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            "Conversations with Harold Hudson Channer"

                     Upcoming Cable Television/Web Show: 

                For details of airing see bottom of page

         Guest For  WEDNESDAY MARCH 4, 2009



                             (Originally aired: April 1985)

                          GUS HALL (1910 - 2000 R.I.P.)


                            General Secretary of


          The Communist Party of the United States


The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xzIgpmIErI - GUS HALL



More about GUS HALL

Gus Hall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gus Hall
Born Arvo Gustav Halberg
October 8, 1910(1910-10-08)
Cherry Township, Minnesota
Died October 13, 2000 (aged 90)
Lenox Hill Hospital
Manhattan, New York
Known for Communist Party USA
Communist Party Campaign Poster:
Gus Hall for President;
Jarvis Tyner for Vice-President (1976)

Gus Hall (October 8, 1910 – October 13, 2000) was a leader of the Communist Party USA and its four-time U.S. presidential candidate.[1] As a labor leader, Hall was closely associated with the so-called "Little Steel" Strike of 1937, an effort to unionize the nation's smaller, regional steel manufacturers.[2]



[edit] Background

Hall was born Arvo Gustav Halberg to Finnish parents in Cherry, a rural community on Northern Minnesota's Iron Range. Hall's parents had been involved in the Industrial Workers of the World and were founding members of the Communist Party.[1]

At 15, Hall left school and went to work in the North Woods lumber camps, where he spent much time studying Marxism. At 17, he joined the Communist Party and became an organizer for the Young Communist League. In 1931, Hall travelled to the Soviet Union spending two years at the Lenin Institute in Moscow.[1]

[edit] The "Little Steel" Strike

In 1934, Hall went to Ohio's Mahoning Valley. Following the call for organizing in the steel industry, Hall was among a handful hired at a steel mill in Youngstown, Ohio. He was a founding organizer of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (SWOC) and 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 U.S. Steel, which had previously entered into a contract with SWOC without a strike.[2]

The strike was ultimately unsuccessful, and marred by the deaths of workers at Republic plants in Chicago and Youngstown.[2] Hall was arrested for allegedly transporting bomb-making materials intended for Republic's plant in Warren, Ohio. SWOC became the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) in 1943.[2] Philip Murray, USWA founding president, once commented that Hall's leadership of the strike in Warren and Youngstown was a model of effective grassroots organizing.

It was also in Youngstown that Hall met Elizabeth Turner. They were married in 1935. Elizabeth Hall was a leader in her own right, among the first women steelworkers and a secretary of SWOC. They went on to have two children, Arvo and Barbara (Conway).

Hall and other rank-and-file steelworkers signed up workers who wanted to join a union:-

“This had to be a secret operation,” Hall wrote in a 1972 letter to the USWA. “Any man who signed was immediately fired if it became known. As a matter of fact, I was fired. It was not until we had collected thousands of such signed cards that Lewis agreed to set up the [SWOC]. I was on the committee that presented the cards to John L. Lewis in the dugout of a baseball stadium where he was the speaker at a Miners' Day rally” in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Thus, Lewis was convinced and one of his first decisions was to hire Hall as a full-time SWOC organizer in the Mahoning Valley where he served as an international representative throughout the organizing drive and later as chairman of the strike committee during the strike. Under Hall's leadership, 10,000 workers were recruited to the steel union in the Mahoning Valley.

Later, he resigned his union post to become an organizer for the Communist Party in Youngstown.

Hall volunteered for the U.S. Navy when World War II broke out, serving as a machinist in Guam. He was honorably discharged March 6, 1946.[1] After his return, he was elected to the National Executive board of the American Communist Party.

[edit] Indictment during the 'Red Scare'

On July 22, 1948 Hall and 11 other Communist Party leaders were indicted under the Smith Act on charges of "conspiracy to teach and advocate the overthrow of the U.S. government by force and violence." Hall spent eight years in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary.[1] The U.S. Supreme Court later struck down the Smith Act as unconstitutional.

After his release, Hall continued his activities.[1] In 1959, he was elected CPUSA general secretary, and afterward, received the Order of Lenin.[1] But the McCarthy, Cold War era had taken a heavy toll on the Communist Party. Hall, along with other Party leaders who remained, sought to rebuild it.[1] He led the struggle to reclaim the legality of the Communist Party and addressed tens of thousands in Oregon, Washington and California.

