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The Militant, 24 August 1946

Mille Fredreci

A Working Mother Gets a Politician’s Letter

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 34, 24 August 1946, p. 5.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


I have a letter from a Mr. Patrick J. Hannigan. The letter-head reads: “Elect a Veteran – Patrick J. Hannigan for Congress, 18th Congressional District.” This district in New York City is now represented in Congress by Marcantonio, ALP-Dem.-Rep. Here’s the letter:

“Dear Friend: You know that the issue in our district is Americanism versus Communism. You and I believe in the American way of life. You know that the problems facing our community have an American solution. We do not need help, from Moscow or Communists to solve our problems.”

This letter is typical of the kind of program offered by the Democrats and Republicans who control everything and who are known not to deal fairly with anybody. Here is my answer to Mr. Patrick J. Hannigan:

It is your Democratic Party that has been getting help from Moscow all during the war years. We haven’t asked for any and we didn’t get any, so now let’s come to the point.

I have a dollar with which I am going to buy two bottles of milk at 22 cents, a quart, two loaves of bread at 14 cents a loaf and another small item. How much change is there left from my dollar, Mr. Hannigan?

Let me tell you about my friend McEvoy, whose father came from Ireland, the dear old motherland. McEvoy makes $8 a day, but he has to buy six bottles of milk a day at a cost of $1.32 a day. Have you a program to meet the high cost of milk for babies, Mr. Hannigan?

The butcher’s got me again. I was charged 49 cents a pound for a smoked shoulder costing $3.50, but I really paid $1 a pound. The butchers have a way of “watering” the meat so that after it passes through this process it weighs many pounds more and looks extremely large, just like a bargain. But when I cooked this shoulder, it shrunk so that I almost strained my eyes looking for it. What program do you have to meet this problem, Mr. Hannigan?

“Pure Irish Linen” is extremely strong and outlasts any other kind. But we can’t get it, Mr. Hannigan, not even after the end of the Second World War for Wall Street. Instead we are buying so-called “sheets” which used to sell for 79 cents, but now sell for $1.98 and look like cheese cloth when washed. On the counter, they’re heavily weighted with search or some other chemical stiffening to make them look good. So we can’t even sleep, between two sheets anymore as we used to before the war. I ask you, Mr. Hannigan: What is “the American solution” for the sheet problem?

The struggle to stretch a dollar so we can live is not the only one we face. There is also the question of the cruel crimes committed against the minorities. Just look at the headlines, Mr. Hannigan, and this is what you’ll see:

“Cop Gouges Out Both Eyes of Negro Vet.”

“Man Flogged to Death in Mississippi.”

“No Negroes Wanted – U.S. Army.”

“Dewey OK’s Freeport Murders.”

“Racial Terror in Chicago.”

The press reported that Mrs. Dorothy Malcolm, one of the four Georgia lynching victims, had fifty rifle shots pumped into her pelvic region alone. You read about the incident, didn’t you, Mr. Hannigan? It took place as a direct consequence of the election campaign waged by your Democratic comrade in Georgia, Talmadge.

Now I ask you, Mr. Hannigan, is that the American way of life you talk about? Is that the bait that Wall Street’s candidates have to offer us in this election? Personally, I think it is. That’s what more and more working people and their families are beginning to believe, and that is why more and more of them are looking around for a party of their own.

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