Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(17 February 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 7, 17 February 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Mothers have been in the habit of thinking that when they gave their kid a hunk of bread and butter, they were giving him something that would build good bone and muscle. For is not: bread me staff of life?

It seems we have been very much in error. Without so much as a we-are-sorry-but-it-is-true, government sources divulge the amazing fact that it has allowed the manufacturer, and subsequent sale to the consumer, of flour and bread deprived of all the vitamins and minerals without which food is a filler, but not a builder of life.

We are assured, however, that all this will be changed. For peace time it is o.k. to fool the public. But now, the government wants every mother’s son to become a healthy soldier.

So the government and the bakers and flour makers of the country are taking a step forward – which will doubtless set the housewife back a few cents on each loaf; From now on flour will be made either without extracting the vital elements from the wheat, or by the injection of certain needed elements.

Yessiree! Only the best for the American boy – to be ploughed under!

Mrs. Roosevelt cooed in her column the other day that the old class distinctions are being wiped out in England.

I wonder if the dear lady was referring to the bunks installed in the underground shelters by the British government.

You may remember that the poor people were kicking up a big protest because of the difference between the way they rotted in the unspeakable shelters and the ritzie underground life of the upper classes. If they couldn’t have cocktail lounges underground at least they wanted a place to lay, their heads.

So the super-democratic government ups and installs these bunks – to sort of even things out. Let me tell you about these bunks.


Many people, after trying the luxuries of these bunks, went back to the solid comforts of the damp floors.

Mrs. Bernard J. Thill of La Crosse, Wisconsin, mother of three children, was chosen by the National Retail Dry Goods Association as “Mrs. Typical Customer.” Of 10;000 entries in 300 cities, Mrs. Thill was judged as most qualified for the title, and, in addition she wrote the winning essay on shopping.

So, as the guest of the National Retail Dry Goods Association in this advertising stunt, Mrs. Thill was flown to New York from her home town; wore orchids in her coat for the first time in her life, was given the key to the city, and even had tea at the White House.

Thus she strutted and fretted across the pages of the newspapers and now is heard of no more. But she stayed in the limelight long enough to corroborate the best economists on the cost of living decently.

She explained to reporters that her husband earns $30 a week, and that she manages by buying the best things at the cheapest prices and BY ADDING TO THE FAMILY INCOME BY DOING COMMERCIAL ART WORK HERSELF. She didn’t say how much she adds to the family income, but she was quite positive that if she lived in Chicago or New York, she would need “AT LEAST $60 A WEEK” for her family of five.

Yes, that about tallies with what economists say is the minimum for a half-way decent standard of living. AND THEY ALSO SAY THAT 87% OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY DON’T HAVE THAT MINIMUM.

Time was when the prize argument an anti-Socialist could pull out of his hat was: “Socialism attacks our hearths and our homes.” Every shyster boss politician, every boss-paid professor, would ominously shake a finger and solemnly lie that Socialism will break up the home, socialize women, make government charges of children.

Since the great depression, however, the silence of the tomb has fallen upon these “protectors of the hearth and the home.” Tens of millions of people – under capitalism – were wandering the length and breadth. of the land, jobless and HOMELESS, old people dying by the waysides, young ones running off so as not to be burdens to their desperate families.

Today, with war raging throughout the World, though plenty of mud is being slung by the boss mudslingers at the idea of Socialism, not a peep comes from them about socialism breaking up the home. They don’t dare call attention to that subject. World capitalism, which has always been pretty good at breaking up homes, has now arrived at the stage where this is the one thing it does best of all. And the less said about breaking up homes, the better the supporters of bankrupt capitalism like it.

But that does not silence us.

We want every working woman of the world to know that not Socialism, but CAPITALISM BREAKS UP HOMES.

German capitalism is breaking up homes in London, and British capitalism is breaking up homes in Berlin. British and Italian and German capitalism are demolishing dwellings in the countries of the Mediterranean; and Japanese capitalism is doing the same in China.

American capitalism has started breaking up American homes by drafting the young men who will soon be ordered to go and throw bombs at people’s homes in foreign lands.

British capitalism has just drafted the first 500,000 British working women to do men’s work in the heavy armament industries. This, one may well say, is SOCIALIZING WOMEN. And for no better purpose than that the British capitalists, rather than the German variety, may continue their stranglehold on India and the other profit-producing colonies.

And Labor Minister Ernest Bevin that despicable lackey of the British war-makers, has just put his final seal upon the broken homes of Britain. He said that with the drafting of women the government “will have to take much greater responsibility for the care of children.” Thus, THE CHILDREN BECOME GOVERNMENT CHARGES – because the home has been completely broken up.

These are the great destructive accomplishments of world capitalism.

ALL OUT FOR SOCIALISM. Socialism will restore the human family to human homes and allow people to live in their homes in happiness and PEACE.

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

Last updated: 4 August 2014