The permeation of the United States by British Fabian socialism proceeded primarily through the universities. The main root of Fabian “permeation” was Harvard University. Fabian socialists as well as Marxian socialists selected Harvard as the fount from which leftist ideology filtered through to other educational institutions. Later the communists borrowed from the socialists the formula of incubating revolutions through universities.(1) Among those who pioneered Fabianism in America (shortly after the formation of the Fabian Society in England in 1883) were James Harvey Robinson (Harvard, 1887), Oswald Garrison Villard (H’93), W.E.B. DuBois (H’90) and Harry Frederick Ward (H’98).
Professor Taussig and others at Harvard, allowed the Fabians to operate freely with the best of intentions. Their cloak of “respectability” permitted Fabian socialists to carry on under “harmless” colors. Fabians at Harvard and other universities were considered not as conspirators but as individuals with whom one could have amiable disagreements.
With the aid of Taussig and other economists of the American Economic Association, Webb’s essay on Socialism in England was circulated in 1889 throughout the academic world.(2) This essay was based on Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889), which formed the basic platform for the growth of extremism in England.(3) The American essay explained to its American readers that in England “Socialist lectures have lately been given in several colleges by permission of the authorities, this part of the propaganda being chiefly performed by the Fabian Society, which has a standing ‘Universities Committee.’ ”
British Fabian leaders Sidney Webb and Edward R. Pease came to the United States in 1888 for a long visit to train Fabian groups in the art of socialism. Webb solidified his connection with the American Economic Association whose editorial address was at Harvard University.
Bela Hubbard in Political and Economic Structures states; “By the close of the nineteenth century they (Fabians –ed.) had made converts in the United States. Under Fabian influence and guidance, the Intercollegiate Socialist Society was founded in New York City, in 1905.”(4) During this same period the Rand School of Social Science was formed by Fabian Socialists and became the New York headquarters of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.
The pattern of operation in the I.S.S. was the same as that pursued by Fabians in England. During the first two years (1905-1907) its activity was mainly that of distributing literature and giving lectures in the universities. By January 1908, the first professional paid organizer went into action. His task was to consolidate in organizational form the results of the previous propaganda. A chapter of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society was formed in Harvard. Other chapters quickly followed in Princeton, Columbia, Barnard, New York University and University of Pennsylvania. All these chapters were organized in the first four months of 1908 at a cost of only 521 dollars.(5)
By 1914 the Harvard chapter of the I.S.S. had over 60 members. John Spargo, socialist leader, addressed as many as 250 students at Harvard in a single meeting of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.(6)
Active in the I.S.S. were Walter Lippmann, Felix Frankfurter, Roger Baldwin, Harry F. Ward and Stuart Chase. The following I.S.S. supporters among many others became leaders in the communist apparatus: Ella Reeves Bloor, Louis Budenz, Jay Lovestone, Alexander Tratchenberg, W.E.B. DuBois and Robert W. Dunn.(7)
In the recent book Walter Lippmann and His Times, Carl A. Binger, the well known psychiatrist and the leader of mental health movements, states:
The Fabian movement captured our imagination, and Graham Wallas. Wallas, then at the London School of Economics, was all the more valued as a visiting lecturer at Harvard for having been part of it. Wallas dedicated his book The Great Society to Lippmann, and since this book was published in 1914, four years after the discussion course in government that Wallas conducted and in which Walter took part, one can see what an impression this young student must have made on his teacher. But by that time (1913) Lippmann had already written his Preface to Politics.
