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Fabian Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

10/9/10 7:42 PM

Fabian Society
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Fabian Society is a British socialist movement, whose purpose is to advance the principles of socialism via gradualist and reformist, rather than revolutionary, means. It is best known for its initial groundbreaking work beginning late in the 19th century and continuing up to World War I. The society laid many of the foundations of the Labour Party and subsequently affected the policies of states emerging from the decolonisation of the British Empire, especially India. Today, the society is a vanguard think tank of the New Labour movement. It is one of 15 socialist societies affiliated to the Labour Party. Similar societies exist in Australia (the Australian Fabian Society), Canada (the Douglas-Coldwell Foundation and in the past the League for Social Reconstruction) and New Zealand.

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1 History 2 Legacy 2.1 Young Fabians 2.2 Influence on Labour government 3 Criticism 4 See also 5 References 5.1 Notes 5.2 Bibliography 6 External links

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The group, which favoured gradual change rather than revolutionary change, was named – at the suggestion of Frank Podmore – in honour of the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus (nicknamed "Cunctator", meaning "the Delayer"). His Fabian strategy advocated tactics of harassment and attrition rather than head-on battles against the Carthaginian army under the renowned general Hannibal. The society was founded on 4 January 1884 in London as an offshoot of a society founded in 1883 called The Fellowship of the New Life.[1] Fellowship members included poets Edward Carpenter and John Davidson, sexologist Havelock Ellis and future Fabian secretary, Edward R. Pease. They wanted to transform society by setting an example of clean simplified living for others to follow. But when some members also wanted to become politically involved to aid society's transformation, it was decided that a separate society, The Fabian Society, also be set up. All members were free to attend both societies. The Fabian Society additionally advocated renewal of Western European Renaissance ideas and their promulgation throughout the rest of the world. The Fellowship of the New Life was dissolved in 1898[2] , but the Fabian Society grew to become the preeminent academic society in the United Kingdom in the Edwardian era, typified by the members of its

Charles Hall · Henri de Saint-Simon Robert Owen · Charles Fourier William Thompson Thomas Hodgskin · Louis Blanc Moses Hess · Karl Marx Friedrich Engels · Ferdinand Lassalle William Morris · Mary Harris Jones John Dewey · Eugene V. Debs Enrico Barone · Ben Tillett Bertrand Russell · Robin Hahnel Michael Albert Organizations First International
(International Workingmen's Association)

Second International Third International (Comintern) Fourth International
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However. including alternative co-operative economics that applied to ownership of capital as well as land. In the period between the two World Wars. stated in his memoirs that his initial political philosophy was strongly influenced by the Fabian Society. Sydney Olivier. Wells. Many Fabians participated in the formation of the Labour Party in 1900 and the group's constitution. G. Tawney. believing the Fabian ideal of socialism to be impractical.. Annie Besant. Oliver Lodge. the free encyclopedia 10/9/10 7:42 PM vanguard Coefficients club. Fabian socialists were in favour of an imperialist foreign policy as a conduit for internationalist reform and a welfare state modelled on the Bismarckian German model. The first Fabian Society pamphlets advocating tenets of social justice coincided with the zeitgeist of Liberal reforms during the early 1900s. Graham Wallas. Hubert Bland. It was at this time that many of the future leaders of the Third World were exposed to Fabian thought. Lee Kuan Yew. At the core of the Fabian Society were Sidney and Beatrice Webb. It is a little-known fact that the founder of Pakistan. H. including the writers R. Ramsay MacDonald and Emmeline Pankhurst. countries allying themselves against Germany) could lead to war. for the creation of a universal health care system in 1911 and for the abolition of hereditary peerages in 1917[3] . Legacy Through the course of the 20th century the group has always been influential in Labour Party circles. but resigned after he expressed his belief that the Society's principle of entente (in this case. the "Second Generation" Fabians. an idea which drew heavily from the work of American economist Henry Page 2 of 5 . The Fabian proposals however were considerably more progressive than those that were enacted in the Liberal reform legislation. anaemic.Wikipedia. They favoured a national minimum wage in order to stop British industries compensating for their inefficiency by lowering wages instead of investing in capital equipment. and a national education system because "it is in the class-rooms that the future battles of the Empire for commercial prosperity are already being lost"[4] . continued to be a major influence on social-democratic thought. they criticised Gladstonian liberalism both for its individualism at home and its internationalism abroad. was an avid member of the Fabian Society in the early 1930s. the late economists Thomas Balogh and Nicholas Kaldor and the sociologist Peter Townsend. Fourth International Socialist International World Federation of Democratic Youth International Union of Socialist Youth World Socialist Movement Religious socialism Buddhist · Christian Islamic · Jewish left Regional socialism African socialism · Arab socialism Chinese socialism · Titoism Maoism Labour Zionism Third World Socialism Third World Socialism Left-wing nationalism Related topics Criticism of capitalism Class struggle · Democracy Dictatorship of the proletariat Egalitarianism · Equality of outcome Impossibilism · Internationalism State-owned enterprise Left-wing politics · Marxism Mixed economy · Nationalization Socialization of production · Planned economy Proletarian revolution Reformism · Socialism in One Country Socialist market economy Post-capitalism · Trade union Mode of production The Fabians also favored the nationalisation of land. At the Labour Party Foundation Conference in 1900. he later altered his views. H. borrowed heavily from the founding documents of the Fabian Society. Cole and Harold Laski. the Fabian Society claimed 861 members and sent one delegate. written by Sidney Webb. including George Bernard Shaw. most notably India's Jawaharlal Nehru. Obafemi Awolowo who later became the premier of Nigeria's defunct Western Region was also a Fabian member in the late 1940s. slum clearances and a health service in order for "the breeding of even a moderately Imperial race" which would be more productive and better militarily than the "stunted. the Fabian Society began attracting many prominent contemporary figures drawn to its socialist cause. It was the Fabian ideology that Awolowo used to run the Western Region but was prevented from using it on a national level in Nigeria. H. Edith Nesbit.of our great cities". Immediately upon its inception. Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf. The Fabians lobbied for the introduction of a minimum wage in 1906. G. Together.Fabian Society . they wrote numerous studies of industrial Britain. who subsequently framed economic policy for India on Fabian socialdemocratic lines. Barrister Muhammad Ali Jinnah. D. the first Prime Minister of Singapore.wikipedia. Among many current and former Fabian academics are the late political scientist Bernard Crick.. believing that rents collected by landowners were unearned. Even Bertrand Russell briefly became a member. with http://en. demoralised denizens.

