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Communist Party NZ and the New Zealand revolutionary left

Leonard H. Lubitz

Subject History » Political History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Australasia » New Zealand

Period 2000 - present
1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

People Lenin, Vladimir

Key-Topics communism, labor, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00388.x


Radical labor activism in New Zealand can be traced back to the nineteenth century. Various elements, including the Canterbury Working Men's Mutual Protection Society, formed in January 1871 at a gathering of approximately 600 in Christchurch's Cathedral Square to protest the high rate of unemployment, were exasperated by continued immigration into the virtually self-ruled British colony. On March 12, 1872 the society became a branch of Marx and Engels' London-based International Working Men's Association, otherwise known as the First International . In the immediate years following, this movement failed to develop roots, as a combination of social conditions including an improved economic environment and the advent of a more centrist labor movement alleviated the attraction of a widespread radical movement. An example is the rise of Richard Seddon as leader of the Liberal Party. His political party was influenced by the Fabian Society, a British group that espoused some of Marx's ideas but preferred change through legislation rather than revolution. The Knights of Labour , founded in 1887, was another such progressive organization that was a casualty of the Liberal Party's successful appeal to the working class. In 1901 the New Zealand Socialist Party was founded based upon some of the teachings of Marx , Engels , and Kautsky . This movement's creation was in part spurred ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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