Last of The Red-Hot Believers: GUS HALL

As the Soviet Union rushes to embrace democracy, GUS HALL, America's No. 1 Communist, refuses to admit that the party is finally over

The comrade's room reeks of the past. Above the desk hangs a portrait of Lenin, a treasured gift from Leonid Brezhnev. On another wall is a tapestry of Karl Marx, a present from fallen East German leader Erich Honecker. Elsewhere sit a replica of Lenin's telephone; a wood sculpture from Fidel Castro; and busts of Marx, Engels and Lenin. Gus Hall, aging chairman of the Communist Party U.S.A., calls his New York City office a "museum of history." But among all these historic mementos, Hall is, unwittingly, the prime exhibit.

The 80-year-old party patriarch is one of the world's last communist...

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