picketing. Most of the group stood against the wall in the corridor by Johnson's office. He invited them to hold their prayer meeting in a certain room, out of sight, nearby. They evaded this by going outside of the building and sat on the steps during the Holy Hour of Good Friday, and nearly until dark. Later most of us agreed that the whole thing was a farce, for we should have either disobeyed the cops and had our civil disobedience or never have gone in the first place. Moral: too many old ladies.
There were some late arrivals who fasted for only a day or two or who had fasted in their home towns but were unable to come to Washington the first of the week. One of these was Marshall Bush, a blind man from up-state New York, who had befriended CO's during the war. Ralph Templin of Yellow Springs, Ohio, who had been a missionary in India and knew Gandhi, but who returned to this country rather than swear allegiance to the British Empire was present. He had poise, and was a non-registrant and tax refuser. He and I handed out leaflets one afternoon. Horace Champney and Lloyd Danzeisen of the PEACEMAKER group in Yellow Springs also came. Bill Sutherland and Paula Waxman, and Juanita Nelson, wife of Wally were active in setting our leaflets done on time. Katie Voorhies was an elderly, blind Negro woman from Tracy, Cal. who took money she had saved for burial and came here. Dave Mason was an old time wob. I went to mass with him mornings. Madge Burnham made fine precise posters. Walter Longstreth came down to greet his wife who had weakened somewhat physically while fasting. Elizabeth Haas, a young Quaker librarian from Baltimore who was fired because she refused to sign a loyalty oath, was a part-time faster also. I had met Louise Haliburton in Camp Mack, Indiana when I spoke at a Brethern Conference there in 1938. George Houser, non-registrant and tax refuser whom I had met in Cleveland in 1945 also came late. A young Quaker girl who works as a playground assistant brought her sleeping bag for the last three days.
There was an attempt at the fast to evaluate what we were doing. Some felt that there was too much activity and not enough discussion. Others felt that there should be more prayer. Miss Dungan felt that if a person led a life of voluntary poverty he would miss the aesthetic values: music, beauty, etc. I spoke up and boasted of the scenery and sunsets of desert Arizona which cost nothing and which I liked better than the canned music and organized beauty of the cities. I am reminded here of Dorothy's saying that she liked the chirping of the desert thrush, the cooing of the mourning doves and the varied song of the mocking bird at Desert Ranch just as much as a symphony.
I was asked to give in detail my methods of propaganda. At another meeting on tax refusal Ralph Templin explained to some of the elderly ladies who refused to pay only part of their income taxes that the amount they did pay would be prorated for war, so the only way was to pay nothing at all. Bayard Rustin gave smart answers to questions from outsiders. I felt that this was too much of a varied group to do any one thing very well, although the meeting of so many kinds of people ought to be an education to all.
I did not have a headache during the week and always was nearly last to bed and among the first to get up. I was in good physical condition from my hard work and good care of myself. One night I had supper with my old friend, Francis Gorgen of Baltimore, and it did not bother me a bit to sit by and watch him and his family eat. He drove me over to see my cousin Marie, whom I had not seen since we were youngsters in Ohio. Her father had been a Congressman in the old days of McKinley. I met Fred Libby of the National Council for the Prevention of War, with whom I had corresponded for years but whom I had not met before. The lady from Baltimore who had picked Rik and me up when we were hiking to our first Snake Dance, came over and took the Hopi out to supper. They brought home a pear and an orange for me to eat after my fast was broken.
A few minutes after midnight on Saturday we all had orange juice and/or V juice. The Hopi had brought some piki bread which is like cornflakes and I gave some to each person. Bayard and Bill Sutherland and Bent sang some songs. The next morning A.J. Muste read a poem and asked me to read a letter from Gandhi. None of us were the worse for the fast. We kidded Joe about sleeping half of the time, but this is his normal state, and not due to fasting.
The Hopi had met with all of the groups and the interpreter had translated the Chief's message often to those interested. The Hopi fast and pray at home. To picket is not their way, but they were interested in their white brother pacifists. The newspapers took the Chief's picture as a man who did not want help from the government, and it appeared all over the country.
Joe and I went along with the Hopi to the Indian Bureau where we, spent five hours interviewing officials. First we met Dearcy McNickel, assistant Indian Commissioner. He is a sophisticated, one twenty-fourth or some such fraction, Flatfoot or Flathead Indian who had just written a book, They Come Here First, lauding all Indians who are government stooges. He studiously insulted the Hopi interpreter by calling him by his English name instead of his Indian name. The Chief spoke of the Hopi way of life; how the government employees of the Hopi spoke only for themselves and had long ago left the true Hopi way. He told of meetings that the Indian Agent had held and what went on at these meetings. While one Hopi was translating the English to Dan, McNickel looked at the recorded minutes of the meeting and whispered to me that the old man was honestly reporting what went on and had a wonderful memory, for he did not make one mistake. McNickel asked Dan why, if he wore a white man's coat and rode in a white man's car he did not support the white man's schools and way of life. Dan drew himself up proudly and replied:
"I have heard these words from traitor Hopi but I never expected to hear them from you." McNickel blushed and hid his face behind his hands in shame.
