S.A.P. Number 1, John Freeman-Moir


My first Socialist Academic Profile is John Freeman-Moir, Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the University of Canterbury, Education Department.

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”.

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10 thoughts on “S.A.P. Number 1, John Freeman-Moir

  1. It looks like the Gentleman with the schizophrenic name will spend his first semester next year rewriting his lessons to incorporate the new European definition of communism as equal and as inhuman as that of Nazism and its denial as equivalent to that of holocaust denial.

    Of course if the teaching of holocaust denial is to be continued by taxpayer funds it may be of interest to the European Parliamentarians and the humbling of the Kudos of HRH HC.

    ….. The totalitarian communist regimes which ruled in Central and Eastern Europe in the last century, and which are still in power in several countries in the world, have been, without exception, characterised by the massive violation of human rights. The violations have differed depending on the culture, country and the historical period, and have included individual and collective assassinations and executions, death in concentration camps, starvation, deportations, torture, slave labour and other forms of mass physical terror.

    …. The fall of totalitarian communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe has not been followed in all cases by an international investigation on the crimes committed by them. Moreover, the authors of these crimes have not been brought to trail by the international community as was the case with the horrible crimes committed in the name of National Socialism (Nazism).

    ….The Assembly is convinced that the awareness of history is one of the preconditions to avoiding similar crimes in the future. Furthermore, moral assessment and condemnation of crimes committed play an important role in the education of young generations. The clear position of the international community on the past may be a reference for their future actions.

    ……Furthermore, it calls on all communist or post-communist parties in its member states which have not so far done so, to reassess the history of communism and their own past, clearly distance themselves from the crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes and condemn them without any ambiguity….

    We await with interest comment from the National Bolshevik party .

    http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/APFeaturesManager/defaultArtSiteView.asp?ArtId=349

    Not much comment in the MSM either,

  2. Documenting the Marxist political history of an academic in a blog post isn’t continuing some “Red Scare”; and your attempt at framing Trevor as a conspiracy theorist throwback to the 1950’s is disturbing and insulting, even if intended as a joke. If you want to openly defend Marxism, then do so rather than indulging in character assassinations.

    Thanks for the posts Trevor. Very informative. I’d be curious to know the political history of academic historians at various NZ universities. For example the Marxist Eric Hobsbawm’s distortions of history in favour of communist movements and regimes were (at least up to several years ago) the standard texts for beginner world history papers at Otago. I can’t imagine that would be accidental.

    The Education Guardian (2002) says Hobsbawm described himself then as an “unrepentent communist”:
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/higher/artsandhumanities/story/0,12241,791760,00.html

  3. Oliver, not out of hand but a needed dose of realism. Communism is alive and about in many countries, and it seems as if NZ is one of them. What is needed is a dose pof Capitalism in Universities, and competition for students, jobs and content.

    When academics are responsible to their consumers for their teaching content, the ultimate realism will overtake the Communists still in the sheletered midst of the University, and school systems. Well done Trevor!

  4. Well, as a centre-right neo-con, I will defend parts of Marxism as an analytical tool for regime transition. I read Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, which are a very useful introduction to Marxist analysis of the rise of fascism. The theory of the organic state, plus the rise of what Gramsci called “the charismatic men of destiny” are valid and in my opinion quite useful ways of understanding how democratic nations fall, how despotic regimes rise and fall, and how we can better understand when nations are facing collapse or simply undergoing a social or economic upheaval that doesn’t threaten the fabric of their society.

    For instance, A student of Gramsci’s regime transition theories could tell you that in the 1960s, America was never going to have a revolution despite what the hippy counterculture preached. America was a well off nation with political stability, despite the social upheavals of the time. But Iran in the late 1970s was cruising for a revolution with a weak and oppressive Shah, an economy in decline and a social upheaval regarding a desire for Islamic morals and laws. With the social, economic and political pillars of society under threat, the temple did in fact fall down.

    Marxist thinking encompassed many different aspects of social, economic and political thinking. Marxism as an economic theory has been a collosal failure, and anyone who advocates it is clearly out of touch, but using Marxist analysis for other aspects of socio-economic understanding could in fact be helpful.

  5. Thanks, guys. Freeman-Moir is clearly not just a marxist, but a prosletysing marxist. He clearly sees it as acceptable to use his taxpayer funded position to push his views. I believe most marxist academics fit this mould. They see it a a moral duty to spread the “truth” to the young minds entrusted to them.

    To Aaaron, no philosophy is totally devoid of truth, even marxism. However, Freeman-Moir seems intent on pushing the whole deal on his students. Miss your Blog, by the way.

  6. What’s wrong with a University lecturer having Marxist views or indeed spreading them? These days we teach our young people to think so they will be able to challenge his views and probably laugh at him.

    I would be upset if I saw a left-wing blog saying a right-wing academic should be not allowed to teach students. Probably students will come in contact with this man and be put off socialism, isn’t that a good thing?

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