FABIANISM was the OCCUPY group of that day,  a progressive, quasi Commie, anti-war group started in England, beginning of l9th century, very similar to our hippies of the sixties. Very smart West End Intellectuals ran it,  worried that rogue capitalism, national 'land hunger' combined with "MY COUNTRY RIGHT OR WRONG PATRIOTISM" -- running amok back then ---would cause more bloody wars. And it did. The First World War was on their watch and the Boer Wars too, which made Churchill's stripes and got us WWII.  The Fabian ethos resembles the Progressive LEFT we have today with its suspicions that some NEW WORLD ORDER was being brewed out of OLIGARCH teabags and that the financial interests of the arms dealing Fascists would create public furor making hate wars popular among Brit citizens who BOUGHT that the poverty was due to Germans. Similar to today's Idaho Liberterians with shotguns behind the car seat.

David Mitrany lived in George Bernard Shaw's day, hung with famed activist Sidney Webb and somehow 'got 'in with' the CEOS of big Wall Street corporations who  may have used him to give their greedy ideas a sweeter face.  I found this graphic online at CHRISTIES, wrote them, is it for sale?  They answered:  The item you are requesting information for was offered for sale on May 10, 2006 in our British and Continental Pictures Sale.  The item was sold for a Prize Realized of 120 British Pounds. We hope that this information is helpful to you and thank you for your interest in Christie's, Priscilla Guido." About the price of  DINNER OUT for two at a posh London dinery. And it was a yard long, not small! 

So I google around and find this article on  "Fabian do-gooder gentleman DAVID MITRANY "Fabian, Fellow Traveller *Communist, or Free Agent? The Strange Case of David Mitrany" By Will Banyan (with added  notes from  me, Anita Sands Hernandez ) Copyright (c) 2007

One of the greatest problems in most research on the alleged conspiracy to establish a "One World Government" or "New World Order"is the tendency to assume the loyalties and beliefs of certain individuals solely on the basis of the organisations they belong to or are associated with, rather than their actual and proven beliefs. (Is this writer saying that Mitrany could have been of two minds? i.e. a peacenik who penetrated Wall Street? HUH?) This will be the study of a FABIAN PEACENIK, DAVID MITRANY... born in ROMANIA, (You know what they say about them: A Hungarian will promise to sell you his mother but a Rumanian will DELIVER." Mitrany was in the military there, then emigrated, naturalized in UK & emerged very well educated in London but in a group like the American HIPPIES of the sixties. Very vocal, anti war, holding meetings all the time, standing on soap boxes in Hyde Park educating the rabble, truly wanting to eradicate that horrific poverty there in England and believing it could be done...

Photo by My Grandfather Alfred Szendrei, taken in 1928, "Speaker's Corner" Hyde Park.

MITRANY hung with GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, BEATRICE AND SIDNEY WEBB, the most reknown, charismatic leaders of the movement, always speaking at Hyde Park and taking the day-train to other villages, their lectures super well attended. Mitrany was definitely ONE of them but  go figure, mid WWII, he became Unilever's chief adviser on international affairs from being TOM HAYDEN to being HIRED BY a Major elitist CORPORATION? That makes him look like a turncoat, a spy. A quisling, a collaborationist. Hope appearances deceive.

Uncertain, we have to turn to the book he wrote: A Working Peace System, published in 1943. That book secured him this post with Unilever. (He also worked for the elegant, Patrician 'think tank' of the UK,  Chatham House)  truly the brain or control panel of Europe! Here sat the planners. Mitrany must have had an agenda of doing good, --after all, it was he who coined the term 'functionalism' to refer to the strategy of supra-national integration through a series of sectoral processes of internationalisation, designed to set in motion an autonomous logic, making inevitable further integration and ultimately making national states obsolete, ala EUROPEAN UNION? Ring any bells? ) That ONE WORLD hierarchy is very scary to patriots. We all want to be "ENGLISH" or AMERICAN and see to OUR COUNTRY ALONE. We suspect that functionalists or new worlders work for BIG CORPORATIONS, CEOS, OLIGARCHs who want absolute control of the planet in a few, very select hands. And we do not believe that these rich guys will see to the welfare of the guy at the bottom. And in those days, the London Slums were FILLED with 'THAT LOT'!

When Mitrany was a student in 1914, the age of Queen Victoria had hardly passed. (see above graphic.) The slums were abhorrant, pitiful. Heart wrenching. Death rates were through the roof. Protest only could have evolved if it were done in  very elegant, quiet, Christian terms, as stern and polite as she was. The oligarchs of that day were very rich, persuasive, connected and well mannered. Nobody could get a pejorative grasp on them, rake dirty fingernails on their clean linen. There was no noisy, progressive LEFT. Except in Hyde Park, Speakers' Corner because of Webb and Shaw. And their friend David Mitrany. Mystery man.

As Butch Cassidy would say later, "WHO WAS this guy? " A free agent who consorted with British socialists simply out of expedience and convenience, while he was in COLLEGE? To get laid by the bright pretty girls? Or was he a progressive sympathiser and, as an "agent" of the Fabian Society, a man who was elegant enough to go on to penetrate the board rooms and actually find a seat in  the rare altitudes of Chatham House? After all, the Fabians seemed to have a program of achieving socialism through gradualism. Was that why he was let in to the Bankers' World? Was he that rare hybrid, a true believer, who penetrated the boardrooms of Wall Street with some Christian message of 'go easy on the worker.' ?i.e. a 'middle roader'? Mitrany's association with a number of leading Fabians and other British socialists, from 1912 through to the 1940s, is indisputable and perhaps of greater significance than originally acknowledged in "Outflanking the Nation-State." More importantly, these associations raise pertinent questions about Mitrany's own beliefs and motives. In particular it challenges us to explore the truth of Mitrany's claim that as a "matter of principle" he had decided not to tie himself "to any political party or ideological group" and to instead "work with any and all of them for international peace", accounts for his collaboration with these groups.1

