January 3, 2013
“Let us assume then that the present economic progress will continue on its present lines. That machinery will go on replacing hand labor; that the joint stock company will absorb the private firm, to be, in its turn, swallowed up in the Ring and the Trust. That thus the smaller producers and distributors will gradually, but at a constantly increasing pace, be squeezed out and reduced to the condition of employees of great industrial and trade corporations, managed by highly skilled captains of industry, in the interests of idle shareholders.”
“…Thus the coming struggle between "haves" and "have nots" will be a conflict of parties each perfectly conscious of what it is fighting about and fully alive to the life and death importance of the issues at stake.
“I say "will be;" for one has only to read a few speeches of political leaders or attend a discussion at a workman's club to be convinced that at present it is only the keener and more alert minds on either side which are more than semi-conscious of the true nature of the campaign of which the first shots may even now be heard at every bye-election.” Hubert Bland, “The Outlook,” published in 1889.
Hubert Bland was born in southeast London on Jan. 3, 1855, into a successful middle-class family. His hope of serving in the British Army was derailed when his father died and Bland was needed to run the family business. He met Edith Nesbit in 1877, and got married in 1880 when they discovered she was pregnant. Nesbit became a popular author, mainly of poetry and children’s books, “The Railway Children” was her most her popular book. Their marriage was stormy and non-traditional, her best friend, Alice Hoatson, also became pregnant by Bland. The Blands adopted the child, and Hoaston lived with them as their housekeeper. Bland and Hoatson had a second child, that the Blands also adopted, 13 years later. The Blands had three children together as well. The Blands remained married until Hubert died in 1914.
The two shared an intense interest in politics and in modern political philosophy. They started a debating society in 1883, “The Fellowship of the New Life,” with poet and author Edward Carpenter, Scottish poet John Davidson, physician and psychologist Havelock Ellis, and stockbroker and author Edward Pease, which had the goal of transforming society by living simply. As the group became more politically motivated they established a sister organization on Jan. 4, 1884, the “Fabian Society,” named after the Roman general and dictator Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus who defeated Hannibal by waging a war of attrition – the Fabian strategy.
The society heralded the approach in its organizational pamphlet, “For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.”
The Fabians wanted to transform Britain into a socialist government, and they attracted significant support from leading thinkers and authors, including George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and many others. The society grew to over 2,500 members by 1908. Its members founding the Labour Party in 1900; and the London School of Economics was founded by Fabian members Shaw, the Webbs and Graham Wallas with money left to the society by Henry Hutchinson in 1894.
The Fabians wanted to reform British imperialism, lobbied to introduce a minimum wage, a universal health care system and the abolition of hereditary peerages. They also wanted to nationalize the land rent system.
The http://www.fabians.org.uk Fabian Society still exists, primarily as a think tank for liberal politics.