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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(9 February 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 6, 9 February 1942, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Secretary of Agriculture proclaims that there is no shortage of food. The United States Department of Labor comes out with authenticated information to the same effect. In fact government officials here, there and everywhere are patting the housewife on the shoulder and telling her not to worry because there is plenty of food.

We believe you, gentlemen. We know enough about the great productive capacity of this country to believe that there is an abundance of food.

We know, for instance, that there are plenty of eggs. So why did eggs go up 27 per cent since last year?

There is plenty of cheese. So why did cheese go up 31 per cent since last year?

The hog population is quite adequate. So why did pork chops go up 29 per cent in the last year?

The supply of fruits and vegetables flows uninterruptedly from the bosom of mother earth. So why has even the humble potato gone up 40 per cent in the last year?

Why? Because there is also no shortage of food profiteers!

Question: Will the new price control bill get at these leeches?

Answer: Neither Mr. Roosevelt nor Mr. Henderson expects this hypocritical piece of legislation to do anything of the kind!

The vociferous First Lady, in one of her recent press conferences, stated that the high cost of living has not created any empty spaces in the White House pantry. It is still well stacked with ample quantities of potatoes, eggs, cheese, flour, fruits, vegetables, meats – to enumerate only the simple staples.

This, of course, is a great relief to those of us who spend wakeful nights wondering what is going to hit us next. At least we have the assurance that the residents and guests of the White House eat as usual – which is unusually well.

The working class housewife who tries to feed, clothe, shelter, entertain and educate her family on $20, $30 or $40 a week would also not be worried or hampered by the mounting prices – if she were flooded with as much money as finds its way into the White House.

The President’s salary is a mere trifle – $75,000. To this must be added what he earns on the side from magazine articles, etc. On top of all this there must be a steady stream of purely parasitic income, namely, dividends and interest on stocks and bonds. For it is hardly conceivable that a man in his social position hasn’t a safe deposit box at least as well stacked as his pantry.

With the benefits of capitalist democracy so richly bestowed upon them, it is quite easy to understand why the Roosevelts are so keen about the “war for democracy” – and not worrying about the high cost of living.

Park Avenue is being very charming, “democratic” and condescending to the boys of the armed forces. But the boys don’t think Park Avenue so hot.

Hambla Bauer, writer for the World-Telegram, not long ago gave a report on what sailors want when they are on leave.

For instance, they like dancing “where the girls are just plain working girls, not them ritzy dames that look down their nose at you,” writes Miss Bauer.

When they go to a dance they want to meet girls “who have a background in common with their own.”

No, thank you. Sailors have no stomach for the “handouts” from the rich.

Park Avenue pretends to cross the class line.

But working class boys know it’s war-time camouflage.

A most eloquent indictment of American capitalism was unwittingly made by W.L. White in his book called Journey for Margaret. Mr. White went to England to adopt a war orphan. Therefore the title of the book.

He was in London at the height of the horrible blitz and he had the following to say about the chances of survival:

“You are infinitely safer living in London than you would be if you were a Negro infant living in rural Mississippi.”

Yes, in peace as in war, capitalism deals out death.

So get going, all you black and white mothers of the poor. We must save a “democracy” littered with the corpses of little children.

Since December 7, some long-overdue revelations have been made public on the subject of American capitalism at work. In industry the greed for profit creates bottlenecks, inefficiency, anarchy. The Truman report gave only an inkling of all this. In the armed forces political pull and stuffed shirtism yield the same results. The Roberts report on Pearl Harbor gave a peep into that situation.

In a minor key but on the same theme of capitalist obstructionism is the story of waste paper conservation in the San Francisco region.

Many housewives on the coast took seriously the drive of the former OPM to save waste paper. They saved it, and the Boy Scouts, the Salvation Army and other organizations went around collecting it.

But it turned out that the only waste paper company in San Francisco that could handle for manufacturing purposes the supply provided by the housewives was tied hand and foot by a sacred contract. Under this contract another private capitalist outfit known as the Scavengers Association – and it alone – may supply waste paper to this, the only waste paper company in the San Francisco area.

So thousands of housewives are “aroused,” according to the papers.

But the Waste paper saved by them still lies around unwanted – and the Scavengers Association goes merrily on collecting its profits under the sacred contract.

Do you wonder that Labor Action never stops its cry for NATIONALIZED INDUSTRY UNDER WORKERS’ CONTROL!

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