Mitrany's career in the company of socialists of varying hues follows a
clear path: educated at the London School of Economics (LSE); member of
the League of Nations Society; member of the Labour Party Committee on
International Questions; a journalist at the Manchester Guardian (and
later a frequent contributor); and participant at two Fabian Society
conferences. He also mentions his connections with key British scholars
who were either Fabians or members of the libertine 'BOHEMIAN sexed up and quite literary Bloomsbury Set', such as Graham Wallas, L. T. Hobhouse, Harold Laski, Leonard Woolf and
John Maynard Keynes. Viewing the extent and apparent depth of these
connections, it is no small effort to embrace the conclusion Mitrany
must have shared their socialism, if he had not already been transformed
into an "agent" of the Fabians thanks to his education at the LSE, as
some might surmise. Mitrany though has long sought to convince people to
the contrary, as he told his friend Felix Frankfurter  in a letter in
May 1925: (Jewish lawyer, became Supreme Court Judge.)

But I have never suffered from dogmatism. My interest is to see some
development in the organization of peace, and I care little how it is
done and by whom it is done as long as it takes us to that end.

What then is the real picture? Was Mitrany a Fabian, fellow traveller (commie) or an expat Rumanian seeking Blue Blooded Brit Chums? Through a review of relevant sources, including the personal accounts of the various Fabians, socialists and fellow travellers and thru his horoscope, below, we know Mitrany was very unusual. He consorted with them all and through his own writings on socialism; hopefully a clearer picture will emerge.

Nep/Plut conj is 'appointed by fate', to be the bringer of the coming dawn, Those two mystical planets in the constellation of The PLEIADES super capitalistic area of sky in TAURUS, opposed Ven/Jup for a four planet 'SIGN' Jesus consciousness, the fated ability to be magnetic, super sexy, popular,  lucky with money sent him into The Best colleges, the most Progressive blueblood kids and even the study of EcONOMIcS! Was this  so that  he could get close to the POUNDS STERLING?  Certainly great abundance is suggested relative to the Scorpio 'inherited wealth' social set maybe found via bars and pubs near campus. Double Capricorn planets for 'moving with the elite.' We have Venus/Jupiter in the degree of taverns, alcohol. This amazing four planet aspect has trine/sextile to Moon/ Sat in LEO, a natural speaker, performer. Disciplined, keeps his powder dry, acts with dramatic 'gravitas' (Birth hour speculative based on 9th house 'guiding, teaching Capricorn planets.' Mars/Uran conj in LIBRA both closely square "PRESIDENTIAL SUN IN cAPRICORN is a radical and angry GENERAL, ready to fight. A living lightning bolt

1. What is Fabianism?

An understanding of the issues surveyed here would not be complete
unless we are able to define the meaning of Fabianism. There are many
definitions out there, some more alarming than others, but they give us
a prism through which to more properly explore whether Mitrany's
connections translated into beliefs and actions.

The Editor of the Modern History Project has provided one explanation of
Fabianism that is, if only for the sake of argument, worth repeating:

"Fabianism" by definition is the strategy of gradual implementation of
socialism through stealth and the infiltration of academia, the media,
and the government with sympathisers and opinion shapers who would
eventually form the "Open Conspiracy" that Wells described, as opposed
to the violent revolution advocated by Marx and Lenin.

This definition is fairly accurate, especially the emphasis on gradually implementing socialism through the infiltration of socialist ideas into the elite strata of society. i.e. those schooled in charismatic, 'hip' thinking would penetrate High Society. This is only possible if we have  BEAUTIFUL GIRLS and maybe sometimes handsome Men ---both sexes would work. You'd need skills to enter that world, say knowledge of law, language, pamphleteering, verbal or even secretarial skills. Best would be running a novel charity as you can go straight into boardrooms that way. So, the spore carriers, or Fabians of the future, would penetrate high society with their elegance, charm, education and spirit, intermarry & thusly carry the message of sharing, evolution to the next generation.

Other sources, although querying the notion there was a clearly defined and consistently articulated Fabian socialist ideology, confirm this basic element. For example, according to an essay at "The Wood" website:

The Fabians stressed that social democracy would not through
revolution and violence as Marx theorised but rather from slow and
steady democratic movement. Their primary belief was that capitalism, at
its very root, was unfair to the majority of people and an unfit
economic system for a modern society. Their solution, the one stressed
by nearly all socialists, was that the workers should own the means of
production. For the Fabians, legislation, protest, and localized action
was the way to achieve this and offered the greatest potential for a
cure for the plight of the proletariat. They chose education and gradual
acceptance of socialist thought, instead of forced, violent indoctrination.


According to an essay by Robert Sullivan on the Modernist Journals

The Fabians preferred the method of permeation or...the "honeycomb" effect. Instead of direct confrontational action, for example, by aligning itself with working-class trade-unionism or other militant socialists, (and making noisy pickets, strikes, radical angry MOB scenes,) Fabianism sought to change the system from within, and would achieve this by a process of infiltration. They would, through their great intellectual weight, "persuade" members of government (whatever the Party), civil servants, and other people in power, that the amelioration of the plight of the less fortunate in society was a necessary just cause.

These definitions of Fabianism are based; it should be recognised, not
upon any unauthorised access to Fabian doctrine or other revelations,
but on what they published for the entire world to see. As John Taylor
Gatto observes: "Fabian strategy and tactics have been openly announced
and discussed with clarity for nearly a century, whether identified as
Fabian or not." Prominent Fabian G.D.H. Cole, for example, provided
this insight into Fabianism in the short essay he wrote on the subject
for the 1932 edition of the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences:

"In every field the characteristic Fabian policy has been that of
permeation. In accordance with their doctrine of continuity the Fabians
set out to develop existing institutions by permeating with this or that
element of their doctrine those who had power to influence policy, e.g.
the civil service, the political parties, the professions, the
administration of business, and local government. It was part of their
creed that no sharp line could be drawn between socialists and
nonsocialists and that many who would not call themselves socialists
could be persuaded to help with particular reforms for making

So, in sum, Fabianism is best described as strategy for achieving
socialism through gradualism or the permeation of the socialist idea
into all the nooks and crannies of government, business and politics
that matter. Mitrany's functionalist concept could be described as
"Fabian", though only insofar as it is essentially a gradualist program.
But was he a Fabian socialist? Did the Fabians Mitrany associated with
manage to convince him of the virtues of greater regulation of the
economy, increased taxation, and ultimately public ownership and
administration of industries and services? That is the most important

2. Mitrany at the LSE

Mitrany attended the London School of Economics and Political Science as
a student from 1912 to 1914. In his memoir, Mitrany counts his studies
there in sociology and political science as crucial to the development
of functionalism:

Without a doubt the first light towards a "functional" outlook on things
social and political came from my two teachers at the London School of
Economics, in its early days, when it was small but intensely alive, and
truly free intellectually.

