Joseph Hansen (socialist)

Joseph Hansen (socialist)

Joseph Leroy Hansen (June 16, 1910January 18, 1979), was an American Trotskyist and leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party.

Born in Richfield, Utah, Joseph Hansen was the oldest of 15 children in a poor working class family, and he was the only one of them who could attend college. His father, Conrad J. Z. Hansen, was a tailor, originally from Norway.

Hansen became politically radicalized during the Great Depression and he became a convinced socialist and joined the American Trotskyist group lead by James P. Cannon.

With his wife Reba, Hansen went to Mexico to meet the exiled Russian Communist leader, Leon Trotsky, and Hansen served as Trotsky's secretary and guard from 1937 for the next three years. When the Stalinist agent Ramón Mercader stabbed Trotsky in the head with an icepick, Hansen, together with Charles Cornell, prevented the assassin from fleeing.

Hansen returned to the United States and started working as a merchant seaman. At this time, he became editor of the SWP's newspaper, " The Militant " for a number of years. From 1940 to 1975, Joe Hansen served on the SWP’s National Committee.

He helped arrange the reunification of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International and the International Committee of the Fourth International into the United Secretariat of the Fourth International in 1963. He became a leader of the USFI and an editor of the USFI's weekly English-language news service, initially called "World Outlook" and later changed to "Intercontinental Press/Inprecor".

Joseph Hansen strongly supported the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and wrote a book about it, "Dynamics of the Cuban Revolution. A Marxist Appreciation". He visited Cuba together with Farrell Dobbs in the early 1960s. They were both active in launching of the "Fair Play for Cuba Committee".

Joe Hansen died from infectious complications in New York City on January 18, 1979. His wife and close collaborator, Reba Hansen, remained in the Socialist Workers Party until she died in 1990.

External links

* [http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/writers/hansen/index.htm Joseph Hansen Archive] at marxists.org.
* [http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/swp-us/testofcuba.htm "What the Record Really Shows: The Test of the Cuban Revolution"] by Joseph Hansen. "International Socialist Review" January 1965.
* [http://www.trotskyana.net/Trotskyists/Bio-Bibliographies/bio-bibliographies.html Bio-bibliographical sketch of Joseph Hansen] at the "Lubitz TrotskyanaNet".


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