GUSS HALL, HISTORIC FIGURE OF AMERICAN COMMUNIST PARTY, DIES

Last Friday Gus Hall (born Arvo Gus Halberg) died at 90 years of age. The four-times candidate for the White House was Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the United States between 1959 and 1987, when he became the President of the Party, the post he occupied until last March. Gus Hall was born in Minnesota, the son of a Finnish immigrant family, and began working in the forestry industry. When he was only seventeen years old, he was the Communist Party candidate for the Town Hall of Youngstown, Ohio. In the 1930s, he was an activist in the Metalworkers’ Trade Union. In 1948, he was imprisoned for “conspiracy to overthrow the American government by force and by violence” and spent eight years in jail. This was the system’s idea of “Freedom of Speech”, so much used during the Cold War when the USSR was accused of political intolerance. He was a courageous activist for ideals which were accepted with hostility in his country. Nevertheless, he remained true to his Party to the end.

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Lissabon