Mitrany's characterisation of the LSE as being "truly free
intellectually" is interesting as it appears to clash with the
assumption of some analysts that the LSE had been established in 1895 by
Fabian Society co-founders Sidney and Beatrice Webb, for the express
purpose of transforming its students into adherents of socialism. A
quote from the diary of Beatrice Webb, dated 21 September 1894, carried
on the Spartacus website, appears to support this more sinister
interpretation. Noting how her husband had become the executor to
10,000 willed to the Fabian Society from a recently deceased, but
apparently wealthy and eccentric member, Beatrice recorded Sidney's
"vision" of how that money would be used:

We want to found, slowly and quietly, a "London School of Economics and
Political Science" - a centre not only of lectures on special subjects,
but an association of students who would be directed and supported in
doing original work. Great idea, no? A place for post grad work?

At first glance the description of the students being "directed and
supported in doing original work" seems to imply the LSE's progeny would
receive little more than instruction in the Fabian Socialist program.
The use of the term "original work", however, seems to rule out
indoctrination. A similar conclusion can be drawn from Edward Pease's
comments in his book The History of the Fabian Society (1918) that the
Fabian trustees agreed to use the money to fund the LSE because they
considered a "thorough knowledge" in economics and political science to
be a "necessity for people concerned with social reconstruction." They
believed it was "essential that all classes of public officials should
have the opportunity of learning whatever can be known of economics and
politics..."Again all very vague and uncontroversial. The only firm
statement of such any intent to brainwash students is Sidney Webb's
declaration on the purpose of LSE would be to "teach political economy
on more modern and more socialist lines than those on which it had been
taught hitherto, and to serve at the same time as a school of higher
commercial education."

Yet, other sources quoted by the Spartacus website suggest the education
provided by the LSE was pluralist rather than "more socialist". A diary
entry from Beatrice Webb on 18 November 1903, lamenting the resignation
of the LSE's first Director, W. A. S. Hewins, credits him with helping
to obtain and keep "the cooperation of men of diverse views and
conflicting interests." Then former British Prime Minister Clement
Atlee, in his memoir, recalled how as a tutor and lecturer at the LSE he
had "plenty of time for social work and also socialist propaganda, for
it was a fundamental rule of the School that no one could be restricted
in venting his political opinions."Though Atlee was clearly able to
vent his socialist opinions, we can presume non-socialist students must
have had a free reign as well. And finally, though some might reject it
as inherently biased, an essay on the Fabian Society website, "A History
of the Fabian Society" claims the LSE "has never been turned into the
'centre for collectivist-tempered research' which [the Webbs] wanted."

Mitrany's account also suggests the LSE had not become the ideologically
pure institution of Sidney Webb's socialist dreams. Instead Mitrany
lauds his two teachers, Leonard T. Hobhouse (1864-1929) and Graham
Wallas (1858-1932) as "true searchers, allergic to the slightest whiff
of dogmatism." Mitrany did not attribute to Hobhouse and Wallas the
specific idea of functionalism, only that their instruction on
theoretical issues pushed him in that direction. In particular Mitrany
credited Hobhouse with introducing him to the idea one should treat
"politics as a science" and strive to uncover "the relation of things"
rather than make predictions. This concept, according to Mitrany, was
"in a way the central philosophical idea behind the whole functional

But for those who are reluctant to abandon the idea of Mitrany being a
Fabian proxy, it is also worth nothing that the relationship between the
Fabian Society and Mitrany's teachers, Wallas and Hobhouse, was cordial
rather than close by the time he entered their tutelage. In the case of
Hobhouse, although close to the Fabians during the 1890s he had "never
joined the society and later became a fierce critic of its elitism,
imperialism and opportunism, showing particular hatred for George
Bernard Shaw's flippant authoritarianism." More importantly, according
to the profile of Hobhouse by David Howarth from Cambridge on the
British Liberal Democratic Party website:

Hobhouse's first major political work, The Labour Movement (1893), was
strongly collectivist, calling for the profits of industry to be
appropriated to consumers in the form of the cooperative movement, trade
unions and local and national government, and for a steeply graduated
income tax, higher death duties and the taxation of ground rent. Its
political doctrine was closer to Green's organicism than to Mill. But
Hobhouse soon saw that collectivism in its Fabian form was liable to
turn into the glorification of the state and the pursuit of conformity
in the name of equality. Hobhouse was also deeply internationalist and
was revolted by the Fabian endorsement of the Boer War. His New
Liberalism was, above all, the result of his disillusion with Fabian

As for Mitrany's other teacher at LSE, according to Peter Clarke, an
academic from Cambridge, during the 1880s Graham Wallas had found in the
Fabian Society "the sort of intellectual milieu where he felt at home."
Although "overshadowed by the reputation of [Bernard] Shaw and the
Webbs, Graham Wallas remains the forgotten man of the early Fabian
Society, which he...joined in May 1885." Wallas was offered the position
of Director of the LSE when it was first formed, but declined preferring
instead to teach, eventually becoming Professor of Political Science.
But while his "academic career blossomed, his Fabian commitment waned."
As Clarke observes:

Wallas finally resigned from the Fabian Society in 1904 because of
Shaw's attempt to associate it with protectionism, another Conservative
policy. The root cause was a divergence between the manipulative and
authoritarian temper which Shaw and the Webbs increasingly displayed and
Wallas' Liberal outlook. In 1898 Wallas had married Ada Radford, a woman
of strong literary interests, and a firm Liberal (they had one
daughter). The Wallases drifted apart from the Webbs and the Shaws,
though remaining on civil terms.