[edit] Later years

Hall became a speaker on campuses and talk shows as an advocate for socialism in the United States. Hall argued that socialism in the United States would be built on the traditions of U.S.-style democracy rooted in the United States Bill of Rights. He would often say Americans didn't accept the constitution without a Bill of Rights and they won't accept socialism without a Bill of Rights. He professed deep confidence in the democratic traditions of the American people.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Hall worked to build the Communist Party among the young “baby boomer” generation of activists involved in the peace, civil rights and the new rank-and-file trade union movements. During this time, Hall also made frequent appearances on Soviet television always supporting the position of the Soviet Communist Party and the Brezhnev regime.

He ran for president four times, in 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984, the last two times with Angela Davis.[1] Due to the great expense of running, the difficulty in meeting the strenuous and different election-law provisions in each state, and the difficulty in getting media coverage, it was decided that the CPUSA would suspend running national campaigns, while continuing to run candidates at the local level.

In late 1980s, when liberalisation and democratisation were under way in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, Hall stood by his "anti-revisionist" Marxist-Leninist stance. Concerning Stalin, he admitted that even leaders of a socialist country might err sometimes, but suggested that the Soviet historians were exaggerating Stalin’s crimes. Hall declared that he had not become a member of CP because of Stalin and would not leave because of him.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the party faced a crisis. (According to formerly secret documents quoted by the Washington Post in early 1992, Hall received over $2 million from the Soviet government for the party's expenses in publishing the Daily Worker and for rental fees for the party headquarters.[citation needed]) Former KGB General Oleg Kalugin declared in his memoir that the KGB had Hall and the American Communist Party "under total control" and that he was known to be siphoning off "Moscow money" to set up his own horse-breeding farm." [3]Hall led a faction of the party that stood against Gorbachev and for the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In later years Hall worked to preserve the party as many members left and he served as leader until his death.

He died on October 13, 2000 at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.[4]

[edit] Quotations

"Socialism in America will come through the ballot box." – in an interview with the Cleveland Plain-Dealer (1996)

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Gus Hall, American Communist Party boss, dies at 90". Associated Press. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20001017&slug=TT541VCI2. Retrieved on 2007-10-25. "Gus Hall, the American Communist Party boss who steadfastly stuck to his beliefs through years in prison and the collapse of communist regimes around the world, has died. He was 90. Mr. Hall died Friday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan of complications relating to diabetes, Scott Marshall, a Communist Party official, said yesterday." 
  2. ^ a b c d Shellock, Marie (June 2007). "Defining moment in local labor history occurred 70 years ago". The Metro Monthly: p. 8. 
  3. ^ Oleg Kalugin, "The First Directorate" (New York, 1994), pp.55-56.
  4. ^ "Gus Hall, Unreconstructed American Communist of 7 Decades, Dies at 90". New York Times. October 17, 2000. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B05E3D71F3FF934A25753C1A9669C8B63. Retrieved on 2008-07-04. "Gus Hall, the zealous lifelong Communist who led the American branch of the party from the cold war through political oblivion in the post-Soviet era, died on Friday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. He was 90 and lived in Yonkers." 

[edit] Writings

  • Basics--For Peace, Democracy and Social Progress
  • Ecology: Can We Survive Under Capitalism?
  • Fighting Racism: Selected Writings
  • Imperialism Today
  • Karl Marx: Beacon for Our Times
  • Negro Liberation: A Goal for All Americans (with Henry M. Winston, Claude Lightfoot, and William L. Patterson)
  • Racism: The Nation's Most Dangerous Pollutant
  • The Crisis of Everyday Living and the Winning Fightback
  • The Energy Rip-off: Cause and Cure
  • Working Class USA


                            Wednesday  March 4, 2009

Individual programs can be viewed each week day

                    10:30 - 11:30 AM  / (NYC Time)

                 Channel 34 of the Time/Warner & Channel 82 of the RCN 
                       Cable Television Systems in Manhattan, New York.

The Program can now be viewed on the internet at time of cable casting at


                  NOTE: You must adjust viewing to reflect NYC time

                                    & click on channel 34 at site


                                    241 West 36th StreetNew York,N.Y. 10018 Phone: 212-695-6351 E-Mail: HHC@NYC.RR.COM


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