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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

P.R.A.T.T. 4, Alick Shaw


My fourth Pinkos and Reds Against The Tour profile is of Wellington deputy mayor, Alick Shaw.

Twenty five years on, Shaw is unapologetic for the role he played in the anti Tour protests. As he told the latest issue of Victoria University's "Salient" magazine “My position on the issue has not changed one jot,”

Shaw also disputes the contention that Marxist-Leninists controlled the anti-Tour movement. From Salient

"While he says, for example the student involvement was “huge”, this was no example of Communist shenanigans as many people, including Muldoon attempted to pass it off as (Shaw was included on Muldoon’s notorious “Red List”). Shaw mentions how prominent businessman like Sir Ron Trotter and senior civil servants took part. “And so that doesn’t look like a civil war to me. What it does look like is a citizen’s movement on a particular issue.”

I emphatically dispute Shaw's view on the communist nature or otherwise of the anti Tour movement. I have already profiled two leading Workers Communist League members in leadership positions in Shaw's organisation, Citizen's opposed to the Springbok Tour (COST), but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Alick Shaw became involved in socialist politics in his teens. As he told Canta, No 8, 1975

I first became involved in political action when I was in the 6th form. A group of us who are presently involved in left-wing activities in Wellington were at school together. We decided that we wished to be members of the Labour Party so we formed a youth branch in Lower Hutt. By the time we reached the 7th form we had two thirds of our class of 70 enrolled in this branch. It was the biggest youth branch in the country at that stage. This, of course, led to fairly heavy involvement in the anti-war movement and an interest in educational policies.

Then when I went to university I became involved in the Labour Club which was increasingly becoming less of a mouth piece of the Labour Party and more of an organisation controlled by people who had a political position, demonstrably to the left of the Labour Party. We took advantage of Labour Party conferences as sounding boards for our policies and it was form that time onwards that I became involved in more organised left wing political work.


These people to the "left of the Labour Party" were of course the Maoist activists who were to dominate student politics for nearly twenty years.

In February 1972 Shaw was fined the then huge sum of $270 for damaging the car of William Westmoreland during a demo against the US General's visit to Parliament.
In May the same year Shaw attended a 100-strong "victory to the NLF (vietcong)" demo in Wellington. He was at the time Victoria Students Association's International Affairs officer.

In 1973/74 Shaw was International Affairs officer for the NZ University Students Association and in 1975 became the association's president.

Shaw was involved locally at this time with the Wellington based Maoist group that produced "The Paper (Incorporating HART News) and internationally, helped to forge closer ties between NZUSA and the Maoist leaning Asian Students Association. A link that I believe still exists today.

In March 1975 Shaw was sent to Asia by the NZUSA executive. He attended a travel conference in Manila, then spent a week in China. He then travelled to Malaysia and Singapore. He was in Singapore for 45 minutes, before being refused entry and sent back to Thailand.

In 1978 Shaw was chairman of the Organisation Against the SIS (OASIS), a Maoist front group which mounted a huge demo in Wellington against PM Muldoon's proposal to grant increased powers to the Security Intelligence Service.

In 1979/80 Maoist students and some old time ex Communist Party members, coalesced to form an new organisation, the Workers Communist League. It is believed that Shaw was involved from day one.

The WCL's first major campaign was against the proposed 1981 Sprinbok Tour of NZ. WCL members were already prominent in Halt All Racist Tours, but also initiated or helped form seperate anti Tour groups in all the main centres.

The WCL was strongest in Wellington, so COST was completely under League control.

As a leading WCL member, Shaw was co-opted to COST's committee, the primary executive of the organisation and was also head of the Marshall's Committee. This was a very important post as it involved on the ground control of marches and demonstrations. Shaw was effectively the "General" of the Wellington anti Tour movement.

Shaw commanded a considerable army. At one demo just before the Springbok Manawatu match, he led an estimated 4,000 protestors into police lines in Cuba Street.

The Tour was Shaw's finest hour in the Marxist-Leninist movement. Although he remained active for several years in the union movement, the Wellington Palestine Group and various other WCL causes, his enthusiasm eventually waned.

As Shaw once told me, he got "sick of banging my head against a brick wall" and in the late 80's left the WCL.

Shaw went into the restaurant business, returned to the Labour Party, tried to win Wellington Central against Richard Prebble and then stood for Council.

Shaw is respectable now, but he he still ain't sorry for what he "done in '81".

11 Comments:

Blogger libertyscott said...

Yes it is hilarious now, he's part of the rightwing faction of Wellington City Council as Deputy Mayor to Kerry Prendergast. I've had discussions with him and he's definitely moved to the centre.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The centre. He's a right wing fucktard!

He serves the interests of the Wellington Establishment like Prendergastly, Armstrong, Golden, Foster, et al and other sell outs such as Ahipene-Mercer.

With any luck he won't be on the Wellington City Council come late 2007.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Heine said...

I guess getting into business and working for a living has shown his the value of hard work and paying taxes.

Anon, bitter feelings perhaps?

1:20 AM  
Blogger Heine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear old Mr Heine.

You have no idea what I do for a living and how much tax I have paid over my lifetime.

And I'm happy to pay tax, and actually more, if it means free public health and education for all and the government taking back control of our railways, electricity and the telecommunications network so that we have affordable essential services.

Personally I don't think Shaw and his cronies pay enough tax.

I know you will disagree :)

10:14 AM  
Anonymous James said...

"And I'm happy to pay tax, and actually more, if it means free public health and education for all"

Any moron who can write that and ignore the obvious contradiction ain't worth wasting time on Heine.Sell the tit that bridge of yours instead....;-)

11:31 AM  
Blogger libertyscott said...

The old hate-filled pro-violence statist socialists love posting anonymously. Funny how they all wish they could pay more tax, but never actually do so - as they could voluntarily.

Anyone who thinks the Wellington City Council is some bastion of free-market liberalism has spent too long getting excited about Cuba.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Heine said...

I disagree indeed Anon. But why waste my time on somebody who thinks that free health and education run by the Govt will actually be superior than their private alternatives.

Put your money where your mouth is mate.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Private alternatives will always serve the interests of the elite. Furthermore, profit is more than often sadly at the heart of the private sector's motives, with little democratic decision making and workers' wages pushed as low as possible.

What an awful way to organise key social services in our society.

You people are appallingly selfish and it's sad that you are oblivious to the importance of everybody enjoying quality of life.

Access to health and education should not be determined by your ability to pay. They, amongst other essentials, are fundamental public goods and basic rights.

And I don't know why I waste my time with you nasty right wingers. Thankfully most people aren't as selfish and money hungry. Thankfully, the majority of people have a heart.

12:41 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Anon-ocialist disuise their lack of head by pretending to have a heart.

Libertarians have both. No need to pretend.

1:24 PM  
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