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Asher Harer papers

Identifier: HLL-2019-011

Content Description

The Asher Harer papers (1932-2000, undated) contain biographical files comprising correspondence between Asher Harer and various members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and other labor and political activists, as well as reports, speeches, newspaper clippings and memorial materials written by and regarding various individuals. Letters and reports regarding the expulsion and discipline of individuals from the (SWP), documents regarding the election campaigns of various SWP members, and study guides and notes from various education courses sponsored by the SWP are present. Reports, minutes, resolutions, correspondence, flyers, and leaflets reflecting the various activities and statuses of the SWP, as well as the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), Socialist Action, and other Trotskyist political parties are included as well. The collection comprises reports, flyers, newsletters, and correspondence regarding the Black Panther Party, the Alexander Defense Committee, the Committee to Aid the Monroe Defendants, and other civil rights organizations, as well as reports, resolutions, constitutions, bulletins, leaflets, petitions, press releases and letters regarding the League for Socialist Action, Independent Labor Party, the Socialist Labor League, the House Un-American Activities Committee, and various other political organizations. Correspondence, financial reports, flyers, photographs, and notes regarding the Fair Play for Cuba Committee and the Venceremos Brigade, as well as flyers and notices documenting Harer’s trip to Cuba with Global Exchange are also present. The collection also comprises various political newspapers, such as International, a journal of Marxism in the Labour Party, Nigerian Socialist, “forward to the Nigerian Revolution,” and Torch, Newspaper of the Revolutionary Socialist League, among others.

The collection contains flyers, leaflets, notices, photographs, reports, resolutions, pamphlets, bulletins, and newsletters reflecting the activities of various labor unions such as the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU), the American Federation of Labor, Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), United Farm Workers, the Miscellaneous Employes’ Union, Local No. 110, the United Transportation Union, the Waiters’ and Dairy Lunchmen’s Union Local 30, and the Culinary Union. Notices, leaflets, picket line procedures, flyers, and articles that document the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers (OCAW), Office and Professional Employees International Union, Woolworth/Kress, and Department Store Employees Union Macy’s strikes are included. Also present are documents that reflect the activities of the Coors Boycott Committee, KQED Strike Committee, Miners’ Strike Labor-Community Support Coalition, San Francisco Sears Strike Support Coalition, the Minneapolis 1934 Teamsters strike memorial, and the 1934 Maritime strike retrospective. One letter from Cesar Chavez is present as well.

Flyers, leaflets, notices, press releases, bulletins, photographs, pamphlets, and reports concerning opposition to the Vietnam War in San Francisco and internationally are also included in the collection. Documented anti-war organizations include the Bay Area Peace Coordinating Committee, the Committee to End U.S. Intervention in Vietnam, the Dow Action Committee, the Fort Hood Three Defense Committee, the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and the Northern California Peace Action Coalition. Scrapbooks, contact lists, flyers and petition forms related to San Francisco Propositions 8, P, and J are present, as are scrapbooks, reports, flyers, and newspaper clippings concerning the GI and Veterans March for Peace, the GI-Civilian Easter Peace March, and the Berkeley Vietnam Day demonstrations. One file about opposition to the Gulf Wars is also present.


  • [1927], 1932-2000, undated


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English, French, Spanish, and Russian.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical note

Asher Harer (1912-2004) was a lifelong unionist and labor, civil rights, and anti-war activist who was born in Calexico, Imperial County, California. In the 1930s he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend college but instead started working in the culinary industry, which led to his involvement with San Francisco’s culinary unions as they worked to establish a unified organization.

In the 1940s, Harer started working at the San Francisco waterfront where he loaded and unloaded ships. He became a member of the Longshore Clerk’s Union, Local 34, and remained a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) for most of his life. He participated in the 1946 strike, and in the 1948 ILWU strikes he was a member of a committee tasked with educating scabs. After retiring in 1974, Harer worked for the ILWU pensioner’s organization. His advocacy for the rights of the working class led him to engage in other civil and political issues in San Francisco and nationally.

In the 1960s he was elected executive secretary of The Fair Play for Cuba Committee’s Bay Area chapter in San Francisco, for which Harer organized a demonstration at the San Francisco Civic Center in 1962 with other activists. In 1967, he and members of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) endorsed San Francisco Proposition P, which advocated for the city to oppose U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. Additionally, Harer supported the organization of the United Farm Workers, participated in the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), was active in the Gray Panthers movement, and led the mayoral campaign of Sam Jordan, who was an African American community activist.

Harer was a founding member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1938, and was a national leader from the 1960s to the early 1980s, a period in which the party experienced the expulsions of factions and individuals. After Jack Barnes, the National Secretary of the SWP, gave a speech at a SWP plenum in 1982 denouncing Trotskyism and the theory of the Permanent Revolution, Asher Harer and other dissenting SWP members formed Socialist Action and the Fourth Internationalist Tendency (FIT) in 1983.


Colvin, Paul (2004). Asher Harer: Worker, Trade Unionist, Revolutionary Socialist. Edited by Carol Seligman and Bonnie Weinstein. Socialist Viewpoint, 4(3).

DelVecchio, Rick (2004). Asher Harer- Lifelong Activist for Union Causes. SF Gate.

Sheppard, Shannon (2004). Asher Harer: Lifelong Unionist and Socialist. Holt Labor Library.


7 boxes (cartons)

4 boxes

12.5 Linear Feet


The collection comprises the papers of Asher Harer, a member of the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Action, as well as a trade unionist and anti-Vietnam War activist. It includes correspondence, photographs, reports, resolutions, minutes, notes, study guides, flyers, newsletters, leaflets, newspapers and newspaper clippings, and scrapbooks.


The collection is arranged in five series: Series I. Correspondence and biographical files, 1937-1996, undated; Series II. Trotskyist political party files, 1935-1993, undated; Series III. Political and civil rights organizations files, [1927], 1939-2000, undated; Series IV. Labor organizations and activism files, 1932-1997, undated; Series V. Anti-Vietnam War activism files, 1964-1977, 1990-1995, undated.

Custodial History

The Asher Harer papers were donated to the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco, California between 2004 and 2019, and were acquired by the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 2019.

Processing Information

The collection was partially processed by the Holt Labor Library in San Francisco in 2009. It was physically processed by Yahaira Santana and Allison Ransom, and Allison Ransom wrote the finding aid with assistance from Yahaira Santana in 2020.


Asher Harer papers, 1932-2000, undated
Allison Ransom
August 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Holt Labor Library at CSU Dominguez Hills Repository

University Library South - 5039 (Fifth Floor)
Carson California 90747