The Catholic Worker Movement

DELAWARE WORKERS EMPHATICALLY SHOUT: “WE DON’T WANT WAR!”

By Dorothy Day

New York Call TUESDAY, April 3, 1917, page 1

Wilmington, April 1—(By mail). We just arrived in Wilmington, and while one of the party was looking for the chief of police, to get a permit, I ran up and down the main streets looking for a newspaper office that was open. Every Evening was the only office open on Sunday, so I went in and requested the use of a typewriter.

“Who are you, did you say? Pacifist? What? Well, this is no place for you. We have no use for pacifists and pro-Germans around here. We won’t print any of your stuff, but, just to show you that we’re broadminded, you can use the typewriter and paper and carbon paper. And don’t you want to wash your face? You look dusty.”

I informed the three editors who sat around at the desks, reading the papers and smoking, that the country was for us. When they were told that Chester and Derby and all the little country towns along the way were enthusiastic in their reception of us, they wouldn’t believe me. And tomorrow morning they will come out with more jingo news and set out a few more flags to fly over the office.

Through the business section of every town flags are flying. Patria and other jingo pictures are playing everywhere. From the banners one would think that it were Fourth of July.

“We are going to have a hot time here,” we think. The display deceives us. But we soon find out.

An hour ago we were in Chester, where the Eddystone and Remington works are. All outside of the town the black smoke and red flames of the munition plants spurt out of chimneys and wither the vegetation. And, more sinister still, all along the road, guarding the works and the huge oil tanks, were armed men, for the most part foreigners and colored men.

When we arrived in Chester, a big crowd gathered at once.

Everybody was coming from church, and little girls and old ladies, with leaflets in their hands, stood on the curb and listened thoughtfully to what was said. The leaflets given out were taken home, without doubt to be read and digested with the Girl’s Companion and other Sunday stories.

Crowd of Working Men

Most of the audience was made up of working men. We asked them if they wanted war, and they shouted “No!”

“Who wants war?” was asked.

A few small boys answered with a yell. The meeting lasted for three-quarters of an hour, and the fact that three of the pacifists were almost left behind and had to run, shouting, after the car only served to make the meeting more spicy.

On the way to Wilmington we stopped by a field where a crowd of men and boys were playing ball.

“You are the ones that are to suffer if we have war,” we told them. “Do you want to fight?” And the usual answer came, “No.”