A more detailed account of Wallas' split with the Fabians is provided by
Martin J. Wiener's account Between Two Worlds: The Political Thought of
Graham Wallas (1971). Wiener observes how in the 1890s the leading
Fabians, especially Sidney Webb, were abandoning the idea of democracy
in favour of more exclusive rule by the elite. For Webb and Shaw,
democracy "was a means of procuring consent by the populace to the
measures of the elite." Walls, though, remained a believer in popular
participation in government.18 Government, he believed, should be
responsive to popular will; it should not be built on the acquiescence
of the masses to the will of an elite. But the differences ran deeper
with Wallas becoming "more sceptical of the self-sufficiency of
collectivism." He also clashed with the Webbs over education policy,
and with Shaw over his pro-imperial tract Fabianism and the Empire
(1900) and his protectionist tract Fabianism and the Fiscal Question
(1904) which rejected free trade. In February 1904 Wallas had resigned
from the Fabians noting how in regard to the Tariff Tract "the vast
majority of the Society was in agreement with the Executive and against
me." He asked though that they consider him an "unattached friend of the
Society." The friendship would not last, however, and he drifted away.
The overall pattern is clear though: Wallas escaped the rigid dogmas of
the Webbs and Shaw, and established himself as an independent thinker.

So, in sum, according to these accounts, the two figures Mitrany
actually credits with shining "the first light towards the 'functional'
outlook on things social and political" had either never joined
(Hobhouse) or had severed their membership (Wallas) with the Fabians;
and more importantly both had drifted away from the philosophies of Shaw
and the Webbs well before Mitrany came into their presence. Moreover, as
the conflict between Hobhouse's "deeply internationalist" outlook and
the overtly racist imperialism of the Fabian leadership reveals, the
more refined internationalist sentiments of Mitrany bears little
resemblance to the obscene doctrines endorsed by Shaw, the Webbs and
H.G. Wells.

These policies included their calls for non-white races to be
eliminated, or denied self-governance forever if need be. This fitted
into a strikingly imperialist mindset that ranked non-Europeans as
inferior and expendable. As fellow Fabian Leonard Woolf later ruefully
observed although "a progressive, even a revolutionary in some economic
and social spheres", when the British Empire was concerned, Sidney Webb
"was a common or garden imperialist conservative."21 The Webbs openly
advocated denying self-rule non-white colonial subjects in perpetuity.

H.G. Wells, in fact was invited to join the Fabians on the strength of
his 1901 book Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific
Progress Upon Human Life and Thought. In this piece of Darwinian
futurology Wells had predicted the creation of a global "New Republic"
by a scientifically educated elite - "a sort of outspoken Secret
Society...an informal and open freemasonry" - that would usurp the rule
of the blundering politicians. This movement, wrote Wells, would create
"a world state with a common language and a common rule", but this would
require the elimination of the unfit. This latter category included the
"whole masses of the human population" who were "inferior in their claim
upon the future" and who "cannot be given opportunities or trusted with
power." Wells's New Republicans would have "little pity" for these
"silly creatures"; and would not "hesitate to kill" the masses should
the elite's tolerance be "abused". Shaw was particularly taken with this
mad and genocidal thesis and later extended an invitation to Wells to
join their clique.

At the time Mitrany was attending the LSE, these imperialist views -
also represented in Shaw's own tract Fabianism and the Empire (1900) -
dominated Fabian thinking on international affairs. Yet there is no
indication in his education at the LSE that Mitrany was imbued with any
such imperialist fervour or seduced by H.G. Well's dystopian thesis. It
cannot be denied Mitrany's functionalist theory was influenced by the
teachings he received at the LSE, but those lessons appear to have been
somewhat removed from the essential characteristics of Fabianism.

3. Mitrany and Woolf

Wallas and Hobhouse were not the only people with some connection to
Fabianism that Mitrany consorted with. In 1916 Mitrany joined the League
of Nations Society; an organisation set up by a collection of British
notables, according to one of its leading members, Leonard Woolf, as a
"propaganda body" for the express purpose of convincing the public of
"the necessity for a League [of Nations] and for its establishment in
the peace treaty after the war." It was in his capacity as an "active
member" of the Society that Mitrany first came into regular contact
with Leonard Woolf, a Fabian, a member of both the Cambridge Apostles
and the "Bloomsbury Set", and author of the tract International
Government (1916). These contacts were extended when in 1918 Mitrany was
"invited" (by whom he does not say but it is likely to have been Woolf)
to the join the Labour Party's Advisory Committee on International
Questions. Mitrany notes that Woolf, who was Committee Secretary from
1918 to 1945, was among its "regular members."

Despite his key role in both organisations and obviously frequent
contacts with Mitrany, Woolf makes absolutely no mention of the Rumanian
in his memoirs. Mitrany, it should also be noted, does not specifically
indicate that he and Woolf had any sort of close relationship or
contacts outside of the work of the Society and later the Committee. But
we do know that from 1916 until 1931 - when Mitrany resigned from the
Committee when it became compulsory to be a member of the Labour Party -
he was in some sort of regular contact with Woolf. So we can naturally
assume there was some exchange of ideas between the two.

