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Radha D’Souza: Profile of a Indian Maoist in NewZealand March 21, 2007

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My 13th Socialist Academic Profile looks at Waikato University law lecturer, Radha D’Souza.

Before coming to New Zealand in 1996, D’Souza practiced as counsel in the High Court of Bombay (Mumbai), India, for 18 years representing NGO’s, “community, environment and labour groups” in class action litigation.

Her legal specialization includes “constitutional law, administrative law, labour law, UN law and international organizations and human rights and development”.

D’Souza has also taught papers in sociology (colonization and contemporary Asia) and geography (economic geography and resource management) at the University of Auckland.

In India, D’Souza was active in “campaigns for rights of workers in the unorganised sector, democratic rights and civil liberties, fact-finding missions on human rights violations, people’s tribunals and alternative justice”. She helped found the leftist Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Bombay and CLKU, a union for unorganised sector workers.

D’Souza seems to have come to NZ at least partly through her work in Asia Pacific Workers Solidarity Links, a network of Maoist controlled trade unions.

APWSL’s main NZ contacts were Robert Reid, formerly International Secretary of the Workers Communist League and former student Maoist, turned unionist, Luke Coxon.

In NZ D’Souza worked for the Auckland People’s Centre as an advocate for beneficiary groups. The centre was of course, controlled by Sue Bradford and other former members of the Workers Communist League.

D’Souza is a prominent activist NZ’s Maoist influenced, anti free trade movement.

In July 96 D’Souza spoke at the “Trading With our Lives” anti APEC forum in Christchurch. The same month she helped organise the NZ tour of Mexican anti free trade activist, Dr A V Calderon.

In September 1999, as a committee member of the APEC Monitoring Group, D’Souza spoke at the “Alternatives to APEC Conference” in Auckland.

In March 2000, D’Souza placed an ad in Daphna Whitmore’s Maoist journal “The Spark”, inviting readers to join her in a “progressive reading circle”.

From 2001 to the present, D’Souza served on the advisory board of ARENA, a Christchurch based anti free trade/globalisation organisation.

Other advisory board members included Aziz Choudry, former student Maoist and Radical Society member Luke Coxon, People’s Network member and Sue Bradford associate Tim Howard, Radical Society associate Cybele Locke, Bill Rosenberg (son of Wolfgang Rosenberg), David Small and former Radical Society member Desigin Thulkanham.

In 2003, D’Souza was Hamilton contact for the NZ tour of Emilia Dapulang, vice chair of the Communist Party of the Philippine’s trade union front, the Kilusang Mayo Uno.

In January 2004, D’Souza attended the World Social Forum in Mumbai. She writes here…

The WSF in Mumbai was a marriage between the ideological capabilities of large NGOs and the organisational capabilities of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.

In June 2004 D’Souza spoke on the WSF at the Anti-Capitalist Alliance’s (fore-runner of the Workers Party) “Peoples Resistance” conference in Auckland.

Compiled by New Zeal
New Zeal: S.A.P. 13 Radha D’Souza