The connection between Fabianism and Lenin harks back to the early days of the Fabian Society (1897) when Lenin translated Sidney Webb’s Fabian publication History of Trade Unionism. Margaret Cole writes:
Bolsheviks were considered “comrades” by the Fabians. George Lansbury wrote that:
One of the tremendous accomplishments of the Fabian Society was the creation of the British Labour Party. The Fabians had “permeated” the Liberal and Conservative parties. However, the maneuvers to use these parties for implementing the Fabian Socialist program met many obstacles. The main concentration had been in the Liberal Party. Fabians held key positions in the Liberal Party but after the formation of the Labour Party their main tactic was to destroy the Liberal Party’s effectiveness.
The sinister deviousness of the Fabian technique is almost unbelievable. Basic Fabian operating characteristics are:
Through schools, forums, deceptive “fronts” and infiltrated universities (Oxford and Cambridge in England, and Harvard in the United States, are notable examples) the Fabians create both conscious and unconscious socialists. The father of Fabianism, Sidney Webb, even before the turn of the century (1889) described the technique of creating large numbers of latent socialists who give a “socialist tone of thought” to whatever field they touch:
(2). The Fabians early developed the propaganda technique of shouting down as “reactionary,” “anti-democratic,” and “dictatorial” those who own and operate private enterprises while at the same time these same Fabians conspire to impose a one party dictatorial control over society operated by an elite of specialists, managers, and socialist politicans.
(3). Fabians, like all socialists, claim to represent a progressive form of society whereas they are actually a throw back to ancient tyranny which dates back:
. . . to prehistoric times, and practiced today by savage tribes as yet practically untouched by civilization. The truth of this statement can be demonstrated both by reference to historical records and by direct observations. This is known to students of the subject, yet practically unknown to the general public.
(4). The Fabians, along with the entire Marxist movement, have been perpetrating a gigantic propaganda hoax against the world, the illusion that socialism is a “science.” Not only the outside public but the rank and file of the socialist movement have been victims of this deception. For years some economists and social thinkers have been pointing out that in spite of socialists’ criticisms of the capitalist system they have carefully avoided presenting a detailed outline of the kind of system they intend to install in the place of free enterprise.
To this day socialists have not published an exhaustive economic theory of the socialist system. Neither Marx nor any of his followers produced such a work.
The Fabians, under the leadership of such economists as Sidney Webb, J.A. Hobson, Alfred Marshall, A.C. Pigou and John Maynard Keynes have dissected, analyzed, charted and evaluated statistically (with their own particular slant) every facet of private enterprise. They insist that society inevitably leads to socialism as a replacement of our present economic and political systems. Even the Soviet Union and its satellites with their forty-year experience in socialism have not produced one single work outlining a definitive economic theory of socialism.
It remained for Ludwig Von Mises, an economist advocating private enterprise, to goad the left-wing into taking public notice of the incredible lack of a socialist economic theory.
Oskar Lange, a communist who posed as a reform socialist, tried his hand at formulating such a theory.(27)
To keep up the pretense of scholastic objectivity Lange even criticized (mildly) some of Karl Marx’s observations.
In his work On the Economic Theory of Socialism, Lange’s opening paragraph declared:
Socialists have certainly good reason to be grateful to Professor Mises, the great advocatus diaboli
of their cause. For it was his powerful challenge that forced the socialists to recognize the importance of an adequate system of economic accounting to guide the allocation of resources in a socialist economy. Even more, it was chiefly due to Professor Mises’ challenge that many socialists became aware of the very existence of such a problem. And although Professor Mises was not the first to raise it, and although not all socialists were as completely unaware of the problem as is frequently held, it is true, nevertheless, that, particularly on the European Continent (outside of Italy), the merit of having caused the socialists to approach this problem systematically belong entirely to Professor Mises.(28)
Lange’s claim to have published, at long last, an economic theory of socialism is slightly ridiculous in face of the fact that the entire presentation is only pamphlet size (85 pages) and is buttressed by a contribution on Guidance of Production In A Socialist State by the economist Fred M. Taylor consisting of 13 pages. An examination of this thin volume shows that it is an obvious attempt to beg the question.