Given this proximity the impact of Woolf's ideas upon Mitrany's
functionalist concept is widely accepted, although the full extent of
that influence is disputed. Peter Wilson has argued that Woolf was
clearly "a pioneer of international functionalism" and suggests that in
constructing his functionalist theory Mitrany "drew on Woolf's ideas on
international government, perhaps more than he himself realised." Wilson
suggests their "close working relationship" in the League of Nations of
Society and the Labour Party Advisory Committee on International
Questions, would have given Mitrany an "in-depth knowledge of Woolf's
ideas", many of which were "strongly functionalist in flavour."
According to Wilson, Woolf was "the first thinker to show how a
functionalist type analysis could be applied to international
relations"; he provided "the skeleton of functional theory." Cornella
Navari, in contrast, while crediting Woolf with ideas that were "clearly
functionalist", suggests they were not as sophisticated as Mitrany whose
contribution was the "conceptualisation and systematic exposition of a
new form of political organisation." So Woolf was an influence on
Mitrany's thinking, but did he make Mitrany a Fabian socialist?

One way to answer this question is look at how "Fabian" Woolf's ideas
were. What is clear is that in his pamphlets written for the Fabian
Society in 1915 and 1916 Woolf had endorsed creation of an
"international government" along essentially functionalist lines
primarily through the "internationalisation of administration",
especially communications, public health, industry, commerce and
crime.29 Reviewing the evolution of Woolf's tract on International
Government, Peter Wilson poses this question in terms of how much Fabian
intellectual material Woolf had at his disposal and answers thusly:

The short answer is: very little. The Fabian Society's relationship with
the outside world had been for decades one of neglect. In the early
years of the Society the existence of an international realm was barely
acknowledged....During this period Fabians clearly believed that events
in the outside world had little relevance.

Fabian literature on the subject was apparently thin. Out of the first
hundred or so Fabian Tracts only two dealt with international issues.
One of these, George Bernard Shaw's Fabianism and the Empire (1900), had
projected the "Federation of the World" as the desired end-state, but in
the mean-time had advocated they accept "Imperial Federations...as a
substitute for it." Shaw had also endorsed the "steam-rollering of
little States because they are little." In fact the "State which
obstructs international civilization will have to go, be it big or
little." Aside from this poisonous doctrine (seemingly revived today by
the Bush Administration), Shaw's tract offered little that was new,
other than a Fabian justification of imperialism. The Fabian Society's
involvement in socialist internationalism was also marginal and
insincere. Achieving the socialist transformation of Britain remained
their first priority.

Consequently, argues Wilson, Fabian influence on Woolf's International
Government "appears to be slight", and that while he had no doubt
"imbibed a good quantity of Fabian doctrine" by 1916, that doctrine's
input was "of a general rather than any particular kind." Wilson then
lists no less than seven aspects of International Government that show
Fabian influence, though these are indeed "general" and include: a
commitment to "gradualism" as opposed to "militant and revolutionary
methods" of political change; a focus on facts; a preference for
"rational and scientific" rather than "ethical or romantic socialism";
and a "dedication to public service and collective well-being."

Sidney Webb's instruction to Woolf shows the Fabian Society - despite
its sporadic displays of support for British imperialism (such as during
the Boer War) and the sometimes crazed vision of H.G. Wells - had not
devised any firm scheme of its own for a new international order. "What
is needed", Webb wrote to Woolf, "is to arrive at a strictly practical
suggestion, or rather alternative suggestions, explained and supported
by accounts of what has been tried with useful results; and of past
experiments and analyses suggestive of any new expedients we can

When putting together International Government, Woolf apparently did not
refer to any of books or tracts by the Webbs, Shaw or H.G. Wells on
international affairs. In his own memoir, Woolf would recall that there
were "only two books of any use", one was the Yearbook of the L'Union
des Associations Internationales, the other was Public International
Unions (1911) by an American academic, Paul Reinsch.34 According to
Dubin, it was Reinsch "a University of Wisconsin political scientist
who, between 1907 and 1911, anticipated the core of Mitrany's thesis."
The implications of this are that, though he was obviously a Fabian,
Woolf's work was not only reliant upon non-Fabian thinkers, even though
it actually came to represent the Fabian view on international issues.
One should also not forget that International Government was an
influential book in its own right, and along with a subsequent plan
drawn up by Woolf and Webb for a "Supranational Authority that will
Prevent War", it is credited with influencing the League of Nations
Covenant.36 Thus, despite its Fabian providence, the ideas contained
International Government could be used by internationalists of any
ideological hue; the socialist aspects of Woolf's proposal could
presumably be dispensed with. We can also assume, with little
controversy, that International Government influenced Mitrany's

Another way of trying to resolve this question of whether or not Woolf's
influence turned Mitrany into a Fabian socialist is to look Mitrany's
views on Woolf. Here the evidence is frustratingly slight. Just as
Woolf's biography seems to omit all mention of our subject - but makes
copious mention of his friendships with Keynes, H.G. Wells and the Webbs
- Mitrany has little to say about Woolf. In fact he mentions Woolf just
three times: first as one of five lecturers for the League of Nations
Society; second, as a member of the Labour Labour Party's Advisory
Committee on International Questions; and third, as one of the working
group of "leftist internationalists" he hoped to create with funding
from the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1930s. He does not acknowledge
any debt to Woolf's ideas and makes no comments about the extent of
their relationship.

However, in his working group plan we can get some sense of Mitrany's
attitude towards Woolf, which was hardly negative. Mitrany presents his
scheme as part of his efforts to "build bridges across doctrinal or
institutional differences so that they might join together for dealing
with common problems." His aim was for this working group to use the
facilities of Chatham House (home of the Royal Institute for
International Affairs - RIIA). As Mitrany saw it, the problem with
Chatham House was that its organisers:

Especially Lionel Curtis [Round Table] saw it as something of a private
foreign office (much like the Council on Foreign Relations in New York).
Membership was originally by invitation and all 'radicals' were left out
- not only Labourites like Leonard Woolf and H.N. Brailsford, but even
Liberals like J.A. Hobson and others - the very people who for years had
worried and written and spoken for the idea of an organised
international system.38

Mitrany's comment is interesting for it suggests that the people he was
associating with on the Left, including Woolf, were largely excluded
from the key institutions of the British Establishment because they
adhered to the wrong ideas. His aim, though, was to create a "working
centre" for "radical-liberal non-party people" that could broaden the
scope of the RIIA reducing the growing "suspicion" in the 1920s "of the
influences at work in and through Chatham House." Having "friendly
working connections with both sides", Mitrany presented his idea for
"leftist internationalists", including among others Woolf, Brailsford,
Hobson and his friend Harold Laski, should be formed into a "working
group to produce papers [and] pamphlets" through the facilities of
Chatham House. His request was turned down by the Rockefeller Foundation
on the grounds it would create competition for Chatham House.

