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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(12 July 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 28, 12 July 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Food shortages get shorter. High prices get higher, The unprecedentedly big profits of big business become more unprecedented. The tremendous influence of the rich farm bloc on the reactionary Congress gets more tremendous – so much so that Congress cuts the appropriations for the already ineffectual OPA in order to make it even more ineffectual in keeping prices down. Mayor LaGuardia is still busy shaking his fists at and shouting about the black market in meat – and meat shops are still almost devoid of that commodity. So what’s the use of the alleged three-cent roll-back in meat prices?

The New York Times reports that “huge quantities of new potatoes shipped here from the South to relieve New York City’s recent potato famine have rotted in transit.” That didn’t exactly relieve the potato famine. And so it goes. Probably the President will one of these days create another department in Washington with another well-paid “administrator” to add to the total mess. That is what happened the last time FDR became aware that there was such a thing as a food crisis in the country. He created the Office of Food Administration with “Administrator” Davis at the head – and the crazy merry-go-round continued as before.

A so-called solution – supported by confused and intimidated labor leaders as well as by FDR and other Washington leaders – is to give subsidies to business. The idea is for the government to pay such huge sums to the bosses to net them profits in the style to which they are accustomed, that they may stop boosting prices. THIS BUCKLING-UNDER TO WAR-PROFITEERING IS TOO SHAMEFUL TO BE CONSIDERED BY ANY SERIOUS EXPONENT OF LABOR’S INTERESTS.

Labor Action once again declares that to clean up the food mess, “private enterprise” must give way to committees of organized labor, organized housewives and organized working farmers. Then, instead of the consumers being mulct for sky-high war profits, food will be distributed to the people at reasonable prices.


Certainly there is a shortage of labor. Haven’t you heard about it? Certainly women must drop their babies and grab the lever of a machine. Haven’t you heard about it?

But mostly the alleged shortage of labor is being skillfully used by the bosses to put it over on their workers as well as on consumers whenever possible. For should a peep of complaint come out of the months of the gypped people, the hypocritical answer invariably is: “There’s a shortage of labor. Haven’t you heard about it?”

It is noteworthy, however, that this alleged shortage of labor has not been acute enough to result in the employment of all qualified Negro workers. It is also remarkable that the alleged shortage of labor has not been pressing enough to prevent bosses from firing women workers as soon as it is known that they are pregnant.

Dr. Claude C. Pierce, interested in the subject of women in industry, returns from a tour of war plants and reports that abortions are increasing among women war workers because of the policy of firing women as soon as their pregnancy is learned. To hold on to their jobs, women are resorting to abortion.

This situation, combined with the increase in adolescent delinquency, has produced a boom in the abortion business. Not only do certain doctors engage in an “illegal” practice under conditions which are injurious to the women, but quacks without any medical training have formed abortion rings to capitalize on the need and misery of women caught in the net of boss cruelty or war morality. The deaths of women and girls who submit themselves to these unscrupulous charlatans are increasing daily.


Organized labor must protect its people first, last and all the time. Organized labor has to demand that pregnant women workers be allowed on their jobs as long as their health permits – with necessary medical supervision while at work. Furthermore, they must get financial support while having their babies. And lastly, women must be given assurance of re-employment after their babies are born – with retention of every seniority right.

It is the fear of losing their jobs which is driving so many working women into the death traps of the abortion business.


Running true to form, the wholesale attack on the Negroes in Beaumont, Texas – which resulted in so much injury to the Negro population and to their meager property – was started on the pretext that a white woman had been raped by a Negro.

However, a slight innovation was added this time. A reputable local physician examined the “wronged” woman. He found that there were no signs of rape. There were no bruises on her body. Furthermore, no fingerprints were discovered on a cup and saucer out of which the woman claimed the Negro drank some of her coffee before he attacked her.

In a word, this contemptible creature made a lend-lease of her so-called “womanhood” in the cause of race hatred.

She may have done this as an unconscious victim of the propaganda of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Christian Association, its modernized stooge. Or she may have consciously played this abominable role as a paid agent of the KKK and its stooges. In either case she was guilty of one of the most heinous sins on the calendar, namely, helping to keep alive the artificial hatred of white workers for their fellow workers of darker skin.

Where can the blame be placed for such baseness? Where, indeed, can the blame be placed for the entire disgraceful outbreak of race riots that have overrun the country?

To lay the responsibility at the door of the KKK and the American Christian Associati0n – financed by the bourbon bosses of the South and the industrialists of the North to keep black and white workers from uniting and using their combined strength – is to tell only half of the story. Even fifth columnists don’t explain the other half.

How about the so-called champions of so-called racial equality? How about FDR, the New Dealers, the press and radio “friends of the Negroes”? What have they done to end race hatred?

If only one-tenth of the money, the effort and the cleverness employed by the government, the press and the radio to make anti-labor propaganda when workers ask for a raise, were used instead to spread education on the race question and to make propaganda for inter-racial solidarity, the danger of these widespread riots would be greatly reduced. For the power of these agencies for shaping public opinion and action is stupendous.

But these “friends of the Negroes” are phoneys. Their “belief” in race equality is only as deep as their need for the Negro vote and as their need for Negro support of their war. In their hearts, these hypocrites are as opposed to the solidarity of black and white working people as the KKK itself. EVERY ELEMENT OP THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM BANKS ON RACE DISCRIMINATION TO KEEP BLACK AND WHITE WORKERS FROM UNITING IN THEIR MIGHT.

That is why race equality can be realized only under a workers’ government. With the government, the press, the radio, the movies, the schools, all under the control of the working people themselves, these powerful means for molding public opinion and action can be used to cement the bonds of mutual need and friendship between all workers. Artificial color lines will be erased when boss rule is ended.

Black and white workers, hasten that day!

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