The failure of socialist and communist leaders to publish an economic theory of socialism cannot, however, be ascribed to mere oversight. A comprehensive work outlining the economic functions of socialism would give away the real plot.
For over a hundred years socialists of all stripes have been denouncing “capitalist tyranny” and have been assuming the role of champions of “freedom,” “democracy” and a “better life.” A definitive work on socialist economic theory would expose the falsity of such premises.
Such a work would have to outline the restrictions, compulsions and oppressions of the people required to make socialist planning possible. The fact that the socialist form must be a closed, “stationary” system operated by a rigid control apparatus could not be divulged too publicly because of propaganda considerations. Incentives, which are responsible for fundamental technological improvements, would continually upset national planned balances. Incentives mean rewards. Such rewards would set up a separate class which would constitute a threat to the political bureaucrats who intend to run the socialist state.
Top socialist leaders have known for years that the only feasible society that they could operate would be one under a closed economy hostile to drastic and sudden technological changes.
Fabian socialist economists like Sidney Webb, R.H. Tawney and Harold Laski have assiduously avoided dealing with the economic forms under socialism for fear of disgusting their followers. Benjamin E. Lippincott, professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, reflects the puzzlement of many observers when he writes:
If Marxist economists are largely responsible for failing to show how the every day economics of socialism might be worked out in practice, socialist writers other than economists must share some of the responsibility. Writers on history, sociology, and political science like the Webbs, Tawney, and Laski have done admirable work in constructing institutions for a socialist state, but they have not pressed for an inquiry into the economics of such a state, even though the economics might vitally affect what they have constructed. They have not sufficiently considered the economic conditions that must be satisfied if a socialist state is to equal or to improve upon the standard of life provided by capitalism. Nor have they given adequate attention, from the technical point of view, to the economic advantages and disadvantages of socialism as compared with capitalism.(29)
(5). Fabian Socialist overall aims are international and imperialist in character. Starting in England as home base they have extended their “permeation,” influence and control to the entire British Empire. Fabian branches in numerous parts of the world have expanded their power to fantastic proportions. There have been Labour socialist governments in Australia and New Zealand as well as in England itself. These were founded and led by members of the Fabian Society. India is pursuing a socialist course set by the precedent of Fabian trained Jawaharlal Nehru and Krishna Menon. Intervention by British and American Fabians in the affairs of the United States has decided major policies and has largely molded the course of government control of the economic life of the United States. (A more detailed account of this process is dealt with in the next chapter.) The injection of Fabian socialist influence into the United Nations, UNESCO and the International Monetary Fund is so extensive that it would require a separate study.
Early Bolshevik connections with the Fabian socialists, as noted previously, inevitably allured the Fabian mind. Bernard Shaw and Beatrice and Sidney Webb, founders and leaders of Fabianism, became disillusioned with the principle of “gradualness” of reform socialism.(30)
Fabian leader Margaret Cole reports:
Bernard Shaw who had visited Russia during the summer of 1931 in company with Lady Astor and others, came home bubbling with excitement and delivered a lyrical address to the members of the Fabian Summer School, (31)
The Webbs went to the Soviet Union in 1931. Margaret Cole writes:
The Webbs, however, were visitors of a very special kind. In the first place, they were people of a very much higher calibre and standing than the majority of the flock of tourists; to convince them of the rightness of the Soviet system would be well worth while.
The Webbs were royally entertained and adulated, according to Mrs. Cole:
They were met and welcomed by representatives of the Soviet Foreign Office, the consumer’s cooperatives, and the Soviet of Leningrad. Sidney commented: “We seem to be a new type of royalty.”(32)
Actually, the above account by Margaret Cole is misleading. The Webbs were already thoroughly wedded to the Kremlin and apparently they were assigned the task by the Russian Foreign Office of perpetrating a huge deception on the unsuspecting Free World.
For upon their return the Webbs issued a two-volume work entitled Soviet Communism—A New Civilization. This presumably was written as an unbiased Fabian view. However, on April 7th, 1952, Igor Bogolepov appearing before the United States Senate sub-committee on Internal Security, as a former high official of the Soviet Foreign Office, testified as follows:
MR. MORRIS. Through the Foreign Office you had people in other countries write books favorable to the Soviet point of view.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. One British and one American. You certainly remember the British labor leaders, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, very reasonable people. They visited the Soviet Union in about 1935 or 1936, and the result of their visit was a two-volume work, Soviet Communism and New Civilization.
