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Fabian socialism and the struggle for independent labour representation, 1884-1900

McGill University
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  • Fabian Society (Great Britain) -- History.
  • Labor Movement -- Great Britain -- History -- 19Th Century.
  • Political Science


This thesis is a study on Fabian attitudes towards the struggle for independent labour representation during the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The Fabian Society has often claimed it greatly influenced the struggle to establish a working-class political party prior to the inauguration of the Labour Representation Committee (LRC) in 1900. Yet, many of the Fabians' contemporaries disagreed. This thesis challenges any assertion that the Fabian Society greatly influenced the LRC. Through a study of the Fabian Society's early history, beliefs and attitudes it is clear that the Fabians were more likely to be very negative towards any rank and file movements. The Fabians had little faith in the "average sensual man". Even their Manifesto "To Your Tents Oh Israel" cannot, in the final analysis, be viewed as concrete proof that the Fabian Society placed great hope in the working man and in his struggle for labour representation.

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