Dennis in 1948 mugshot
|Chairman of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA|
1957 –31 January 1961
|Preceded by||William Z. Foster|
|Succeeded by||Elizabeth Gurley Flynn|
|General Secretary of the National Committee of the Communist Party USA|
|Preceded by||Earl Browder|
|Succeeded by||Gus Hall|
Francis Xavier Waldron
August 10, 1905
Seattle, Washington, United States
|Died||January 31, 1961 55) (aged|
Mount Sinai Hospital
Manhattan, New York, United States
|Political party||Communist Party USA|
|Spouse(s)||Peggy Dennis (née Regina Karasick)|
|Occupation||Lumberjack, teamster, electrician, politician|
Francis Xavier Waldron (August 10, 1905 – January 31, 1961), best known by the pseudonym Eugene Dennis and Tim Ryan,was an American communist politician and union organizer, best remembered as the long-time leader of the Communist Party USA and as named party in Dennis v. United States , a famous McCarthy Era Supreme Court case.
A pseudonym or alias is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which can differ from their first or true name (orthonym).
A trade union, also called a labour union or labor union (US), is an association of workers in a particular trade, industry, or company created for the purpose of securing improvement in pay, benefits, working conditions or social and political status through collective bargaining and working conditions through the increased bargaining power wielded by creation of a monopoly of the workers. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with employers. The most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment". This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies.
The Communist Party USA, officially the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA), is a communist party in the United States established in 1919 after a split in the Socialist Party of America.
Francis Xavier Waldron was born on August 10, 1905 in Seattle, Washington. He worked in various jobs and was a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, for which he was active in California as a union organizer.
The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), members of which are commonly termed "Wobblies", is an international labor union that was founded in 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, in the United States. The union combines general unionism with industrial unionism, as it is a general union whose members are further organized within the industry of their employment. The philosophy and tactics of the IWW are described as "revolutionary industrial unionism", with ties to both socialist and anarchist labor movements.
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
Waldron joined the Workers (Communist) Party in 1926.
In 1929, Waldron fled to the Soviet Union to avoid criminal charges for his political activities under the California Criminal Syndicalism Act.
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The California Criminal Syndicalism Act was a law of California in 1919 under Governor William Stephens criminalizing syndicalism. It was repealed in 1991.
Waldron returned to the United States in 1935 and assumed the pseudonym Eugene Dennis. Dennis became General Secretary of the party after the expulsion of Earl Browder and was a staunch supporter of the Moscow line.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Earl Russell Browder was an American political activist and leader of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA). Browder is best remembered as the General Secretary of the CPUSA during the 1930s and first half of the 1940s.
On July 20, 1948, Dennis and eleven other party leaders, including Party Chairman William Z. Foster were arrested and charged under the Alien Registration Act.Foster was not prosecuted due to ill health.
William Z. Foster was a radical American labor organizer and Marxist politician, whose career included serving as General Secretary of the Communist Party USA from 1945 to 1957. He was previously a member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, leading the drive to organize the packinghouse industry during World War I and the steel strike of 1919.
As Dennis and his co-accused had never openly called for the violent overthrow of the United States government, the prosecution depended on passages from the works of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin that advocated revolutionary violence and on the testimony of former members of the party who claimed Dennis and others had privately advocated the use of violence.
After a nine month-long trial and the imprisonment of the defense lawyers for contempt of court, Dennis and his co-defendants were found guilty and sentenced to five years imprisonment. They appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled 6–2 against the defendants on June 4, 1951 in Dennis v. United States , 341 U.S. 494 (1951). The Court later scaled back its Dennis opinion in Yates v. United States and rendered the broad conspiracy provisions of the Smith Act unenforceable. Eugene Dennis was imprisoned in the years 1951-1955, according to the verdict in his case.
Dennis remained General Secretary until 1959, when he succeeded Foster as party chairman and held that position until his death in 1961.
Though never charged with any act of espionage, Dennis was identified in the Venona project as being a source for Soviet intelligence during World War II. In the transcripts, Dennis is referenced as a contact for a group of concealed Communists in the Office of Strategic Services and the Office of War Information.
Dennis is referenced in the following Venona transcripts:
Dennis died of cancer on January 31, 1961.
He was buried at the Waldheim Cemetery(now Forest Home Cemetery) in Forest Park, Illinois.
|Party political offices|
| General Secretary of the CPUSA|
Cedric Henning Belfrage was an English film critic, journalist, writer, and political activist. He is best remembered as a co-founder of the radical US-weekly newspaper the National Guardian. Later Belfrage was referenced as a Soviet agent in the US intelligence Venona project, although it appears that he had been working for British Security Co-ordination as a double-agent.
Harold Glasser, was an economist in the United States Department of the Treasury and spokesman on the affairs of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) 'throughout its whole life' and he had a 'predominant voice' in determining which countries should receive aid. Glasser was a member of the Perlo group of Soviet spies during World War II and worked closely with Harry Dexter White. His code name in Soviet intelligence and in the Venona files is "Ruble".
