Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

[Susan Green]

Of Special Interest to Women

(13 January 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 2, 13 January 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mrs. Roosevelt played a major role in getting the nation to swallow conscription. She traversed the length and breadth of the land getting people accustomed to the unwelcome idea. Her activities then clearly indicated which way the wind’ was blowing.

Today the first lady is doing another job for the profiteering war lords. She is the most vociferous supporter of the idea of conscription for WOMEN. In nearly every speech she makes she comes out for it. Thus she is again getting people accustomed to a very distasteful idea. And again her activities indicate which way the wind is blowing today.

Recently at the Women’s Centennial Congress in New York, again speaking up for conscription for women, she made some very significant remarks, among them the following:

“There is no use waiting, because life doesn’t wait, because now life moves so fast we have to run to keep up with it. There is need for every woman to do a job. Not just to twiddle her thumbs and say, ‘It’s hard to run a house’, but actually TO DO A JOB FOR HER GOVERNMENT.”

This quotation tells a two-fold story.

First it tells what is happening to the “democracy” that is supposed to be safely enthroned in this country. It is a forecast of totalitarianism.

When Hitler and Mussolini shook their fists at the downtrodden women in their countries and urged them to have many babies so that there might be many soldiers, the dictators used something of the same language. They told the women that they must give up their personal lives; that they must live exclusively for the TOTALITARIAN STATE. Later, when it was time to force these German and Italian women into war industry, they were admonished not to “twiddle their thumbs” at home with their children, but to do a “job for the GOVERNMENT, for the STATE”. They were regimented, pushed about like inanimate machines, to serve the war interests of the imperialist exploiters of their lands.

It is no accident that Mrs. Roosevelt uses a similar language. American women are to form a spoke in the wheel of the war chariot driven by the profit-mad American imperialists. Thus the false crusaders for “democracy” begin by plucking out whatever little of this rare plant is left on American’ soil.

Now please go back and read that quotation again. It reveals, without the shadow of doubt, the class of women Mrs. Roosevelt knows and represents – the THUMB-TWIDDLERS.

Women running a house and bringing up children ON A WORKING MAN’S WAGE have no time to twiddle their thumbs. Neither have the women running a house and bringing up children ON A RELIEFBUDGET. Neither have the millions of women IN OFFICES AND FACTORIES, many of whom not only work but also run a house and bring up children besides. Obviously Mrs. Roosevelt does not speak for these harassed, impoverished working class women.

She speaks for the women of the parasite class the thumb-twiddlers – who squawk at the “hardships” of running a luxurious household where every stitch is done by servants. She speaks for the useless wives of those useless masters of industry in which the PRODUCTIVE work, from top to bottom, is done by paid workers.

It is the government of this parasite class that is preparing for the war which they alone want. Let THEM do a job for THEIR government which is doing a job for THEM. Why should exploited working women, why should exploited working men, do a job for their enemy class and the government of their enemy class?

Back around election, my ears began to prick· up every time they heard God and religion mentioned by the contesting boss politicians in this country. None ofMr. Roosevelt’s speeches failed to drag in God. The final speech of his ·campaign, could not have been more sanctimonious even if the pope himself had delivered it. In not as beautiful a voice, but just as unctiously, Mr. Willkie ran Mr. Roosevelt a close second in placing everything in the hands of the Almighty.

Since then the supporters of the capitalist war program of this country are placing more and more emphasis on religion. Nearly every speaker, no matter what his subject, exhorts all and sundry to have faith in God, and of course to get behind the war program.

All this hypocritical casting of the eyes towards heaven forebodes evil for working women and their families.

When the war profits of the bosses mount sky high, while the high cost of living drastically reduces the real wages of the workers-they will say it is done in God’s “infinite wisdom”.

When our sons go off to man the machines of war and never come back – that will be God’s “will”.

When our husbands go to replace our sons – that will also be God’s “will”.

When mothers will be forced to abandon their families and replace their sons and husbands in factories, to produce more instruments of destruction so that still more mothers’ sons may be sacrificed on the altar of profit – that too will be in God’s “infinite wisdom”.

But the wisdom of the working women who are ground down the most by war will tell them who the real criminals are – and how to deal with the gorging imperialists.

“What about peace?” shouted a woman at Winston Churchill, war lord for tile British robber class, when he was inspecting some ruins made by the bombs of the German robber class.

The cry for peace was forced from the lips of one English woman. The longing for peace is in the hearts of millions of women all over the war-torn world. They are not interested in whether the British imperialists succeed in retaining their robbers’ empire – whether the German leeches succeed in grabbing it for themselves, or whether the American powers get the best of both the others.

The newspaper report said that Churchill stared hard at the woman who spoke up for peace as if he had failed to understand her. Then he snapped out: “Peace? When we have beaten them.”

Right, Mr. Churchill. Peace! When we have beaten them. Except that “we” and “them” are not the same for you as it is for the million-masses of the world.

When we say “we”, we EXCLUDE you and Hitler and Mussolini and Roosevelt. We include ALL THE EXPLOITED OF THE EARTH.

When we say “them”, we mean you and Hitler and Mussolini and Roosevelt and the imperialist robbers and bureaucrats of all the nations on earth.

We, the workers of the world, must beat the whole lot of you in order to have permanent peace.

Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers’ Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 4 August 2014