The Webbs—Sidney and Beatrice—also influenced Walter by their careful, tough-minded documentation of social ills and their dedication to betterment and welfare.(8)
By 1916 I.S.S. organizers lectured on socialism to over 30,000 students throughout the country. “They addressed some 89 economic and other classes and spoke before over a score of entire college bodies.”(9)
In the Socialist Review (formerly the Intercollegiate Socialist) the official organ of the I.S.S., the following political position was published for all members to note:
Menaced by foreign miltary forces, the work of social and economic regeneration is now endangered. The Russian revolution is the heritage of the world. It must not be defeated by foreign militarism. It must be permitted to develop unhampered. It must live, so that Russia may be truly free and, through its freedom, blaze the way for industrial democracy throughout the world. (1919)(10)
Walter Lippmann and Felix Frankfurter managed to attach themselves as special assistants to the Secretary of War in 1917. While there, Lippmann and Frankfurter became closely associated with the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt.(11) F.D.R. later rewarded this friendship by appointing Frankfurter to the Supreme Court and American Fabians capitalized on this connection by grabbing hundreds of jobs in key Government positions.
Lippmann and Frankfurter, as socialists used their influence to aid left-wing conscientious objectors during World War I. The “objectors” were extremists who refused to support “any war under the capitalist system.” In the New York State Joint Legislative Inquiry in 1920 the following Frankfurter-Lippmann collaboration was disclosed:
Considerable correspondence passed to and from Frederick Keppel, of the War Department, to Roger Baldwin and Norman Thomas of the Civil Liberties Bureau, indicating the efforts of that organization to influence the War Department with respect to its treatment of conscientious objectors. A letter from Baldwin to Manley Hudson contains the following:
“Lippmann and Frankfurter are of course out of that particular job now, (war office) and I have to depend entirely upon Keppel.”(12)
Roger Baldwin (Harvard 1905) during this same period outlined a Fabian device of capturing power by stealth and deception.(13) In an advisory letter to a socialist agitator he wrote in part:
Do steer away from making it look like a Socialist enterprise . . . We want also to look patriots in everything we do. We want to get a good lot of flags, talk a good deal about the Constitution and what our forefathers wanted to make of this country, and to show that we are really the folks that really stand for the spirit of our institutions.(14)
Late in World War I Lippmann “became one of a group working on the background material on which Wilson was to base his Fourteen Points.”(15) Unfortunately, one of these Points was largely responsible for the dissecting and break-up of Europe into mutually antagonistic political and economic segments. American Fabians (Lippmann & Co.) and British Fabians (Keynes & Co.) played a considerable role in promoting this policy, thereby laying the basis for the rise of Adolph Hitler. Lippmann personally prepared a brief of thirteen of the Fourteen Points in order to sell them to the Prime Minister Lloyd George. These “came to be accepted as the official American interpretation of the Fourteen Points.”(16)
John Maynard Keynes, in the meantime, sat at Lloyd George’s elbow trying to steer him in a Fabian direction. Lippmann quit the Versailles Treaty proceedings after vainly trying to convince President Wilson not to oppose the Bolshevik Revolution.(17) Keynes taking the identical position also walked out on Lloyd George during this same period.
After World War I the Intercollegiate Socialist Society changed its name to The League for Industrial Democracy (L.I.D.). The parent Fabian Society in England had always urged that the word “socialist” be pushed into the background. Socialistic policies were considered more important than the mere name “socialism” itself. The League for Industrial Democracy openly boasted:
What the Fabian Society and Guild Socialist League have done in England, what Clarte is doing on the Continent—this, making due allowance for American conditions and American needs, the L.I.D. seeks to accomplish in the United States.(18)
Among the more prominent activists of the L.I.D. were such leftist luminaries as Stuart Chase, George Soule, Norman Thomas, Alvin Johnson, Felix Frankfurter, Harry A. Overstreet, Thorstein Veblen and Scott Nearing. The L.I.D. produced a host of pro-Soviet followers. Such notorious Sovieteers as Corliss Lamont (Harvard 1924), Frederick Vanderbilt Field (H’27) and Owen Lattimore (H’31), were active in the L.I.D.
In England a parallel development went on in the parent Fabian Society. Violent advocates of pro-Bolshevik ideas such as Harold J. Laski (Harvard 1916) and John Strachey reflected a development known as the New Fabianism.
Leading American Fabians activized several organizations as instruments to put over left-wing ideas. One of the more important of these is the New School for Social Reserach.(19) Another such group was the Bureau of Industrial Research.(20)
The New School for Social Research, which operates as an accredited educational institution, has been sold to the general public as an independent and politically neutral institution. Actually the New School was cited as: “established by men who belong to the ranks of near-Bolshevik Intelligentsia, some of them being too radical in their views to remain on the faculty of Columbia University.”(21) When the above characterization was made by the New York State Legislative Committee (1920), the New School Fabian socialist nature was not too well defined but its extremism was recognizable even then. The list of its faculty, lecturers and directors from its origin in 1919 to the present day, reads like a Who’s Who of the socialist and communist movement. Keynes had also lectured there.(22)
The parent movement connecting the various Fabian “fronts” in America to this day is the League for Industrial Democracy. An examination of the background of those associated with this Fabian network indicates that they were the nucleus of the “Brain Trust” of the Washington bureaucracy. They have been the fountainhead of big government and big spending philosophies.
Alvin Hansen, Seymour E. Harris and J. Kenneth Galbraith (all professors of the Harvard Economics Department) and others of their ilk have not only served as administrators of huge Federal Bureaus but have planted a swarm of their followers in government bureaucracies.(23) Hansen and Harris have both been associated actively with the socialistic League for Industrial Democracy. Seymour Harris is a “big-wig” in the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). Galbraith has long been known as an extremist and has recently graduated as a favorite of the Kremlin. An official Soviet magazine the New Times (published by TRUD in Moscow in nine languages) features an article by Galbraith advocating greater spending by the United States and agreeing with Khrushchev that this country should disarm.(24)
Hansen, Harris and Galbraith, besides being Fabian type socialists, are considered the leaders of American Keynesism. The pattern is the same although the names and labels keep shifting. Fabian socialism uses Keynesism as a political weapon. The Kremlin followers use the Fabian organizations as a cover for their operations. Keynesism is used to snare the unwary and bring them by degrees into a socialistic turn of mind. The communists then work hard to propel such socialistic converts further along the road to Soviet socialism.
It is a confusing, constantly shifting and horribly intricate process. The left-wing political underworld uses Fabian socialism with its “respectable covers” as a backdrop and sanctuary. The constant movement in and out of the whole Fabian melange cannot be understood unless the Fabian process and Fabian motives are dissected and shown up in their true nature. Without understanding the political climate and function of the Fabian socialist camp a true evaluation of the communist conspiracy is not possible. Fabian socialism and communism embrace each other, feed on each other and sometimes engage in a family fight. The communists inevitably get the better of the bargain.
The Kremlin has found that it needs a socialistic environment in which it can hide and nurture its forces. Operating in a tangled forest of socialistic organizations the communists find that they can venture forth to attack society and then run back to shelter whenever the going gets too tough. An evaluation of the left-wing needs an understanding of Fabianism on the one hand—no matter what its labels—and an understanding of Communism on the other—also despite its camouflage.
Today Fabians use the teachings of John Maynard Keynes as their catechism of political economy. The American Fabians have slavishly installed Keynesism as the new faith, both in the Universities and in Government bureaucracy.(25) To lay bare and dissect these premeditated deceptions is the true task of the political science of our day.
1 Some universities which were the early objects of Fabian infiltration were Pennsylvania, Chicago and Wisconsin. Also chosen for concentration were Yale, Columbia and Princeton.
2 Sidney Webb, Barrister at Law, Lecturer on Economics at the city of London College (England), Socialism in England, Publication of the American Economic Association, vol. IV no. 2, 1889, p. 40. See also Fabianism in the Political Life of Britain, p. 8.
3 Sidney Webb, et al., Fabian Essays in Socialism, Walter Scott, London, 1889.
4 Political and Economic Structures, p. 111
5 Intercollegiate Socialist, (Magazine) Sept., 1908.
6 Ibid., Dec.-Jan., 1913-14, p. 27.
7 Political and Economic Structures, p. 112.
8 Carl Binger, “A Child of Enlightenment” in Walter Lippmann And His Times, edited by Marquis Childs and James Reston, Harcourt, Brace, N.Y., 1959, p. 34.
9 American Labor Year Book, 1916, Rand School, N.Y., p. 157.
10 Alexander Trachtenberg, “Two Years of the Russian Revolution” in the Intercollegiate Socialist, April-May, 1919, p.32.
Trachtenberg was a member of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society and a director of the Rand School of Social Science. (Both the Rand School and the I.I..S. occupy the same headquarters.) Trachtenberg was later exposed as a top Soviet agent and became a leader of the American Communist Party.
Isaac A. Hourwich was another prominent member of the I.S.S. He was later levealed as a top Soviet agent and representing Lenin in the United States. (Intercollegiate Socialist, June 1914).
11 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., “Walter Lippmann: The Intellectual v. Politics,” in Walter Lippmann and His Times, p. 199.
12 Report of the Joint Legislative Committee Investigating Seditious Activities, April 24, 1920, Senate of the State of New York, p. 1087. The Keppel mentioned above was F.P. Keppel, later President of the Carnegie Corporation. Under his administration the Carnegie Corporation distributed considerable financial support to various left-wing enterprises.
13 Roger Baldwin has pursued Fabian socialist methods in the United States for over 55 years. Baldwin has one of the longest lists of association with Communist Party fronts on record.
14 Report, Joint Legislative Committee, p. 1088.
15 Walter Lippmann and His Times, p. 8.
16 Ibid., p. 199.
17 Ibid., p. 9.
18 News Bulletin (Official organ League for Industrial Democracy), vol. I, No. 2 Jan, 1923, p. 2.
19 Report, Joint Legislative Committee Investigating Seditious Activities, State of New York, April 24, 1920, p. 1119.
20 Ibid., pp. 1120-21.
21 Report, Joint Legislative Committee, p. 1121.
22 British Fabians such as Sir William Beveridge, J.M. Keynes, Graham Wallas, Julian Huxley, Bertrand Russell, J.B.S. Haldane and Harold Laski lectured at the New School for Social Research. The American counterparts of the British Fabians included such personages as: John Dewey, Clarence Darrow , Roger Baldwin, Felix Frankfurter, Franz Boas, Wesley C. Mitchell, Harry A. Overstreet, Max Ascoli and Walter Lippmann. Soviet partisans such as: Moissaye Olgin (later exposed as a top Soviet agent) also participated in the New School activities.
23 John T. Flynn, The Road Ahead (America’s Creeping Revolution), Devin-Adair, N.Y. 1949, p. 68. An example of this process has been clearly described by John T. Flynn when he wrote:
A group of men headed by Dr. Alvin Hansen appeared in Washington with an American edition of Mr. John Maynard Keynes’ theories of spending and national debt. All the government planning involved government spending. And that involved heavy taxation and debt. Taxes and debt were supposed to be an evil and were certainly unpopular. But now came the new theory that governments could borrow almost indefinitely, that government borrowing was a good thing, that government debt was not a burden, did not have to be paid and was, literally, an unmixed blessing. A whole batch of Harvard and other professors vouched for the soundness of this thoroughly cockeyed theory. Planning, now equipped with the new engine of government borrowing, took on a new and vital form. And the whole brood of Socialists and Technocrats and Fabians swarmed into Washington.
24 J.K. Galbraith, “Benefits of General Disarmament,” New Times, a weekly journal of world affairs published in Russian, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Roumanian and Swedish by TRUD, Moscow, U.S.S.R., No. 51, December 1959, pp. 14-15-16.
Galbraith’s article publicizes the fact that he is writing as “Professor of Economics, Harvard University, U.S.A.” Thus the prestige of Harvard is invoked once again to aid communism.
25 The Road Ahead, passim.