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From corporation to workers’ control : the formation of British guild socialism Vowles, Jack 1980

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FROM CORPORATISM TO WORKERS' CONTROL: THE FORMATION OF BRITISH. GUILD SOCIALISM by JACK VOWLES M.A., Hons, Uni v e r s i t y of Auckland, 1974 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES ( P o l i t i c a l Science Department) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1980 Q Jack Vowles, 1980 In presenting this thesis in partial fulf i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of Bri t ish Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make i t freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. I t is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department nf ^PbUTlCf° i U ^'C16>QC(^ The University of Brit ish Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 D E - 6 B P 75-51 1 E - i i -ABSTRACT Interest has l a t e l y revived i n turn of the century movements such as syndicalism, i n d u s t r i a l unionism, and g u i l d socialism, but so far the ori g i n s and formation of g u i l d socialism i n Edwardian England have been l e f t r e l a t i v e l y unexplored. Work on g u i l d socialism has generally focussed upon the major i d e o l o g i s t of the movement, G.D.H. Cole (1889-1959), who did not p a r t i c i p a t e i n the formation of the f i r s t v e r s i o n of g u i l d socialism. The careers, ideas, and writings of those usually regarded as the founders of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m - Arthur J . Penty (1875-1937), A l f r e d R. Orage (1873-1934), and Samuel G. Hobson (1870-1940) - are discussed and set i n the context of the i n t e l l e c t u a l , s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l l i f e of la t e V i c t o r i a n and Edwardian England, and the extension of 'the g u i l d idea' to other i n d i v i d u a l s and groups with d i f f e r e n t outlooks and experiences i s traced and discussed. It i s concluded that the p o l i t i c s and early s o c i a l theory of G.D.H. Cole are better understood when placed i n the wider context of the g u i l d movement as a whole. Closer attention to the o r i g i n s and formation of gu i l d s o c i a l i s m also reveals that Arthur Penty, l a r g e l y through whom the concept of the g u i l d was to enter the ideology, had corporatist tendencies opposed both to workers' control and to democracy i n general. Further, contrary to many views, g u i l d socialism did not f u l l y break free of the Fabianism i t c r i t i c i s e d . Neither were the basic ideas of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m o r i g i n a l although, synthesised and elaborated most competently - i i i -by Cole, and despite persistent d i f f i c u l t i e s and flaws, they were to add up to an o r i g i n a l contribution to p o l i t i c a l theory. Guild Socialism was born i n P l a t o n i c utopianism, aestheticism, English nationalism, and middle class s o c i a l concern, but as 'a synthesis of d i f f e r e n t points of view' came to be founded upon an A r i s t o t e l i a n i d e a l of balance. Beginning i n a defence of the state against syndicalism, g u i l d socialism l a t e r became an attack on the state i n the cause of i n d i v i d u a l and communal l i b e r t y , thus developing a pluralism l a r g e l y absent among i t s founders, whose r e l i g i o u s approach to s o c i a l i s m was based upon a predetermined i f amorphously expressed v i s i o n of the good. For Cole, on the other hand, good was a q u a l i t y lodged only i n the freedom of ordinary men and women to determine t h e i r own ends. - i v -TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. MEANS AND ENDS 8 I I . THE ROAD TO SOPHILIAUS 45 I I I . POLITICS FOR CRAFTSMEN 91 IV. A PAPER FOR PUBLICISTS 141 V. THE HOPE OF THE WORLD 195 VI. MISSIONARIES OF THE GUILD IDEA 264 VII. DOING THE SPLITS 320 CONCLUSION 386 BIBLIOGRAPHY 418 - v -ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS In my work on g u i l d s o c i a l i s m I received the assistance and encouragement of many people, not a l l of whom can be thanked here. In p a r t i c u l a r I must express my gratitude to the s t a f f i n the I n t e r l i b r a r y Loans Department of the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Libr a r y , who tracked down for me many obscure books and a r t i c l e s . The l i b r a r i e s of the Un i v e r s i t i e s of Alberta and V i c t o r i a sent the New Age on often much extended loan. I must also record my thanks to the s t a f f at the N u f f i e l d L i b r a r y , Oxford; also to those i n charge of the