Ammon Hennacy in the Google News Archives

I spent some time today scanning through the Google News archives for more mentions of Ammon Hennacy. Here is some of what I found:

Gigantic Plot

Against Conscription Law Is Unearthed

A gigantic propaganda plot with national headquarters in this city organized to induce young men of military age all over the United States to refrain from registering for conscription has been uncovered by state and government secret service agents, according to announcement today by Gov. Cox.

The article explains that U.S. marshals raided a print shop where the propaganda was being produced and distributed, arresting the proprietor, Harry E. Townsley. (The Evening Independent of Massillon, Ohio has a more in-depth article on the raid and arrests, which made their front page-spanning headline for the day.)

The New York Times adds that “A great stock of brilliant posters, each four feet wide and ten feet long, was confiscated at Hennacy’s home. It was reported that the posters were printed in Washington, D.C., and sent to Hennacy by express.”

The Eau Claire Leader goes further than other papers, calling Hennacy “the alleged leader of the plot.”

Police also arrested Albert Valnisper (other accounts say this was Olb Wulnestro), Cecil W. Bailey, John Lewis Hammond, and Ammon Hennacy for distributing the literature. Hennacy, Townsley, and Bailey were charged with treason. The Times again: “None of the three charged with treason winced when reminded at arraignment that conviction on the charge of treason may mean death.”

Hennacy and Townsley were convicted on other charges and sentenced to about three years behind bars.

The next news I find about Hennacy is in 1930, when the government brought up his conviction and anti-draft agitation to try to deny him a job as a social worker.

Violation of the draft act during the World war has been ruled by the state’s attorney general as not affecting a man’s qualifications for civil service in Wisconsin. ¶ …it was held that Ammon Hennacy, Waukesha, could not be disqualified for a position of field and case worker for the juvenile court of Milwaukee county, although he was sentenced in 1917 to nine months in jail and two years in Atlanta penitentiary on two counts of violating the federal statutes pertaining to army drafts.

Hennacy took examinations for the position, passed them, but stated that at Columbus, O., he had opposed the war on the theory that it was a capitalistic conflict.

Hennacy’s anti-conscription activism got him in trouble with his boss again in 1940:

“Objector” Relief Aid Not to Be Prosecuted

Oliver L. O’Boyle, county corporation counsel, said that no charges would be preferred against Ammon Hennacy, relief department investigator, for distributing pamphlets on conscientious objection to the draft.

Some county employes, members of the American Legion, had complained to O’Boyle about the activities of Hennacy and urged that charges be preferred against him before the civil service commission.

Hennacy, who is now above draft age and calls himself a “Christian anarchist,” has told O’Boyle that he does not believe in the draft or war. He was sentenced as a draft dodger during the World war. He assured O’Boyle that he would not voice his views on county time or when making relief investigation calls.

The Calgary Herald in printed a picture of Hennacy picketing. His picket sign read “Hiroshima was atom bombed just six years ago. I am fasting these six days as a penance,” and the front of his sandwich board read “Why pay for war when you want peace? I owe eight years back income taxes!” The newspaper’s caption put it this way:

Ammon A. Hennacy believes in publicizing not only his virtues but his faults as is evidenced by placards he carries through streets of Phoenix, Ariz. Income tax officials probably will not consider his six-day fasting spree as even partial repayment for eight years back income tax he owes.

, the Associated Press sent out a more detailed article on Hennacy’s picket:

Fast, Picket Grind Begins

A work-hardened, wiry man of 59 began a picketing vigil before the U.S. Postoffice Building in which is housed the office of the Internal Revenue Bureau.

Ammon A. Hennacy, who earns his living by hard manual labor on farms in Phoenix and vicinity, is also fasting during his days of picketing.

Hennacy carries a placard on one side of which are the words:

“Voting is UNFAIR to Voters — Read Leaflet.”

On the other side he has printed:

“Lest We Forget — Hiroshima A-Bombed Just 7 Years Ago.”

To those who ask for it, Hennacy gives a four-page leaflet, multigraphing of which was completed in the early hours of this morning. Hennacy and a friend spent most of the night doing that job.

“I had only two hours sleep ,” Hennacy said before starting his picketing this morning, “and I feel tired.”

As he will do daily during , Hennacy, who describes himself as a “Christian anarchist,” attended mass in a local Roman Catholic Church before taking up his picket-line duty. He plans to picket daily except Saturday and Sunday when the Internal Revenue Bureau office is closed.

The only nourishment he will take is distilled water.

When he started picketing this morning he weighed 140 pounds. He expects to lose about 20 pounds. , on a six-day fast and picket period in commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, he lost 17 pounds. He said he gained it back in a few days following his fast.

At income-tax paying time Hennacy also pickets the bureau. He refuses to pay an income tax and states he has not paid one for .

He explains his picketing and fasting is “in accordance with the Gandhian principle of open opposition to the state and its war-making functions.”

The AP also covered a fast and picket of Hennacy’s in :

A New York editor, picketing the Atomic Energy Commission’s headquarters, has begun a fast in protest against continued American testing of nuclear weapons.

Ammon Hennacy, associate editor of the Catholic Worker in New York, said he will not eat , .

Hennacy said that he has fasted Aug. 6, anniversary of the drop of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Wikipedia has an article on the Operation Plumbbob tests that Hennacy was protesting, including the detail that the radioactive iodine released into the atmosphere by the tests could statistically be expected to cause “between 11,000 and 212,000 excess cases of thyroid cancer, leading to between 1,000 and 20,000 deaths.” Well, you’ve got to break some thyroids to make a fiery holocaust of your enemy’s cities, as the saying goes.

Finally, a note from :

“Peace Pickets” Planning March

Seven “peace pickets[”] planned a seven-mile walk from Cocoa Beach, Fla., to Patrick Air Force Base in their protest over rocket launchings.

The sign-carrying group paraded outside the gates of the Cape Canaveral missile test center Monday but were ignored by base personnel.

Ammon Hennacy, 65, of New York, who heads the group, said he and his followers are refusing to pay federal income taxes. is the final day to file returns.