To this day, many anti Springbok Tour campaign veterans continue to deny the communist domination of their movement. They try to portray their activities as liberal, inspired by democratic ideals and morally justified.
This is the myth that is fed to our kids in history classes and textbooks, on TV documentaries and countless feature articles. Every 5 years another anniversary of “81” rolls around and the myth makers come back out of the closet.
That is why I am devoting some space on my Blog this month to counter, in my own small way, the propaganda surrounding “The Tour“.
Wellington’s Citizens Opposed to the Springbok Tour (COST)was, in my opinion, the best organised of the anti Tour groups active in 1981.
While most anti Tour groups around the country were led by factions from different communist parties or leftist groups, COST was controlled almost exclusively by the highly secretive, pro Mao, Workers Communist League.
In August 1981, Prime Minister Muldoon, briefed by the Security Intelligence Service, published a very minimalist list of 15 known or suspected communists in the anti Tour movement. Several COST activists figured on that list.
According to the COST history “56 Days”, “Muldoon’s release of the list implied that the movement was ‘controlled’ by these 15 or so people. In Wellington the thousands of COST supporters knew this not to be true…”
COST’s structure consisted of an executive committee, a marshall’s committee and marshalls. The marshall’s job was to lead colour coded contingents of marchers in planned maneuvres around Wellington.
The Workers Communist League dominated COST at all levels.
The executive committee was elected after the initial May 1st mobilisation. It consisted of;
Lindsay Wright (chairman) Previously a research officer for NZUSA, on the central committee of the National Anti Apartheid Council and an official of the Committee on Vietnam. All Maoist dominated organisations. A former contributor to the Maoist publication, “The Paper“.
Geoff Walker Later a chairman of Wellington HART.
Campbell Duignan A HART activist, later VUWSA National Affairs officer and a confirmed member of the Victoria University Progressive Students Alliance, the student wing of the WCL. Later closely linked to the WCL in Dunedin.
Eileen Cassidy Named by the SIS as a probable WCL member. Her daughter Lindy, was an open member of the WCL’s predecessor, the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation.
Dennis Rockell A former organiser of the Maoist dominated National Anti Apartheid Council.
David Cuthbert A founding chairman of the NAAC, former president of NZUSA and a HART national councillor. Named by the SIS as a probable WCL member.
Ian Baxter No information.
Dave Stott Confirmed as a WCL member in 1984, ex NAAC central committee.
Dave Wickham Denies WCL membership, but a former partner was a WCL member. Former AUSA International Affairs officer, HART activist and contributor to “The Paper“
later co-opted was Alick Shaw Open WCL member
The marshall’s committee consisted of;
Patti O’Neill Partner of self described Maoist and HART leader, Trevor Richards.
Roger Tobin A vice president of NZUSA, described as closely identified with the WCL, in “Truth” 25.11.80. Also described as a WCL member or sympathiser in “Critic” No 7, 1983.
Tom Poata A Maoist and former member of the the Communist Party of New Zealand.
Ted Nia Formerly involved with the Maori radical group, Nga Tamatoa.
Dave MacPherson WCL member, former NZUSA researcher.
Simon Wilson Named by PM Muldoon and Minister of Education Merv Wellington as a Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation or WCL member. A former president of NZUSA.
Other WCL linked activists included;
Lisa Sacksen WCL member, full time COST worker
Christine Gillespie WCL member, COST marshall
Richard Hellyer Progressive Students Alliance chairman, COST Green Section marshall
Ron Smith WCL member, COST marshall
Martha Coleman WCL member, COST Pink Section marshall
Dave MacPherson (Orange Section), Tom Poata (Brown Section), Simon Wilson (Yellow Section), Patti O’Neill(Blue and Pink Sections)and Roger Tobin (Green Section) were all also COST marshalls.
Of course this does not prove that the WCL controlled COST. After all the Maoists of the WCL were well known for their commitment to openness and democratic procedure.