I was not familiar with the writings of Dorothy Day until I became a Catholic, but then became a fervent fan after reading much of her published work and eventually have pretty much collected everything she wrote in book form.
However, since I read the shocking 2010 book by Dr. Carol Byrne, The Catholic Worker Movement (1933-1980): A Critical Analysis and followed up with my own research, I realized how devoted she remained to Communism throughout her life.
Dorothy Day’s published writings, which is what most of us base our opinion of her on, are filled with devotional service and Catholic oriented content; but her writings to her fellow workers, those writings specifically in the Catholic Worker—which Dorothy Day edited from its beginning in 1933 to her death in 1980, clearly stood on the side of Communism against Capitalism, as did her many speeches, people she honored and her activism.
As I wrote in my book, Catholicism, Communism & Criminal Reformation:
As Earl Browder, who headed the Party during its heyday in the 1930s, would later boast:
Entering the 1930s as a small ultra-left sect of some 7,000 members, remnant of the fratricidal factional struggle of the 1920s that had wiped out the old “left wing” of American socialism, the CP rose to become a national political influence far beyond its numbers (at its height it never exceeded 100,000 members), on a scale never before reached by a socialist movement claiming the Marxist tradition. It became a practical power in organized labour, its influence became strong in some state organizations of the Democratic party (even dominant in a few for some years), and even some Republicans solicited its support. It guided the anti-Hitler movement of the American League for Peace and Democracy that united a cross-section of some five million organized Americans (a list of its sponsors and speakers would include almost a majority of Roosevelt’s Cabinet, the most prominent intellectuals, judges of all grades up to State Supreme Courts, church leaders, labour leaders, etc.). Right-wing intellectuals complained that it exercised an effective veto in almost all publishing houses against their books, and it is at least certain that those right-wingers had extreme difficulty getting published.
While Browder’s boast contained a lot of truth, he could hardly take full credit. The Communist Party USA only broke out of its isolation in 1935, when the Comintern [Lenin’s Bolsheviks believed that unless socialist revolutions triumphed world-wide, they would be defeated by international capitalism, so they organized the Communist International—abbreviated as Comintern—in Moscow in 1919 to foment revolution around the world.] taking advantage of the widespread legitimate fear of German Nazism, ordered the international Communist movement to adopt an ecumenical attitude and stretch its hands out to those it previously hated, including socialists and Catholics. (Italicized section added.) Romerstein, H. & Breindel, E. (2000). The Venona secrets: Exposing Soviet espionage and America’s traitors. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc. (pp. 98-99)
David H. Lukenbill. (2013), Catholicism, Communism & Criminal Reformation. Sacramento, California: Chulu Press, The Lampstand Foundation. (pp. 84-85)
Byrne (2010)—virtually alone with an insightful and penetrating understanding of the deep Communist orientation of this seminal organization and its founders—writes about the Catholic Worker Movement in the introduction to her book:
The Catholic Worker Movement was co-founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin in New York, on 1st May 1933, to provide food, clothing and shelter for the destitute during the years of the Great Depression. It was a movement built on the long-term despair of Americans who turned to radical political and social movements for a solution to unemployment, homelessness and poverty. For Day and Maurin it was an opportunity to fulfil their dream of starting a radical mass movement that might one day reverberate around the world. But in the intervening period they devoted their energies to fomenting a revolution against the US government, immersed as it was in upholding all the social and political institutions which they wanted to abolish: Capitalism, industrial corporations, big business and the armed forces. These they regarded as the causes of poverty and injustice in the world.
Key to the technique of protest was to project an image as a victim in the “class struggle” described by Karl Marx, then to seize the moral high ground by attacking the other side as the greedy, guilty “bourgeois.” It is essential to keep in mind that Day’s theories for a new social order share a common identity: they were all part of a “culture of victimization” which claims that any kind of social disadvantage is due entirely to “oppression” by the “bourgeoisie”. That explains her presumption that in the struggle for “liberation” the poor and the workers were by definition always innocent even when they resorted to armed violence, and rich capitalists always the guilty party even when they contributed notably to the common good. Carol Byrne, (2010). The Catholic worker movement (1933-1980): A critical analysis. United Kingdom: AuthorHouse UK Ltd. (pp. ix-x)
Lukenbill Ibid. (pp. 89-90)
I think that in Dorothy Day’s case, she had conflated Communism with Catholicism so deeply in her own mind and spirit that they were virtually one and the same thing to her—a classic case of being duped—a form of thinking still very prevalent within the Catholic left, especially those still, and they are many, enamored with Liberation Theology.
Now that her cause for sainthood has been approved by the American bishops to move her from the current designation as Servant of God, to the next step in the canonization process, the history of the Vatican’s connection to Russian Communism through the period when the Fatima call from the Holy Virgin to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart was not responded to, due, in large part, to the Vatican influence of Orthodox Russian Metropolitans now known to have been KGB directed, will perhaps be examined.
Lukenbill Ibid. (p. 92)
I trust soundness will prevail and Dorothy Day will not become a saint, though admiration for her work with the poor, even tinged at it is with the anger and hostility against capitalism and the American way, is warranted and it is an admiration I share.