The Manawatu Flaxmills Employees' Industrial Union of Workers, 1906-1921 : a research exercise presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University

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In most industrialised nations, the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the First World War were marked by an intensification of radical agitation against the existing social order. This outburst of dissent found expression in France, Germany and Great Britain in the various Socialist political parties, and in the rhetoric, and occasionally in the violence, of Syndicalism. In the United States the foremost vehicle of dissent was the Industrial Workers of the World, formed in 1905 to promote the organisation of all workers in a particular industry into a single fighting union, each of these 'Industrial' unions in turn being linked with others so as to form a homogeneous and militant working-class organisation. The I.W.W. scorned 'Craft' unionism; unions which restricted their membership to men who had served time in a particular trade, the I.W.W. alleged, were divisive of working-class solidarity, and were concerned primarily not with the abolition of the capitalist system but with gaining piecemeal improvements within the system. 1 See Appendix I for a sketch of the messianic aims and appeal of syndicalism and 'I.W.W.-ism' in France and the U.S.A. In New Zealand, as in Australia and South Africa, it was among miners that the ideas of overseas radicals found their greatest response. 2 RT, March 1914. p. 366
Manawatu Flaxmillers, Employees' Industrial Union of Workers