It was the Chinese New Year yesterday, and the Young Fabians kicking off the first in our series of #FabianFriday by having dinner and drinks in London's Chinatown organised by Membership and Partnership Officer Ade Adeyemi. Traditionally, Chinese voters have the lowest turnout for all ethnic groups (Bitish Election Studies, 2005). A dinner at a Chinese restaurant won't change that overnight, but it's a step in the direction of a more diverse Fabian society and Labour movement. Hopefully, the low Chinese voter turnout won't stay that way furlong but as we join the Chinese celebrating the year of the horse, we also wish you a year of prosperity and good luck. Kung Hay Fat Choy!
Later in the year, the Young Fabians will be hosting a Holocaust survivor to offer testimony from one generation to another of the horrific crimes committed by the Nazis. 69 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, we encourage all of our members to take a moment to reflect on the millions of Jews killed on an industrial scale. We remember also the mass murder of the Romani, disabled, homosexuals and all others the Nazis deemed unworthy of life.
The sheer scale of brutality sometimes makes it hard to remember that each victim was an individual with his or her own story. Today, let's honour their memory and never forget.
Executive member, Alex Bjarnason, remembers Istvan Reiner and other victims in this touching piece.
Amidst the panel discussions and speeches, the Young Fabians were keen to hear what our members thought on a central plank of Labour’s message, One Nation. Chaired by James Hallwood and led by Lord Stewart Wood, a key architect of the One Nation message, the Anatomy-style workshop sought to explore key questions that surrounded this new ideological strand.
After a brief introduction from Lord Wood, our members broke into four groups to explore topics relating to One Nationism:
What is conservative about One Nation?
What is radical about One Nation?
How could we sell One Nation on the doorstep?
What are the weaknesses in One Nation?
Our members came back with some excellent points, from looking at what it means to be a ‘small c’ conservative socialist, to how a radical intervention into the market can be achieved – from how the energy price freeze sums up a key element of One Nationism to concerns about its messaging on immigration.
It was refreshing to have a session so led by members and an antidote to too many panel events. The Young Fabians will be keen to replicate this format so major voices in the Labour movement are not just heard by our members, but also hear what our members have to say.
The session marked the launch of our One Nationism series where members will have the chance to lead workstreams looking at different aspects of One Nation – for more information on this, and to apply, click here.
Our second event at Fabian New Year Conference was a discussion on the challenges facing our generation. Joined by Liam Byrne MP, Laurie Penny, Paris Lees, and Lord Stewart Wood, James Hallwood chaired a packed room with a range of views.
With such a big topic and a large audience, time was always going to be too short to do justice to the questions that those in the Labour movement must ask in this area. But with messages of hope from Liam Byrne and Lord Wood, challenges from Laurie Penny, and a non-politico view from Paris Lees, the event at least touched on some critical issues.
A full recording of the event is available to listen to here. The introduction is from James Hallwood who is followed by Liam Byrne MP, Paris Lees, Lord Stewart Wood and Laurie Penny.
The Young Fabians are pleased to taking part with two events at today's Fabian New Year Conference.
One Nation workshop with Lord Wood
Our lunchtime fringe with Lord Stewart Wood launches our flagship One Nationism Ideas Series – a project that will incorporate a member-led pamphlet that explores what One Nationism is using the popular event format from the Anatomy series.
Our Chair, James Hallwood, leads the workshop with Lord Wood to explore questions around One Nation: from what is conservative and radical about it, to how we sell it on the doorstep and what its weaknesses are.
Members were in the driving seat as they explore these questions with assistance from Executive members and Lord Wood.
Better off than our parents? Hope and prosperity for the new generation
James Hallwood chaired a Young Fabian session on the problems affecting the younger generation. Joined by Liam Byrne MP, Laurie Penny and Lord Stewart Wood – discussion will look at what Labour can do to deliver for young people.
Along with the Young Fabian sessions, a whole host of speakers from the Labour movement, including a keynote from Ed Balls MP, discussed with our members how Labour can change Britain.
On January 4th 1884, one-hundred and thirty years ago in London, history was made. A Christian socialist group called the Fellowship of New Life was divided. Two competing primary objectives were tested, that of socialist spiritualism and another of economic and material affairs.
At this meeting a new group was formed, one that would focus on the latter goals. Named after a Roman general famous for his strategy of attrition, this society set out to “educate, agitate, organise” in the words of a famous early member and irish playwright.
Since that time the group has led the development of socialism in the UK. The NHS, the welfare state and the minimum wage are just some of the achievements set out in the group’s work.
The Young Fabians represent a generation doing what Bernard Shaw said today, and for this new year you should get in touch with me if you want to play a part in shaping that. The executive always have an open door to members and welcome all to run events and write for the group.
Happy new year to you and happy 130th birthday to the Fabian Society.
The Young Fabians are proud to have partnered with Nationbuilder to delivery a new online platform. The platform will integrated previous distinct systems that the organisation has been using. Along with a new website, it manages the weekly email newsletter and connectivity to social media.
The website is still undergoing development and more features will be added gradually over the next few months.Send feedback
Merry Christmas and all the best for 2014 from the Young Fabian Executive.
The Young Fabians delivered ten packed bags of food donated by our members at the Christmas social to Westminster Chapel Food Bank. With donations ranging from staples like rice to little luxuries like chocolate, the food bank was overwhelmed by the generosity of members.
James said “It’s regrettable that in 21st Century Britain we should have food banks, but while the need is there the Young Fabians will continue to support them. I am so proud of, and grateful to, our members for their immense generosity. They will make a lot of families’ Christmases that bit better”.
e Young Fabians Finance Network met at their AGM on Tuesday led by outgoing Chair Lorna Russell. Three office holders were elected in 2014:
Chair: Sophie Robson
Vice-Chair: Sophia Morrell
Secretary: Bramen Singnayagam
Thank you to everyone who participated in our programme this year. For more information on getting involved please contact us at [email protected].