My sixth Socialist Academic Profile is on Auckland University senior sociology lecturer, David Bedggood.
Bedggood is a veteran of the department, having joined it in 1972 after gaining an MA from Canterbury and a DPhil from Waikato. He was educated at Hamilton Tech and part-time at “every NZ university except Otago and Massey, while working as freezing worker, builder’s labourer and carpet spinner”.
In 1976, Bedggood began publishing the “Red Papers on NZ” series. “The purpose of this collection is to bring together Marxist papers . . . the questions they ask and the solutions they put forward are a long way from revolutionary theory, taken together they form a very useful statement of the position of Marxist theory and practice today and point the way for future work.”
Contributors included Bedggood himself, Owen Gager, Murray Horton, the Communist Party, Willis Airey, Hugh Fyson and Keith Locke, the Spartacist League, Bruce Jesson and Rob Campbell. Bedggood’s article was entitled “State Capitalism in NZ: An Introduction.”
In 1980, Bedggood wrote a Marxist critique of NZ society, the classic page turner “Rich and Poor in NZ: A Critique of Class, Politics and Ideology”, .
In 1981 Bedggood was involved with a trotskyite group, the British Revolutionary Communist Party. He went on to form an affiliated sectlet at Auckland University called the “Communist Left”. This group published a “Red Letter” for many years.
On April 26th 1984, Bedggood tutored a seminar at the Auckland WEA, entitled “Open Debate on Communism”.
From 1985 to 1989 Bedggood was an editorial advisor on Class for the late Rob Steven’s journal “Race Gender Class”.
In 1989, Bedggood was active in the Auckland branch of a NZ wide Marxist umbrella group, “Socialist Alliance. In January that year, Bedggood was contact for Socialist Alliance run weekend seminar at Ponsonby Intermediate School.
It was called, “Living Marxism Aotearoa”. Subjects for discussion included “Socialist Alliance. Why we need an alliance of revolutionary socialists today”; “Aotearoa: Causes of the current crisis. The cause is capitalism, not Treasury or Rogernomics. The solution – socialism.”; “History of Marxist struggles. A brief look at revolutionary movements from the pre-Marxist utopian socialists, through the four internationals, to the world situation today.”
Aren’t you just kicking yourself that you missed it?
By the early ’90s, Bedggood was the leader of the Marxist party “Workers Power”. The party expanded fast and at one stage even had a member (Rik Tindall) in Christchurch.
Then, in the early ’90s came a disastrous split. It probably set back the workers revolution by decades, if not centuries.
The League of the Revolutionary Communist Inernational (of which Workers Power was the NZ affiliate) lamented “Nevertheless the loss of our Bolivian section and half the NZ section was a blow. It left the LRCI with only political lessons to draw from nine years of work in Latin America. However, the NZ section survived the desertion of two of its founding members, David and Janet Bedggood.”
Did Bedggood desert socialism? Did he see the light and set up in business running a corner dairy? No, while half of Workers Power buggered off to Melbourne to storm the Crown Casino, Bedggood gathered his 10 or so supporters and founded the “Communist Workers Group”
In 1996, Bedggood represented the CWG at a major overseas meeting of Trotskyite parties, “Revolutionary Regroupment – The Way Forward”. Other speakers included such revolutionary giants as Alberto Rios (Poder Obrero, Peru), Jonathan Joseph (Committee for Revolutionary Regroupment) and even the legendary Richard Price of the Workers International League.
I’ll bet the Calthorpe Arms, 252 Gray’s Inn Road (Corner of Wren Street), London WC1, had never seen such a stellar bunch of revolutionaries.
Bedggood is still involved in the CWG and in the Auckland branch of the Association of University Staff. You’re still paying him to teach sociology to your sons and daughters. He intends to stay where he is and says he has “rejected all other offers, including early retirement..”,
Bedggood’s research interests include “Marxism; class analysis; economic crises and the state; racism and immigration; domestic labour; labour relations; NZ as part of Australasia, and much more.”
Who says communism is dead?
17 thoughts on “S.A.P. Number 6, David Bedggood”
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Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your postsabout Klamotten . It’s interesting to read ideas about your stuff and Kleidung , and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more. Read more about Pattern and Crochet
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Rafe, lighten up. Non of us real world people think New Zealand won’t collapse even if it has a whole lot of communist professors – not even in the libertarian world. The only way NZ will collapse due to communists/socialists/ marxists is if they stop the rest of us from holding it together.
We just get frustrated with you becasue we know that if all the leftists out there stopped trying to develope beautiful theories about how little everybody would have to work under a socialist utopian umbrella, then you could substantially contribute something useful to our (col. pl) society and by doing so ACTUALLY make the lives of all of us (you too) better.
Now that is a beautiful idea!
and the misguided, morally corrupt, megalomanic witch hunts continue. Aren’t you lucky that socialists are more forgiving than people so far lodged up the right’s ass that the world pities you.
OH NO!! THE SOCIOLOGY PROFESSOR IS A MARXIST!! FUCK ME!! NEW ZEALAND IS GOING TO COLLAPSE!!
perhaps, as a politician, hence one who supposedly aims to serve the people by representing their views in parliament you should focus on issues which actually matter ot the nation rather than preaching anti-communist innuendo which only increase your image as a misguided zealot who would have no qualms with conddeming a child merely because his parents once attended a worker’s rally once when the only alternative was a national-led right wing government which was putting them out of a job and onto the dole.
Where are the answers Trev?
Have you ever been a member of, or associated with, ZAP – Zenith Applied Philosophy? What was your involvement?
Were you aware of the association between ZAP and the fascist Nationalist Workers Party?
When did you last have contact with the people associated with ZAP?
Do you think that fascism had something postive to offer the world?
Do you believe that the holocaust happened?
Is your blog “New Zeal” named after the magazine of the same name published in the late 1980s by the Campaign for a Soviet Free New Zealand? What was your invovlement in the New Zeal magazine?
Did you agree with the New Zeal editorial of April 1989 connecting Ron Trotter, the Todds and the Business Roundtable with pro-Soviet and pro-Stalinist activities such as leading business delegations to the USSR, and having other business connections such as selling “Stalinist oil”? Do you still think that the Business Roundtable is a communist front group?
Did you agree with the July 1989 edition of New Zeal when it accused the Young Nats of being “Marxianised” because they were addressed by a member of NZ Planning Council?
Do you still believe that being a member of the NZ Planning Council makes one a Marxist, and if so does that mean that Don Brash is a closet marxist because he was a member of the Planning Council?
If Ron Trotter, Don Brash, the Todds and the Business Roundtable are all part of the communist conspiracy, then what the hell planet are you on?
You’re welcome Cameron. Maybe when you achieve power I’ll profile you some day.
As someone who probably is slightly left-leaning I find your socialist profiles are a great way of making new contacts. Also I never realised so many people from the left have such powerful positions. I used to think big businessmen controlled society but now thankfully I realise socialists control it.
Now I can go and make some more new lefty friends