Young Fabians

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Young Fabians
Chair Ria Bernard
Vice Chair Rob Newbery
Treasurer Ava Etemadzadeh
Secretary Kuba Stawiski
Editor of Anticipations Charlotte Norton
Founded 1960
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Membership 2,000
Type Think tank
Purpose The under-31 s section of the Fabian Society
Website
www.youngfabians.org.uk

The Young Fabians is the under age 31 section of the Fabian Society,[1] a socialist society in the United Kingdom that is affiliated to the Party. The Young Fabians operate as a membership-driven think tank that organises policy debates, research projects, publications, conferences, and international delegations. The organisation holds no collective position on policy. The current National Chair is Ria Bernard.

History[edit]

The Fabian Society was founded by a group of young idealists in the late 19th century.[2] For example, H. G. Wells was 27 when he joined the Committee as was George Bernard Shaw. However, by the middle of the 20th century, the average age of active members was relatively elderly. In order to encourage more young people to join the society, a Young Fabian Group was proposed.

The Young Fabian Group for members of the Fabian society 30 years of age or younger was officially convened in May 1960 at a meeting organised by Fabian Society assistant General Secretary, Richard Leonard.

From small beginnings, the Young Fabians produced a steady stream of pamphlets through the 1960s and 1970s, and produced some 50 by 1980.[3]

Tony Blair at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 29 January 2009

The Young Fabians became less prominent during the 1980s while the Labour Party re-organised its youth wing, partly based on a template set out in a Young Fabian pamphlet. However, in the early 1990s, the group underwent a revival and played an important role in the discussion of the next stage of modernisation within the Labour Party. In 1994, members of the Young Fabians were part of the campaign to elect Tony Blair leader of the party and then the campaign to change Clause IV, although the group itself took no formal position on these issues.

In recent years several controversial pamphlets have been produced including "Students as Citizens" which advocated granting more choice to university students and "The Case for Socialism" which set out the socialist themes and actions of the Government of Tony Blair. In 2014 pamphlet number 63 "One Nation" was launched, which examined Ed Miliband's vision for Britain. The most recent pamphlet, number 65 "Closing the Gap", explores how the Labour Party can remould the NHS to ensure it is fit to face the new challenges of an ageing population.

The Group's quarterly magazine Anticipations, named after the title of an essay by H. G. Wells, was founded in 1996. It was originally edited by Liam Byrne, Tom Happold, Mark Leonard and Emma Beswick.

Until 2015 the organisation's activities were run directly by its Executive Committee, which undertook a programme of speaker events, seminars, receptions and policy pamphlets. This was changed fundamentally with the adoption of a new constitution in 2015 after a campaign led by Alex Adranghi and Martin Edobor with the document drafted by Alex Adranghi and Luke John Davies. Since then, the focus of running programmes have been devolved to members through member-led networks centered around topics related to core issues like International Affairs, Health and Education. The steering groups of each network are elected annually by the membership at a special Network AGM at the start of each calendar year.

The Young Fabians are currently seeking affiliation to Young European Socialists (YES).

Political position[edit]

The Young Fabians' statement of purpose is to avoid commitment to any one brand of socialism and to provide a "forum for different points of view within the left".

Unlike other youth socialist groups, the Young Fabians has maintained this position of neutrality on policy issues, upholding the Fabian Society's principle that its role is merely to determine whether a matter or position is suitable for discussion, not to take a group position on an issue. This has helped the group survive through many changes in the Labour Party without being identified as part of the left or right wing factions.

Along with the Fabian Society the Young Fabians is affiliated to the Labour Party. The group officially maintain a policy of neutrality with decisions internal the Labour Party such as internal elections. The group has the right to appoint one member to the Executive Committee of Young Labour.

Full members of the group must not be members of political parties that oppose Labour. A significant minority of members do not hold membership of the Labour Party. Members of other political parties are able to join the group as associate members.

The importance of the Young Fabians[edit]

Former Young Fabian Chairs James Hallwood and Martin Edobor at Fabian Society Summer Conference 2015

The book The Modernisers' Dilemma cites the Young Fabians as one of the most important groups within the Labour Party. As an organised network of younger, generally well-educated party members, often researchers or academics, the Young Fabians is one of the main social and informal networks through which political activity is carried out. However, by taking no formal policy stance, the Young Fabians has been able to include both supporters and sceptics of past Labour governments.

The Young Fabians also fills the gap between student politics and mainstream Labour Party politics, a gap which is filled in the Liberal Democrat and Conservative Party structures by having youth wings which include graduates up to the age of 30.

