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Jul 06

ON SOCIALIST FELLOWSHIP

The two men in the photograph above are William Morris (on the right) and George Bernard Shaw (on the left).  They are two of the main figures in a recently completed paper for my research project Other People’s Struggles. The paper concerns the problem of building socialist fellowship among recruits from different social classes. What sort of changes do middle class people need to make to the ways they live when they become socialists? In the 1880s, this was the subject of a vigorous but – so far as I know – almost entirely forgotten debate among British socialists, including Morris and Shaw, but also Edward Carpenter, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, E.Belfort Bax and others.  Some (Carpenter) thought that everything ought to change, while others (Shaw and Bax) thought that nothing could change.

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