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Susan Green

For Price Control and Rationing by Worker-Farmer Committees

(28 December 1942)

From Labor Action, Vol. 6 No. 52, 28 December 1942, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Leon Henderson’s “resignation” as head of the OPA means that prices are going higher – AND WILL GET THERE FASTER.

For Henderson’s resignation signifies that he has been beheaded by the “farm bloc” as part of a deal made by FDR with that bunch of farm bosses.

Newpaper men report from Washington that among the terms of the deal is one permitting “MODERATE INCREASES IN CEILING PRICES ON FARM PRODUCTS.” That indicates which way the wind is blowing. Moderation is a word not very popular with profit-grabbers.

Under Henderson’s OPA, farm prices have been allowed to go up – without a special deal, but with disastrous results to the consumer. It is no joke when spinach sells for 15 to 19 cents a pound – carrots for 12 to 15 cents a bunch – lettuce for 17 to 19 cents a head.

The wholesale prices of wheat and rye are climbing. Any day the prices we pay for bread will reflect this jump. Eggs and butter are priced way beyond the reach of many a working class family.

One of Henderson’s latest accomplishments was to allow an increase in the wholesale prices of meats, as if present prices are not bad enough. The new prices will soon be passed on to the consumers of meat – whose number among the working class is daily diminishing.

Every time we open a newspaper, another ceiling-lifting operation stares us in the face. When we go to the store, what we read in the newspaper HAS AGAIN DECREASED THE PURCHASING POWER OF OUR DOLLAR. On December 14 the OPA announced that it allowed increases in the prices of seventeen items of food, including canned apples, apple sauce, maple sugar and syrup, egg noodles, crackers, and honey.

All these holes in ceilings have been officially made by Mr. Henderson – without any, special deal with the farm bloc. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT WILL HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF FDR’S DEAL!

With the farm bloc exerting its influence on Congress and with ex-Senator Prentiss M. Brown as new head of OPA, prices will sprout bigger and better wings.

It can also be expected that this government shift toward loosening up further the already loose enough price controls of the OPA will encourage the chiselers of every stripe. The pasters of phony labels on the same merchandise, the fakers passing off shoddy goods at the ceiling prices of better goods, all of them will consider that the government is giving them a field day.

Too long have the profiteers and politicians been allowed to play around with the wherewithal of life. Price control is a matter of life – yes, and of death – to the masses.

Committees of workers at the points of production of civilian goods, committees of working farmers whose toil brings forth the fruit of the earth, and committees of housewives at the points of consumption must take over the problem of price control and create the machinery for such control.

Otherwise the politicians will continue to make their concessions and deals with the profiteers – while men, women and children are deprived of food and clothing by run-away prices.

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Last updated: 11 September 2014