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Susan Green

Of Special Interest to Women

(4 December 1944)

From Labor Action, Vol. 8 No. 49, 4 December 1944, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Get out those bank books and those war bonds and stamps. Take them out from under the mattress or from the jug on the top kitchen shelf. Take them out and open them up and let us see – for somehow or other wartime savings of around $130,000,000,000 have to be accounted for.

Yes, that’s what we are told. During the three-four war years $130,000,000,000 have been salted away in sayings. A nice, comfortable back-log! No big bad wolf can scare us Americans with those $130,000,000,000 to use against a rainy day.

But wait a second. Do “us Americans” share and share alike in these savings from the war boom? Harvey E. Runner, business editor of the New York Herald Tribune, gives us an idea of how this enormous wartime swag is divided. He says:

“Estimates place only from $7,000,000,000 to $8,000,000,000 in savings with families earning less than $3,000 annually. This group represents about seventy-five per cent of the entire population.”

No wonder your bank account and your few war bonds look like less than a drop in the bucket. According to Mr. Runner’s figures, seventy-five per cent of the population has only a five to six per cent share of the wartime savings. The other ninety-lour or ninety-five per cent is in the war charts of the twenty-five per cent minority – and the richer they are the more they have salted away.

So we see once-more how imperialist war plays favorites!


If we break down Mr. Runner’s figures a bit more, what have we?

The seventy-five per cent of the population in the less than $3,000 income bracket consists of over 20,000,000 American families – and since the Lord blesses the poor with children, these are the largest families. Doing a little long division, we find, according to Mr. Runner’s figures, that during the three-four war years, over 20,000,000 families could save on the average only $300, That’s how rich the war has made them!

Now what becomes of some of the pipe dreams of post-war buying? Who is going to do the buying? The the mothers of these 20,000,0000 families able to get washing machines, vacuum cleaners, much-needed furniture, clothing for their children, vital doctors’ and dentists’ services – to say nothing of that piano for the little girl to take lessons, a down payment on an automobile, or perhaps also on a post-war house which everyone is supposed to buy lickety-split?

Working class housewives have learned to stretch money far – by dint of necessity, but they can’t perform miracles. The small minority whom the war favored will enjoy those things which workers need – while mothers stand guard over their paltry $300 for use in a family emergency.

The big talk about the flow of milk and honey after the war fools no working class housewife as she stares at her microscopic bank balance. Her hope lies in labor’s demands for a guaranteed annual wage, for full employment, for ample social security. Her efforts should be exerted to win a workers’ government through which labor’s demands can be fulfilled,


Paris is today a city of poverty and privation, as everyone knows. Not only is the population gaunt and emaciated from years of Nazi blood-sucking, but present prospects are gloomy indeed. Bread is so scarce it is a luxury; coal and other fuel for the winter practically do not exist; warm clothing or clothing of any kind is conspicuous by its absence. That is one picture of Paris.

Another is brought to us by the lady reporters writing about the gorgeous fashion shows in the Paris salons and by the photographs of the lovely creations displayed there. Nothing is too luxurious for fashions the working women will never wear. There are handsome fully-cut coats, stunning furs. dresses with skirts yards and yards wide and with billowy sleeves, big hats – all indicating no lack of cloth for those who can pay for it.

And there are those who can. Salons are jammed. Couturiers are doing a bonanza business. Prices are unbelievably high, not in terms of the franc but of the American dollar. And the customers are all French; there are no customers from foreign countries today.

That is another picture of Paris!

The earnest elements making up the French resistance movement, composed of working people, don’t like either picture. Misery-as-usual for the workers – luxury-as-usual for the exploiters! That is not why they fought Nazism. They want the kind of society that will supply the needs of all first, and then later luxuries also for all. However, de Gaulle, and Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin, who back him, are out to disarm the resistance movement and take all the resistance out of it – so that the class society of poor and rich can be maintained.

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