It is perhaps telling that Mitrany classifies Woolf more broadly as a
"Labourite" and does not explicitly identify him as a Fabian, let alone
a socialist. Woolf's memoirs create a slightly different impression. He
was a Fabian for most of his life and did not lose his socialist
idealism, even when faced with terrible evidence of its flaws. Recalling
the Russian Revolution, for example, Woolf describes it as a "tremendous
event", one that produced in him a "feeling of liberation and
exhilaration."40 He had enthusiastically supported a number of Labour
Party resolutions supporting the revolution. And nearly 50 years after
the event and despite his full knowledge of the brutal excesses of the
Communist regime, Woolf felt no desire to "repent or recant" that
support. On the contrary:

[I]f I could return to 1917 possessing the knowledge and experience of
1963 I would again welcome the Russian revolution and for the same
reasons for which I originally welcomed it. Like the French Revolution,
it destroyed an ancient, malignant growth in European society, and this
was the essential for the future of European civilization....I would
still be on the side of the revolution - though I have no doubt that I
should have been...liquidated by Stalin.41

Yet Woolf also condemned Communism in his declining years as an
"idiotic, barbarous social and political system." He described himself
as being: "prejudiced against communism, which seems to me in some ways
worse than Nazism and fascism."42

In Mitrany's published writings, however, we can find no such enthusiasm
for the Russian Revolution followed by a belated revulsion for the
Communist regime. He seems silent on the issue, but there are scattered
critical comments about the Soviet Union and Communism in all his
writings. In A Working Peace System (1943), Mitrany explicitly rejected
the notion of "ideological unions" as a path towards international
government. That included socialist or Communist regimes; Mitrany
rejected the "ideological criterion of selection" as being as "invidious
in operation as it is in principle." In his lecture before Chatham
House in March 1948, Mitrany specifically identified the march towards
socialism as an obstacle to an "active international society." There
was, he argued, "in this social nationalism or national-socialism, an
actual danger of regression" leading to the "splitting up of the world
into independent states."44 He also observed that some might be
"puzzled" that the USSR "the most revolutionary of all governments,
which ideologically believes in world unity and in the proscription of
the State, at the United Nations, and on every possible occasion,
insists on a strict observance of national sovereignty." Arguing against
the option of federalism, Mitrany intoned: "If a federal House cannot be
half free and half slave, neither can it be half capitalist and half

We can find more clues, however, to a deeper antipathy toward Marxism
and Communism in Mitrany's book Marx Against the Peasant: A Study in
Social Dogmatism (1951), which was based on an earlier essay of the same
name he published in 1927. Mitrany's argument was that Karl Marx's focus
on the urban proletariat had generated an inevitable conflict between
them and the peasant once a revolution occurred. In fact, Marxist
doctrine called for the elimination of the peasants, especially as
land-holders, and their assimilation into a classless society. The
anti-Communist implications of Mitrany's argument were apparent to a
number of reviewers. According to one reviewer, Mitrany "casts Marxism
for the role of villain, and argues that the Marxist hostility to the
peasants is wholly to blame in paving the way for the military and
bureaucratic dictatorships which cursed eastern Europe..."46 Another
reviewer claimed Marx Against the Peasant "suggests the idea that one
way to combat Communism is to emphasize the fact that the Communists'
attempt to subjugate the world really mean an eradication of the

Summing up the Woolf-Mitrany relationship a number of conclusions can be
drawn. First, there can be no doubt that Woolf influenced Mitrany
through International Government and their mutual contacts at the League
of Nations Society and the Labour Advisory Committee on International
Questions (from 1916 to 1931). Second, International Government was,
however, largely the product of Woolf's mind and not the collective
thinking of the Fabian Society hierarchy. Woolf was in turn, heavily
influenced by the ideas of an American scholar, Paul S. Reinsch. And
third, while Mitrany may have absorbed some of Woolf's ideas on
internationalism, there is not much evidence Mitrany was converted to
the Fabian socialist cause.

4. At the Guardian

The next phase of Mitrany's career in the company of Britain's socialist
establishment was as a journalist for the Manchester Guardian. He joined
in April 1919 in response to an invitation from the paper's then editor
C.P. Scott. Mitrany would go on to stay for four years in what he would
describe as "the highest school any student could have had in political
principle and political judgement, in factual strictness of
statement."48 An obvious question might be why he was chosen for this
job. Given the Guardian's obvious political biases and closeness to the
Labour Party, it would not be unreasonable to take this as a sign that
Mitrany was considered to be well in tune with the paper's prejudices.

Mitrany modestly provides us with some indications of this state of
affairs. He notes that when he left after four years, the editor of the
Guardian, a C.P. Scott, declared: "the Guardian's foreign policy during
the last three has been Mitrany's policy."49 Mitrany also recalled how
his influence on the newspaper's foreign policy had been "resented" by
Scott's replacement, W.P. Crozier, and comments "perhaps he really was
of a conservative bent of mind."50 But without examining specific
examples of his work for the Guardian we can only speculate that he
would not have been published by them unless his views were
sufficiently, if only moderately, progressive enough not to alarm the
Guardian's generally pro-socialist readership.