MR. MORRIS. That is, after the Webbs got back to England, having been in Soviet Russia—
MR. BOGOLEPOV. Yes.
MR. MORRIS. They wrote a two-volume work on Russia or the Soviet?
MR. BOGOLEPOV. That is right.
SENATOR FERGUSON. Now give us an example of Americans.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. I didn’t finish it yet.
SENATOR FERGUSON. Pardon me. Go ahead.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. The materials for this book actually were given by the Soviet Foreign Office.
SENATOR FERGUSON. Given to the Webbs.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. Yes. They had only to remake a little bit for English text, a little bit criticizing, but in its general trend the bulk of the material was prepared for them in the Soviet Foreign Office.
SENATOR FERGUSON. In the Soviet Foreign Office.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. In the Soviet Foreign Office, and I participated myself in part of this work.
SENATOR FERGUSON. So you were really preparing it under the Soviet, giving it to the Webbs so they might write it in English so it could be distributed in English.
MR. BOGOLEPOV. That’s right; yes.(33)
This testimony brought cries of “lies” and “fraud” from liberal intellectuals. However, 16 years after Bogolepov’s testimony, the niece of Beatrice Webb reported that every page ofSoviet Communism
was “checked for errors by the Soviet Embassy.” Among those involved in this “impartial and scientific” account was the Soviet press secretary, the chief of the Soviet Trade Mission and the Soviet Ambassador to England.*
Thus, even the Webb’s slight emendations of an original Soviet manuscript were carefully refurbished to meet the strict Soviet party line.
The book Soviet Communism was distributed in huge numbers by bookshops throughout the world. It was falsely presented as a work written by respectable and solid British citizens merely recording honest observations. Such deception is typical of Fabian methods.
Today the British Fabian pronouncement in favor of recognition of Red China and the demand that the United States stop atomic testing, are a logical extension of the traditional Fabian Socialist sympathy with Kremlin policy.
Fabians who claim that they advocate only peaceable socialist objectives are given the lie by their frequent defense of Stalin’s bloody mass murders.
On the last page of Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Bernard Shaw declares:
I also made it quite clear that Socialism means equality of income or nothing, and that under Socialism you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you like it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live you would have to live well.(34)
Apparently the basic difference between Bolshevik and Fabian totalitarianism is that under Fabianism, opponents of socialism would be “executed” in an amiable manner.
Sister M. Margaret Patricia McCarran, Ph.D., Fabianism In the Political Life of Britain, 1919-1931,
Heritage Foundation, 74 East Wacker Drive, Chicago I, Ill. pp. 3-4.
Sister McCarran’s book is a monumental research on the Fabian Society during its most fruitful period. It is indispensable as a reference authority on this question. In this study hundreds of items were checked for correctness and in every case the figures, quotations and references in this work were found to be completely accurate. It is an indispensable work for all students and researchers on the subject.
“Fabius,” “Fabian Society,” “Hannibal,” Columbia Encyclopedia,
Second Edition, Columbia University Press, 1950.
3 Fabianism In The Political Life of Britain,
“Fabian Society,” Columbia Encyclopedia,
Margaret Cole, Beatrice Webb, Harcourt Brace, N. Y., 1946, p. 49.
Bernard Shaw, Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism,
Brentano’s, N.Y., 1928, p. 94.
Sidney Webb, in his Socialism in England,
1889, pp. 26-27, wrote:
The Fabian Society occupies a different sphere as a Socialist Society from that of the two larger bodies. It was founded in 1883 as an educational and propagandist centre, and includes members of all the other organizations, with a number of active workers chiefly of the middle class, and “literary proletariat.” It furnishes lecturers in considerable number to all meetings where Socialism, in any guise whatsoever, can possibly be introduced, and its own fortnightly discussions have been useful in formulating and adapting socialist principles in relation to actual contemporary conditions. Two of its members were recently elected on the London School Board. The Society exercises a considerable influence, more real than apparent, by the personal participation of its members in nearly all reform movements, as well as by their work at the Universities and in the fields of journalism and the teaching of Political Economy. It is not, however, a numerous body, and makes no attempt to increase its numbers beyond a convenient limit.
