Charles Emil Ruthenberg

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ruthenberg, Charles Emil


Born July 9, 1882, in Cleveland, Ohio; died Mar. 2, 1927. Figure in the labor movement in the USA.

The son of a worker, Ruthenberg joined the Socialist Party in 1909 and was one of the leaders of its left wing. In 1912 he became editor of the newspaper Cleveland Socialist. From 1913 to 1919 he was secretary of the Socialist Party’s Cleveland organization. During World War I, Ruthenberg exposed the imperialist nature of the war and opposed the participation of the USA. He was the main author of the Socialist Party’s manifesto (1917), which was a program of struggle against the war and the policy of class cooperation pursued by the rightist leaders of the party and trade unions. After the October Revolution of 1917, he actively participated in the opposition to intervention against the Soviet state.

Ruthenberg was an organizer of the Communist Party of America, and he was elected general secretary at the party’s founding convention in September 1919. In 1920 he was elected a member of the Executive Committee of the Comintern. From 1921 to 1923 he was secretary of the Central Committee of the United Communist Party of America and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of America (WPA). At the Third National Congress of the WPA, held from Dec. 30, 1923, to Jan. 1, 1924, he was elected secretary of the Central Committee of the Unified Workers’ (Communist) Party of America.

Ruthenberg was repeatedly subjected to prosecution and imprisonment; he died in prison. In accordance with his will, his ashes were transported to the Soviet Union and interred on Red Square at the Kremlin Wall.


Johnson, Oakley C. Den’ griadet. Moscow, 1963. (With bibliography; translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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