Famous Atheists: Politics and Law

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Famous Atheists: Politics and Law



Alex Erwin (1948–): South African politician, the country’s Minister of Public Enterprises since 2004.

Joe Slovo (1926–1995): South African Communist politician, leader of the South African Communist Party and leading member of the African National Congress.

Samora Moisés Machel (1933–1986): Mozambiqan socialist revolutionary



Jiang Zemin (1926–): Chinese communist politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China 1989–2002 and President of China 1993–2003.

Mao Zedong (1893–1976): Chinese military and political leader, who led the Communist Party of China to victory in the Chinese Civil War, and was the leader of the People’s Republic of China from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976. Under his leadership, China officially became an atheist state.


Subhashini Ali (19??–): Indian Marxist politician and President of the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Kanimozhi (1968–): Indian politician and poet, and daughter of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

M. Karunanidhi (1924–): Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964): First prime minister of India (1947–1964).

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy, known as Periyar (1879–1973): Indian social reformer and politician, the ‘Socrates of South East Asia’, who founded the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam.

Manabendra Nath Roy (1887–1954): born Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, popularly known as M. N. Roy, was a Bengali Indian revolutionary, internationally known political theorist and activist, founder of the Communist parties in Mexico and India. He later denounced communism, as exponent of the philosophy of radical humanism.

Bhagat Singh (1907–1931): Indian freedom fighter. Wrote a pamphlet entitled Why I am an atheist.

Harkishan Singh Surjeet (1916–2008): Indian politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from 1992 to 2005 and a member of the party’s Polit Bureau from 1964 to 2008.

A. K. Gopalan (1904–1977): Indian communist leader from kerala and former Leader of the Opposition (India).

E. M. S. Namboodiripad (1909–1998) : Indian politician, renowned socialist and a Marxist theorist, first Chief Minister of Kerala. He also became the leader of the first democratically elected communist government in the world.

Prakash Karat : Indian politician, The General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from 2005 onwards.

Middle East

Uri Avnery (1923–): German-born Israeli journalist, left-wing peace activist, and former Knesset member.

George Hawi (1938–2005): Lebanese politician and former secretary general of the Lebanese Communist Party.

Russia/Soviet Union

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870—1924): Marxist revolutionary and leader of the Bolsheviks. Lenin considered atheist and anti-religious propaganda to be essential to promoting communism.

Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971): Soviet General Secretary, 1953–1964.,

Joseph Stalin: General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee from 1922 until his death in 1953.

Leon Trotsky (1879–1940): Marxist theorist.

Mikhail Gorbachev (1931–): Former Soviet president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

Other in Asia

Xuan Thuy (1912–1985): North Vietnamese political figure, foreign minister for North Vietnam 1963–65, official leader of the delegation to the secret talks with Henry Kissinger, and the main negotiator at the earliest meetings with Kissinger.

Pol Pot (1925–1998): birthname Saloth Sar, genocidal dictator of Cambodia.

Australia and Oceania


Dick Gross (1954–): Australia politician, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria and former three-time Mayor of the City of Port Phillip, Australia.

Bill Hayden (1933–): Governor-General of Australia (1989–1996).

Montague Miller (1839–1920): Australian unionist, secularist and revolutionary socialist.

William Trenwith (1846–1925): Australian trade union official and labour movement politician.

Frederick Vosper (1869–1901): Australian newspaper journalist and proprietor, and politician, known for his ardent views and support of Australian republicanism, federalism and trade unionism.

Sir John Latham: Attorney-General and Chief Justice of the High Court

New Zealand

Norman Douglas (1910–1985): New Zealand Labour Party politician.

Sir Dove-Myer Robinson (1901–1989): New Zealand politician, Mayor of Auckland from 1959–1965 and 1968–1980.



Georges Clemenceau (1841–1929): French statesman, physician and journalist, prime minister of France 1906–1909 and 1917–1920. Led France during World War I and was one of the major voices behind the Treaty of Versailles.

Gilbert Romme (1750–1795): French politician and mathematician who developed the French Republican Calendar.


Eamon Gilmore (1955–): Irish Tánaiste / Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, and leader of the Labour Party.

Jim Kemmy (1936–1997): Irish socialist politician.

Proinsias De Rossa (1940–): Irish politician, former President of the Workers’ Party, leader of Democratic Left, and later a senior member of the Labour Party.

Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington (1877–1946): Irish suffragist and nationalist.

Owen Sheehy-Skeffington (1909–1970): Irish university lecturer and Senator.

William Thompson (1775–1833): Irish socialist and economist.


Giuliano Ferrara (1952–): Italian politician, journalist, and occasional talk show host.

Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807–1882): Leader of the Italian Risorgimento, unifier of Italy, “Hero of the Two Worlds”.

Nilde Iotti (1920–1999): Italian politician, the first woman to became president of the Italian Chamber of Deputies for three consecutive legislatures 1979–1992.

Benito Mussolini (1883–1945): Fascist dictator of Italy.

Palmiro Togliatti (1893–1964): Italian politician, the leader of Italian Communist Party from 1927 to his death in 1964.


Władysław Gomułka (1905–1982): Polish Communist leader.

Zbigniew Religa (1938–2009): prominent Polish cardiac surgeon, pioneer in human heart transplantation and a Minister of Health of the Republic of Poland.


Luisa Isabel Alvarez de Toledo, 21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia (1936–2008): Spanish duchess, holder of the ducal title Medina-Sidonia, known as the “Red Duchess”.

Santiago Casares Quiroga (1884–1950): Spanish politician, Prime Minister of Spain from May 13 to July 19, 1936.

United Kingdom

Guy Aldred (1886–1963): English anarchist communist and a prominent member of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation.

William Crawford Anderson (1877–1919): British socialist politician, a founder member of the Union of Democratic Control.>

Clement Attlee 1st Earl Attlee, KG, OM, CH, PC (1883–1967): Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, under whose government the National Health Service and Welfare State were established.

Edward Aveling (1849–1898): English Marxist activist and partner of Karl Marx’s daughter Eleanor.

Bessie Braddock JP (1899–1970): British Labour politician, vice-chairman of the party in 1968.

Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891): Political activist and one of the most famous English atheists of the 19th century.

James Callaghan KG, PC (1912–2005): British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 to 1979 and the only person to have served in all four of the Great Offices of State.

Alastair Campbell (1957–): Director of Communications and Strategy for the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1997 to 2003.

Michael Cashman (1950–): British actor turned Labour politician, a Member of the European Parliament since 1999.

Colin Challen (1953–): British Labour politician.

Charles Clarke (1950–): British Labour Party politician, a Member of Parliament since 1997 and former Home Secretary.

Robin Cook (1946–2005): Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs of the UK (1997–2001), whose funeral service was held in the High Kirk of Scotland, where he was described as a “Presbyterian atheist.”

Meghnad Desai, Baron Desai (1940–): British economist, writer and Labour politician.

Donald Dewar (1937–2000): British Politician and Scottish first minister, from May 1999 until his sudden death in October 2000

Frank Dobson (1940–): British Labour politician and member of Parliament for Holborn and St. Pancras.

Jack Dormand (1919–2003): British educationist and Labour politician.

Herbert Fisher OM (1865–1940): English historian, educator, and Liberal politician.

Donald Findlay QC (1951–): Senior Scottish advocate and Queen’s Counsel.

Shreela Flather, Baroness Flather (1934–): British Conservative peer in the House of Lords, the first Asian woman to receive a peerage.

Michael Foot (1913–2010): British politician and writer, leader of the Labour Party 1980–1983.

Sir George Taubman Goldie (1846–1925): Manx administrator who, as founder of the Royal Niger Company, played a major role in the founding of Nigeria.

Evan Harris (1965–): British Liberal Democrat politician and former MP.

Roy Hattersley PC (1932–): British Labour Party politician, author and journalist, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party 1983–1992.

Douglas Houghton PC CH (1898–1996): British Labour politician.

Robert Hughes, Baron Hughes of Woodside (1932–): British Labour politician.

Tommy Jackson (1879–1955): English founder of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and later the Communist Party of Great Britain.

Joel Joffe, Baron Joffe CBE (1932–): South Africa-born British Labour peer in the House of Lords.

Sir Reginald Johnston (1874–1938): Scottish diplomat and tutor of Puyi, the last emperor of China, later appointed as commissioner of British-held Weihaiwei.

Oona King (1967–): Former Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow (1997–2005).

Neil Kinnock PC (1942–): British Labour politician, Leader of the Opposition and Labour Party leader 1983–1992.

Ken Livingstone (1945–): Mayor of London 2000-08.

Gus Macdonald, Baron Macdonald of Tradeston CBE, PC (1940–): distinguished British Labour politician.

John Maxton, Baron Maxton (1936–): Scottish politician, MP and now member of the House of Lords.

David Miliband (1965–): British Labour politician, Foreign Secretary from 2007 to 2010.

Ed Miliband (1969–): British Labour politician, Leader of the Labour Party from 2010 to the present.

Violet Milner (1872–1958): English Edwardian society Lady and editor of the political monthly, National Review.

John Morley, 1st Viscount Morley of Blackburn OM, PC (1838–1923): British Liberal statesman, writer and newspaper editor.