9 Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism,
G.D.H. Cole, a leader of British Guild Socialism in 1919 (later a Fabian leader), was horrified over the Fabian concept of “expert manipulator” as the coming elite. L.L. Price, Economic Journal,
June 1919, No. 114, Vol. XXIX, p. 189, wrote:
For that stout believer (S. Webb –ed.) in the necessity and advantage of a trained, informed bureaucracy, vested with full authority to direct our every movement and supply all needs, is admonished by Mr. Cole because in one of his most recent comprehensive hand-books of final instruction—that on “The Works Manager Today”—he “believes” and “assumes” that “manipulation” of men is a “science to be learnt and controlled by the expert manipulator.”
12 Fabianism in the Political Life of Britain,
Alan Moorehead, Russian Revolution,
Harper, N. Y., 1958, p. 81.
George Lansbury, My Life,
London, 1928, p. 246. (Lansbury lectured on socialism at Harvard University in 1913, Ibid.,
15 Beatrice Webb,
An example of the connection between Lenin and the Fabians is the fact that Lenin’s Imperialism(International Publishers), was largely based on J.A. Hobson’s Imperialism (1902). J.A. Hobson was a prominent leader of the Fabian Society. (Facts on Communism, vol. 1, Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, December, 1959, p. 43, Also Fabian News, September, 1893, p. 30.)
Bela Hubbard, Political and Economic Structures,
Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1956, p. 111.
Mr. Hubbard, a retired geologist, has written a most lucid account of the twisting of economic theories by political ideology in recent world history.
A frank exposition of the Fabian permeation of the Liberal Party (as well as other parties) was printed in the Fabian Essays in Socialism, 1889, p. 215.
This permeation of the Radical Left, undoubted fact though it is of present day politics, is worth a little further attention; for there are two possible and tenable views as to its final outcome. One is that it will end in the slow absorption of the Socialist in the Liberal Party, and that by the action of this sponge-like organism the whole of the Rent and Interest will pass into collective control without there ever having been a party definitely and openly pledged to that end. According to this theory there will come a time, and that shortly, when the avowed Socialists and the much socialized Radicals will be strong enough to hold the balance in many constituencies, and sufficiently powerful in all to drive the advanced candidate many pegs further than his own inclination would take him. Then, either by abstention or by actual support of the reactionary champion at elections, they will be able to threaten the Liberals with certain defeat. The Liberals, being traditionally squeezable folk (like all absorbent bodies), will thus be forced to make concessions and to offer compromises; and will either adopt a certain minimum number of the Socialistic proposals, or allow to Socialists a share in the representation itself. Such concessions and compromises will grow in number and importance with each successive appeal to the electorate, until at last the game is won.
18 Beatrice Webb,
19 The Fabian News
from 1892 to the present is studded with members from countries all over the world. The United States leads in the number of foreign Fabian applications.
Leonard S. Woolf, International Government,
N.Y., Brentano’s, 1916, quoted in Fabianism In The Political Life of Britain,
by Sister McCarran, pp. 32-33. Sister McCarran observes: “The plan in Woolf’s book bears comparison with Wilson’s League of Nations and with the present United Nations organization. Possibly it has a greater likeness to the latter.”
L.S. Woolf is a veteran leader of the Fabian Society and was a life-long colleague of J.M. Keynes.
William L. McGrath, President of the Williamson Heater Company, Cincinnati, Ohio, The Communist Issue in the 38th International Labor Conference of the International Labor Organization,
Geneva, Switzerland, June, 1955 (mimeographed), p. 2.
Mr. McGrath has made an exhaustive study of the I.L.O. as a delegate to that body for a number of years. The following are some of his observations:
The I.L.O. originated with the League of Nations, continued in existence after the abandonment of the League, and is now an agency of the United Nations. It is therefore an international body having an official standing with Governments the world over, including our own.
In its earlier years the I.L.O. devoted its efforts to matters dealing directly with Labor, and did excellent constructive work. Its objective was that on endeavoring to raise living standards of employees all over the world; helping to get the workers better working conditions, fuller recognition of their rights, etc.