Edward Joseph Fitzgerald was an American who worked for the War Production Board during World War II and was an adviser to Senator Claude Pepper. He was alleged to have been a member of the Perlo group of Soviet spies. Fitzgerald's name in Venona project decrypt 588 New York to Moscow, 29 April 1944, was sent in the clear to Moscow by Soviet Case Officer Iskhak Akhmerov reporting on Elizabeth Bentley's meeting with Perlo group.
Lt. Col. Duncan Chaplin Lee was confidential assistant to Maj. Gen. William Donovan, founder and director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), World War II-era predecessor of the CIA, during 1942-46. Lee is identified in the Venona project as the Soviet double agent operating inside OSS under the cover name "Koch," making him the most senior alleged source the Soviet Union ever had inside American intelligence.
Since the late 1920s, the Soviet Union, through its GRU, OGPU and NKVD intelligence services, used Russian and foreign-born nationals as well as Communist, and people of American origin to perform espionage activities in the United States. These various espionage networks had contact with various U.S. government agencies, transmitting to Moscow information that would have been deemed confidential.
John Jacob Abt was an American lawyer and politician, who spent most of his career as chief counsel to the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and was accused of membership in the Communist Party and the Soviet spy network called the "Ware Group".
Alfred Epaminondas Sarant, also known as Filipp Georgievich Staros and Philip Georgievich Staros, was an engineer and a member of the Communist party in New York City in 1944. He was part of the Rosenberg spy ring that reported to Soviet intelligence. Sarant worked on secret military radar at the United States Army Signal Corps laboratories at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Alexandre Feklisov, one of the KGB case officers who handled the Rosenberg spy apparatus described Sarant and Joel Barr as among the most productive members of the group. Sarant was recruited as a Soviet espionage agent by Barr.
Headed by Victor Perlo, the Perlo group is the name given to a group of Americans who provided information which was given to Soviet intelligence agencies; it was active during the World War II period, until the entire group was exposed to the FBI by the defection of Elizabeth Bentley.
Several allege that Harry Magdoff was among a number of persons inside the U.S. government used as information sources by Soviet intelligence. However, the allegation is disputed by several academics and historians asserting that Magdoff probably had no malicious intentions and committed no crimes.
Zalmond David Franklin or Salmond Franklin was a Communist Party of the United States member and KGB asset during World War II. Zalmond was married at one time to KGB operative Sylvia Callen. According to the testimony of Louis Budenz, Zalmond did "secret work in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, and he also worked part of the time as a bacteriologist at a Spanish Loyalist hospital. Upon returning in the late 1930s, Zalmond is alleged to have been recruited for anti-Trotsky work and was sent on several missions to Canada on behalf of Soviet intelligence. He worked as a security guard at the Soviet Pavilion in the 1939 New York World's Fair, sharing this work with two of his former comrades from the International Brigade, Morris Cohen and Milton Wolff. He is reported to have worked in Alberta, Canada, in 1943. Michael Straight named Franklin in his FBI interview as one of his Soviet intelligence contacts.
Alexander Koral was an American member of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) who headed a network of spies for Soviet intelligence during World War II called the "Art" or "Berg" group. Koral's wife, Helen Koral, also was involved with the group.
Carl Aldo Marzani was an Italian-born American leftwing political activist and publisher. He was successively a Communist Party organizer, volunteer soldier in the Spanish Civil War, United States federal intelligence official, documentary filmmaker, author, and publisher. During World War II he served in the federal intelligence agency, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and later the U.S. Department of State. He picked the targets for the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, which took place on April 18, 1942. Marzani served nearly three years in prison for having concealed his Communist Party USA (CPUSA) membership while in the OSS.
Robert Owen Menaker was an American citizen who allegedly worked for Soviet intelligence during World War II.
Bolesław Konstanty "Bill" Gebert was a top Communist Party official, remembered as one of the organization's top Polish-language speaking leaders. He was a Soviet agent during the years of World War II and was an official of the Polish Communist government after the war.
Mikhail Tkach, also Michal Tkacz, Michael J. Tkach, and M. Nastivsky, born in Mastisiw, Poland, of Ukrainian parents, and arrived in the United States at New York City on November 25, 1909, under the name Michal Tkacz. Tkach's wife, Yeroslava, was born in Slatchev, Poland, and entered the U.S. in 1913. The Tkachs lived in New York City from 1922 onwards. Tkach became a naturalized U. S. citizen in New York City on December 8, 1936.
The Silvermaster File of the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation is a 162-volume compendium of some 26,000 pages of documents relating to the Bureau's investigation of Communist penetration of the U.S. federal government during the Cold War.
The Smith Act trials of Communist Party leaders in New York City from 1949 to 1958 were the result of US federal government prosecutions in the postwar period and during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. Leaders of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) were accused of violating the Smith Act, a statute that prohibited advocating violent overthrow of the government. The defendants argued that they advocated a peaceful transition to socialism, and that the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and of association protected their membership in a political party. Appeals from these trials reached the US Supreme Court, which ruled on issues in Dennis v. United States (1951) and Yates v. United States (1957).