29 October 2011

Labour and its history lesson

Labour's opening campaign documentary focused very much on history, and I was happy to see this much-reproduced photograph from the 1913 Waterfront strike appear in that. The picture was taken from a vantage point by Victoria Park, and looks up Franklin Rd on the left and College Hill on the right. If you took a photo from the same position now, the motorway viaduct would block a lot of the view. And you can see how much the plane trees have grown in the last century!

I guess that the 'blood' mentioned on the banner refers to the death of a miner in the strike at Waihi the year before.

Michael Joseph Savage could have been in that crowd, as we know he was involved in the strikes of those days, and that he lived just over the ridge in O'Neill St.

Savage was an Australian who had arrived in New Zealand a few years earlier, in 1908. He and other industrial socialists must have found the lessons of those years hard. But they soon changed their approach, formed a political party, and by 1935 they were in power.

The policies that they brought in had their future generations (that's us!) in mind. They must have realized that, in a civilized society, people should not have to go on strike and to fight the forces of the State in order to get a better deal for the labouring class. Democratic socialists believed that voters would vote for a party that had their interests at heart - and would put that into action. Well, it worked for Savage and co.


Post a Comment

<< Home