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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(21 April 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 16, 21 April 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The all-powerful FDR has just appointed Leo Henderson as federal price administrator and told him to see that prices do not go up.

To the working woman who has seen the value of the dollar cut. down alarmingly, this may sound like good news. With food, clothing and household necessities steadily mounting in price, she is anxious to grab onto any straw that looks like help.

But the fact is that the help Mr. Roosevelt’s new food administrator can give a poor woman not even a bent straw!

In an interview to newspaper men Mr: Henderson has already indicated that he is interested primarily – though he’s not sure he can do it – in keeping down the prices of those commodities directly needed in building the capitalist war machine. He is not concerned, you see, with making life more bearable for the women of the working class. So don’t kid yourself.

But that isn’t all Mr. Henderson has let on to. He said further: “We will watch wages as a prime cost factor. If unwarranted wage rises are in prospect, we will have a decided interest in them.”

At least you can give him credit for putting his cards on the table. His policy is definitely anti-labor. When the workers demand higher wages to meet the cost of living, which Mr. Henderson is not even going to try to keep down, he will be on the side of the bosses. However, labor is ably demonstrating its ability to look: out for itself in spite of Simpson, Knox, Knudsen, Roosevelt. It can add Henderson to the list.

Soon working women will be joining the good fight.

They will be forming housewives’ committees to battle against starvation prices, by picketing, boycotting and doing whatever else is necessary.

Working people can get no help from the trenches of their class enemies.

Under a picture of Mme. Colette Sarraut smilingly charming beneath a new spring bonnet, newspapers carried the story of this daughter-in-law of Albert Sarraut, who served the ruling class of France in various political capacities. The lady in question is the wife of his son, Lieut. Omar Sarraut.

Mme. Sarraut, who arrived in this country several weeks ago, has spoken very bitterla about the Hitler occupation of France, and said that the name Unoccupied France is a hideous illusion. Even that part of the country supposed to be ruled by Petain is so firmly in the -grip of the Gestapo that it might just as well be occupied. All of which is most certainly true – as is also true that the “right” people, like Mme. Sarraut, somehow manage to slip through the Gestapo grip.

However, Mme. Sarraut did not come here to stay – she and her three children have already sailed for Asia on the comfortable liner President Garfield. They will join Lieut. Sarraut NOW ON DUTY IN FRENCH INDO-CHINA

This lady, so sensitive about Hitler’s occupation of France, said nothing against the French dictatorship over the Asiatic people of Indo-China. That unhappy exploited country was conquered many years ago by the then flourishing imperialist army, and is still occupied by what is left of the French imperialist army.

Therefore, my dear Madame, excuse me if I ask what you are squawking about? Is it OK for the French imperialists to bleed Indo-China white and for your husband to function in the equivalent of the Gestapo there? Then – according to your own standards and those of your class – it can’t be wrong for the Germans to occupy France under the iron heel of the Gestapo.

Lady, your case is thrown out of court – the court of human progress. It will hear only the case of the enlightened working peoples of the world who play no favorites and are AGAINST ALL IMPERIALIST OCCUPATION.

The government is going to great lengths to assure the worried mothers and sweethearts of conscripts that their boys are getting plenty to eat in the training camps. At a dinner given to 500 women – at which I assure you the food was a little more elegant than that at the camps – a grand pageant was staged to prove that mothers and sweethearts do not have to send boxes of tidbits to their loved ones.

Miss Berber, food consultant to the government quartermaster corps, who arranged the affair, had soldiers dressed up in period uniforms from the war of 1776 to the present war, and each carried a tray of food supposed to duplicate exactly a meal of the buck private of that time. So there on the trays the guests could see the progress from beef, rice, coffee and bread in 1776 to soup, beef, string beans, spinach, potatoes, bread butter, apple pie and coffee in 1941.

Maybe yes – and maybe no, SO WHAT? Turkeys are also fed up before their heads are chopped off and undoubtedly they are fed more scientifically now than in 1776!

If Miss Berber had asked my advice, I would have added the touch of completeness to the pageant with a view of a modern battlefield strewn with the piteous monstrosities, the victims of imperialist war today. After all, one wants to know the destination of all that good food!

A blob of spit cannot be considered a political weapon, but certainly it can show which way the wind is blowing – as anybody who has experimented with saliva knows.

John T. Whitaker, describing in the New York Post the rising discontent among the Italian people, tells the story he heard about a wounded soldier. This battered victim of Italian imperialism rose from his hospital cot and spat full in the face of Countess Ciano.

The countess was serving as nurse at the time. She is one of the many women of the ruling classes of all the belligerent countries, doing their bit to ram the war down the throats of unwilling people. These helpful females – helpful to their own class – roll bandages, serve in hospitals, distribute alms and smile bravely. They “allow” themselves to be interviewed by newspapermen and they harp on the theme: "War is a marvelous leveler. There are no longer any classes. See how we all sacrifice!” And they modestly cast down their eyes.

Yes, every warring country has its feminine bamboozlers. England has the ever-gracious queen and the ladies this-and-that who “solidify national unity” with their .genteel fingers, The German wounded soldier is supposed to forget about the “hell” he went and got wounded for when Frau Goering smiles at him on her hospital rounds. And the American working stiff who has everything to lose and nothing to gain by the war he is being railroaded into is supposed to think it is all to the good because Mrs. Roosevelt – first aid to American imperialism – spouts a few liberal phrases at him.

When wounded soldiers begin to spit at these female frauds, THE WIND IS BLOWING THE RIGHT WAY!

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Last updated: 19 August 2014