Some older readers might remember my sixth Where Are You Now, Campus Radical? profile subject, Bob Rigg, from Victoria Uni in the mid ’60s (he got an MA in 1967).
A definite socialist, Rigg was around this time a consultative editor of the publication “NZ Left Books Review”, published by “Project Books” and printed at the Maoist controlled, “Resistance” bookshop in Auckland.
Rigg also traveled to China for a bit of study in the ‘workers paradise’, but apparently came home a tad early.
By the early ’80s, Rigg was in Wellington and served as a contact for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, an organisation with strong Workers Communist League links.
He maintained links to the student community and was Wellington regional co-ordinator for Student Job Search for a while. In a 1984 interview with student paper, Salient (issue 5), Rigg described himself as an “anti authoritarian socialist“.
By the late 80s, Rigg was Amnesty International NZ Executive Director. In 1989, he was on the steering committee, with Jocelyn Armstrong, Manuka Henare, David Cuthbert, Rae Julian and Sonja Davies of a Ministry of External Relations and Trade funded closed conference on Human Rights that was held at Parliament in May that year. Most attendees tended to the left.
From 1993 to 2002, Rigg was Senior Editor for the UN Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Hague. He resigned “when OPCW and its head, Jose Bustani were sabotaged by the Bush Administration.”
These days comrade Rigg is back in NZ, chairing the National Consultative Committee on Disarmament. This organisation is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and gathers “peace groups” together to “advise” the government on disarmament policy. In other words it’s another method of making the taxpayer support the destruction of this country’s defence capability.
Bob’s just finished organising a big international “disarmament” conference in Wellington. He even had the Mayor of Hiroshima and President of Mayors for Peace, Tadatoshi Akiba, as guest speaker.
According to a contact in Japan As a member of the Socialist Democratic Party, he (Akiba)was elected to the House of Representatives, and served from 1990 to 1999. He assumed office as mayor of Hirosima in February 1999, and was reelected in 2003. As mayor, he has been a leader of peace movement. He is active in Mayors for Peace organization, serving as the president of their World Conference. He also been an advocate of the abolition of nuclear weapons, and a vocal critic of President George W. Bush.
In the nuclear disarmament community, Mayor Akiba is a visible activist and he has taken initiative in anti-nuclear activism. Under Mayor Akiba’s leadership, the Mayors for Peace ( 629 city members in 109 countries and regions as of October 2004), launched a campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons in November 2003. In 2003 he met strong public reproach by the Japanese when he tried to invite Kim Jong-Ill to Hiroshima for the August 6 National Day of Rememberance
What a guy!
You can read all about the conference here. Which is fair enough, as you’re paying for it, suckaaa!