William Weinstone

William Weinstone (1897–1985) was a Marxist scholar, editor and trade union organizer who helped found the Communist Party in 1919. He grew up in Brooklyn, embraced Marxism as a teen-ager and spent his life in a struggle to free U.S. workers from poverty, unemployment and capitalist exploitation. Weinstone was the New York Communist Party’s general secretary and was a candidate in a series of political races there in the 1920s-30s. Weinstone helped organize unions and led strikes in the New York garment industry and among subway and textile workers in the 1920’s. Later, as head of Michigan’s Communist Party, he helped organize strikes that led to union contracts for automobile workers in Detroit in the 1930’s. He was editor of The Daily Worker in 1931-2, and wrote extensively for that newspaper and other left publications. In 1953, he and 12 other Communist Party leaders were convicted of conspiracy under the thought-control prosecution of the Smith Act. His role in the conspiracy was the writing of two newspaper articles, reviewing the party’s educational work and plans to increase membership. He served two years in a Federal prison. William Weinstone’s papers reside with the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Weinstone was immortalized as one of the “witnesses” in Warren Beatty’s 1981 film, Reds, sharing his personal recollections of radical journalist John Reed and his wife, Louise Bryant.

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