Archives 1974: Communist leader Gus Hall on the Nixon impeachment and resignation
A Nixon-era demonstration by members of the Communist Party USA. Gus Hall, then the party's general secretary, is second from the right, wearing a hat. | Courtesy of CPUSA Archives

Editor’s Note: President Richard Nixon resigned from office on Aug. 9, 1974, just hours before the House of Representatives was to consider and approve formal articles of impeachment against him for his Watergate conspiracy. The article below was written by Gus Hall, the General Secretary of the Communist Party USA, and appeared in Daily World on the day of Nixon’s resignation. In the article, he called Nixon’s exit a “positive step,” but warned that the forces behind his conspiracy” were still in power. He called for a “people’s unity” of all democratic forces to “turn the country around.” On the occasion of President Donald Trump’s impeachment, People’s World shares this article from our archives with readers.

The exit of Nixon is an historic step in the right direction. An evil, anti-working class, racist, bigoted force has been discarded into the garbage can of history. This is an important victory for the democratic forces of our land.

It is of critical importance to place this unprecedented event in its proper perspective.

The leading conspirator stands exposed and condemned. But the forces behind the conspiracy remain in their positions of power.

The Aug. 9, 1974, edition of Daily World. Hall’s article appeared on the front cover, along with an editorial and the lead story from Washington Bureau Chief Tim Wheeler. | People’s World Archives

Nixon’s exit is a most positive event. But to believe that Nixon and his political henchmen in the executive branch and in the United States Congress acted alone as a narrow group without a power base and therefore to conclude that Nixon’s leaving the scene will solve the serious problems facing the country, or to think that the danger to democratic rights and institutions is now in the past is to have dangerous illusions.

The Nixon conspiracy operated behind the shield of a “strong presidency.” The forces operating behind the concept of a “strong presidency” are the financial-industrial-military complex.

It is the very top circles of monopoly capital which gave the hundreds of millions of dollars that financed the conspiracy. It is the people from the big corporations who staffed the conspiracy.

We must not now forget that it was the leading people in the Democratic and Republican Parties who gave their support, either openly or by silence, to the Nixon conspiracy—as long as that conspiracy was directed against the working people, the people who are the victims of class and racial oppression.

In fact, they continue to support the Nixon policies of taxing the poor, of runaway inflation, racism, and the $100 billion military budget.

And at this very moment, it is these same forces of monopoly capital, the corporate kingmakers, who have supported Nixon, who are making the decisions about replacement.

2019 marks a century since the founding of the Communist Party USA. To commemorate the anniversary of the longest surviving socialist organization in the United States, People’s World has launched the article series: 100 Years of the Communist Party USA. Read the other articles published in the series.

The people must not be fooled by the last-minute fascist and ultra-rights jumpers on the bandwagon [right-wing forces abandoning Nixon – Ed.]. Like rats, they are jumping off a sinking ship. They want to use the crisis to turn the country into even more fascist-like channels.

The people must be alerted to the new conspiracy that is being spun by the Cold War gang—who are trying to use the exit of Nixon to turn the country back into the Cold War channels with its policies of tension and nuclear brinkmanship.

The exit of Nixon must be a new beginning. It is a moment for a people’s crisis alert.

This is a moment when the people must take a deeper look at the questions of who runs our government, our economy, and our lives. What is the source of corruption? Of the endless crises?

The fraudulent 1972 elections were a definite part of the Nixon conspiracy. The forced resignation of a president is without precedent.

The election fraud can be undone only by an immediate, unprecedented, new mid-term presidential election. Without such election, we will have a corporate-appointed, non-elected president and vice president [Nixon’s vice president and successor, Gerald Ford, had been appointed to the role after Nixon’s election and was not himself elected by the voters. –Ed.].

Only a militant, people’s democratic movement can safeguard the democratic rights and institutions of our country. Only a united people’s movement can turn the country around by destroying the grip the big corporations have on our country.

“Impeach Nixon” election materials from the 1972 CPUSA presidential campaign.

Only a fighting people’s movement can guarantee that the United States will move toward détente [with the Soviet Union]. Only a people’s movement can fight to cancel the $100 billion war budget.

Only a people’s movement can end the disastrous course of inflation. Only a people’s movement can end the rise of racism.

As long as the monopoly corporations are the masters of our land, there will always be the danger of reactionary, anti-democratic conspiracies. There will always be the ugly pressures of racism, escalating prices and taxes, and economic crises.

This can be a new beginning if it results in a new unity—a unity of all democratic forces, a unity of all working-class forces, a unity of the racially oppressed, a unity of peace forces, and a unity of the younger generation.

August 9, 1974


Gus Hall
Gus Hall

Gus Hall (1910-2000) served as leader of the Communist Party USA from 1959 until the time of his death. Born on Minnesota's Iron Range, he joined the Communist Party in 1927 and became an organizer for the Young Communist League. He was a founding organizer of the United Steel Workers and was a leader of the "Little Steel" strike in 1937. In 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984, he was the presidential candidate of the Communist Party.