Hugo Oehler, born in 1903, was an American Communist leader. In the 1920s, Oehler worked as a successful trade union organizer of textile workers in the South and of mine workers in Colorado. After becoming a declared Trotskyist in 1930, Oehler was elected to the National Committee of the United States Trotskyists in 1931. He was later expelled from the organization for criticizing the “French Turn,” or the entering of Trotskyists into the Socialist Party. Oehler soon became a co-founder of the Revolutionary Workers League, or RWL.
In 1937, Oehler went to Spain to observe, evaluate, and direct the efforts of radical left-wing parties in the Spanish Civil War. During his time in Spain, he was instrumental in establishing communication between the RWL and Spanish revolutionaries. His pamphlet, Barricades in Barcelona describes the armed clashes in May 1937 between the Barcelona police and the revolutionaries and workers. The pamphlet urges the Spanish left to develop a unified and informed Marxist party in order to advance the proletarian revolution. After the May struggles, Oehler was arrested and expelled from the country.
After WWII, the RWL declined and disappeared by the 1950s. Throughout the rest of his life, Oehler faded from politics and died in 1983 at the age of 80.