Gil Green (politician)

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Gil Green (1906–1997) was a leading figure in the Communist Party of the United States of America until 1991. He is best remembered as the leader of the party's youth section, the Young Communist League, during the tumultuous decade of the 1930s.


Early years[edit]

Gil Green was born Gilbert Greenberg in Chicago in 1906.[1] His parents were working class Jewish immigrants from the Russian empire.[1]

Political career[edit]

Green joined the Young Communist League in 1924 and rose through its ranks, becoming its national secretary in 1931.[2] In 1935 Green was named one of three communist youth leaders named to the Executive Committee of the Communist International in Moscow.[2]

Later in 1935, the 6th World Congress of the Young Communist International (YCI) elected Green to the Executive Committee and Secretariat of that body.[2]

Green remained a prominent youth leader of the American Communist Party throughout the depression decade, attending the 1936 World Youth Congress held in Geneva and serving as one of three YCI delegates to a meeting with the rival Socialist Youth International that drew up a unity agreement with regards to aiding the Spanish Republic in the ongoing Spanish Civil War.[2] Green was also a delegate to the 1938 World Youth Congress held in the United States at Vassar College.[2]

Leaving the communist youth movement at the end of the decade, Green was selected as a member of the National Board of the Communist Party, USA.[2] He served as the party's top official, district organizer, of the key party district of New York from 1941 to 1945.[2] Following the fall of his patron Earl Browder in 1945, Green was moved out of New York to become district organizer in Chicago. He was returned to New York City and a place on the party's National Board in 1947.

Green's status as a top official of the Communist Party made him a target for prosecution during the McCarthy era. Along with 11 other top party officials, Green was indicted in July 1948 under the Smith Act and convicted and sentenced to a long term of imprisonment following a lengthy 1949 trial.[2] Unlike his co-defendants Green became a fugitive from justice following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the verdict in 1951, remaining in the underground until voluntarily surrendering to authorities on February 27, 1956,[2] Thereafter, Green was incarcerated in federal prison until July 29, 1961.[2]

In the 1960s Green again returned prominence as the Communist Party's Chairman in New York, but he fell afoul of party leader Gus Hall in 1968 when he joined a section of party members who vocally criticized the Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia.[3] Thereafter, Green quit the National Committee, although he remained a member of the Communist Party for another two decades.[3]

In 1991, following the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, Green left the party and helped found the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism.

Death and legacy[edit]

Green died on May 4, 1997 at a nursing home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[3] He was 90 years old at the time of his death.

Green's papers reside at the Tamiment Library of New York University in New York City.


  1. ^ a b Peter Filardo, "Guide to the Gil Green Papers," Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Ruth F. Prago, "Gil Green (b. 1906)," in Mari Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle, and Dan Georgakas (eds.), Encyclopedia of the American Left. First edition. New York: Garland Publishing, 1990, pg. 279.
  3. ^ a b c Wolfgang Saxon, "Gilbert Green, 90, Communist Party Leader Jailed for Conspiracy," New York Times, May 8, 1997.


  • Marxism and the World Today. New York: New York State Committee, Communist Party, n.d.
  • Youth Confronts the Blue Eagle. New York: Youth Publishers, November 1933.
  • United We Stand: For Peace and Socialism. New York: Workers Library Publishers, 1935.
  • Young Communists and the Unity of Youth: Speech Delivered at the 7th World Congress of the Communist International. New York : Youth Publishers, October 1935.
  • Facing the 8th Convention of the Young Communist League: Report, Delivered Jan. 1, 1937. New York : Young Communist League, n.d. [1937].
  • Make Your Dreams Come True: Report to the 8th National Convention of the Young Communist League, New York City, May 2, 1937. New York: Workers Library Publishers, June 1937.
  • The truth about Soviet Russia. New York: New Age Publishers, March 1938.
  • America Must Act Now! New York: Workers Library Publishers, November 1941.
  • New York State's Wartime Election. New York: New York State Communist Party, September 1942.
  • Marxism and the World Today. New York: New York State Committee, Communist Party, n.d. [1944?].
  • The Enemy Forgotten. New York, International Publishers, 1956.
  • Revolution Cuban Style: Impressions of a Recent Visit. New York, International Publishers, 1970.
  • Terrorism: Is It Revolutionary? New York: New Outlook Publishers, 1970.
  • The New Radicalism: Anarchist or Marxist? New York: International Publishers, 1971.
  • What's happening to labor. New York: International Publishers, 1976.
  • Portugal's Revolution. New York: International Publishers, 1976.
  • Cuba at 25: The Continuing Revolution. New York: International Publishers, 1983.
  • Cold War Fugitive: A Personal Story of the McCarthy Years. New York: International Publishers, 1984.

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