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Notes of the Week

(11 November 1933)

From The Militant, Vol. VI No. 51, 11 November 1933, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Pigs Is Pigs”

It might have been another chapter of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. But it was actually a news account in the New York Times.

We refer to a story of triumphant justice as it is practised in these United States, in this day and age. – After NRA, after the New Deal and after the Rooseveltian exultation and mobilization of the “Human Agencies”.

* * * *

In Brooklyn, the other day, a magistrate held court over a villain who maltreated three poor little pigs, cooped up uncomfortably in a cage too tightly built. A representative of the S.P.C.A. after pondering over this sight (which was used as a display advertisement for a popular porcine comedy at the Flatbush Theatre) had the perpetrator of the ... crime ... arrested.

The judge, whose commiseration with such animals thereby becomes understandable, ordered the hogs freed, scolded the defendant and snapped the cryptic sentence:

“Pigs is pigs and not subway sardines.”

* * * *

All this may be found to be an exact rendition of the Times story on Wednesday, October 20, 1933. The magistral announcement, reported here in all its cynicism, gives a good measure of capitalist justice and the system on which it is based. “Fit for pigs” – that’s capitalism alright.

* * * *

A Subway Sardine Commits Suicide – With Apologies to the Police

John Subway Sardine, on election day known as Mr. Taxpayer or the Voice of the People and otherwise regaled with eulogies on the dignity of labor, leads a less dignified existence than the three little porkers. The courts are not for him. He is not provided with any warm covering to protect him from the cold (that was another point of litigation in the case of the Flatbush Theatre). There is no S.P.C.A. to prevent cruelty against him.

Yet, he holds the proud title of human being. He is, by the law – “a free man”. Free: to sell his labor power to the boss. Free: to starve when the “supply” of labor hands exceeds the “demand”.

* * * *

How fictitious this freedom is, how much human dignity is lowered beyond the range of swine by the “commodity market” which produces unemployment, may be gathered from another item in the week’s news (World-Telegram, Tuesday, November 7, 1933):

Note on Park Bench Apologizes to Police For Trouble ...

Robert Guinewahl sat on a park bench in Central Park before dawn today and took stock of himself.

He was 45. He was hungry, jobless. He was going blind, and he could not pay for medical care. It would become worse when winter came.

He scribbled a note to police:

“I am sorry, for causing all this trouble,” then he cut his wrists with a razor blade. He collapsed finally from loss of blood. A motorist took Guinewahl to Bellevue. Doctors said he might live.

* * * *

Boss class justice deals kindness to pigs. Working class victims apologize for committing suicide! This is the U.S.A., 1933.

How long will workers stand for pig justice? How long will they apologize for going under? How long will they allow a system of society which degrades them to a fate lower than the beasts, to do its work of human distraction?

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Last updated: 3 January 2016