Wednesday, November 26, 2008

1968 — A year of Revolution?

There was something in the air in 1968. A wave of revolt spread around the world. In France, workers and students famously almost brought down the government. Occupations, strikes, riots and mass protests occurred in the USA, Czechoslovakia (the Prague Spring), Italy, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Pakistan and elsewhere. In Vietnam, the Tet offensive was launched.

This mood of rebellion spread to New Zealand. A major workplace revolt occurred against the nil wage order issued by the Arbitration Court. A worker-student protest, legend has it, almost ‘stormed’ parliament. Major—and successful—protests were held against a proposed US military installation called Omega. The Peace, Power, and Politics counter-conference was held against the Vietnam War and SEATO. And there was much other activity too.

1968 symbolised the hope of a new generation that they could radically change the old establishment. In New Zealand, it led to a blossoming of struggle by workers, students, Maori, women, Pacific people, environmentalists and others. Whether 1968 was a year of revolution remains a matter of debate. Come along and discuss it.


At the Loaves and Fishes Hall, Wellington Cathedral, Hill Street, Thorndon (opposite Parliament), Wellington.
Organised by the Labour History Project (formerly the Trade Union History Project). Read more for the programme.


12.30pm – Registration

1pm – What happened in 1968? Including a French perspective on the events in France, May-June 1968

1.30 – The movement against the nil wage order (Peter Franks) and Union matters in 1968, Wellington and National (Ken Douglas)

2.30 – Film and television footage from 1968 in NZ

3.10 – Afternoon tea

3.30 – The worker-student alliance in NZ and the ‘storming’ of parliament (Toby Boraman)

4.00 – The Resistance Bookshops in NZ (Pat Bolster and Graeme Whimp)

4.30 – Barry Lee (Auckland Progressive Youth Movement) remembers 1968

5.00 – The Year that Shaped a Generation (documentary)

6.00 – LHP Christmas party – celebrate like its 1968 again! (BYO and please bring a plate too!) All welcome.

Fees: $15 waged, $10 unwaged (including students)
Afternoon tea will be provided.

Prior registration will be appreciated: please pay by cheque or direct credit. Registration at the door is welcome by cheque or cash. Credit card facilities are NOT available.
Please make cheques out to the ‘Trade Union History Project’. Include your name and address, and send to:–
The Treasurer, TUHP/LHP, P O Box 27425, Wellington
Or credit to TUHP bank account:–

For further information,

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