I remember vividly the first time I came across a Fabian Society pamphlet, I was in the library during my undergraduate degree and was supposed to be reading something altogether different. I was at the stage in my political development where I knew what I stood against, but hadn’t fully worked through what I stood for. I knew I was left wing but I didn’t have a firm grip of how to realise the kind of society I wanted to see.
I read Fabian Thinkers: 120 Years of progressive thought and found an affirmation of ‘practical utopianism’. For progress to be achieved it had to be hard fought and won, it had to be real, tangible and rooted in people’s lives. It had to be discernible. That for me is what defines Fabianism: a spirit of gradualism within in our tradition of democratic socialism.
I continued to read and discovered more about the organisation that proposed the NHS, that argued and campaigned for a welfare state funded through progressive taxation, campaigned for many of the earliest rights for women and which also founded the Labour Party, the London School of Economics and the New Statesman. But Fabianism remains relevant today. Fabians set out the case for minimum wage and also for investment in early year’s education, a project which became Sure Start in the last Labour government.
Which brings me to the Young Fabians. This is my second year on the Young Fabian Exec and before I was elected I worked with other Execs. It’s an incredibly dynamic organisation to be part of and with colleagues whose drive and ability knows no bounds. Over the past two years, there are many professional organisations who would love to claim a fraction of the work load that we have produced for our members. From leadership hustings, to socials, to international delegations or policy meetings with Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet members, we cover them all in any given month and it’s a great thing to be part of.
I would urge anyone interested in centre-left politics, who wants to get more involved and help push the debate forward to join the Young Fabians. The first ever Fabian pamphlet was called “Why are the many poor?”. That’s a question that still needs answering and we need more Young Fabians to help us answer it.
You can sign up in a few easy steps by following this link: http://bit.ly/jointheyfs for £5 for the first six months, and if you join before the end of this week you are automatically entered into a prize draw.
Brian Duggan is Policy Officer for the Young Fabians.