Fabian Society

Fabian Society, British socialist society. An outgrowth of the Fellowship of the New Life (founded 1883 under the influence of Thomas Davidson), the society was developed the following year by Frank Podmore and Edward Pease. George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb joined soon after this and became its outstanding exponents. The group achieved recognition with the publication of Fabian Essays (1889), with contributions by Shaw, Webb, Annie Besant, and Graham Wallas. The Fabians were opposed to the revolutionary theory of Marxism, holding that social reforms and socialistic "permeation" of existing political institutions would bring about the natural development of socialism. Repudiating the necessity of violent class struggle, they took little notice of trade unionism and other labor movements until Beatrice Potter (who later married Sidney Webb) joined the group. They subsequently helped create (1900) the unified Labour Representation Committee, which evolved into the Labour party. The Labour party adopted their main tenets, and the Fabian Society remains as an affiliated research and publicity agency.

See studies by A. Fremantle (1960), P. Pugh (1984), and F. Lee (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Story of Fabian Socialism
Margaret Cole.
Stanford University Press, 1961
Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey
Donald F. Busky.
Praeger Publishers, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Includes "The Fabian Society"
The Socialist Tradition: Moses to Lenin
Alexander Gray.
Longmans, Green, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XIV "Evolutionary Socialism: Fabianism"
FREE! Guild Socialism: An Historical and Critical Analysis
Niles Carpenter.
D. Appleton and Company, 1922
Librarian’s tip: includes "The Fabian Society Split and the Founding of the National Guilds"
Ideas and Beliefs of the Victorians: An Historic Revaluation of the Victorian Age
British Broadcasting Corporation.
Sylvan Press, 1949
Librarian’s tip: includes "Fabian Socialism"
The British Co-Operative Movement in a Socialist Society: A Report Written for the Fabian Society
G. D. H. Cole.
Allen & Unwin, 1951
The Dollar Crisis, Causes and Cure: A Report to the Fabian Society
T. Balogh.
Blackwell, 1949
The Apprenticeship of Beatrice Webb
Deborah Epstein Nord.
University of Massachusetts Press, 1985
Librarian’s tip: Includes "Fabianism"
The Economic Theory of George Bernard Shaw
Thomas Anson Knowlton.
University Press, 1936
British Working Class Politics, 1832-1914
G. D. H. Cole.
G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1941
Imperialism and Social Reform: English Social-Imperial Thought, 1895-1914
Bernard Semmel.
Doubleday, 1968
George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century
Archibald Henderson.
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1956
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