Dow Chemical Target for Napalm Protest


Fifth Estate # 11, July 30, 1966

The anti-napalm protest scheduled in Midland, Mich., national headquarters of Dow Chemical Corp., for Aug. 7 and 8 will include participants from all across Michigan and northern Ohio and parts of Canada. The region wide action has been called by VOICE, the University of Michigan chapter of Students for a Democratic Society. The demonstration planned in New York on Hiroshima Day, Aug. 6, by the 5th Avenue Peace Parade Committee, will culminate in a rally in front of the Dow Chemical offices at Rockefeller Plaza. Dow is a major supplier of napalm to the government and has been responsible for developing napalm-B, a deadlier variety. (“Napalm has been used to bomb Vietnamese villages during the war. The jelly-like substance sticks to whatever it touches and burns with such heat that all oxygen in the immediate area is quickly exhausted” (N.Y. Times, May 29, 1966). Protests have been held at napalm plants in Torrance, California, and Redwood City, California. A nationwide boycott of Dow’s domestic products is also being organized. The new kind of napalm which Dow has developed contains 50% polystyrene, which Dow makes. CHEM. & ENG. NEWS recently reported that, “Predictions of future use of polystyrene in napalm-B now are running as high as 25 million pounds a month.” This is a 50% increase in the production of polystyrene, a fact which has led to the building of new plants. Dow has also raised the price of its product. So that it is no surprise when it is reported that sales and profits for Dow Chemical “were higher than in any quarter of any prior year. (Det. News, July 21, 1966).

The protests have drawn a response. C & E News reports that “The Air Force has clamped a tight security lid on the Napalm-B program, chiefly because of fear of picketing of government and contractor facilities by anti-war demonstrators.”

The demonstration in Midland, Mich., will begin Sunday, Aug. 7 with leafleting of church-goers. At 2 o’clock a puppet show will be presented in Midland. It will be shown again to vacationers In Bay City State Park. Participants will stay overnight there to return to leaflet the workers at the Dow plant beginning 7:30 Monday morning Aug. 8. A march down main street will follow. From there the protesters will go to the Dow offices to demand that the manufacture of napalm cease.

Transportation will be provided by car pools and buses. Contact the Detroit Committee to End the War in Vietnam, 1101 W. Warren, phone 832-5700 for more information and travel reservations.


See Fifth Estate’s Vietnam Resource Page.