Young Fabian alumni[edit]

Young Fabian alumni have played significant roles in British public life, with many entering the British parliament and holding offices of state. Young Fabian alumni include Professor Colin Crouch,[4] Brian Lapping, Howard Glennerster, Giles Radice, Conrad Russell, Michael Crick, Peter Mandelson, Jack Straw, Stephen Twigg, Ann Taylor, Vince Cable[5] John Mann, Phil Woolas, Oona King, Lorna Fitzsimons, Paul Richards, Tom Watson, Liam Byrne, Stella Creasy, Seema Malhotra, Sunder Katwala, Mark Leonard, Jessica Asato and Sara Ibrahim.

Seema Malhotra MP, former National Chair of the Young Fabians and founder of the Fabian Women's Network 
Rt Hon. Jack Straw 
Colin Crouch, sociologist and political scientist. 
Rt Hon. Lord Peter Mandelson 
The Baroness King of Bow 
Rt Hon. Dr Vince Cable, Leader of the Lib Dems 
Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and former Young Fabian Executive member 
Rt Hon. Ed Balls, former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 
Stella Creasy MP, Labour Party deputy leadership candidate and former Young Fabian Executive member 

The Young Fabians today[edit]

In recent years the Young Fabians has seen a surge in membership, which had grown to more than 2,000 members as of 2017 from around 1,400 in 2014.[6] It regularly holds a series of events including policy seminars, debates and receptions in foreign embassies, and publishes the quarterly magazine Anticipations. The Young Fabians are distinct from other youth movements in their focus on ideas and policy. Like the Fabian Society, the Young Fabians promote the discussion and dissemination of ideas to help shape Labour Party policy. It also holds regular social events, with its annual summer boat party on the Thames having become a popular fixture in the Westminster calendar for young members and activists.

While primarily a research based organisation, the Young Fabians also held a series of campaign day events for members across the UK during the 2017 general election, including in Reading, Oxford, Wolverhampton and Birmingham as well as London, and have run a number of international campaigning trips. Recent campaigning visits include going to Florida for the 2016 presidential election and to Sweden for their 2014 general election.

Under the auspices of the Young Fabians International Network, Young Fabian research trips have also been conducted in recent years to China (2015), Brussels (2015), Sweden (2015), Israel and Palestine (2015 and 2016) and the United States (2016).

The Young Fabians Networks[edit]

Young Fabians International Network at the Riksdag with delegates Ian Kugler, Rayhan Haque, Martin Edobor, Rachel Ward and Unsa chaudri

In 2010 the Young Fabians launched two special interest groups focused on finance and science industries. These networks set out to bring together those involved or who have an interest in the subject, and link their specialist knowledge into policy debate. In 2011 a Health Network was launched. In 2013 saw the brief existence of Foreign Policy and Creative Industry networks, and in 2014 a Local Government Network was intended to open. 2015 saw the largest expansion of networks with the founding of Education, International and Communications networks, followed by further addition of the Law and Technology networks in 2016.

Each network is run by a steering committee who manage their own annual programme, and since 2012 the networks have elected their own Chairs and other officers.

Network Chairs
Year Finance Network Health Network International Network Education Network Communications Network Technology Network Law Network BAME Network Home Affairs Network Devolution Network
2011-2012 Alexander Adranghi Martin Edobor - - - - - -
2012-2013 Lorna Russell Adebusuyi Adeyemi - - - - - -
2013-2014 Sophie Robson Amrita Rose - - - - - -
2014-2015 Joshua Price Sophie Keenleyside Luke John Davies Joel Mullan Camilla Clarke - - -
2015-2016 Vickram Grewal Rose Gray Christos Gatsios Channon Zhangazha Junaed Khan Nick Maxwell Rebecca Meredith - - -
2016-2017 Ben West Sonia Adesara Katya Creed Jacob Lloyd Tristan Grove Linus Sioland Deeba Syed Kirith Ahluwalia David McKenzie and Andy Scott

Young Fabian Executives[edit]

The Executives of the Young Fabians are elected in the run up to the November AGM and hold office for one year. Recent Executives and Chairs have included:

