New Zealand Socialist Party

Last updated
New Zealand Socialist Party
Founded28 July 1901
Dissolved1 July 1913;105 years ago (1 July 1913)
Merged into Social Democratic Party
Ideology Marxism
Socialism
Political position Left-wing

The New Zealand Socialist Party was founded in 1901, promoting the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The group, despite being relatively moderate when compared with many other socialists, met with little tangible success, but it nevertheless had considerable impact on the development of New Zealand socialism. It later merged in 1913 with a faction of the United Labour Party to form the Social Democratic Party.

Karl Marx Revolutionary socialist

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

Friedrich Engels German social scientist, author, political theorist, and philosopher

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, communist, social scientist, journalist and businessman. His father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford, England and in Barmen, Prussia.

Socialism in New Zealand

The extent to which socialism plays a part in modern New Zealand politics depends on which definitions of socialist are used, but few mainstream politicians would describe themselves using the word "socialist". The term "social-democrat" is more common, but the more general "left-wing" or "centre-left" are used far more frequently. New Zealand has a complicated assortment of socialist causes and organisations. Some of these play a considerable role in public activism—some commentators claim that New Zealand socialists are more prominent in causes such as the anti-war movement than in promoting socialism itself. Other groups are strongly committed to radical socialist revolution.

Contents

History

Delegates to the fourth annual conference of the New Zealand Socialist Party, held in Dunedin in 1911. New Zealand Socialist Party, fourth annual conference.jpg
Delegates to the fourth annual conference of the New Zealand Socialist Party, held in Dunedin in 1911.

The party was founded by members of the 'Clarionettes', a group of about 190 English Socialist immigrants recruited through William Ranstead's weekly publication. The original goal was to establish a socialist colony, though the colony was never organised. The Wellington branch of the party was founded on 28 July 1901, and the Christchurch branch in January 1902. The initial members were followers of Robert Blatchford's works. [1]

Wellington Capital city of New Zealand

Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban area of New Zealand, with 418,500 residents. It is located at the south-western tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Remutaka Range. Wellington is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the administrative centre of the Wellington Region, which also includes the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa. Its latitude is 41°17′S, making it the world's southernmost capital of a sovereign state. Wellington features a temperate maritime climate, and is the world's windiest city by average wind speed.

Christchurch Metropolitan area in South Island, New Zealand

Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand and the seat of the Canterbury Region. The Christchurch urban area lies on the South Island's east coast, just north of Banks Peninsula. It is home to 404,500 residents, making it New Zealand's third-most populous city behind Auckland and Wellington. The Avon River flows through the centre of the city, with an urban park located along its banks.

Robert Blatchford British writer and activist

Robert Peel Glanville Blatchford was an English socialist campaigner, journalist, and author in the United Kingdom. He was also noted as a prominent atheist, opponent of eugenics, and English nationalist. In the early 1920s, after the death of his wife, he turned towards spiritualism.

Some of the most prominent leaders of the party were English-born Frederick Cooke [2] and Ted Howard. Visitors from England were Tom Mann in 1902 and 1908 and Ben Tillett in 1907. Robert Rivers La Monte from America was (briefly) an organiser for the party: he was a member of the "Wobblies": the IWW Industrial Workers of the World. [3]

Frederick Cooke (socialist) New Zealand tailor, socialist, trade unionist

Frederick Riley Cooke was a New Zealand tailor, socialist and trade unionist.

Ted Howard (politician) New Zealand politician

Edwin John (Ted) Howard was a New Zealand politician of the Labour Party, and the father of cabinet minister Mabel Howard. He had been a prominent member of the New Zealand Socialist Party, a precursor to the Labour Party.

Tom Mann organiser and public speaker in the labour movement in England and Australia

Thomas Mann was a noted British trade unionist. Largely self-educated, Mann became a successful organiser and a popular public speaker in the labour movement.

By 1903, Robert Hogg was publishing a party journal called the Commonweal in Wellington. The party was not prolifically active and stood no candidates at the 1902 election. The party received new vigor with the entry of several radical unionists from Australia including Paddy Webb, Bob Semple, Michael Joseph Savage and Harry Holland. [1]

Robert Hogg (New Zealand politician) journalist, chairman of the New Zealand Socialist Party

Robert Hogg was a New Zealand socialist politician, journalist and poet.

1902 New Zealand general election

The New Zealand general election of 1902 was held on Tuesday, 25 November, in the general electorates, and on Monday, 22 December in the Māori electorates to elect a total of 80 MPs to the 15th session of the New Zealand Parliament. A total number of 415,789 (76.7%) voters turned out to vote.

Australia Country in Oceania

Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.

By 1908 the party was tested by the Blackball miners strike and membership had increased to 3,000 by April of that year. Also that year the Socialist Party held its first national conference in Wellington. [1] Many of the early leaders were from the UK and Australia were radical ideologies were not uncommon among political parties, but were seen as out of touch in New Zealand were more moderate platforms were the norm. As such the party failed to gain much traction. [4]

Blackball, New Zealand Place in West Coast, New Zealand

Blackball is a small town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 29 km from Greymouth. The town was named after the Black Ball Shipping Line, which leased land in the area to mine for coal.

A different group, the Socialist Party of New Zealand, was founded in 1930 and became the World Socialist Party (New Zealand).

The World Socialist Party of New Zealand (WSPNZ) is a revolutionary socialist and anti-Leninist political party in New Zealand founded in 1930 as the Socialist Party of New Zealand (SPNZ).

Policies

The Socialist Party had a very leftist platform. Its members possessed Marxian views of class struggle and advocated the overthrowing of capitalisation by way of political and industrial action. It was then to make way for "the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange." [5]

Election results

Socialist
Party

(1901)
Independent
Political
Labour
League

(1905)
(independents) Labour Party
(original)

(1910)
United Labour
Party

(1912)
Social Democratic
Party

(1913)
(remnants)
Labour Party (1916)
Election Restlts [6]
Electioncandidatesseats wonvotespercentage
1905 201940.04%
1908 502,5210.58%
1911 809,0911.90%

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Labour Unity Conferences

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Brown 1980, p. 7.
  2. McAloon, Jim. "Frederick Riley Cooke". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  3. Bennett 2004, pp. 64,65.
  4. Brown 1980, p. 11.
  5. Brown 1980, p. 10.
  6. Paul, J.T. (1946). Humanism in Politics: New Zealand Labour Party in Retrospect. Wellington, NZ: New Zealand Worker Printing and Publishing. p. 38.