47 Facts About Gus Hall


Gus Hall was the Communist Party nominee in the 1972,1976,1980, and 1984 presidential elections.


Gus Hall was born Arvo Kustaa Halberg in 1910 in Cherry Township, St Louis County, Minnesota, a rural community on northern Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range.


Gus Hall's parents were Finnish immigrants from the Lapua region, and were politically radical: they were involved in the Industrial Workers of the World and were early members of the Communist Party USA in 1919.


Gus Hall did not know political terminology in Finnish and used mostly English when meeting with visiting Finnish Communists.


Gus Hall grew up in a Communist home and was involved early on in politics.


At 15, to support the impoverished ten-child family, Gus Hall left school and went to work in the North Woods lumber camps, mines and railroads.


Gus Hall became an organizer for the Young Communist League in the upper Midwest.

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In 1934, Gus Hall was jailed for six months for taking part in the Minneapolis Teamster's Strike, led by Trotskyist Farrell Dobbs.


Gus Hall changed his name to Gus Hall, derived from Kustaa Halberg.


In Youngstown, Gus Hall met Elizabeth Mary Turner, a woman of Hungarian background.


Gus Hall was a leader of the 1937 "Little Steel" strike, so called because it was directed against Republic Steel, Bethlehem Steel and the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, as opposed to the industry giant US Steel.


Gus Hall was arrested for allegedly transporting bomb-making materials intended for Republic's plant in Warren, Ohio.


Gus Hall pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was fined $500.


Philip Murray, USWA founding president, once commented that Gus Hall's leadership of the strike in Warren and Youngstown was a model of effective grassroots organizing.


Gus Hall ran on the CPUSA ticket for Youngstown councilman and for governor of Ohio, but received few votes.


In 1940 Gus Hall was convicted of fraud and forgery in an election scandal and spent 90 days in jail.


Gus Hall volunteered for the United States Navy when World War II broke out, serving as a machinist in Guam.


Gus Hall was honorably discharged from the Navy on March 6,1946.


Now a major American communist leader in the post-war era, Gus Hall caught the attention of United States officials.


Gus Hall was sentenced to three more years and eventually served over five and a half years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.


Gus Hall was located in a cell adjacent to that of George Kelly, a notorious gangster of the prohibition era.


Gus Hall began to travel around the United States, ostensibly on vacation but gathering support to replace Dennis as the general secretary.


Gus Hall accused Dennis of cowardice for not going underground as ordered in 1951 and claimed Dennis had used funds reserved for the underground for his own purposes.


Gus Hall's rise to the position of general secretary was generally unexpected by the American Communist circles, although Gus Hall had held the office of acting general secretary briefly in the early 1950s after Dennis's arrest.


In 1959, Gus Hall was elected CPUSA general secretary and afterward received the Order of Lenin.

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Gus Hall led the struggle to reclaim the legality of the Communist Party and addressed tens of thousands in Oregon, Washington, and California.


Ultimately, Gus Hall failed to forge a lasting alliance with the New Left.


Gus Hall had a reputation of being one of the most convinced supporters of the actions and interests of the Soviet Union outside the USSR's political sphere of influence.


From 1959 onward, Gus Hall spent some time in Moscow each year and was one of the most widely known American politicians in the USSR, where he was received by high-level Soviet politicians such as Leonid Brezhnev.


Gus Hall spoke regularly on campuses and talk shows as an advocate for socialism in the United States.


Gus Hall argued for socialism in the United States to be built on the traditions of US-style democracy rooted in the United States Bill of Rights.


Gus Hall professed deep confidence in the democratic traditions of the American people.


Gus Hall remained a prolific writer on current events, producing a great number of articles and pamphlets, of which many were published in the magazine Political Affairs.


Gus Hall guided the CPUSA in accordance with the party line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, rejecting any liberalization efforts such as Eurocommunism.


Gus Hall dismissed the radical new revolutionary movements that criticized the official Soviet party line of "Peaceful coexistence" and called for a world revolution.


Gus Hall defended the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan, and supported the Stalinist principle of "Socialism in One Country".


Gus Hall ranked only in eighth place among the presidential candidates.


Gus Hall led a faction of the party that stood against Glasnost and Perestroika and, for the hardliners of the CPSU, accused Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin of "demolishing" socialism.


Gus Hall supported Vietnam and Cuba but criticized the People's Republic of China for failing to oppose the West.


In late 1991, members wanting reform founded the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, a group critical of the direction in which Gus Hall was taking the party.


In 2000, shortly before his death, Gus Hall resigned the post of party chairman in favor of Sam Webb and was appointed honorary chairman.


Gus Hall died on October 13,2000, at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan from diabetes mellitus complications.


Gus Hall was buried in the Forest Home Cemetery near Chicago.


Later, Gus Hall admitted it was a mistake for the party to not openly fight against imprisonment of SWP members under the Smith Act.


At times, some Soviet officials criticized Gus Hall by accusing him of poor leadership of the CPUSA.

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Gus Hall was accused of homophobia, as the CPUSA followed a Stalinist doctrine of declaring homosexuality a "fascist tendency".


Gus Hall reacted strongly to the news of Koten's arrest and called for the charges to be dropped "unless a more serious crime is involved".