Russell C o l l e c t i o n at McMaster Univ e r s i t y , and of the microfilms of the Penty and Reckitt Papers at H u l l University. I am also indebted to the scholarship of those who have worked on gu i l d s o c i a l i s m before me. Those to whom I wrote, and who provided me with most valuable advice and assistance, included S.T. Glass, Frank Matthews, and Don Tarasoff. My thanks also to those I met i n England to discuss my th e s i s , who included Norman MacKenzie, David N i c h o l l s , Ron Goldstein, Ken F l e e t , and V.A. Demant. In p a r t i c u l a r , I learnt much from interviews with Dame Margaret Cole, and the l a t e Maurice Reckitt. Richard Vernon also very kindly sent me a copy of his introduction to a forthcoming r e p u b l i c a t i o n of Cole's Guild Socialism Restated. Thanks for comments and advice, both substantive and e d i t o r i a l must also be offered to my supervisor, George Feaver, to the members of my - v i -committee: Alan Cairns, Robert Jackson, P h i l i p Resnick, and Ivan Avakumovic, and to my wife, Anna Green. The University of B r i t i s h Columbia provided me with a summer fellowship i n 1978, which paid my a i r f a r e to England i n order to pursue necessary research, and I owe further thanks to the r e l a t i v e s and friends with whom I was able to stay during my v i s i t . For most of my post-graduate career at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia I have been supported by a Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship, and my thanks must go to the Committee and i t s o f f i c e r s i n Ottawa f o r t h e i r assistance and cooperation, and i n p a r t i c u l a r for the extension of the scholarship for a further year beyond the usual four year l i m i t , which probably made the difference between completing and not completing t h i s t h e s i s . This thesis i s dedicated to the memory of my aunt, Jane Corbett. The feudal system of industry, under which i n d u s t r i a l production was monopolis.ed by closed guilds., now no longer s u f f i c e d for the growing markets. ... The g u i l d masters were pushed to one side by the manufacturing middle c l a s s ; d i v i s i o n of labour between the d i f f e r e n t corporate guilds vanished i n the face of d i v i s i o n of labour i n each sin g l e workshop .... The bourgeoisie, wherever i t has got the upper hand, has put an end to a l l feudal, p a t r i a r c h a l , i d y l l i c r e l a t i o n s . It has p i t i l e s s l y torn asunder the motley feudal t i e s that bound man to his 'natural superiors' and has l e f t no other nexus between man and man than callous 'cash payment' .... - K a r l Marx, 1848 That the general s t r i k e i s not popular i n contemporary England, i s a poor argument to bring against the h i s t o r i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of the idea, f o r the English are distinguished by an extraordinary lack of understanding of the class war; t h e i r ideas have remained much dominated by mediaeval influences; the g u i l d , p r i v i l e g e d , or at least protected by laws, s t i l l seems to them the i d e a l of working class organisation .... - Georges S o r e l , 1906 - 1 -INTRODUCTION The t i t l e of Benedetto Croce's book What is Living and What is  Dead in the Philosophy of Hegel expressed in succinct form a question which is of concern to many historians of social and p o l i t i c a l thought. Their task is to examine, describe, and interpret the intellectual achievements of the past. But to what extent is this pursuit one in which ideas of lasting value are resurrected to enrich and stimulate anew the thought and sometimes the action of the present? Alternatively, to what extent is the enterprise merely hi s t o r i c a l , yielding l i t t l e of interest to those presently engaged, either in social and p o l i t i c a l action, or in the task of theorising within the conditions of their own time? A philosopher of the stature of Hegel continues to have a substantial impact upon modern thought while other thinkers, widely read in their day, have sunk into often much deserved oblivion. The subject of this study is a group of intellectuals whose ideas l i e uneasily somewhere between l i f e and death: the British guild socialists or guiidsmen who, in the early decades of the twentieth century, in response to events and to the activities of other movements, outlined a theory for the workers' control of industry. The idea of workers' control has revived among socialists in the last fifteen or twenty years. Nevertheless there are few today who would describe themselves as guild socialists. The demise of the guild - 2 -s o c i a l i s t s of the 1920's has meant, as