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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(14 October 1940)

From Labor Action, Vol. 4 No. 27, 14 October 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mothers who have brought up sons in poverty, and worry over their bad health, may now throw their worries overboard. The army is going to take their sons regardless of their bad health, and fix them up. We have it from such an eminent authority as Dr. Hugh H. Young, medical consultant in the American Expeditionary Force during the last war.

He is of the opinion that the army examination of the conscripts will result in “the detection of diseased tonsils, adenoids and decayed teeth” and will “not only lead to their prompt cure”, but will “prevent future rheumatism, heart and arterial diseases which so often come from these simple infections”. He believes that military training will “be of incalculable benefit to our young men, increase their vigor”, and so on.

Yes, mothers, even if Dr. Young overstates the case, in the interest of his unworthy cause, your boys’ chests will expand, their muscles will be toughened, their diseased tonsils may be removed and their decayed teeth may be treated. The minimum health that capitalist society did not allow them for peaceful pursuits, will be theirs as soldiers for the ruling class.

All you will have to worry about is whether or not they will come home alive from the battlefields.

Mrs. Godowitz, a housewife living in the Bronx, and her family are on relief. You know what that means. When she markets for the family’s meagre supplies, she is careful to save every possible penny. She buys her groceries in Goldman’s, but she goes to Schoenbach’s for milk. In Goldman’s it is 11 cents and in Schoenbach’s only 10 cents.

Suddenly Mrs. Godowitz found herself involved in a court proceeding.

An injunction was out against Schoenbach to restrain him from selling milk for less than 11 cents. The wholesale milk dealers were banding together to fix the price. They argued before the Bronx Supreme Court that if whiskey can be price-fixed under the law, so can milk. To them milk is not the basic food for children and sick people, it is simply something out of which to make money. So, milk and whiskey are the same to them.

How did Mrs. Godowitz get mixed up in the law suit? Some swindler fooled her into signing a paper ASKING THAT THE PRICE OF MILK BE INCREASED TO 11 CENTS. When told the meaning of what she had signed, she became furious. "My husband is sick and out of work six months. I have two children: Why should I want to Pay more for milk!”

And why should greedy profit-makers be allowed to control what women need to keep their families from starving?

A bright-faced lad of twelve was chosen “Typical American Boy” at the World’s Fair in New York. I saw his picture with neat shirt and striped tie, flanked by Mayor La Guardia and James Marshall, president of the New York Board of Education, both gentlemen heartily in favor of the military conscription of the older brothers of typical American boys.

In Germany, Italy and now in France, such lads are part of the huge military regime. They are trained not only in the use of guns at this early age, but in such unquestioning allegiance to their rulers that they would even kill their parents if commanded to do so.

Do I hear someone say: “That can’t happen here”? Why not? Military conscription has happened here – as it has happened everywhere else.

Why not? Hitlerism and fascism, which regimented lads of twelve, were devised by the boss class of Germany and Italy to save its hide at home and to expand abroad. Why should we suppose that the bosses of this country are any different?

It can’t happen here, mothers of typical American boys, only if we throw out the boss class – and THAT must happen EVERYWHERE.

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