John Freeman-Moir has an MA from Canterbury and further education from Harvard.
As far back as 1977, Freeman-Moir was a member of the Canterbury branch of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. From 1985 to 1989 he was listed as an editorial advisor to the Marxist magazine “Race, Gender, Class” founded by another Canterbury University academic, the late Rob Steven.
In the mid to late ’80s, Freeman-Moir was closely associated with the “Revolutionary Communist League”, a tiny sect consisting mainly of Canterbury University staff and students. The RCL was Trotskyite and was NZ’s affiliate to the world wide organisation, the “4th International”.
The RCL dominated the Christchurch based magazine, “NZ Monthly Review” until it folded in the mid ’90s. Freeman-Moir was chairman of the “Monthly Review” society which administered the magazine.
In 1990 he wrote an article for “Monthly Review” entitled “Allergic to Anything Connected with Socialist Values”.
Freeman-Moir wrote, with clear regret “As a university teacher I have found it increasingly difficult to argue the case for socialism and the transition to communism. My students are just as likely to throw their hands up and declare they know all about that and they know it’s wrong! There is even a hint of humour in their reaction as they wonder how anyone could be bothered with such old-fashioned stuff… Socialism should be kicked into the dust-bin of history or, as some of my younger students now put it, in the idiom of the day socialism is “wasted”. Like their counterparts in Poland these young NZers, are, it seems, allergic to socialist values… It is precisely at this point in the discussion that marxists like myself are now having difficulty in getting the case for socialism across… The challenge facing socialists is to construct a vision which can serve as an antidote to the allergies of “socialism”.
In March 1994, Freeman-Moir organised a Canterbury University seminar by Jane Slaughter of the US journal, “Labour Notes”. Slaughter was affiliated to “Solidarity”, also a Trotskyite organistion.
After the collapse of “NZ Monthly Review” and the RCL, many of Freeman-Moir’s comrades became involved with the “Canterbury University Marxist Society”, which supported the British, “Revolutionary Communist Party” and its now defunct journal “Living Marxism”. On the 20th of March 1996 Freeman-moir addressed a “Marxist Society” on the topic of “Marxism and Human Liberation.”
In 2004, Freeman-Moir wrote an article for British Journal “Policy Futures in Education”. It was a special “Marxist Futures” issue. His article was tamely titled “Turning Towards History: Turning Towards Utopia”. Others included the more daring “Marxist Futures: Knowledge, Socialism and the Academy” and “A Revised Marxist Political Economy of National Education Markets”. Gripping stuff.
Freeman-Moir is involved in the tertiary sector union, the “Association of University Staff”. At a Canterbury University, AUS rally in August 2005, he spoke on university salary levels and shared this pearl of wisdom.
Firstly, Freeman-Moir quotes University Chancellor, Roy Sharp. I have to be realistic about what this university can afford to pay staff. This is limited by both the level of resourcing that Governments are prepared to commit and also by the ability of students to pay more.”
Freeman-Moir replies, “bugger realism…If universities know one thing it is this: creativity, initiative, imagination mean being doggedly unrealistic.”
To which I say, “I can now see why you’re a well paid academic, John, while I’m just a dumb blogger”.