5. Meeting with the Fabians

Despite his well-documented collaboration with actual Fabians,
especially Woolf, evidence of Mitrany's involvement with the Fabian
Society itself is sporadic and his attitude toward them seems ambiguous.
In his memoir Mitrany admits to attending only two conferences held by
the Fabian Society and repeatedly stresses that he was "not a member"
and that his internationalist outlook was often at variance with the
inward-looking and nationalist orientation of the Fabians.51

The first of these Fabian conferences, held in the 1930s at the house of
the Countess of Essex, was meant to discuss the establishment of a
"Research Bureau." Mitrany recalls how his complaint during the meeting
that the international side of things was being ignored was met with the
declaration the Fabians "are interested in internationalism only insofar
as it helps bring about Socialism." In his response Mitrany had told the
Fabians they could not hope to establish socialism without first
establishing internationalism. One of the consequences of his
interjection, Mitrany later claimed, was that the newly formed Fabian
Research Bureau included an international section.52

The second Fabian Society symposium, at which Mitrany was a participant,
was a "private conference" held in the winter of 1942-43 to discuss
post-war organisation. Mitrany was the opening speaker, even though he
"was not a member", but he used the opportunity to warn participants
that national planning, involving increased state control over the
economy (or nationalisation), would undermine internationalism. In fact,
he told them, "the first thing to be 'nationalised' would be the
international Socialist movement itself." One participant was apparently
so alarmed by Mitrany's argument that he later complained of a sleepless
night worrying about the consequences.

But what did Mitrany really think of the Fabians and of the socialism
they endorsed and which the British Labour Party practised from the
1940s? In his "Memoir" there are clear signs of impatience with what he
saw as the absurdities of their doctrine. Consider his comments on
Fabian/Labour Party plans for nationalisation:

While committed to the nationalisation of industry and agriculture,
the Labour movement never thought out its political implications - that
more government for the people was likely to mean less government by the

Mitrany mocked as a "ludicrous spectacle" the sight of supporters of
nationalisation "wringing their hands over the spreading interference of
government with the freedom of groups and individuals; as if one could
have economic planning without controls, or government controls that
left groups and individuals to do as they pleased."55

Commenting on his fellow speaker at the second Fabian Society
conference, his "close personal friend" and long-time Fabian Harold
Laski, Mitrany was remarkably scathing. He dismissed Laski's vision,
explained in a 1932 essay, the blandly titled "The Theory of
International Society", in which individual states would lose their
sovereignty and be controlled by a common authority as evidence of how
"easy it is for an outstanding student of government to drift far and
fast from the realities of life..." He also cited Laski's scheme as
proving the contention of the famous economist, Joseph Schumpeter that
"authoritarian elements" lurk within "any system of socialistic
salvation." For Laski's proposal would have "meant uncompromising and
continuous dictatorial powers for whatever authority had the charge to
apply them."

We can also find, in the context of his Marx Against the Peasant thesis
and his sense of "desolation" that "ideology can bring into political
judgement" the following criticism given of British socialists failing
to heed his observations on the cruel consequences of Marxist doctrine
for the peasant classes:

I never heard any of our experienced and politically more detached,
'Fabian' rather than Marxists, left-wing internationalists suggest to
their Continental friends at least a tactical truce with the new Peasant
groups though the need was obvious and pressing.

[A]ll my radical internationalist friends, even the most Fabian, were so
imbued with the Marxist view of the peasants that they never grew out of it.

Citing some of these comments and his "well-known and oft-expressed
wariness of social dogmatism", and Mitrany's apparent belief "socialism
was ultimately a state dogma", Navari concludes that Mitrany was no
Fabian. Indeed, it was Mitrany's aversion to dogmatism that was "the
source of his antipathy towards the later Fabianism of the Webbs" which
emphasised the state as the main agent of social change. He was no
socialist, but a "pluralist", one who believed state institutions should
be transformed in response to social change and popular will, not vice
versa.59 Mitrany "had difficulties with the Fabians", writes Navari; in
fact, he "disliked socialism and loathed socialist etatism..."

Even Peter Wilson's more recent book-length account of Leonard Woolf
stops short of unequivocally identifying Mitrany as a Fabian. This might
not be the impression one gets from the review of Wilson's book The
International Theory of Leonard Woolf (2003), in the Chatham House
journal International Affairs, which claims:

Like contemporaries Laski, Mitrany, Hobson, Keynes and indeed Carr
himself, Woolf combined the tradition of radical liberal dissent...and
Fabian socialism, with an emphasis on functional ties and

While this comment might well be true of Woolf, the implication that
Mitrany drew heavily upon Fabian socialism to construct his
functionalist idea and was keen on collectivism is not borne out either
the sources already consulted or by Wilson's book. In fact Wilson never
specifically and unambiguously identifies Mitrany as Fabian, but refers
to him either as being "progressively minded" or lists his name in
connection with a number of other formulations.62 Some of these are all
inclusive such as "those of the Left" or "Left-leaning, progressive
thinkers"; or cover a range of positions including "socialist and
Left-Liberal thinkers" or "other Fabian, welfare or constructivist
internationalists." The names he lists in connection with these various
positions include the usual suspects: G.D.H. Cole, J.A. Hobson, Harold
Laski, Eric H. Carr, H.N. Brailsford and J.M. Keynes. Some were Fabians,
some were not as indicated in Wilson's last formulation.63 Finally, only
Woolf and Carr are identified by Wilson as advocating replacing the
existing international system of sovereign states with a "more
collectivist and functionalist world order."64 Mitrany, as we well know,
was a functionalist, but he displayed little enthusiasm for
collectivism. 6. A Proposal for Keynes

Mitrany also notes that he dealt, if only very briefly, with John
Maynard Keynes. The inclusion of Keynes in this investigation into
Mitrany's presumed socialist ideals is perhaps contentious. The economic
philosophy Keynes is most well known for is not generally associated
with socialism, even if it maintained that economic prosperity could
come through increased state intervention in the economy. His name is
also cited as evidence, along with Alger Hiss and Harry Dexter White,
that the Bretton Woods agreement that created the International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank, was an inherently socialist arrangement. This
latter contention is questionable, though this is not the place to
examine that issue more fully.

