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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(23 August 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 34, 23 August 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

While President Roosevelt was fishing on the cool waters of Lake Huron, the cattle slaughterers of the New York region staged a strike. They refused to purchase for slaughter and sale to the public four carloads of choice steers that arrived in the stockyards. These business men, trading the food of the people, struck because they do not like OPA ceiling prices on meat. Presumably they want to set their own prices.

No Connally-Smith anti-strike law was invoked against these bosses. Nobody proclaimed their strike “inflationary.” The government did not compel them to open their slaughter houses and provide much needed meat to the public. And President Roosevelt, now back from his vacation, did not even deign to comment on this strike against his so-called “hold-the-line” policy.

When bosses strike for more profits, that’s one thing. But when workers strike for more wages to be able to live a little like human beings, that becomes a major crime in a bosses’ world.


They would have netted thousands of pounds of steaks and roasts which the consumers of this region could certainly have used. Where are these steaks and roasts, for which our tongues are fairly hanging out?

Undoubtedly they have gone into black market channels. They have found their way to the tables of those who can afford to be soaked black market prices. The ordinary worker’s family got no sight nor smell of them.

But these first-class steers would not have been lost to the general public IF THERE WERE IN THIS REGION STRONGLY ORGANIZED COMMITTEES OF HOUSEWIVES AND WORKERS. Such committees would have raised such a howl and would have/obtained such publicity over this really criminal strike of slaughterers that the government would doubtless have had to do something to release this meat.

And if the capitalist government’s respect for “private enterprise” is too strong for drastic action, what’s the matter with the organized working people themselves getting these steers slaughtered and the meat distributed?

Certainly the slaughterhouse workers do not need their altogether superfluous, parasite bosses in order to slaughter cattle!

Many of the gas and electric light companies have started issuing bills every two months, instead of every month. This is a poor arrangement for the housewife. It is so easy to spend the couple of dollars on something else one month, and then find it extremely hard to part with the larger sum the following month.

The companies claim that they have to do this because of the shortage of labor and transportation. THIS EXCUSE MUST BE TAKEN WITH A RAISED EYEBROW.

In the case of Consolidated Edison Company, for instance, its employees revealed that the company saves $5,000,000 annually by billing every two months instead of every month. Furthermore, this way of billing actually means a hidden rate increase of about five cents for each consumer – giving this powerful trust an extra tidbit of some $1,691,460 a year.

But what worries the employees most is that the company is permanently reorganizing its checking and bookkeeping departments on this new basis – AND ELIMINATING 1,500 BILLING AND METER-READING JOBS.

The company has given “assurance to employees in the armed forces, that their jobs will be open after the war, BUT ONLY IF THE JOBS STILL, EXIST.” The cat’s out of the bag! Of course, if the billing departments have been reorganized on the new basis, THE JOBS WILL NO LONGER EXIST.

What about the boy when they come marching home – TO THESE ELIMINATED JOBS? “Permanently eliminated jobs” is another aspect of the great unemployment problem that labor must solve by its own militant, progressive, class-conscious action.


One of the first things Mussolini did when he came to power was to start making cannon fodder out of Italian boys, and bearers of cannon fodder out of Italian girls. Hitler imposed the same curriculum of “higher learning” upon Germany.

So there is really nothing surprising that the Stalin dictatorship – going the way of all present-day totalitarian governments – has discovered that “there is an inevitable separation of labor between men and women ... The man must be a soldier ... What of the girls? She is essentially a future mother.”

Therefore coeducation is being abolished in Russia. Boys and girls will receive separate “education” suited either to becoming cannon fodder or the bearers of cannon fodder for the Stalin machine. And this kind of training will start with the children in elementary school.

Even within the educational limits of capitalist society, coeducation with the same opportunities for boys and girls has long been accepted as a minimum requirement. Every democratic instinct rebels against governmental regimentation of boys to certain careers and girls to others – to make make automatons of youth in the service of nazistic governments.

But the Stalinists – who have taken in their blundering stride the Moscow witch trials, the extermination of the Bolsheviks, the growth of Russian millionaires, the reestablishment of military castes in the Russian army – will undoubtedly interpret this extremely reactionary step in education as evidence that Stalin’s Russia is – if not socialism – then at least the greatest democracy on earth.

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