Mo Mowlam (1949–2005): Former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Elaine Murphy, Baroness Murphy (1949–2005): British politician and a member of the House of Lords, and a doctor and academic, formerly Professor of Psychiatry of Old Age at Guy’s Hospital.

Marion Phillips (1881–1932): Australia-born Labour Party politician and British Member of Parliament.

Phil Piratin (1907–1995): British member of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) and one of their few Members of Parliament.

Michael Portillo former British Member of Parliament for the Conservative party, former Minister of Defence. Now a TV writer and presenter whose work includes UK Channel 4’s documentary Christianity: A History – Rome

Phil Sawford (1950–): British politician and former Member of Parliament for Kettering.

Brian Sedgemore (1937–): former left-wing British Labour Party politician.

Clare Short (1946–): British politician, former Labour Secretary of State for International Development.

Dennis Skinner (1932–): British politician, who has been the Labour Member of Parliament for Bolsover since 1970.

Peter Tatchell, Australian-born British human rights activist

Phillip Whitehead (1937–2005): British Labour politician, television producer and writer.

Other in Europe

Edvard Brandes (1847–1931): Danish politician, critic and author, Minister of Finance 1909-1910 and 1913–1920.

Gaudenz Canova (1887–1962), Swiss lawyer and Social Democratic member of the National Council of Switzerland from Graubünden (Grisons).

Dimitris Christofias (1946–): Greek Cypriot politician, President of Cyprus 2008–Present.

Vaso Čubrilović (1897–1990): Bosnian student, a conspirator in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

Theodor Herzl (1860–1904): Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist and founder of modern political Zionism.

Enver Hoxha (1908–1985): Communist ruler who declared Albania the first atheist state, and who has been identified as an “arch-atheist.”

Zoran Janković (1953–): Slovenian businessman and current mayor of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

Aleksander Kwaśniewski (1954–): Former President of Poland (1995–2005).

Alexander Lukashenko (1954–): President of Belarus, describes himself as “an Orthodox atheist.”

Karl Marx (1818–83): a 19th-century philosopher, political economist, sociologist, political theorist, often called the father of communism.

Slobodan Milošević (1941–2006): Serbian politician, former President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia.

Ivica Račan (1944–2007): former Croatian leftist politician who led the Social Democratic Party of Croatia between 1989 up to 2007. He was also the last leader and democratic transformer of the League of Communists of Croatia.

Hedi Stadlen (1916–2004): Austrian Jewish political activist, philosopher and musicologist.

Jens Stoltenberg (1959–): Prime Minister of Norway (2000–2001, 2005–).

Veton Surroi (1961–): Kosovo Albanian publicist and politician.

Erkki Tuomioja (1946–): Finnish politician, Minister for Foreign Affairs 2000–2007.

Bengt Westerberg (1943–): Swedish politician, leader of the Liberal People’s Party from 1983 to 1995. Minister for Social Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister from 1991 to 1994. Currently holds office as the Deputy President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Geneva, Switzerland.

North America


Dale Jackaman (b. 1956), a Canadian politician.

United States

Bob Avakian (b. 1943), chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, and author of Away With All Gods!.

Charles T. Beaird (1922–2006), Republican Party member and newspaper publisher.

Lori Lipman Brown (b. 1958), American politician, lobbyist, lawyer, educator, and social worker supporter, Nevada state senator from 1992 to 1994.

Douglas Campbell (b. 1959), atheist advocate and member of the Green Party of Michigan and of the Godless Americans Political Action Committee. Co-founder, Michigan Godless Americans Political Action Committee. Green Party candidate for governor of Michigan in both 2002 and 2006.

Clarence Darrow (1857–1938), American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union, best known for defending John T. Scopes in the so-called Monkey Trial.

Vincent Hallinan (1896–1992), American lawyer who ran for president of the United States in 1952, the third highest polling candidate in the election.

James Kennedy, the former mayor of Rahway, New Jersey. An American politician and member of the Democratic Party.

Heather Mac Donald (b. 1956), American writer and lawyer, member of the Manhattan Institute and author of The Burden of Bad Ideas: How Modern Intellectuals Misshape Our Society.

Culbert Olson (1876–1962), American politician and Governor of California from 1939 to 1943.

Pete Stark (b. 1931), U.S. Representative (D-CA), the first openly atheist member of Congress.

Eddie Tabash, an American lawyer and atheist activist and debater.

Jesse Ventura (b. 1951), American politician, the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, Wrestler, Navy UDT veteran, former SEAL reservist, actor, and former radio and television talk show host.

Alan Wolfe, an American political scientist and sociologist, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life.

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