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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(18 August 1941)

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 33, 18 August 1941, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

“Inflation” is one those scary words about the meaning of which many women are a bit uncertain. In practice, however, nobody knows better than the working class housewife what inflation means.

When for the same amount of commodities they have to pay a good deal more money – or, conversely stated, when for the same amount of money they get a great deal less commodities – THAT’S INFLATION.

Obviously for the housewife who wants to keep her family on at least the same standard of living the only solution for inflated prices is for the earner in the family to get “INFLATED” WAGES!

But the National City Bank doesn’t think this is the solution – which is exactly what to expect from a Wall Street bigwig.

You see, the bosses and bankers have an awfully good profit report for the first six months of 1941. Leading capitalist concerns have made about 20 per cent more profits in those six months than in the first six months of 1940. After peeling the juicy onion down to its very heart by deducting taxes, deficits, depreciations and this and that, in cold cash they have a profit of about $800,000,000 for the six months just passed. Naturally, if more wages were paid the workers to meet inflated prices, the profits report would be a bit less.

So the National City Bank has a different solution for inflation.

YOU think you need MORE money to meet inflated prices. The National City Bank is of the opinion that you need LESS MONEY!

It wants the government to reach into every working man’s pocket and leave it practically empty – first by compelling him to lend the government more and more money to carry on the boss war, and second by making the poor pay even more in taxes than is now proposed by the bill in Congress.

The brilliant idea of the National City Bank is that if the working people don’t have much money to spend, there will be no demand for goods and thereby the prices will be kept down.

The only thing is that housing, food and clothing – like water and air – are always in demand. UNFORTUNATELY, WITHOUT THEM PEOPLE JUST CAN’T LIVE. And if they don’t have the money to buy them, they must just get MORE MONEY!

You have read all about the silk-stocking raids. You ave also seen the candid camera shots of mobs of women around store counters doing battle for the wherewithal to keep their underpinnings sleek. Maybe you have been one of the raiders. All that was rather foolish.

It gave the manufacturers and merchants the green light to raise prices up to 100 per cent on merchandise that cost them not one cent more.

It also gave the newspapers and the radio a chance to play up the wrong angle.

The important aspect of the shut-down of silk manufacturing for civilian needs is that 175,000 silk workers are threatened with temporary or permanent unemployment.

The ground has literally been removed from under these workers and their families. The cause of their calamity is that the competition between the Japanese and American bosses over the rich resources of the Far East has brought these countries to the verge of war and the consequent cessation of the normal silk trade.

There is much talk about converting the silk factories into rayon manufacturing plants. But it takes time to make such extensive alterations. What about the silk workers and their families in the meantime? How will they be provided for?

Furthermore, in the reshuffling process, many workers are due to lose their jobs permanently. This invariably happens in large-scale industrial readjustments. What about the workers who will be thrown into the army of permanently unemployed? What will their dependents do?’

Some thirty billion dollars have been appropriated by the boss government to change this country into an arsenal of war.

In the course of carrying out its total war program it is throwing out of their jobs hundreds of thousands of workers employed in civilian industries. Not only the silk workers, but great masses of auto workers, gas station men and others are due to pace the pavements.

PAYMENT OF THEIR REGULAR WAGES TO THESE WORKERS UNTIL THEY ONCE MORE GET JOBS SHOULD BE A LEGITIMATE EXPENSE OF TOTAL WAR. The Administration should be made to pay for its blows against these innocent workers.

Why should they be reduced to the pittance of unemployment insurance and then to the dry crust of home relief?

Instead of raids at silk-stocking counters, the situation calls for mass picketing by the working women threatened with abject poverty by the boss war schemes. Picketing Congress for an appropriation to pay their regular incomes so that they can continue to feed their families – THAT WOULD BE SOMETHING!

In France babies are born weighing two or three pounds. Imagine it! Adolescent boys and girls are small, thin, spindly, entirely undeveloped. Thus grow the children of starvation – in a world that has so much wealth, that hundreds of millions of dollars of it are daily uselessly blown to smithereens.

Our capitalist masters would like this heart-rending picture of the deterioration of the human race to arouse in our hearts hatred for Hitler – AND NOTHING MORE. Then they could use our hatred to push us into this war which they want to win to get the lion’s share of the markets of the world.

But we must not stop at merely hating Adolph Hitler. He is only a superlative example of the ruthless boss politicians and militarists everywhere who stop at nothing to gain their ends. Hitlerism is nothing more than universal bossism developed to the Nth degree.

In a sense, the working class has itself to blame for the appalling situation that bossism has brought to France, to Europe, to the whole world.

We did not wipe our capitalist masters off the face of the earth during the first dreadful World War. We allowed them to remain, to bring forth their Hitlers and their Hitlerism, and to plunge us into this second holocaust!


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