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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(16 September 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 23, 16 September 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Twenty years ago the Woman Suffrage Amendment was passed and, ever since the “better half” of the human race in these United States has had the right to vote.

Many of the women who participated in the suffrage movement now boast of their accomplishments. They point with pride to the number of women judges, congressmen, governors.

Women functionaries in a boss government does not make it less a boss government. Nor does war become any sweeter because women politicians are helping to prepare for it.

One of the promises made by the suffragettes was that when women got the vote they would never again allow the country to get into a war. The mothers of the race, they claimed, would no longer stand for the wholesale slaughter of human beings. They would prevail upon the men to turn their swords into ploughshares.

But on the twentieth anniversary of women in politics, Congress celebrates by passing a conscription law, and war .has become the engrossing industry of the country. Today, more than ever before, human beings are destined for a short life of training for violent death.

The most important promise made by the suffragettes has not been fulfilled, and it could not have been. War is simply boss politics carried to the nth degree. The fight against war can be nothing else than a fight by working men and women against the boss class of both sexes. Politics is a matter of class not of sex.

Nearly everyone knows of Lillian Waldo She spent almost half a century “helping the poor”. Now she is dead.

She was the brains and spirit of the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side of New York. The visiting nurses service for the sick people of the slums was her idea. She started the movement for playgrounds for children to take them off the crowded filthy streets. Almost any humanitarian endeavor that did not require the poor to overthrow their masters got her support.

However, she leaves behind her as much, if not more, poverty than existed when she started her social work. There is still plenty of it on the Lower East Side of New York – more in Harlem – in New Jersey – in Chicago – in the south – in the west. In the fifty years of devotion to the poor, Lillian Wald did nothing towards the abolition of poverty.

She herself came from a well-to-do family. She had nothing against the rich who exploit her beloved poor. The militarist Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his so-called reform program, got her wholehearted approval. But she never gave backing to the idea that poverty can be ended forever by abolishing the boss class which is responsible for it.

Like the doctor who puts an icebag on the fevered head and salve on the festering boil but does nothing to drive the disease from the inner organs, Lillian Wald spent her life applying icebags and salve.

The latest intensified Nazi raids on London brought destruction to the densely populated workers’ district.

The British government itself admits that many hundreds were killed and wounded. The actual casualties are probably much greater.

The question is pertinent: What were the provisions made by the government to protect the workers, their women and children, from the EXPECTED blitzkrieg? We know there are modern air raid shelters in the business and government sections of London. But what about the tenement districts?

An insight into the kind of protection the British government has provided for the people was given by one of the New York evening papers recently. It printed a picture labelled This Was a Home Before the Bombing, and underneath was the explanatory note:

“British woman, holding her child’s money box and her shoes, views wreckage of her home inflicted by Nazi bombing planes in southeast England. SHE HID UNDER STAIRS WITH HER FOUR CHILDREN WHILE BOMBS BLASTED AREA.”

Here is an example of the provision made by the British boss government for the protection of women and children. The stairs of a building which is demolished by bombs is hardly a shelter from those bombs.

In contrast to this exposure of women and children to horrible death, comes news of the tremendous and expensive efforts being made by the British government to preserve the foreign markets during the war. So effective have these efforts been that the incredible has happened, and throughout the war period England has been able to maintain her export trade. All the avenues for bosses’ profits must, of course, remain after the war. But a few million lives – what of that!

Here you see the boss regime in operation.

Mrs. Roosevelt is one of the ablest spokesmen for the war-makers in these crucial times, one of the cleverest pullers-of-the-wool over the eyes of gullible people. What everybody does not know is that she earns a pretty penny doing this despicable job.

It is estimated that since she became first lady to the end of this year she will have scooped up around $1,200,000. When she flitters here and yon, it is more like a scavenger than the dove she is supposed to be

Every time she lectures she pockets $1,500 – there are millions of families whose total annual income is around one third of that. Her lectures alone net her $75,000 a year – one hundred and fifty of such families live on this amount, which is only a part of Mrs. Roosevelt’s pin money.

She writes for magazines at the rate of one dollar a word; her articles have so far brought her another $75,000. Her newspaper columns have put $21,000 more a year into her sock. This year – probably because she is in great demand to help railroad the country into a militarist regime – she will net even more from her newspaper columns.

For fifteen minutes on the air her charge is from $3,000 to $4,000. It is said that she gives to charity her earnings from radio – undoubtedly as soothing syrup to her conscience.

This woman of the boss class, the wife of the President of the boss government, pockets as pin money enormous sums fleeced from the labor of the workers. Her relation to the working woman is that of the buzzard to the barnyard fowl.

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