Historically the Fabian Society has always been a source of ideological and philosophical argument, not just practical policy. This emphasis on ideas is particularly important now. For example, we live at a time when it is far from clear what socialism is. The term itself has largely gone out of use in polite society. The world which shaped the classic positions of the left in the 20th century has changed, and continues to do so. This is as a result both of the triumph of global capitalism, and the long hegemony of the neo-liberal governments which served its purposes, and of deeper social, technological and cultural forces. Confronting these changes, and faced with the apparent discrediting of many of its own former beliefs, the left throughout the world is searching for new definitions.

About 580 Fabian Tracts are now available online for you to download for free (as pdf files). The tracts date from 1884 to 1997 and cover a great number of topics. For example, the earlier tracts debate the nature of socialism, campaign for better working conditions (such as an eight-hour working day) and detail hopes for better living conditions through increased local government. Many of these early tracts were written by LSE founders George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb.


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