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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(4 August 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 31, 4 August 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The primary purpose of the furious campaign AT THIS TIME to collect aluminum is NOT AN URGENT NEED FOR THAT METAL.

The false impression has been created that there is a shortage. The fact is that there is, and will be, plenty.

Not only are the present needs of the imperialist war machine being amply met, but huge quantities of the metal are being stored up for the future. When the workers of the monopolist Aluminum Company of America were striking some months ago, they accused the company of a merciless speed-up not only to meet the demand of the market but to pile up tons of reserves to be sold in the future – AT WAR PRICES, of course.

With the government policy of allocating supplies and cutting down civilian consumption, it will be a very long time before the present supply will be used up!

Furthermore, according to the New York Times, “Oxidized aluminum is among the most abundant things in the earth’s crust. If we are efficient enough about arranging the energy transaction with nature, we will be repaid, with all the pure aluminum we can use.”

Why, then, at this time, the rush to collect old pots and pans? Here is the answer:

The war-makers are using every trick in the bag in an effort to make the people WHO DON’T WANT WAR, think they do!

By hook or crook Washington is trying to stir the overwhelmingly anti-war population into war activity. An all-out aluminum campaign is as good a pretext as any other. Hitler is not the only would-be master of mass psychology.

But I have my doubts. A working woman may give a Woolworth aluminum pot that has been used until it became bent and burned through. But that is not going to make her feel she has enough of a stake in the boss war TO SEND HER SON OR HUSBAND TO FIGHT FOR IT.

In America the ruling class is just starting to “sell” the war to the common people. In England, Germany and the other belligerent countries, they are still at it and have not yet succeeded.

Mrs. Jean Knox, the new major general in command of the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service in England, thinks she can knock them down and drag them in by promising women more dates.

By the simple lure of a snappy uniform she hopes to increase her force from 50,000 to 200,000, to do cooking, secretarial and other work in the army.

She says she has designed a four-paneled skirt and a tailored jacket in which her troops will look so ravishing that they will get all the dates. This in turn is supposed to act as an inducement to more young women to join up and wrap themselves in that magic uniform.


Don’t laugh! You can’t expect the British war-makers to shout: “JOIN THE ARMY AND FIGHT FOR OUR PROFITS IN INDIA!”

Have a heart!

At the fruit and vegetable counter in the A&P two women were picking oranges and bitterly complaining about rising prices.

“Yesterday these oranges were fifteen for twenty-five cents; today they are thirteen. I suppose tomorrow they will be eleven.”

“They tell us to eat vitamin foods,” replied the second woman. “That’s fine if you have the money. Look at this head of lettuce. Imagine paying fifteen cents for for few leaves of lettuce in the summertime. Honest it galls me.”

“Heaven knows they’re not putting oranges and lettuce into airplanes. I suppose they raise the prices of everything – just on general principles.”

The general principle on which the prices of the necessities of life are being boosted daily is that WAR IS A PROFITEER’S PARADISE

For the bosses, financiers, food brokers and big merchants war is an El Dorado.

Mr. Henderson, who is supposed to be curbing the appetites. of these pay-triots, is too busy with other matters to do anything: about the prices of oranges and lettuce.

Just now he is occupied with cutting down the output of automobiles in favor of bombers – thus threatening masses of workers with unemployment and the general dislocation of their lives.

As was to have been expected from a boss politician, Mr. Henderson is giving too much attention to the war needs of the bosses and, too little to the vital needs of human beings.

I have an idea that thousands of organized working-class housewives, assembled in Washington from all over the country, picketing OPACS, would make Mr. Henderson sit up and take notice of the prices of oranges and lettuce and a few other things!

At Southampton and Newport, where the rich go for the summer to escape from the stuffiness of their air-conditioned penthouse apartments, the price of food is, if possible, of less concern to the dowagers and debutantes than ever.

They fete each other at brunches, lunches, dinners, dances, beach racetrack and garden parties. Turn to the society page of any paper any day and read something like the following:

“The 400 guests danced under a huge marquee erected on the lawn. The interior of the marquee was lined with turquoise blue with white pleating and blue and white were used in the other decorations.”

This gives you a rough idea of the style in which the “haves” enjoy themselves.

That the price of food has gone up 15 per cent since the beginning of the war does not give these women of the boss class any gray hair. Skyrocketing prices which to the working woman spell malnutrition and poor health for their families, to the wives and daughters of the war profiteers mean MORE LAVISH PARTIES!


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