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Friday, July 14, 2006

S.A.P. Number 8, Brian Roper


My latest Socialist Academic Profile is of Otago University senior political lecturer, Brian Staples Roper. Dr Roper has an MA from Canterbury University and a Phd from Queensland's Griffith University.

Brian Roper probably first got radical during the 1981 Sprinbok Tour of NZ. He was involved in Canterbury University "Students Against the Tour" and was one of 26 arrested at a July anti Tour march in Christchurch.

By 1986, Roper was working in Canterbury University's Sociology Department and hanging around with a small Trotskyite group, the Revolutionary Communist League, which had taken over the leftist journal "NZ Monthly Review".

In September 1989 Roper wrote a letter to the late Bruce Jesson's "The Republican", stating "for this reason the kind of socialism that we must work toward... must be a socialism based on the democratic exertion of working class power through a system of workers', women's and Maori' councils. Our political practice should be directed towards that goal."

In 1990, Roper joined the staff at Otago University. He quickly became active in the university's "Progressive Left" club and began gathering around him some young followers.

In early 1993, Roper and his partner, Laurel Hepburn founded the Otago University "International Socialist Organisation". The ISO was then affiliated to the British Socialist Workers Party and soon became the most militant group on campus.

From 1993 to today, their would hardly have been a demo, march, registry occupation, sit-in or picket in Dunedin that the ISO would not have joined, or led. Otago University's Education Action Group has always had a significant ISO component.

In 1994, the ISO joined the remnants of the Communist Party of NZ to form the NZ Socialist Workers Party. I remember at the time, one Canterbury ISOer, Robyn Sullivan, telling me what a great bunch, the ex Stalinists of the CPNZ were.

By 1997, the merger was all over and Roper's group re-adopted the ISO name. They are no longer aligned to the British SWP, but to the US ISO and the Australian, "Socialist Alternative".

Dr Roper has co-edited two books:"State and Economy in NZ" and "The Political Economy of NZ". He has a book currently in press entitled:"Towards Prosperity or Poverty? The Keynesian Era, Neoliberal Restructuring and the Third Way in NZ."

He has been recently on another book,"The History of Democracy: A Marxist Interpretation".

Riveting stuff.

Apparently Roper does like one thing about capitalism-Coca Cola.

13 Comments:

Anonymous Cameron said...

Sounds like an interesting bloke. Might check out his books sometime. I thought Coca-Cola was one of the terrible things about capitalism. It tastes terrible, is bad for you and union members at it's Colombian bottling plants mysteriously 'disappear'

12:10 PM  
Anonymous James said...

And yet not one person is forced to buy it....funny that! ;-)

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Cameron said...

Well the Coke marketers do quite a good job of making little kids, who don't have the ability to make an informed decision on fizzy drink consuming, think drinking joke is normal and should be done often.

Are you going to say the poor unionists who got shot in Colombia 'could of chosen not to work there or could have decided to not be union trouble makers'?.

8:06 PM  
Anonymous squirrel said...

thats right cameron, you see those workers could well have chosen to quit their low paying jobs and starve. In fact every time you dont buy coke you are responsible for their poverty.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Cameron said...

Oh damn I must have caused a lot of poverty over the last few years. I think I'll go lock myself in my room and cry.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Heine said...

You miss the point Cameron, but suspect you know this already.

Not one person is forced to buy Coke, Pepsi or any soft drink.

As for the situation in Columbia, I overheard a conversation at the International Marxist Conference last weekend where a young leftie was screaching about the unfairness in Columbia (while drinking a Coke) inadvertantly to a Columbian customer at the end of the bar....

Without going into how the lad got served amongst much mirth from us at the bar, it seems that the situation over there was started by lefty unionists wishing to stir up things at a multinational.

Again I bring up the point, where is the coertion you speak of to buy Coke?

2:45 AM  
Blogger Heine said...

This post was excellent too, Roper was my lecturer at Otago for a couple years. I remember my final exam in 2nd year for his paper where I gave up trying to fail his paper and wrote a lovely glowing piece about overthrowing capitalism... aparently there were many of us who decided to swallow our pride in order to pass that year!

Roper is still there, and still making small rumblings on campus. Luckily, like most of his groupies, he isn't taken seriously by the majority.

2:48 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

It's pretty sad Clint that people can be intimidated by Marxist lecturers into qwriting what they don't believe.

What does that do to a person's integrity?

Bring on private universities and sack the socialists.

Put them to work cleaning the dunnies and picking up litter. Work of some social value.

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice! Where you get this guestbook? I want the same script.. Awesome content. thankyou.
»

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember attending a forum on drug law reform where Roper was a speaker. He basically didn't address the issue at all, but just ranted on about how a socialist utopia would solve all the world's drug problems.

By the end of his talk the entire audience were laughing at him.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the misfortune of knowing Comrade Roper. Students, cynical bastards that they are, used to pretend to share his looney views to get higher grades. Roper once embarrassed even his keenest supporters by falling in love with a student who did not solicit his advances. It was a public unrequitted love with Roper cellotaping love poems in Socialist Reality pentameter on his office door. Only in a place like Otago would an arsehole like Roper ever get hired much less survive.
And his obese partner? He dumped her as soon as she got preggers. Fine fellow, a real Trot Gent.

4:13 PM  
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6:11 PM  
Anonymous sane said...

You make it sound like working full time showing the effects of utopian "free-market" ideology was a bad thing. lol.

5:53 PM  

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