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Grace Carlson

Shortages Affect Babies

(4 May 1946)

From The Militant, Vol. X No. 18, 4 May 1946, p. 8.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

A news story in the April 22 St. Paul Dispatch reports the fact that we are now in the midst of the most sever diaper shortage in American history. The babies of the country are now short some 7,800,000 diapers a month and there is no relief in sight.

But this did not come as news to me. When I read the news item about the terrible diaper scarcity, I just thought wearily, “You’re telling me!”

Because the arrival of twin boys at my sister’s home on April 14 had meant that a number of us had to scurry around to find extra diapers and shirts and nightgowns and kimonas and what not! Anyone asking for two or three dozen diapers in a department store was met with the same kind of amazed stare as the person who comes in to buy 25 pairs of nylon hose.

After a few experiences like this, one learned to approach the diaper buying problem somewhat more intelligently. The thing to do was to go into the baby department in the store and order several other items of babies’ wearing apparel, then look the clerk in the eye and say firmly, “And I’d like to get a dozen diapers, please”.

Sometimes this would produce the desired effect. Looking around to see that no other customers were near, the clerk would reach under the counter, bring up a box of diapers, and say in the best bootleg style, “I think that I can let you have a dozen today”.

And so, by hook and by crook, we have gathered together some diapers for the twins. There aren’t enough of them for comfort and convenience. It will mean that there will have to be daily or twice-daily washes done in this household. But no one is going to let these babies suffer because the country is in such a mess!

They are only 11 days old. It isn’t their fault that shortages of diapers and various other consumer goods are plaguing the country.

They had no part in determining the official farm policy of the early New Deal whereby every third row of cotton was plowed under and farmers were paid not to raise cotton.

They are not responsible for the colossal destruction of World War II – for the blowing up of billions of dollars of wealth in the battles of the imperialists.

They have no connection with the present sabotage of the big industrialists, who are refusing to produce the things that people need unless they are guaranteed still greater profits.

The twins do not belong to the American Cotton Textile Institute, which hinted that the diaper scarcity could be ended if the Civilian Production Administration would grant them “price incentives”.

All of the poverty and greed, bloodshed and suffering on this capitalist-dominated planet is a part of a world they “never made.”

But we’re going to change it for them!

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Last updated: 23 December 2018