One of the organisations sponsoring the visit of US Marxist, Angela Davis to NZ is Victoria University’s Pacific Studies Department.
A hotbed of radicalism, one prominent member of the department is Graeme Whimp
A leading Marxist-Leninist for 40 years, in 1967 Whimp was secretary of the Auckland Committee on Vietnam and was around that time a member of the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party. He was also, for a while active in the Labour Party.
In 1973 Whimp became trade union official and was an advocate or union secretary for Northern Drivers, Actors Equity, Northern Projectionists, Northern Storepersons, Drug and Chemical, Sugar Workers, NZ Engine Drivers, Northern Theatrical and Northern Paint and Varnish Workers Unions.
The same year he was involved in the production of a Maoist newspaper, entitled “The Paper” alongside the likes of Mike Law and Joris De Bres.
By 1978 Whimp was a research officer for the SUP controlled Drivers Federation. In that capacity he spoke at a trade union seminar on fighting racism alongside Syd Jackson of Nga Tamatoa.
In 1979 he was a CORSO National Council member of “aid agency” CORSO with later confirmed SUP member Marilyn Kohlase.
In 1981 Whimp was on the Auckland Trades Council Anti-Apartheid Subcommittee and once again a confirmed member of the SUP. In fact by 1982, he was elected vice-chairman of the Auckland region of the party.
The SUP was busily infiltrating the Federation of Labour at that time and Whimp served several times on the FOL’s Auckland regional executive.
By this time Whimp’s communication skills were evident to the party. He became Auckland party leader, Bill Andersen’s speech writer and was sent to the Soviet Union in November 1984 to hone his propaganda skills.
Then SUP president, the late George Jackson, described Whimp thus in a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union;
“At present a trade union secretary. He (Whimp) is a member of the Auckland Regional Executive of our party. He has done considerable reading and also been the organisor of a number of party schools. His level of study would be in advance of the rest of the group. If he could perhaps do an additional programme on social psychology it would be useful, while his contributions to the group would be important“
In 1985 Whimp attempted to get a handbook, “Teaching About Trade Unions” into circulation in high schools.
Whimp put his skills to use in 1986, when he moved to Wellington to take up a position as national co-ordinator of the Trade Union Education Authority (TUEA) with special responsibility for education programmes for union officials.
TUEA was a taxpayer funded union propagada outfit. Totally controled by the SUP and Workers Communist League, the organisation was widely seen as pay-off from the Labour government for SUP support in the 1984 election.
In 1987, Whimp served on the editorial board of the SUP’s “Tribune” newspaper. In 1988 he joined the party’s Central Committee.
In the late ’80s, the SUP tried to use its control of the Council of Trade Unions to ensnare the Labour government in a government/union “compact”. This was designed to bring unions (ie the SUP) into government, but was fortunately scuttled when National won the 1990 election.
Whimp served on the CTU’s “Compact Working Group” and played a role in the late ’90s in the PSA/Labour Goverment mini “Compact” scam, known as “Partnership for Quality”.
The SUP faded away in the late ’90s, but Whimp remained an active unionist in the PSA and later worked on “union education” in the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, (then Western) Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
In the last few years Whimp has been studying and working in the Pacific Studies Department at Victoria University and participating in the Post Graduate Student’s Association and the Association of University Staff.
He is also active in the radical influenced Pacific History Association.
No doubt he will be thrilled his department is bringing such an eminent Marxist as Angela Davis to NZ.