From Fourth International, Vol.4 No.7, July 1943, p.208.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).
EDITOR, Fourth International:
I am sure that when E.R. Frank referred to the Secretary of Labor as “Ma Perkins” (June Fourth International, Page 170), he did so in the same way that thousands of trade unionists do – without thinking.
But the origin of this term is to be found in the fact that Mrs. Perkins was the first woman to be selected as a member of the White House Cabinet. One need not in any way alter his opposition to the reactionary policies carried out by the Secretary of Labor to understand that this “Ma” is an expression of “male superiority,” which is no less objectionable and has no more place in the press of the Trotskyist movement than expressions of national or racial “superiority.”
In the interests of educating your readers and writers, I hope that the next issue of Fourth International, which firmly opposes discrimination against women and believes in full equality for all sexes, races and nationalities, will contain some reference to this question.
Last updated: 30.1.2006