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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(1 November 1943)

From Labor Action, Vol. 7 No. 44, 1 November 1943, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Even the newest of the newlywed housewives – to say nothing of the old timers – knows that cold storage has its limits in preserving the freshness of food. For instance, no housewife would buy eggs she knows have been in cold storage from March to October – a matter of seven months.

The Food Distribution Administration and the other government bureaus in charge of allocating food to the Army, to lend-lease and – to US, don’t seem to be taking this simple fact into account, and have a very unique idea indeed of “planning” food distribution.

Their idea seems to be to lay their hands on as much as possible for the first two purposes. Then, if they have grabbed too much, they try to unload the left-overs on – US.

This month, when the government found it had overstocked on eggs – for which we are paying fantastic prices because their is supposed to be an acute shortage – it found it could not get any dealer to buy its offerings. There wasn’t a single bid for about 20,000 cases of eggs. “We prefer fresh eggs,” said one wholesale dealer, “and we understand that the government offerings include eggs that have been in storage since last March. It’s like buying a pig in a poke.”

Perhaps that is the real reason why the dealers didn’t buy these eggs. But just as likely they are satisfied with the fancy “shortage” prices and don’t care to throw more eggs onto the market.

At any rate, here are 20,000 cases of eggs WASTED – while thousands of children hardly know what an egg tastes like!

The government has stacked up on every other food – butter, meat, fruit, etc. With the same lack of planning, as displayed regarding eggs, think of the shameful spoilage, the cruel waste, that must mean!


To the Chicago telephone operator the tax burden is so heavy that she can spend less than half as much money for clothes as she otherwise might.

Arguing the case of these girls for a higher wage before the War Labor Board, the union representative showed that each week these workers pay out $4.00 IN TAXES, but only about $3.76 FOR CLOTHES.

Now $3.76 for shoes, stockings, underwear, girdles, brassieres, slips, dresses, sweaters, blouses, skirts, coats, hats, gloves – is definitely not a lot of money.

If she could keep the $4.00 she pays out for taxes, she could do a little better – though even then she would be far from a luxury basis at peacetime prices, and today’s prices and not peacetime prices.

The Chicago telephone girls are typical of the whole working class. There isn’t a family which – because of the tax burden – is not doing without things they need.

Will somebody produce a good reason why working girls must do without essential clothing in order to pay taxes while the rich get richer at the rate of eight billion dollars clear profit a year; while they pile up forty-two billion dollars for a nest egg; while they buy minks and jewels; while they throw parties where neither rations points nor money is a consideration?


With the coming of the harvesting season in Vichy France, reports say that a veritable epidemic of fires has broken out in fields, in bins, in barns and in mills. Both crops and agricultural machinery have been destroyed by French peasants and workers so as to prevent a new supply of food from getting into the hands of the hated Nazi invader.

Men, women and children participated in these fireworks. Men, women and children who are themselves actually starving, with their own hands destroyed food and the machinery for processing food – to keep it from the enemy. Here is heroism of the first order!

Also at this time comes news of an entirely different kind of harvest. The London Tribune reports the profits garnered by the French capitalists collaborating with the Nazis.

The leading French industrialists and financiers are getting a bumper crop of profits in occupied France – as they did in pre-war “free” France. The London Tribune cites a list of French concerns whose profits this year topped those of last year by from fourteen million to two hundred million francs.

I think these starving men, women and children who burn food in their fight against the invader are going to remember the contrast between the burning food and the bumper crop of cold profits. I think they will not be satisfied merely to drive out the Nazi and allow the French capitalist class to put on the garb of “democracy” under de Gaulle or Giraud or some other politician – and continue their profit-grubbing careers.

I think these heroic men, women and children will want to free France from the native French usurpers as well as from the foreign Nazi invader.


A few days ago the Associated Fress reported from Kansas City what seemed to be a spontaneous meeting of mothers of boys missing in action. One woman said: “We are living in the stillest silence. We only want the truth ... We think a way can be found to tell us more. It’s the waiting and not knowing that hurts ... We are the forgotten mothers.”

But the knowing also hurts. The number of grief-stricken women increases with the lengthening of the war casualty lists.

There are reactionary groups in this country already following a plan to turn the sorrow of bereaved women to their own use.

Before Pearl Harbor, the National Legion of Mothers of America and similar organizations flourished. Under the guise of being anti-war, they carried on out-and-out fascistic propaganda. In fact, it was later learned that Laura Ingalls, who has been indicted and convicted as a paid Nazi agent, was closely connected with Mothers of America.

Today the innocent-sounding Americanism Defense League and the Informed Voters of America, Inc., are doing the same kind of dirty work. In fact, a Mrs. Frances Sherrill, who claims to have founded the National Legion of Mothers of America, is a leading member of the Informed Voters of America, Inc.

These fascistic elements are trying hard to capitalize on the hatred of war that grows as its ravages reach more and more people. We urge the women of the working class to be on their guard against these enemies of society.

Hatred of war – to be constructive – must be translated into stipport of the cause of international socialism.

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