However, as State Socialism came into the ascendancy in Europe and the concept of the Planned Economy and the Welfare State gained broad political acceptance, the I.L.O. stepped beyond the field of labor proper, into the field of government itself; and under the pretext of “helping the working man,” has put forward a whole series of proposals, in the form of conventions and recommendations, which, if adopted by member countries, might of necessity force their Governments into a socialistic mold.
22 Fabianism In The Political Life of Britain,
24 Fabian News,
London, June, 1892, p. 19, “Local societies are requested to note that it is not desirable to make any change in the name by the addition of the word ‘Socialist’ to ‘Fabian.’ ”
Sidney Webb, Socialism In England,
London, 1889, pp. 20-21.
Bela Hubbard, Political And Economic Structures,
Oskar Lange is a classic example of how a Kremlin agent can operate in Fabian socialist circles and capitalize personally on the cloak of respectability such an affiliation gives him. A chronological account of his career includes: student London (Eng.) School of Economics, 1929; traveling fellow, U.S. Rockefeller Foundation, 1934-36; lecturer on economics, University of Michigan, 1936; lecturer on economics, University of California, 1936-38; Professor of economics, University of Chicago, 1939-43; (reference—Who’s Who in America,
Lange, with his background as graduate of the London School of Economics, had no difficulty in passing himself off as a Fabian socialist. (The London School of Economics was founded by Sidney Webb, head of the Fabian Society.)
While in the United States, Professor Lange accumulated a record of activity in a score of Communist fronts. Attempts to expose him were shouted down by “liberals” and “leftists” as “red baiting” and “witch hunting.” Lange’s Fabian comrades supported him unstintingly and used his books and articles as authoritative sources to prove left-wing claims. (Lange invokes as his authorities such fellow Fabians or Socialists as J.M. Keynes, G.D.H. Cole, Bertrand Russell and A.C. Pigou in his On the Economic Theory of Socialism.)
Lange’s disguise as a “mild socialist” was so well performed that he even attacked the Leninist doctrine of world revolution. He wrote: “I have not the slightest illusion about the Soviet Union being a ‘Socialist’ state . . .” The Modern Quarterly, Summer 1940, p. 20.
With the invasion of Poland by Soviet armies and the installation of the communist government in that country, Oskar Lange suddenly blossomed out as Ambassador from red Poland to the United States. In Congressional testimony the charge was made that Lange, while Ambassador, had clandestine meetings with Gregory Silvermaster, head of a Soviet espionage cell in Washington, D.C. Web of Subversion, by James Burnham, p. 184. Lange is still invoked as an authority on economic matters and his booklet, On the Economic Theory of Socialism, is required reading at Harvard’s economic department today. (Spring term 1959-60.)
History of Economic Analysis, J.A. Schumpeter, p. 986.
As we know, Marx himself had not attempted to describe the modus operandi of the centralist socialism which he envisaged for the future. His theory is an analysis of the capitalist economy that is no doubt geared to the idea that this economy, by means of the inevitable “breakdown” and of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” resulting from this breakdown, will give birth to the socialist economy; but there is a full stop after this and no theory of the socialist economy that deserves the name follows. Most of his disciples, as we also know, evaded the problem instead of meeting it. . . .
Oskar Lange, et al., On the Economic Theory of Socialism,
University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1956, p. 57.
Benjamin C. Lippincott, introduction to On the Economic Theory of Socialism,
Margaret Cole, Beatrice Webb,
33 Sub-Committee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary,
Chairman, Senator Pat McCarran; (Institute of Pacific Relations Hearing,
Part 13, April 1952, p. 4509).
An interesting corollary to this question was the fact that the Communist publishing firm, Workers Library Publishers, advertised the Webb book, Soviet Communism, as a free bonus along with a subscription to the Soviet magazines, The Communist International and The International Press Correspondence (Inprecorr). It was also offered as a free bonus with the magazine, The Communist.Reference, an advertisement in the Communist magazine, New Masses, May 18, 1937, p. 27).
Kitty Muggeridge and Ruth Adam, Beatrice Webb—A Life,
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, pp. 241-2.
34 Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism,