What exactly is “Democratic Socialism” ?
The Fabian Society began in England in 1887 by a very small group of elitist socialist that sought to reform society gradually into one of socialism instead of through violent revolution. At first their purpose was to be an alternative in Britain for the more dominate Marxist Social-Democratic Federation, but their true goal was to accomplish socialism through a very gradual process using the voting booth and representative democracy as their instrument of change. In fact, one of their symbols is a Turtle with the motto: “When I Strike, I Strike Hard”. Another symbol is the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing and the Globe on an Anvil being hammered into the Fabian model.
One stroke of genius was that instead of advocating a Socialist State, they assisted in the implementation of the Welfare State, which as we should all know is merely a few steps away from a purely Socialistic State. It was, of course, implemented gradually, and played upon the weaknesses of human nature to gain popularity. Unlike the usual Socialist points of views, the Fabians didn’t advocate complete State ownership of businesses, industry, agriculture or land, instead they sought to involve the State into very specific areas of importance such as electric power production, transportation, precious metals and of course, credit. The remaining balance of economic systems would be left to the private sector however; it would be highly regulated by the State and operated according to the wishes of the State.
The British counterpart of the German Marxian revisionists and heavily influenced by the English Historical school, the upper-middle-class intellectual group – the “Fabian Society” – emerged in 1884 as a strand of latter-day utopian socialism. They became known to the public firstly through Sidney Webb’s Facts for Socialists (1884) and then through the famous Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) written by the Webbs, Shaw, and others.
The “Fabians” were named after Fabius, the famous Roman general which opposed Hannibal as they were “biding their time” until they would “strike hard”. Exactly when this strike would occur was a perennial question. Eschewing the revolutionary tactics of more orthodox Marxians, the middle-class Fabians were more directly involved with politics and practical gains – through contacts not only in the “International Labor Party,” trade unions and cooperative movements but also throughout the entire British political apparatus