Fabians launch in Northern Ireland..

Looks like the British Labour Movement is taking baby steps to organise politically here. The Fabian Society, was, according to Google, “founded in 1884 by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw and HG Wells as a group promoting non-Marxist evolutionary socialism”. It’s now here in Northern Ireland as an official “Local Society”.Steven Twigg, Director of the Foreign Policy Centre, former MP and Secretary of the Fabian Society, addressed the inaugural meeting at QUB last week. He outlined the history of the Society as a left of centre, membership driven think-tank.

The Fabian Society had been influential throughout its existence, producing regular Policy pamphlets and stimulating debate. Recently the Society had been developing ideas around Life Chances, encouraging a reappraisal of the opportunities that we offer to all our citizens. It was also taking forward the debate on the future of the European Union in the context of greater international instability.

The opportunities afforded by the establishment of a Fabian Local Society in Northern Ireland were welcomed. The Society had always been inclusive. Full membership in Northern Ireland would be open to members of the Labour Party, the SDLP, the Irish Labour Party and to individuals who were not a member of a political party. Others interested in the work of the society, including members of other political parties, can join as Associate members.

The Northern Ireland Branch of the Fabian Society hoped to stimulate debate among socialists and to encourage the development of policy discussions beyond the confines of local sectarian politics.

A Committee was elected to take forward the work of the Society. The Committee were tasked with the development of a branch of the Young Fabians at an early stage.

Further Information :

To facilitate debate, the Fabian Society in its Constitution agrees to submit no resolution of a political character expressing an opinion or calling for action, to any body to which it affiliates.

The objects of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Fabian Society are:-

“The society consists of socialists. It aims at the establishment of a society in which equality of opportunity will be assured and the economic power and privileges of individuals and classes abolished through the collective ownership and democratic control of the economic resources of the community. It seeks to secure these ends by the methods of political democracy. The society, believing in equal citizenship in the fullest sense, is open to persons, irrespective of sex, race or creed, who commit themselves to aim at the implementation of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seeks the creation of effective international institutions to uphold and enforce world peace. Its activities shall be the furtherance of socialism and the education of its members and the public on socialist lines, by the holding of meetings, lectures, discussion groups, conferences and the promotion of research and by any other appropriate methods.”

Click {encode=”ni.fabians@ntlworld.com” title=”here”} to contact the Northern Ireland Branch of the Fabian Society.

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  • Aquifer

    “It seeks to secure these ends by the methods of political democracy”

    Could have done with these guys a while back.

  • Tkmaxx

    This is nothing new in this – the Fabians have already held an event in NI – it was last year – it was cross community and quite radical. It was attended by two Ministers. This is a guise for the labour organise in NI groupies. No problem but dont dress up it up as unique. But when was anything here new.

  • Stamper

    Is McGinn from Newry still the chair of the yoof version of this crowd?

  • Steven Twigg is a member of the Executive Committee of the Fabian Society but isn’t the Secretary. That is Sunder Katwala. For my own reponse to this item see – http://threescoreyearsandten.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-are-fabians-true-colours.html

  • Avalidpoint

    Interesting how members of the SDLP and Irish Labour are welcome but not Sinn Fein..

  • Token Dissent

    Another welcome development.

    I would also like to thank Harry Barnes for his work and sound judgement regarding Northern Ireland. A true friend of this place.

    Avalidpoint makes, eh, a valid point. It is equally valid to ask why UUP labourites aren’t being encouraged to join. I understand the logic of staying away from the dark dhades of Orange and Green, but welcoming SDLP but not UUP is a bit strange. I would characterise both parties as being basically conservative, but with a number of progressive members.

  • Marosa

    Token Dissent – that is a bit strange. I know the Fabian Society has links with the Labour Party in Britain, maybe thats got something to do with why they’ve invited the SDLP only.

    I notice in Parliament (the British one) that the SDLP sit with the Labour party on the government benches, whereas the UUP, DUP, SF and the rest sit on the opposition benches. Is there any reason for this? I always thought the “Labour” in both names were coincidential.

  • willis

    Marosa

    This should help.

    http://www.labour.org.uk/445

    The SDLP and Irish Labour Party are sister parties.

    The Fabian Society is an affiliated organisation.

    http://www.labour.org.uk/3389

  • It’s looks pretty straightforward to me. The British and Irish Labour Parties and the SDLP are all member parties of the Party of European Socialists. The Northern Ireland Forum of the Irish Labour Party allows members of British Labour and the SDLP to join on that basis.

  • seanzmct

    Are members of the British Labour Party in Northern Ireland allowed to join the Fabian Society her?

  • Why has it taken so long.

  • The General Secretary of the Fabian Society, Sunder Katwala has placed a lengthy comment on my blog explaining the purposes of the setting up of the Local Society in Northern Ireland and the reasoning behind its membership and its open affiliated membership requirements. See the comment section attached to this -http://threescoreyearsandten.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-are-fabians-true-colours.html

  • Token Dissent

    Sunder Katwala’s clarification is re-assuring, and I hope that an input from across the constitutional spectrum is forthcoming.

    I am still however uneasy about the issue. I understand the logic with regard to admission of the SDLP due to European politics, however as Mr Barnes states perception is of vital importance, especially in the early days of a new venture.

    I hope that the Fabians will be a much needed avenue for unionists with a left of centre agenda to contribute to discussion and policy.

  • seanzmct

    I am still not clear. Are members of the British Labour Party in Northern Ireland permitted to join the Fabians? After all people livingin the north they were disgracefully banned from the Labour Party for 100 years.

  • Labourman

    Seanzmctt,

    Are members of the British Labour Party in Northern Ireland permitted to join the Fabians?

    Yes.