||Simon W. (Si) Gerson, 1909-2004, was the longtime New York State, and later national
legislative/political action director for the Communist Party, and was an advocate
of proportional representation and ballot access for minor political parties, including
in the 1980s-90s as a leader of the Coalition for Free and Open Elections (COFOE).
He served as Confidential Examiner to Manhattan Borough President Stanley M. Isaacs,
1938-40, managed Communist election campaigns (later writing a biography
Pete: The Story of Peter V. Cacchione, New York's First Communist Councilman), and organized activities in support of the Communist Party leaders indicted under
the Smith Act, as was Gerson. In the 1950s he was executive editor of the Party's
Daily Worker, and of its later successor, the
Daily World. Along with his wife, Sophie Melvin Gerson, an organizer of the Gastonia Textile
Strike of 1929, he was a longtime resident of and community activist in the Bensonhurst
neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. The papers contain clippings, correspondence with
leading communists and political figures, published and unpublished writings including
manuscripts, memorandums, newspaper columns, reviews and reports, a scrapbook and
speeches, including materials relating to Cacchione's career and death, and to Gerson's
several campaigns for public office, research notes and typescript drafts for several
chapters of a never-completed book, "Do We Really Have Free Elections (ca. 1990),"
a related manuscript by Adam Lapin, "Tweedledum and Tweedledee: The American Two Party
System," Communist Party internal documents, including reports by leading figures,
many relating to the communist political crises of 1956-58 and 1989-91, and minutes
of and correspondence relating to COFOE and the publication
Ballot Access News.