The New International Encyclopædia/Fabian Society, The
FABIAN SOCIETY, The. An organization for the advancement of socialism. Thus far it has been the most important socialistic society in England. It started in London, but similar organizations are now found in many other cities. In 1883 an American, Thomas Davidson, who chanced to be in London, held parlor conferences with a group of literary workers chiefly, on the social duties of the times. This group continued to hold informal conferences. Socialistic theories gradually gained the upper hand in one section, and it finally became definitely socialistic. The Society took its name from the Roman Fabius. In 1888 the society began holding public meetings. The addresses have since been published as the Fabian Essays (American edition, Boston, 1894). The society carries on an active propaganda through the press, free lectures, etc. It seeks the nationalization of land and of such industries as can be ‘conveniently managed socially.’ Rent and interest must be added to the reward of labor. The idle class must disappear and practical equality of opportunity be gained. The present leader of the society is the politician and writer Sidney Webb. See Socialism.