Harold Wilson and more recently Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The Society is affiliated to the Party as a socialist society. Balls had been a Financial Times journalist when he wrote this Fabian pamphlet. The Fabian Society Tax Commission of 2000 was widely credited[9] with influencing the Labour government's policy and political strategy for its one significant public tax increase: the National Insurance rise to raise £8 billion for National Health Service spending. a Scottish branch of the group. Four Fabians. It also publishes the quarterly magazine Anticipations. There was an overall surplus for the year of £1. the Fabian Society has been a forum for New Labour ideas and for critical approaches from across the party. The Scottish Young Fabians.425. the Scottish Young Fabians were reformed in 2005.Fabian Society . Clement Attlee. 190 were libraries. co-operative Page 3 of 5 .Wikipedia. Tony Benn. the free encyclopedia 10/9/10 7:42 PM members including Ramsay MacDonald. He wrote that "throughout the whole history of the British Labour movement there has been pressure by the bourgeoisie upon the proletariat through the agency of radicals. reformed in 2005. The window was stolen in 1978 and reappeared at Sotheby's in 2005.810 individual members (down 70 from the previous year). Graham Wallas and George Bernard Shaw founded the London School of Economics with the money left to the Fabian Society by Henry Hutchinson. enfeeble and politically debase the proletariat"." The latest edition of the Dictionary of National Biography (a reference work listing details of famous or significant Britons throughout history) includes 174 Fabians. Richard Crossman. founded in 1960. [6] Young Fabians Members aged under 31 years of age are also members of the Young Fabians. On 21 April 2009 the Society's website stated that it had 6.[11] Criticism Leon Trotsky. but the government committed itself to using the additional funds for health spending. BBC Business Editor Robert Peston.[8] which traces in detail the path leading up to this dramatic policy change after Labour's first week in office. of whom 1. The founders are depicted in the Fabian Window [5] designed by George Bernard Shaw. In recent years the Young Fabian group. arguing that linking taxation more directly to spending was essential to make tax rise publicly acceptable. (A Pimlott Prize for Political Writing was organised in his memory by the Fabian Society and The Guardian in 2005 and continues annually). including a new top rate of income tax. advocating Bank of England independence. or trade unions. intellectuals. a Bolshevik and an influential 20th century revolutionary socialist and former Red Army General. Influence on Labour government Since Labour came to office in 1997.057. though this comprehensive review of UK taxation was influential in economic policy and political circles. The late Ben Pimlott served as its Chairman in the 1990s. The 2001 National Insurance rise was not formally hypothecated. preach collaboration with the bourgeoisie.wikipedia. wrote that Fabianism was an attempt to save capitalism from the working class. its total income £486. calls this an "essential tract" and concludes that Balls "deserves as much credit – probably more – than anyone else for the creation of the modern Bank of England". This group has its own elected Chair and executive and organizes conferences and events.456 and its total expenditure £475.031. It was restored to display in the Shaw Library at the London School of Economics in 2006 at a ceremony over which Tony Blair presided. (The Fabian Commission had in fact called for a directly hypothecated "NHS tax" [10] to cover the full cost of NHS spending. bridle. [12] http://en. It is now double what it was when Clement Attlee left office in 1951. Following a period of inactivity. The most significant Fabian contribution to Labour's policy agenda in government was Ed Balls' 1992 pamphlet. of which 31 were Constituency Labour Parties. 58 corporate and 15 other—making 6. The society's net assets were £86. Beatrice and Sidney Webb. were to the left of government policy and not accepted.010 were Young Fabians and 294 institutional subscribers. has become an important networking and discussion organisation for younger (under 31) Labour Party activists and played a role in the 1994 election of Tony Blair as Labour Leader. Anthony Crosland.) Several other recommendations. before going to work for Gordon Brown.104 members in total. in his book Brown's Britain. drawing-room and church socialists and Owenites who reject the class struggle and advocate the principle of social solidarity. Supposedly the decision was made at a breakfast party on 4 August 1894.286 members: "Fabian national membership now stands at a 35 year high: it is over 20% higher than when the Labour Party came to office in May 1997. [7] William Keegan offers a similar analysis of Balls' Fabian pamphlet in his book on Labour's economic policy. The society's 2004 annual report showed that there were 5.

