Susan Green Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(24 February 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 8, 24 February 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I know of at least one incident of his visit to England that Mr. Wendell L. Willkie will not talk about. Morgan’s candidate for President in the last election and Morgan’s personal representative to England will have lots to say to make war propaganda in the interests of the House of Morgan. And this particular incident will not fit in.

Planned to coincide with Willkie’s arrival at a swanky hotel to a luncheon engagement, London women staged a food demonstration. While the poor are rationed and don’t get enough food to keep their souls in their bodies, the hotel larders are bursting with all the delicacies that the pampered palates of the rich require. They eat of these delicacies to their hearts’ content and get their regular rations anyway. But not so the poor!

A food demonstration before this swanky hotel was, therefore, quite in order and certainly Mr. Willkie should report it as part of the London scene. But the demonstration was ruthlessly broken up, and the representative of the great democracy overseas will not disturb his countrymen by reporting the evidences of lack of democracy in England.

We must give the devil his due. When American capitalism is really interested in doing something, it does it up brown.

Take this matter of war, for instance.

Certainly everything is swinging along at a brisk pace. Billions of dollars of orders are being handed out. Plants are being expanded and new ones are being built. The military camps are full of conscripts being turned into soldiers. Congress is debating and will soon pass a bill making an all-powerful warlord of the President. The Treasury Department is cooking up ways and means of extracting every dollar from the masses. There is no monkey business.

But when American capitalism is not interested in the business at hand, how it a-hems and a-haws! There isn’t money and there isn’t the power. Every possible objection is raised. There is stalling and stalling and more stalling.

Take the matter of proper schools far children, for instance.

In the great city of New York, the richest city in the world, you would think the schools are something to be proud of. Same of them are. But plenty of them are a crying shame.

Children, numbering 150,000, go to schools that are unsanitary and unsafe. One out of every three New York City schools is NOT FIREPROOF. Some of the structures date back as far as 1875. The toilets are the worst imaginable.

In some classrooms children sit in their coats all day because there are no wardrobes or because of insufficient heat. Or they work crowded against piping hot radiators because of lack of space. In some schools the gymnasiums constitute a danger to the life and limb of the children using them. In others, children have to go through cold yards to get to the antiquated toilets.

Under the so-called reformer, LaGuardia, as under Tammany’s Walker, these conditions continue. American capitalism as such is just not interested enough in such things to make a thorough job of them. After all, what matter, the lives of 150,000 poor children!


Every housewife can understand how nice and pleasant it must be for the gregarious Londoners. Imagine the fun of crowding together on damp, stony floors, surrounded by buckets of excretion from human bodies, with rat’s romping about and water gurgling down the cave roof and walls.

Yet it is being noised about – as reported by Ernie Pyle in the World-Telegram – that the poor people of England actually ENJOY living underground worse than animals. They are supposed to be as pleased as punch, and they will not want to give up their cave-dwelling existence even after the war.

We are supposed to believe such frightful lies because the super-democratic British government does not care to build shelters for the masses that are fit for human beings,

Maybe you are one of the few lucky working women whose family has had a more or less steady income. Maybe you have been so awfully lucky that, by dint of scraping and pinching, you have been able to save a few dollars.

Are you feeling a little bit secure, thinking that if that rainy day comes, you will have something to tide you over? Were you going to a decent doctor about that pain, now that you have the money saved sup? Or, were you planning to buy some much needed furniture?

Whatever you have had in mind to do with your meagre savings, it does not matter any more. The government has decided to spend YOUR SAVINGS for airplanes, battleships, tanks and guns.

It is a capitalist war, but you and you and YOU are helping to pay for it. You pay a tax on everything you buy – and that money goes far war. You and your husband pay an income tax on your miserable wages – if you don’t now, you will soon – and that money goes far war. And now, from the Treasury Department, comes the announcement of a nation-wide drive to separate people from their savings – and that money will go for WAR.

There will be issued by the Government war savings stamps and baby bonds. Tremendous public pressure will be exerted to make the poor people who have been so foolish as to try to save a little money part from it. For the money that was to take you to the doctor or buy a new bed, Uncle Sam will build an army, navy and air force big enough to protect the profits of American capitalists throughout the world.

Yes, your savings will go TO PROTECT THE PROFITS OF PROFITEERS – not to save democracy. You can’t even have the comfort of knowing your money is being used far a good cause. Such an eminent authority on the nature of war as War-President Woodrow Wilson himself let the cat out of the bag when he said:

“Is there a man or a woman – let me say is there a child – who does not know that the seeds of war in the modern world are industrial and commercial rivalry!”

You have every right, working women, to be good and mad!

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

Last updated: 4 August 2014