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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(2 June 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 22, 2 June 1941, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

I think a good memory is the human faculty most needed today. If your memory is functioning, you win be able to see through the colossal cheating that goes on to put the war over on the people.

Before Congress dared pass the conscription law – because of the great popular protest against it – Mrs. Roosevelt had all kinds of arguments in its favor. She could think of nothing – absolutely nothing – more beneficial to the mental, moral and physical development of the youth of the land than a year of training in the use of instruments for wholesale slaughter. Her column and her speeches bogged down with voluminous vaporings about the “cultural and social gains” to be had by young men torn away from their normal lives.

SHE WAS CHEATING. She didn’t believe that any more than we did or do. But —

The conscription law had to be passed for the American imperialists, didn’t it! Conscription having been put over. Mrs, Roosevelt quickly forgets the lies she employed to help accomplish that end.

In a recent column she unwittingly throws a beam of illumination on the “mental, moral, cultural and social benefits” of army life. She quotes from a letter sent to a friend by a major at Fort Lewis in California.

“The off hours” are a problem to the conscript, says the letter. At Fort Lewis, it costs 20 cents and about an hour’s time to get to town. But, having reluctantly parted with this sum out of what is left him of his $21 a month pittance, there is little for him to do in town “BUT STAND ON A STREET CORNER.” If he stays at the camp, he can lie on his bunk and SWAP YARNS WITH THE BOYS. If he goes to the battery recreation rooms, he’ll find light and heat, “BUT LITTLE ELSE.”

And all the dear first lady has to say about this street corner-loafer level of existence the boss government provides for its conscripts is – please won’t you send books and magazines to the dear boys!

The latest make-believe scheme for a “brand new world” was formulated by Dorothy Thompson at a dinner given in her honor a week ago.

There is really no need to go into her ten-point piece of deception. The company she keeps is enough to stigmatize her in the eyes of all intelligent workers as an enemy of their class.

At this dinner was Governor Lehman, member of a family of bankers. There was Wendell Winkle, ambassador-at-large for the combined Morgan interests estimated to be worth about $30,000,000,000. Greetings and praise were sent to her by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, the joint chairmen of the profit-grabbing concern known as British & American imperialism.

This gives an idea of Dorothy Thompson’s comrades-in-arms. The ruling class has taken Dorothy to its bosom. A new world for the working people will not be made by the present rulers and their clever word-slingers. It win be made AGAINST them.

But Dorothy Thompson also condemned her “new world” out of her own mouth.

“Tell the people to hold on to what they have – or haven’t – and they are at least bored,” she said. “Yes, bored to death. Tell them to seek what they want – what they dream of – and THEY WILL GO TO DEATH FOR IT.”

The yearning of the masses for a new and better world is so real, so compelling, that the rankest misleaders have to cater to it in order to carry out their deception. To break down the stubborn anti-war feeling of the people and get them “to go to death," Dorothy dangles a “brand new world” before their noses. This is an old trick – IT WAS USED TO PUT OVER WORLD WAR NO. 1.

The list of rising prices grows longer.

To dairy products, meat and lard, have been added dry groceries such as sugar and flour. The cost of clothing shows an increase. Rentals are on the way up.

These mounting prices are not only in comparison with a year ago. Butter, for instance, is 8 cents more a pound than a year ago and eggs 6 cents and more up on a dozen. But every month shows prices a little higher up on the moving escalator.

While this unceasing ascension of prices continues, wages are being “frozen.” Wage contracts entered into at the present time cover a year at least, and often longer. Practically none of the new contracts provides for any adjustment of wages as the cost of living rises.

This does not mean that the workers will. not demand a decent living wage. In spite of contracts outdated by the march of events, workers will fight for their needs. Worker’s do not have undue respect for contracts that operate against them. But strikes and negotiations for higher wages take time.

Therefore, the fight must go on ON ALL FRONTS.

Day by day the working class housewives of the nation must beat back the assaults upon their insufficient dollars. THEY CAN DO THIS BY BANDING TOGETHER INTO CONSUMER COMMITTEES FOR MILITANT ACTION.

You don’t have to go to the library and hunt up the vital statistics to know that there has been a great jump in the birth rate since the war broke out. Anybody with open eyes cannot haves failed to notice on the city streets the greater proportion of pregnant women and the in crease in the baby carriage traffic. Because married men with children have more chance of being left at home, people have gone in for babies.

These men and women, in the privacy of their homes, have decided that THIS IS NOT THEIR WAR. The women are bringing babies into the world – very often when they cannot afford them – to keep their men in this world. These women belong to the anti-war camp and should be first-line anti-war fighters. If in private they thus oppose the War and in public support it, they are the kind of hypocrites for whom the dictionary has no adequate adjective.

But it is not any old anti-war camp they should join – not the Communist Party turncoats now allied with the Stalin-Hitler side – nor the Lindbergh-Wheeler bunch which merely wishes to take care of the capitalist interests their own way.

These war mothers belong in the anti-war camp which is opposed to both warring gangs and to the boss imperialist system that breeds wars. They belong in the camp which fights for the establishment of a workers’ society in which there can’t be any more wars.

They owe this to the children to whom they are giving life. A recent editorial in the New York Daily News predicts a post-war world whose “NORMAL STATE IS WAR WITH ABNORMAL INTERLUDES OF PEACE.” What kind of normal life can children have in a world where PEACE will be ABNORMAL!

The WORKERS PARTY calls upon the war mothers of America to join it in its struggle to overthrow the boss-imperialist system. The WORKERS PARTY fights for a society in which PEACE and PLENTY will be NORMAL.

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