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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(26 August 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 20, 26 August 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“There’s hardly anything left of that large chunk of meat I put into the pot. What has become of it?”

You are absolutely wrong, madam. All the meat is there. The trouble is that you paid for a little meat and a lot of water – at the same price. You bought meat into which water had been pumped to increase the weight. The water has naturally evaporated.

This racket, which cost housewives many millions of dollars each year and nets the wholesale meat houses these additional millions of profits, is openly practised in the City of New York. The newspaper PM recently conducted an investigation. Reporters bought at random thirteen samples of meat. Seven out of the thirteen were flooded.

One sixteen pound brisket cooked for analysis lost ten founds of weight. That was a loss of $3 on a $4.80 purchase.

Oh, yes! There is a law against watering meat. It provides a fine of $2,000 and a violator can be sent to jail for a year. But —

So daintily has this law been applied to the crooks who steal money out of the housewife’s pocket that the crime is repeated again and again by the same concerns with virtually impunity.

One concern has been’ convicted thirty-three times in the last thirty-one months, or more than a conviction a month. Why should it stop watering meat when it can get away with a nominal fine of $5. Breaking the law pays – to the tune of $5,000,000 a year in the City of New York alone.

The benevolent attitude of the democratic law enforcers towards the boss law breakers was expressed by the Health Commissioner in charge of these cases, “Watering meat hasn’t made anybody sick. It just means you don’t get your money’s worth.”

In a word, the housewife owes a vote of thanks to the racketeers because they pump harmless water into the meat and not arsenic.

It may seem like small potatoes to complain about watered meat at a time when most working women are worrying about how soon their men folks will be swallowed up in the war machine. But it all connects up.

The whole boss system is a profit-making racket from top to bottom. This 100%-American democracy serves as a cover for it all. Let the boss class fight for their own system. Why should the workers get mixed up and mangled in THEIR war machine?

We working women will now be saved the trouble of going to Paris for our Molyneaux originals. The New York garment centre is buzzing with preparations to make the American metropolis the successor of Paris in the production of exquisite fabrics and fashions. And since we working women will be saving the price of the trip across the Atlantic, we will be able to pick up an extra gown or two in some exclusive New York couturier’s. What luck!

Talking about gowns, I have my eye on a pearl-studded creation designed and executed by Hattie Carnegie of New York. It is of eggshell slipper satin, and is covered with 61,000 cultured pearls and 102 real pearls employed in a stunning motif. The cost is a mere $75,000. I’m starting to save up my pennies.

Hildegarde, who modeled the gown, wore the Cabach on Mabe pearl, one of the largest in the world and valued at $50,0000. I may not be able to afford the trinket, even though it goes so well with the gown, especially if junior needs a pair of shoes.

“I went to the back garden to get some diapers from the clothesline and found one so riddled with machine gun bullets it was useless.”

This, according to one newspaper story, was the complaint of an English mother while bombs were raining down from the sky above Croydon.

Another paper showed a picture of three girls wearing bandages for injuries received from German bombers, but happy and smiling as if they were enjoying themselves at a summer picnic.

Still another story goes that two charwomen emerged from a pub when the all-clear signal was sounded, wiping their lips, pleased that Hitler’s air raid had given them an excuse for a “quick one”.

This most deadly, most horrible, most devastating war of all time is reduced by the capitalist press to a matter of torn diapers, superficial bandages, “quick ones”.

These stories are part and parcel of the dishonest method employed by the boss press in reporting the war. Battles have become engagements between planes, tanks, big guns. Military objectives are hit or they are not hit. But the people —

Oh, the people – well, they are taking it calmly, going about their business as usual. What is a mere war to them? They take it as a competitive sport of some kind – a tennis tournament perhaps. But somewhere in a corner is stuck away an inconspicuous item about the human slaughter.

The mass murder of war is being minimized. The war makers are trying to teach people to take war as an ordinary occurrence. Otherwise the horror of modern warfare would be more than human beings could stand or stand for.

It will take more than crooked boss journalism to make women believe that a mother whose baby is within reach of falling bombs will – except in dazed panic – talk about a torn diaper. Though the boss war makers of the world wish it, women cannot forget every human emotion and accept as an every day matter mass annihilation of their flesh and blood – for bosses’ profits and world markets!

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