John Gates


John Gates

John Gates, born Solomon Regenstreif in New York City in 1913, was a prominent American Communist from 1939 to 1958. He died on 23 May, 1992 at the age of 78 in Miami Beach, Florida. While a student at City College of New York, he became interested in communism and joined the Young Communist League, USA (YCL). He was active in the campaign to free the Scottsboro Boys. Upon leaving college, he first worked with unemployed workers in Ohio.

When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and fought in Spain. He rose to battalion commissar of the Lincoln-Washington Battalion and was known as a strict disciplinarian. He later admitted he had gone somewhat overboard. In 1938 he was involved in the controversial decision to execute a deserter, Paul White.

Returning to the United States, Gates became leader of the Young Communist League. Later, he was the editor of the "Daily Worker" and, in an editorial policy which put him at odds with the Party leadership, he took liberal positions embracing Nikita Khrushchev's criticisms of Stalin [http://www.trussel.com/hf/onleave.htm] and opposing the Soviet Union's suppression of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Party leaders were particularly upset by his support of Howard Fast, a prominent writer who was quite critical of the Soviet Union and soon after also left the Communist Party.

However, the "Daily Worker" was in deep trouble with significant losses in circulation due to a general disenchantment with communism, by both workers and intellectuals, and pressure from McCarthyism. Confronted with deep deficits and its inability to control Gates, on 22 December, 1957 the Party suspended publication of the paper as a daily, the last issue appearing 13 January, 1958.

Gates resigned from the Party in January 1958, claiming that it had "ceased to be an effective force for democracy, peace, and socialism in the United States."

Further reading

* Dennis, Eugene and John Gates. "What America needs; a Communist view". New Century Publishers, New York. March, 1956.

* Gates, John. "On guard against Browderism, Titoism, Trotskyism". New Century Publishers, New York. 1951.

* Gates, John. "The Story of an American Communist". Introduction by Earl Browder. Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1958, hardcover, 221 pages, available [http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/BookSearch?an=john+gates&tn=story+american+communist&sortby=2&cf=MOREREFINE online at ABE]
* United States. District Court. New York (Southern District). "The case of United States of America v. William Z. Foster, Eugene Dennis John B. Williamson, Jacob Stachel, Robert G. Thompson, Benjamin J. Davis, Jr., Henry Winston, John Gates, Irving Potash, Gilbert Green, Carl Winter, Gus Hall". National Civil Rights Congress, New York. 1948, 56p

External links

* [http://www.bartleby.com/63/11/8011.html Statement on leaving the Communist Party]
* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/SPgates.htm Brief biography]

References

* Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "John Gates" http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.phtml?title=John_Gates March 14, 2004
* [http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920526&slug=1493842 John Gates, 78, U.S. Communist] . "The Seattle Times" (May 26, 1992). Retrieved August 9, 2008.
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE4DC153AF937A15756C0A964958260 John Gates, 78, Former Editor of The Daily Worker, Is Dead] . "The New York Times" (May 24, 1992). Retrieved August 9, 2008.


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