Our History

The Fabian Society is Britain’s leading left of centre think tank and political society, committed to creating the ideas and policies which will make possible a better world.

More than 300 MPs, MEPs, and Peers and many more councillors are among its 7,000 members. There is a thriving Fabian Women’s Network and a Young Fabians organisation.

In contrast to most think tanks the Fabian Society is a democratically-constituted membership organisation, with almost 7,000 members. Birmingham Fabian Society is one of 70 local fabian societies which run independently of the national Society, but with many links.

We stand for:

  • greater equality of power, wealth and opportunity
  • the value of collective action and public service
  • an accountable, tolerant and active democracy
  • citizenship, liberty and human rights
  • sustainable development
  • multilateral international cooperation

The Fabian Story

The Fabian Society derives its name from the Roman general Quintus Fabius, known as Cuncator from his strategy of delaying his attacks on the invading Carthaginians until the right moment. The name Fabian Society was explained in the first Fabian pamphlet which carried the note.

“For the right moment you must wait, as Fabius did most patiently, when warring against Hannibal, though many censured his delays; but when the time comes you must strike hard, as Fabius did, or your waiting will be in vain, and fruitless.”

The Society was created in 1884. Key early members were  George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Emeline Parkhurst, HG Wells, Rupert Brooke and Annie Besant. They were the first to propose many influential ideas – a national health service and a welfare state financed by progressive taxation, equal rights for women, and decolonisation. They demonstrated, through publications and lectures, that ideas matter in politics – and were prepared to think ahead, outside what seemed to be overwhelming forces of reaction and conservatism. In 1900 they helped to create the Labour Party, and from the beginning Fabians have been prominent at all levels in the Party.  There is more of the recent history of the Society, and its influence on Labour governments, on the national website, www.fabians.org.uk.

The Fabian Society and the Labour Party

The Society was one of the original founders of the Labour Party and is constitutionally affiliated to it as a “socialist society”. The Society is however editorially, organisationally and financially independent of the Labour Party and works with a wide range of partners of all political persuasions and none. Membership of the Fabian Society is open to anyone who shares our objectives, not only to members of the Labour Party.


Birmingham Fabian Society organises about 6 events a year, on topics of interest and importance to socialists. It is run by a small committee:

Chairman and Acting Secretary:  Andrew Coulson  Andrew@CoulsonBirmingham.co.uk   0121 475 4615

Treasurer and Membership  Secretary: William Franklin: wfranklin41@aol.com   078 897 26767

Committee Member:  Bob Ingrams

It’s constitution is here: Bham Fabians Constitution agreed in principle at AGM 9 7 2013