In the afternoon we met with Commissioner Nicholson who was soon to be replaced by Dillon Myer. He was a pleasant fellow. He asked Dan how he liked the roads and Dan replied that they were good enough for the Hopi but not good enough for the white man to rush around and go nowhere fast and disturb the peaceful Hopi. He asked about the schools and Dan said he did not send his children to government schools for only devil worship was taught there. He asked about water and Dan replied that the government drilled a well right on the edge of the land he used and on the other side were Navajo. He did not use this well for he knew that in time the Navajo would push over and, with the aid of the government, would get the rest or his land. Dan said that there was testing for oil on Hopi land. Nicholson replied that no oil testing could take place without his consent. Dan spoke up:
"You are not there and do not know whether the Indian Agent is in collusion with the oil company or not."
Nicholson asked why the Hopi boys did not register for the draft and get exemption as conscientious objectors. The interpreter replied that the Hopi were traditional pacifists and would have nothing to do with putting down their names for war: that promises made by the government were not kept anyhow. The Christian Hopi and the government-employee Hopi went to war, but not the real Hopi. Dan spoke of the stone tablets which have the boundary of the Hopi land; that soon the white brother of the Hopi would come with the replica of this stone and the world would be purified by fire in World War III where all who were not true to their ideals would be destroyed. The real Hopi could therefore not make compromise with the oppressor.
While this conversation was being translated the government lawyer John Jay, who was sitting next to me asked: "Did you read that good article on the Hopi in the CATHOLIC WORKER?" "I wrote it," I answered. Jack Durham, publicity man for the Bureau, was also present and smiled approvingly when the interpreter translated Dan's forthright message. As we got up to leave I gave all those present copies of the CW with my article on the Hopi.
Nicholson put his arm around Dan and said:
"The way of Jesus, Gandhi and the Hopi is right. I think I am an anarchist myself. This whole mixed up world doesn't make sense."
He was on his way out of the Indian Service so I suppose could afford to speak the truth.
Another day we had a meeting for an hour and a half with Judge Witt of the Court of Land Claims, a stern looking, old man. He explained that the Hopi had one more year to file a claim for the land which they felt the government had taken from them and given to the Navajo. He advised them to get a lawyer, Dan gave the regular Hopi sermon at length, saying that they did not want money for the stolen land; they were here to ask the White man to repent of his evil ways. The judge wiped his eyes again and again and with great feeling said
"I thank you for the best sermon I have ever heard. I congratulate you on your noble faith and religion. I appreciate your visit and wish you well."
We spent a few minutes with Congressman Toby Morris, typical demagogue and head of the committee on the Navajo-Hopi Bill. He said he did not know how the name of the Hopi got in the bill. While I was picketing the tax man the Hopi interviewed Senator Johnson of Colorado. He had not known about the real Hopi and had the idea that as Indians, like most white men, had their hands out for something from the government.
Tuesday morning after Easter we spent several hours with Mr. Nash, Secretary to David Niles of the President's staff. He knew a real Hopi from a government Hopi and tried to say that Truman was a very religious man who would not allow anything to be done to harm the Hopi without first letting them have something to say about it. While the interpreter was translating, I whispered to him that there was a great difference between Dan and the rice-Christian Hopi. He nodded approvingly toward Dan.
After selling CWs at the Cathedral I left around noon with Bill and Paula Sutherland and Bent Andresen, for New York. Bill is dark skinned and the waitress where we stopped for some ice cream said that Negroes were not served here but "Egyptians were o.k.," looking at Bill. He had been called many names but never an Egyptian.
I had visited Mott St., the home of the CW, for a few hours in 1938 and 1939 but did not remember just whom I had met. I had corresponded with Bob Ludlow, one of the editors of the CW, for several years and was anxious to meet him. It was about 9 p.m. when I walked into the kitchen and introduced myself. Several there know of my articles and greeted me kindly. Bob was not in just Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/165 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/166 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/167 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/168 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/169 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/170 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/171 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/172 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/173 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/174 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/175 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/176 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/177 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/178 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/179 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/180 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/181 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/182 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/183 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/184 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/185 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/186 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/187 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/188 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/189 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/190 Page:The Autobiography of a Catholic Anarchist.djvu/191