Joseph Hansen (socialist)

Joseph Hansen (Socialist)

Joseph Hansen (socialist)

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Joseph Leroy Hansen (June 16, 1910 – January 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 led 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 struck Trotsky in the head with an ice axe, 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. In 1950, he ran on the SWP ticket for U.S. Senator from New York.

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...
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