Ernest Belfort Bax
Born into a nonconformist religious family in Leamington, he was first introduced to Marxism while studying philosophy in Germany. He combined Karl Marx's ideas with those of Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer and Eduard von Hartmann. Keen to explore possible metaphysical and ethical implications of socialism, he came to describe a "religion of socialism" as a means to overcome the dichotomy between the personal and the social, and also that between the cognitive and the emotional. He saw this as a replacement for organised religion, and was a fervent atheist, keen to free workers from what he saw as the moralism of the middle-class.
Bax moved to Berlin and worked as a journalist on the Evening Standard. On his return to England in 1882, he joined the SDF, but grew disillusioned and in 1885 left to form the Socialist League with William Morris. After anarchists gained control of the League, he rejoined the SDF, and became the chief theoretician, and editor of the party paper Justice. He opposed the party's participation in the Labour Representation Committee, and eventually persuaded them to leave.
Almost throughout his life, he saw economic conditions as ripe for socialism, but felt this progress was delayed by a lack of education of the working class. Bax supported Karl Kautsky over Eduard Bernstein, but Kautsky had little time for what he saw as Bax's utopianism, and supported Theodore Rothstein's efforts to spread a more orthodox Marxism in the SDF.
Bax was an ardent antifeminist since, according to Bax, feminism was a part of the "anti-man crusade". According to Bax, "anti-man crusades" were responsible for "anti-man laws" during the time of men-only voting in England. Bax wrote many articles in The New Age and elsewhere about English laws partial to women against men, and women's privileged position before the law, and expressed his view that women's suffrage would unfairly tip the balance of power to women. In 1908 he wrote The Legal Subjection of Men as a response to John Stuart Mill's 1869 essay "The Subjection of Women." In 1913 he published an essay, The Fraud of Feminism, detailing feminism's adverse effects. Section titles included "The Anti-Man Crusade", "The 'Chivalry' Fake", "Always The 'Injured Innocent'", and "Some Feminist Lies and Fallacies".
Bax died in London.
He wrote the following books on various subjects:
- Jean-Paul Marat: A Historico-Biographical Sketch (1882)
- A Handbook of the History of Philosophy (1886)
- A Short Account of the Commune of Paris of 1871, with Victor Dave & William Morris (1886)
- Religion of Socialism (1886)
- French Revolution (1890)
- Outlooks From a New Standpoint (1891)
- The Problem of Reality (1893)
- The Ethics of Socialism (1893)
- German Society at the Close of The Middle Ages (1894)
- The Paris Commune (1894)
- Socialism; Its Growth and Outcome, with William Morris (1894)
- The Peasants War (1899)
- Jean-Paul Marat: The People's Friend (1900)
- The Rise and Fall of the Anabaptists (1900)
- A New Catechism of Socialism, with Harry Quelch (1903)
- Essays in Socialism, New and Old (1906)
- The Roots of Reality (1907)
- The Legal Subjection of Men (1908) with an unnamed Irish barrister
- The Last Episode of the French Revolution (1911)
- Problems of Men, Mind, and Morals (1912)
- The Fraud of Feminism (1913)
- Reminiscences and Reflexions of a mid and late Victorian (1918)
- German Culture Past and Present (1915)
- E. Belfort Bax, "Mr. Belfort Bax Replies to his Feminist Critics", The New Age, 8 August 1908. Retrieved on 3 January 2013.
- E. Belfort Bax, The Legal Subjection of Men, at Wikisource
- "E. Belfort Bax: The Fraud of Feminism (1913)". Marxists.org. 2005-10-09. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
- John Cowley, The Victorian Encounter with Marx: Study of Ernest Belfort Bax (London, I.B. Tauris, 1993).
- Ernest Belfort Bax: Father of the Men's Movement
- Archive of Bax's work on Marxists.org
- Works by Ernest Belfort Bax at Project Gutenberg
- Biography at Marxists.org
- The Legal Subjection of Men, 1908 antithesis of John Stuart Mill's 1869 The Subjection of Women.
- Fraud of Feminism, full 1913 text online
- Article on Bax at Spartacus Educational