Lillian Feist has been a member of the Communist Party for nearly eighty years. Over the course of that time she has lent her voice to numerous social and political causes.
Feist was born on June 24, 1908 in North Dakota. Her parents were Finnish immigrants and farmers. At the age of 17 Feist was selected to attend the Farmer Labor Party’s young workers’ educational program. There she learned about unions, socialism, and communism.
In the 1920s Feist moved to Seattle and joined the Communist Party’s organization for youths, the Young Communist League. She has been a party member ever since. In the 1930s she took part in numerous unemployed demonstrations and worked for official party publications.
After World War II Feist was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Like many in her position, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment and stood up to the committee. Undeterred by such persecution, Feist went on to help organize a pension union and a club for women on Aid to Dependent Children in Seattle.
Today, Feist still lives in Seattle. She remains a social and political activist. In 1999 she took part in Seattle’s WTO protests and she has recently demonstrated against the war.