By George Fairhurst
The Fabian Society, a socialist political group whose members include Clement Attlee, Lisa Nandy, Tony Benn, Tony Blair, and John McDonnell, is an old name. If you were to ask a few people involved in Labour Party politics what sort of group they were in, you would likely get a variety of answers such as Momentum, Labour First, Open Labour and other groups which mix factional politics with policy development.
The Fabian Society, particularly its youth branch, hasn’t really bothered with that mix in a while. In fact, the society I’m a proud member of is so diverse in its membership that we invite people to give our nameless turtle logo whatever name they please (I prefer Fabius).
This is the first impression I got of the Fabian Society in Brighton last September as I went through my first ever Labour Party conference carrying 9 canvass bags full of pamphlets, forms, pens, manifestos and cards - all whilst talking to anyone who so much as gave a friendly smile.
Politics to me has never been a straightforward interest. Ever since joining the party, I think I have changed my core beliefs more often than Change UK changed their name. I wasn’t 100% sold on the Momentum way of looking at left-wing politics, nor did the people at Labour First offer a compelling perspective. The conference to me was a chance to explore ideas, meet interesting people and maybe find out the true state of the country after nine years of Conservative governing.
The experience of talking to people from different backgrounds, finding people who also wanted to chat about HS2 and feeling like I was finally making headway towards sorting out my political identity was fantastic. And it is such a feeling that I have decided I want to spend the next year trying to replicate it with the Young Fabians devolution expansion.
Where you come from defines you and is naturally what inspires the values that you hold in your heart. Politics likes to pretend it’s about ideology, polling numbers and who’s got the best way to lead the country to its future but, in reality, that all stems from the most fundamental element of politics: people.
It is people who author articles in The Tribune that convince you of the need for a Rent Strike; who thoroughly put you off reading another opinion piece in the I; or who would be able to get the support they need if we actually reformed the Gender Reformation Act (GRA).
The Fabian Society represents a chance for its members to obtain a voice and drive the direction of the networks they’re involved in. My own experience has involved drafting a simple email asking for an event up north and then three months later writing a proposal to set up a Yorkshire and Humberside network that is about to come to life. My Fabian Society, the one I believe in, represents a chance for education on a subject matter close to a member’s heart. A chance I’m taking to give outsiders of Yorkshire a better understanding of what people in Wakefield or Barnsley think.
If this feeling of discovery or exploration resonates with you as much as it has for me, I implore you to at least give the Young Fabians a look. Perhaps the motto of our society sums it up best: Educate, Agitate, Organise. We want to educate ourselves and others on the core problems facing the UK, agitate what we believe to be the best solutions to end them and organise a pathway towards a country without such inequalities. If that sounds like your sort of fight, you might be a Fabian.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company.