Peter Franks

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Peter Franks was, in the 1980s, a member of the Workers Communist League.[1]


Peter Franks was a founding member of the Workers Communist League (WCL) and its predecessor, the Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation. He resigned in 1985.[2]

Franks was a founding member of Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation. He had been exposed to socialist ideas during debates on whether the anti-Vietnam war movement should simply oppose foreign involvement in the war or actively support the Vietnamese National Liberation Front, a Marxist-Leninist organisation. Franks had come down on the side of the latter.

From these debates, he and other like-minded students began to associate with the expelled, Maoist-aligned Wellington members of the CPNZ. Though his politics at that time were broadly underpinned by Maoism, this was not the only thing informing his views: “I was twenty-two … I was still really finding my way, I wouldn’t think I … necessarily had a completely well thought out philosophy … I didn’t see Salient as being a Maoist newspaper”.[3]

WCL friends

Robert Reid January 9 2020·

When we were very young.


Jane Stevens, Dave Macpherson, Peter Franks, Geraldine Whiteford, Sarda Nana, Saraka Paulette Keating. Peter Cranney.

The Paper

All through the ’70s, Mike Law edited HART News and in 1974 was business manger for the allied Maoist publication “The Paper”. Other helpers or contributors to “The Paper” included, Rona Bailey, Alick Shaw, Peter Franks, Terry Auld, Robert Reid, Lisa Sacksen (all future members of the Workers Communist League) future Air NZ board member Rob Campbell, future Race Relations Conciliator Joris de Bres, unionist Pat Kelly, Principal Family Court judge Peter Boshier, journalist Gyles Beckford, writer Tony Simpson and HART leader Trevor Richards.

Contributors to the production of Issue 1 The Paper July 1973 were Trevor Richards, Roger Steele, Graeme Collins, Mike Law, Sandy Lonsdale, Meg Bailey, Don Franks, Gyles Beckford, Peter Boshier, Warwyck Dewe, Les Atkins, Rob Campbell, Peter Wilson, Gordon Clifton, Keith Stewart, Peter Franks, Rona Bailey, Lisa Sacksen, with editorial onus on Ted Sheehan and Jim Delahunty.


1973 NZUSA China Delegation member Peter Franks.

Because class struggle is continuing in Chinese society great emphasis is placed on the popular study of Marxist-Leninist works, so that people can combine their practical experience of building socialism with a theoretical understanding of how society operates in general. In communes, schools, factories and housing settlements people spend a few hours a week studying Marxist-Leninist works, especially the works of Chairman Mao.
When we visited a housing resettlement area in Shanghai we were taken to see a small factory where housewives were making glassware products such as filaments for light bulbs. On the way out of the factory we noticed a group of women who appeared to be sitting round enjoying a cup of tea. "What are you doing," we asked. "Studying Lenin's work State and Revolution," was the rather staggering reply.[4]


Peter Franks was Salient editor in 1973.

Wellington Marxist-Leninist Organisation/Workers Communist League had a significant and enduring level of influence over Salient in the 1970s and early 1980s. Editors Peter Franks (1973, co-editor), David Murray (1975), Bruce Robinson (1977), and Simon Wilson (1978). [5]