William Z. Foster

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Document 54 from Soviet Archives. Alexander and Earl [Browder] to [Willaim] Foster, 11 July 1928, RTsKhIDNI 534–6–137. Original in English. At this time Browder was working for the Comintern and serving as the first general secretary of the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat. "Alexander" was the alias of a Profintern official named Keetagnian. [1]

William Z. Foster (1881-1961) was a highly influential leader of the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA).

He was born in Massachusetts in 1881 to poor European immigrants and began to work full time from the age of 10. As he entered his twenties he began to subscribe to socialist views, joining the Socialist Party in 1901 but was expelled in a faction war, and later the Industrial Workers of the World in 1909, leaving the latter organisation when his plan to infiltrate the American Federation of Labor was turned down. He went on to join the AFL in 1919 led the very large, but unsuccessful, Steel Strike.

Foster joined the newly formed American Communist Party (CPUSA) in the 1919, and ran for the U.S. Presidency on the CPUSA ticket in 1924, 1928 and 1932. After the third attempt he suffered a serious heart attack and was relieved of his post. Foster was always loyal to Josef Stalin, and Stalin brought him back in 1945 to replace Earl Browder.

Foster was indicted under the Smith Act in 1948 for subversion, but did not go on trial because of his poor health. He later lost his post in the Communist Party for refusing to condemn the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. He died in 1961.

Further reading

See also


  1. The Soviet World of American Communism, Harvey Klehr, John Earl Haynes, Kyrill M. Anderson, Yale University Press, 1996, p. 187, 190.