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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(1 February 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 5, 1 February 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

You pay sixty-five cents or sixty-seven cents for a dozen eggs if you are among the fortunates who can afford them at all. The chain stores and super markets, however, are charged forty-four or forty-five cents for those same eggs. In a word, there is a retailer’s mark-up of twenty-one to twenty-three cents on a dozes eggs – or around 90 per cent. This is one example of the widespread profiteering that is swelling war profits.

Now, it is not really hard for working class housewives to do something about war profiteering, HERE IS A VERY SIMPLE PLAN.

Every apartment house has some kind of tenant’s organization these days, and every organization has a few active women in it. Suppose some woman pioneer on the block – Why not you? – should speak to the active women in each house and convince them of the necessity for organizing a housewives’ committee for the block. The next step would be to take the question up at the tenants’ meetings to get everybody’s support. In a short time you would have your block housewives’ committee, composed of a few active women from each house. What next?

For example, you read in the paper about this robber’s mark-up on eggs by the A&P and other retailers. The committee meets, decides not to pay 50 per cent above wholesale prices, AND GETS BUSY TO CARRY OUT ITS DECISION.

A few women go to the local OPA and inform them that unless the retail prices of eggs are adjusted downward, the OPA office will be picketed. Other groups of women go to the A&P and the other chain and large retail stores in the neighborhood and demand an immediate mark-down in the price of eggs – or else! Or else what?

Their stores will be picketed and a consumers’ boycott will be organized. If the committee’s demands are not met, pickets are posted with placards: “WE WON’T PAY SIXTY-FIVE CENTS FOB EGGS WHEN THE A&P PAYS FORTY-FOUR CENTS!” “JOIN US IN A BOYCOTT AGAINST WAR PROFITEERS!”

Will the women join? You bet!

Will such action bring results? YOU BET!

P.S. – Since writing the above the pressure of publicity alone has forced down the retail price of eggs. Imagine what a little organized action could do to prices.


Armour & Co., one of the largest meat packing concerns in the country, has had. a windfall of profits for 1942 – NETTING $14,802,607 “after taxes and dividend requirements.” This huge take means as much as $20.85 a share on the preferred stock of the company – over and above and in addition to the aforementioned “dividend requirements.”

Do the prices at the meat counters make you grind your teeth in rage? Well, never you mind. There is no ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good.


Frieda S. Miller, retiring New York State industrial commissioner, reports that 50,000 women in the state do Bight work and have a work-week of more than forty-eight hours – labor laws to the contrary notwithstanding. This situation, is true, for the entire country, with the result that the health and safety of women workers are being undermined and threatened.

The shortage of labor is, of course, given as the excuse for breaking laws which embody decades of straggle against plutocratic interests. However, that excuse cannot be accepted while there are millions of Negro workers kept out of jobs because of boss-bred race prejudice.

Negro workers must get jobs! Is better proof needed than that their poverty as a group is such that infant mortality in 1940 was 68½ per cent greater among Negroes than among whites?

At this point it becomes crystal clear how interrelated are the interests of black and white workers. Together they must tear away the shortage-of-labor camouflage the bosses are using to break down labor standards – while continuing Jim Crow and anti-Semitism.

Women must insist on their rights: the legal protection they are entitled to – equal pay for equal work – increases in wages to meet increases in the cost of living. This is the basis on which women should work – and not merely eke out an inadequate wage by dint of toiling unearthly hours, ruining their health and endangering their lives by fatigue.

To the shortage-of-labor alibi, let white workers reply: “WHAT ABOUT EMPLOYING OUR NEGRO SISTERS AND BROTHERS!”


While World War I was in progress, the rights-for-women type of public-spirited women were proclaiming loudly that women would have to participate in the peace council. It would require the woman’s touch, they said, to make a lasting peace. History repeats itself in this respect. Again we hear from the distaff side on the subject of the ennobling influence of women in making peace – and all that.

Of course, readers of this column know very well that it champions not only the rights of women, but of men and of children also – black, yellow and white ones of all ages, sizes and color of hair. The only “rights” it does not shout for are those appropriated by the ruling classes. Furthermore, this column is a staunch advocate of the woman’s touch – along the lines here indicated. It is not sex, age, color or size of nose of a political personage that matters. I don’t remember whether women participated in the making of the Versailles Treaty or not. But it would not have made any difference. It is class interests that count – and the program offered to further those interests. The men and women who will sit at the peace council of World War II will represent the ruling classes of the victor nations. They will put their heads together to preserve and extend the same property rights and powers that fathered World War I and II and that will sire World War III – unless the war ends with a social overturn that will place the working classes in power.

Then the negotiators – among whom there will naturally be leading women of the working classes will negotiate a socialist peace that can be made lasting.

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