co. ^ Bernard Semmel. BBC News [2] (http://news. its secretary for 25 years." London School of Economics & Political Science Archives [1] (http://www.html) 9. ^ Hitchens. ^ In defence of earmarked taxes . "A piece of Fabian history unveiled at 11. Aneurin from Project Gutenberg Catalogue of the Fabian Society archives held at the London School of Economics 07/12/00 (http://www.Wikipedia. Volume ^ Andrew Walker. A History of the Fabian Society ( by Edward R. London ^ Honesty turns out to be the best policy | News | The Observer (http://observer. Pease. the free encyclopedia 10/9/10 7:42 PM In the early 1900s some members advocated the ideal of a scientifically planned society and supported eugenics by way of sterilisation. ^ We should say sorry too (http://www. (Detail taken from Plan for Britain published by George Routledge with a date of 1943 and no ISBN) External links Official website (http://www. Peter Hitchens identifies the influence of Fabianism as one of the contributing factors to what he sees as a current malaise in British politics. New York: 71.lse.asp) 4.gutenberg. 48 New Park. – see Edward (1916). http://www. p. ^ Fabian Society (http://www.00. and also in detail argues elements within the 20th century Fabian Society adopted an apologist stance towards some of the most egregious elements of Stalinist Russia. 1960). In an article published in The Guardian on 14 February ^ Observer review: The Prudence of Mr Gordon Brown by William Keegan | By genre | guardian. (following the apology offered by Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd to the "stolen generations") Geoffrey Robertson criticised Fabian socialists for providing the intellectual justification for the eugenics policy that led to the stolen generations ^ [quoted here.htm) Last accessed 23 February 2007 Last accessed 23 February 2007 7.wikipedia. p. wisdom and windows". L F Easterbrook.[15] See also Fabian strategy Gradualism Keir Hardie Labour Research Department List of UK think tanks Reformism Young Fabians Journals: New Statesman The New Age References Notes ^ Pease. ^ Pease.623139. "Wit. ^ Press release. ISBN Peter (2009). Sir William Beveridge and Harold J Laski (Not illustrated with 127 text pages). ^ Writings on Britain. DUTTON & COMPANY.P.pdf] ^ BBC News | UK POLITICS | Think tank calls for NHS tax (http://news.[13] John Taylor Gatto argues Fabianism is at fault for trends in education policy he The History of the Fabian Society (http://www..1041487.. 'The Broken Compass' Bibliography Plan for Britain: A Collection of Essays prepared for the Fabian Society by G D H[14] In The Broken Compass. Jim Imperialism and Social Reform: English Social-Imperial Thought 1895-1914 (London: Allen and Unwin. ^ [3] (http://www.htm) 15. The Broken Compass: How British Politics Lost its Way.html) 10.html) Books ( Continuum International Publishing Group Page 4 of 5 .afsp. http://www. 1916 3.Fabian Society . 73.txt) .uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1042801.00. 2.

the free encyclopedia 10/9/10 7:42 PM ( Page 5 of 5 .'fabian')AND(RefNo='society'))) Fabian tracts and early Fabian Society minute books are available online ( See Terms of Use for details." Categories: 1884 establishments | Political and economic think tanks based in the United Kingdom | Social democracy | Democratic socialism | Labour Party (UK) socialist societies | London School of Economics | Victorian era | Socialist think tanks | Edwardian era This page was last modified on 8 October 2010 at 07:10.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqCmd=Overview. additional terms may apply. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Retrieved from " a non-profit Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation.Fabian Society .exe?dsqServer=lib4.