[Marxism] Asher Harer

David Walters dwalters at marxists.org
Mon Feb 23 16:02:58 MST 2004

I've known Asher since when I joined Socialist Action in 1984. Indeed, 
he was part of the Trotskyist opposition to Barnes, having become a 
member of the Brietman tendency.

Asher joined the ILWU I think in 1936 and was around for every dockers 
strike since then. Often, but not always, the lone Trotskyist on the 
docks in union dominated by the supporters of the CP, it was not always 
an enviable position. However, Asher's popularity as an erudite and 
well learned "worker-intellectual", no unlike many of the CPers on the 
waterfront, broke through many of these ideological barricades. 
Longshore workers have their own culture, not beholden to outside 
political factionalsim and Asher fit right in with his friendly 
demeanor yet maintained a consistent opposition to the general politics 
of the CP on the San Francisco and Oakland waterfont.

Asher played a critical role as ILWU Local 10's head of the "Education 
Committee" during the 1948 dockers strike in SF, the last strike the 
Pacific Maritime Association (the bosses) actually tried to run scabs 
onto the dock. The Education Committee, as opposed to the Committee on 
Education, was designed to help educate would-be scabs by paying 
tutorial visits to them at home to educate them on the virtues of Trade 
Unionism and Solidarity. Longtime socialist activist Howard Keylor 
tells me that Asher probably played the most important role in winning 
that years strike, which was when Howard joined the IWLU.

David Walters

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