Don Carson has a “respectable” job as communications manager for the Hutt City Council. He has a long media career behind him. Many would recognise him as Radio NZ’s long time rural reporter, Wool Board corporate communications manager and as frontman for TV3’s “No 8 Wired” farming programme.
Since his student days at Victoria University, Carson has been one of this country’s most active Marxist radicals. He has allegedly travelled to to Beirut to meet the PLO, and to North Vietnam as guest of the communist government.
At one point Prime Minister Muldoon used parliamentary privilige to label Carson as a “traitor”.
Carson has been a staunch champion of the radical Palestinian cause for three decades and a mainstay of the Wellington Palestine Group.
In the early ’70s Carson was active in several Maoist leaning groups at Victoria University such as the Student Anti War Committee, the Organisation to Halt Military Service (OHMS) and Halt All Racist Tours (HART).
In 1972, Carson stood for election to the Victoria University Student exective and won the position of Sports Officer as part of a “left victory”.
By 1975 Carson was chairman of the Marxist-Leninist controlled Wellington Committee on Vietnam and was International VP of the Maoist controlled NZ University Students Association.
In 1976, while representing NZUSA in Thailand at a meeting of the Asian Students Association, Carson moved a resoltion that Israel be expelled from ASA.
While never publicly admitting membership in the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation or its descendant, the Workers Communist League, Carson was very close to both organisations and participated in several Maoist dominated groups.
In 1977 Carson was Wellington contact for Campaign Against Nuclear Warships (CANWAR). He also served on HART’s national council alongside several old Maoist university friends and known Workers Communist League members.
By August 1982, Carson was spokesman for the WCL dominated, Wellington Palestine Committee and condemned the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the pages of the 27th August edition of “Socialist Action”.
In July 1987 Carson spoke, at the WCL/Socialist Unity Party/Socialist Action League sponsored, South Pacific Conference for Peace and Justice in Central America. Representing the Wellington Palestine Group, Carson described Israel and South Africa as props for dictatorship.
On August 10, 1990 Carson appeared on TV3’s Nightline as a Middle East “expert” giving his opinions on Iraq/Kuwait crisis. Three days later he was interviewed in the SUP’s “Tribune” (edited by his WPG colleague Jan Farr) on the Gulf crisis. “Don Carson, who has an active and long term interest in the Middle East, discussed the history of Iraq with Tribune.”
On January 18 1991, Carson, described as a Palestine Liberation Organisation supporter, was interviewed by Bill Ralston on TV3 about outbreak of war in Kuwait.
On 1991 March 11, 1991, Carson wrote an article in “Tribune” on the US action in the gulf and the US’s refusal to link the invasion of Kuwait to the “Palestinian Question.”
In early 1996, Carson spoke to the neo-Maoist linked Victoria University Human Rights Group on his latest visit to Palestine.
In the early ’00s, the Maoist leaning “Workers Party” joined with some Christchurch based Trotskyists to form the Anti-Capitalist Alliance (now cleverly re-named the Workers Party).
Carson along with some former Workers Communist League members are closely linked to the new group.
At Labour Weekend 2002, Carson, spoke to the ACA national educational conference on US policy in the Middle East.
In June 2004, Carson addressed the ACA’s “Peoples Resistance” conference in Auckland.
Don Carson is scheduled to speak on Palestine at the Workers Party’s Marxism 2007 conference in Auckland, starting June 1st.
Some student radicals change and become respectable. Some just become “respectable”.