Young Peter was involved in radical politics at Otago University in the early ’80s.
He was also a bit of a muso, playing for atime with well known punk/conceptual band, “The Axemen”.
In the mid ’80s Hall-Jones moved to Christchurch where he joined NZ’s leading Marxist-Leninist organisation, the pro-Soviet, Socialist Unity Party.
By 1987 he was in Wellington, active in the Wellington Unemployed Workers Union and national treasurer of Sue Bradford’s “Te Roopu Rawakore”.
Hall-Jones was also serving on the SUP’s Wellington regional executive and on the party’s Unemployment Commission.
In early 1987 Hall-Jones visited Moscow to help organise the 1989 World Festivals of Youth and Students.
In 1987/88 Hall-Jones spent five months studying in Moscow with Wellington activist Roy Wilkie. The pair shared a room in Moscow, the rent of $5 per week being paid by Soviet government who also generously provided an allowance to pay for basic food stuffs.
In 1988 Hall-Jones moved back to Dunedin for awhile and was active with the local unemployed workers union.
In June that year he attended a World Federation of Democratic Youth meeting in Sydney along with on member of the SUP front NZ Council for World Peace and a member of NZ Labour (Socialist) Youth.
Most of late ’88 was spent organising the nationwide unemployed march on Parliament. A joint SUP/Communist Party/Workers Communist league enterprise, the March brought people from Northland to Bluff to the grounds of Parliament in protest at high unemployment rates.
Hall-Jones was a member of the march organising committee. I remember standing in the crowd in the grounds of Parliament, talking to a fanatic from the Permanent Revolution Group, while Peter and Willie Wilson from the Communist Party did their best to whip the 5,000 strong crowd into a frenzy.
By 1989, Hall-Jones was back in Christchurch, studying political science (Japanese Capitalist Imperialism) at Canterbury, under probable Workers Communist League member, the late Rob Steven.
Much of his spare time was spent recruiting delegates for that year’s communist youth festival in Pyongyang.
In february 1990, Hall-Jones moved back to Wellington, to work under Jackson Smith at the SUP controlled Wellington Drivers Union.
Later Hall-Jones began work as a communications officer for the Public Service Association.
Hall-Jones was involved with the young computer geeks of the Party’s Wellington based “Gordon Watson” branch (named after a prominent NZ communist killed in Italy in WW2). He also became active inthe “progressive” computer network PlaNet, working in its national office for a time.
Sometime in the ’90s the Gordon Watson Branch left the SUP and joined Bill Andersen’s more militant Socialist Party of Aotearoa.
Hall-Jones seems to have remained in the SUP camp however.
I phoned Hall-Jones at the PSA in 2003 and asked him if he was sill in the SUP.
He replied that he had “been out of party 20, no 10 years” and didn’t even know how to contact the SUP-despite working in the same office as several other “ex” party members.
To be fair, the SUP seems to have dissolved around 1999/2000. I believe however that former Party members are still networking in the Labour Party and in the PSA.
Certainly, the PSA’s Partnership for Quality scam, seems to be a direct descendant of the SUP’s “trade union “Compact” of the late ’80s and its “Workplace reform” programme of the early ’90s.
In 1998, Hall-Jones wrote a cryptic message on a thread on the under the heading “is Socialism Dead? ”
“Ideology is for idiots! Socialists, many of whom would not call themselves such, have stepped away from low level sloganeering and posturing and have started to negotiate real change at industry level.”
This indicates to me that Peter may have been more “plugged in” to the SUP network than he was letting on.
In the last few years, Hall-Jones has worked as a communications officer for Public Service International in London. Coincidentally, PSI’s assistant General secretary is another former SUP member and PSA official, Mike Waghorne.
Hall-Jones is a driving force in the New Unionism Network, launched in January this year.
The Network, claims that recent data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) shows that more unions are growing than shrinking.
“Manufacturing has moved en masse to less developed countries, and these are the very nations with the worst infrastructure for collecting statistics. So we are losing members on one hand, and not counting new ones on the other. What evidence we have found points to very strong union growth in these developing
countries, but almost all of it is off the radar,” said Peter Hall-Jones, a spokesman for the network.
It’ll be interesting to see just where Peter Hall-Jones pops up next.