Instead we need to consider the extent of the communication with Keynes
that Mitrany acknowledges. Mitrany describes how in the 1920s, in the
context of his efforts to "build bridges across doctrinal or
institutional differences between groups so that they might join
together for dealing with common problems", there was "a proposal" to
set up a:

non-party group of some two hundred people with a standing in
professional and generally in public life, with the single purpose of
looking into whatever issues came up for public decision, and then
publish its findings simply as a factual and impartial guide for opinion
at large.

This idea "found favour with quite a few of those approached", writes
Mitrany, including his old teacher Hobhouse. But ultimately "the scheme
collapsed" because Keynes "then at the height of his influence, simply
wrote that he did not think public opinion could be made and guided
except through political parties."66 Mitrany actually quotes the letter
from Keynes (16 February 1927) in full:

Dear Mitrany, Many thanks for your letter and its enclosure. I fear that
I much doubt whether a so-called non-party group could ever make its
weight felt in any way whatever. At present the Liberal Industrial
Enquiry Committee, set up by the Liberal Summer School, seems to me to
be doing all that is possible along the lines with which you sympathise.
The whole thing may prove useless in the long run. But for the present
at least I am inclined to give this line of development a chance. I see
no room for groups outside of existing organisations. It is a choice
between them and purely individual action. Yours sincerely, J.M.

Mitrany was not entirely impressed with Keynes reasoning noting that
"like the Webbs, he never went down into the street but preferred the
private ear of influential leaders." This is the only mention Mitrany
makes of Keynes. Short of examining their respective private papers,
there appears to be little evidence, beyond this communication, of much
contact between the two, even though Mitrany did come into contact with
some of Keynes's closer friends, including Woolf. A search through
nearly a dozen biographies and studies of Keynes, including Robert
Skidelsky's much venerated three volume epic, failed to turn up a single
mention of Mitrany.

We might compare this with the biographies of Harold Laski, where
Mitrany, despite being in his own words a "close personal friend" is
never mentioned. Either many of these biographers do not regard
Mitrany's relationship with Laski or Keynes to be of any significance or
it really was too sporadic to warrant much of mention. But then again,
we might consider the unusual silence in most biographies of Henry
Kissinger on his relationship with David Rockefeller. His long-term
friendship with Nelson Rockefeller is frequently mentioned, but his
relationship with David seems almost non-existent, even though recently
released phone records from the State Department archives tell a
different story. The failure to mention Mitrany does not mean something
did not happen, but because Mitrany is excluded we do not know what did

7. The Free or Fabian Agent?

The purpose of this essay has been to try and shed some light on the
question of David Mitrany's ultimate loyalties and sympathies. This is
perhaps not an idle question as suspicions about the role of the Fabian
Society in the New World Order are widespread. To discover that the
architect of one of the central strategies for the erosion of the
national sovereignty and local autonomy by stealth was a Fabian would
add immeasurably to the credibility of that point of view. What
conclusions can be drawn from the evidence reviewed above? Was Mitrany a
Fabian, a fellow-traveller or a free agent? The answer can be divided
into two parts.

* First, on the basis of the evidence presented there can be no doubt
Mitrany's thinking on functionalism was influenced by the various
Fabians, socialists and former-Fabians with whom he associated. This
includes those he acknowledges as influencing him - L.T. Hobhouse and
Graham Wallas - and those he fails to credit - primarily Leonard Woolf -
even though they clearly had influenced his thinking. The essential
functionalist idea, however, was not a purely Fabian one; on the
contrary, Woolf's own contribution to the concept of functional
cooperation owed much to the influence of a non-Fabian source. But it is
indisputable that it was via some Fabian and Fabian-associated
individuals that Mitrany first came into contact with the concept. Yet
it must be remembered influence is not control.

* Second, despite participating in two Fabian Society conferences and
knowing numerous former and active Fabians - Hobhouse, Wallas, Woolf,
Cole, Laski and Brailsford - there are few signs Mitrany embraced their
socialist doctrine. Instead, Mitrany, who repeatedly claims never to
have joined the Fabians, denigrated both socialism and Marxism.

We are thus left with the strong possibility that Mitrany's statement
that he had elected not to tie himself "to any political party or
ideological group" and to instead "work with any and all of them for
international peace"; might be true. In short, he was a free agent. That
would account for his ability to work with groups that covered the
political spectrum: from the Fabian Society on the socialist-left
through the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the centre to
the more conservative Chatham House. And explain how he could maintain a
close friendship with unrepentant socialist Harold Laski, yet work as an
Advisor on International Affairs to the board of multi-national
corporation Unilever for 19 years. Not to mention his refusal to join
the Labour Party when it became compulsory for members of its advisory
committees, the fact he was never a member of the Fabian Society, and
even rejected membership of the Freemasons, even though his "respected
friend, Lucien Wolf" was ready to "open the door to their Authors'
Lodge" for Mitrany.

These conclusions - that Mitrany was influenced by some Fabians on the functionalist concept, but did not become a socialist - could well be refuted by an in-depth review of the personal papers of Mitrany, Laski, Woolf, Hobhouse and Wallas. But until such a study is done we must work within the more limited realm of mostly secondary sources where the evidence, despite some ambiguities and omissions, delivers the above conclusions. At the same time there is still scope to dispute the above findings on the grounds that Mitrany's purported beliefs should not be taken at face value given his Fabian associations. However, this speculative approach merely brings us back to the dilemma posed at the beginning of this paper: the dangers of jumping to conclusions on the basis of guilt-by-association. It takes Mitrany's association with Fabians as the start point and re-interprets all his subsequent actions as being fundamentally shaped by that force to the point that all his politically ambiguous and openly anti-socialist activities and sentiments are treated as calculated acts of deception. It also assumes that the Fabian strategy of infiltration involved dishonesty with Fabians masquerading as something else. While such an explanation might be attractive to the pre-conceived notions of some observers, it is ultimately reliant upon a superficial emphasis on Mitrany's connections with the Fabians and a blatant appeal to the prejudices of certain readers. Without sufficient supporting facts such an approach is not far removed from being propaganda...

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