Young Fabian Executives
Year Chair Elected
1993-1994 Katherine Edwards
1994-1995 Darren Kalynuk
1995-1996 Emma Beswick
1996-1997 Tom Happold
1997-1998 Peter Metcalfe
1998-1999 Howard Dawber
1999-2000 Seema Malhotra
2000-2001 Mari Williams
2001-2002 Guy Lodge
2002-2003 James Connal
2003-2004 Jessica Asato
2004-2005 Kevin Bonavia
2005-2006 Prema Gurunathan Conor McGinn, Tom Flynn, Kate Groucutt, Mark Rusling, David Floyd, Emma Carr, Emily Robinson, Matt Blakeley, Nisha Tailor, Fred Grindrod, Rebecca Rennison
2006-2007 Conor McGinn Kate Groucutt, Tom Flynn, Emma Carr, Mark Rusling, Will Martindale, David Floyd, Fred Grindrod, Yue Ting Cheng, Angela Green, Nisha Tailor, Rebecca Rennison
2007-2008 Mark Rusling Kate Groucutt, Rebecca Rennison, Emma Carr, David Chaplin, Patrick Woodman, Alex Baker, Tom Miller, Dan Whittle, Tom Flynn, Brian Tomlinson, Richard Messingham
2008-2009 Kate Groucutt Emma Carr, David Chaplin, Rebecca Rennison, Richard Messingham, Dan Whittle, Adrian Prandle, Tom Stote, Alex Baker, Sam Strudwick, Claire Leigh, James Green
2009-2010 David Chaplin Adrian Prandle, Sara Ibrahim, Alex Baker, James Green, Rebecca Rennison, Preth Rao, Steve Race, Claire Leigh, Brian Duggan, Anna-Joy Rickard
2010-2011 Adrian Prandle Sara Ibrahim, Claire Leigh, Alex Baker, James Green, Vincenzo Rampulla, Marie-Noelle Loewe, Preth Rao, Brian Duggan, Anna-Joy Rickard, Richard Lane
2011-2012 Sara Ibrahim Claire Leigh, Steve Race, Hetty Wood, Ellie Cumbo, Katharina Klebba, James Hallwood, Matt Zarb-Cousin, Jack Storry, Vincenzo Rampulla, James Roberts, Brian Duggan
2012-2013 Steve Race Hetty Wood, Ellie Cumbo, Katharina Klebba, Louie Woodall, Thomas Butler, Alex Adranghi, Colm Flanagan, Graeme Henderson, James Hallwood, Joel Mullan, Marielle O'Neill
2013-2014 James Hallwood Katharina Klebba, Alex Adranghi, Martin Edobor, Louie Woodall, Hetty Wood, Joel Mullan, Adebusuyi Adeyemi, Alvin Carpio, Felicity Slater, Lorna Russell.
2014-2015 Alexander Adranghi Martin Edobor, Adebusuyi Adeyemi, Sophia Morrell, Paulina Jakubec, Ellie Groves, Heather Vernon, Louie Woodall, Alvin Carpio, Jess Toale, Ben West, Sophie Keenleyside
2015-2016 Martin Edobor Ria Bernard, Ellie Groves, Ben West, Unsa Chaudri, Miriam Mirwitch, Bradley Marshall, Andrea Campos-Vigouroux, Ade Adeyemi, Amrita Rose, Babs Williams, Kyalo Burt-Fulcher, Luke John Davies
2016-2017 Ellie Groves Ria Bernard, Ben West, Jack Phipps, Miriam Mirwitch, Kyalo Burt-Fulcher, Jade Symonds, Kuba Stawiski, Emma Booth, Rebecca Meredith, Nathaneal Amos-Sansam, Luke John Davies, Charlotte Norton, Kirith Ahluwalia
2017-2018 Ria Bernard Miriam Mirwitch, Charlotte Norton, Kuba Stawiski, Ava Etemadzadeh, Jack Phipps, Ludovica Orlando, Deeba Syed, Rob Newbery, Ben Gartside, Kyalo Burt-Fulcher, Adam Allnutt

Young Fabian Press[edit]

  • Anatomy – policy project-centric serial
  • Anticipations – print magazine of the Young Fabians

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Guardian (2013). "Politics Special Reports". The Guardian. 
  2. ^ Margaret Cole (1961). The Story of Fabian Socialism. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804700917. 
  3. ^ The London School of Economics (1961–2009). "LSE Fabian Society and Young Fabian digital archives". The Fabian Society. 
  4. ^ Colin Crouch (1969). "Politics in a Technological Society". The Fabian Society. 
  5. ^ Vince Cable (1969). "Whither Kenyan Emigrants". The Fabian Society. 
  6. ^ "YF Members Profile: the successes and challenges confronting the organisation archives". 

External links[edit]