William Morris appropriately put i t i n another context, that now 'other men have to f i g h t for what they meant under another name.'"'' The disappearance of the name of a movement implies at l e a s t i n some respects i t s death. The i m p l i c a t i o n of i t s r e v i v a l under another name may w e l l be akin to that implied by Croce's approach to Hegel: while something of 'the g u i l d idea' i s s t i l l a l i v e , the r e s t died with the g u i l d movement i n the 1920's. Guild s o c i a l i s m has as yet received l e s s than i t s due of scholarly attention, and numerous approaches to i t s study could be essayed. The task df t h i s present work i s to seek an understanding of the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m - and, as a c o r o l l a r y , i t s demise - by placing i t i n the p o l i t i c a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l context of i t s immediate times. Its founders e x p l i c i t l y claimed that the o r i g i n s of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m were to be found i n i t s immediate h i s t o r i c a l circumstances, rather than i n precedent revolutionary t r a d i t i o n s such as syndicalism and i t s antecedents, of which they were barely cognizant. Nevertheless, the immediate i n t e l l e c t u a l context of Edwardian England provided a number of sources of i n s p i r a t i o n , some of which were derived from more remote contexts. For instance, an early statement of 'the g u i l d idea' i n 1906 by Arthur Penty was as much an outgrowth of e a r l i e r nineteenth century t r a d i t i o n s as a harbinger of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m , but i t had i t s influence on the f i r s t formation of a 1. Among others Asa Briggs has noted the relevance of Morris' passage from A Dream of John B a l l : '... men f i g h t and lose the b a t t l e , and the thing that they fought for comes about i n s p i t e of t h e i r defeat, and when i t comes i t turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to f i g h t f o r what they meant under another name'. (Briggs, 1962, p. 20). - 3 -g u i l d s o c i a l i s t p o s i t i o n i n 1912 and 1913 by A.R. Orage and S.G. Hobson, and upon the subsequent l a t e r evolution of the ideology. A restatement of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m by G.D.H. Cole i n 1920 was a more elaborate and sophisticated reformulation, but i t s consequences were double-edged. To some, i t was a reformation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m i n the l i g h t of further experience; to others, the appropriate d e s c r i p t i o n could well have been expressed as 'deformation'. Thus the present stress on the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m r e f e r s to a complex process of growth of a far from systematic or comprehensive i d e o l o g i c a l p o s i t i o n . The formation took place i n three stages: the f i r s t i n 1912 and 1913, when the major elements of the ideology were outlined. This i s the stage the development and o r i g i n s of which receives the most 2 att e n t i o n i n t h i s study. The second stage of formation was accomplished i n 1915, with the establishment of the National Guilds League as a c o a l i t i o n of d i f f e r e n t groups subscribing to the g u i l d idea. This stage also deserves considerable a t tention, as the groups forming t h i s c o a l i t i o n were to become i n part the l a t e r units of f a c t i o n a l s t r i f e . The t h i r d stage, from 1917 to 1920, involved the r e v i s i o n by Cole and others of s u b s t a n t i a l parts of the e a r l i e r theory. While acting as one of the bases of contention i n the movement, Cole's s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l theory of t h i s period forms the most l a s t i n g contribution of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m to p o l i t i c a l theory. 2. Here the i n t e n t i o n i s to explore i n more d e t a i l ground already covered by Carpenter (1922) and Matthews (1979). - 4 -My thesis i s that consideration of the circumstances of the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m , from i t s early a n t i c i p a t i o n s i n 1906 to i t s l a t e r stages of formulation, i s of c e n t r a l importance to an understanding of the g u i l d movement and i t s ideas. When circumstances changed, g u i l d s o c i a l i s m l o s t i t s momentum and much of i t s r a i s o n d'etre. This approach does much to explain the eventual evolution of the g u i l d movement from a r e l a t i v e l y united body i n 1915 into a number of barely united factions i n 1920 and 1921, and from that state toward complete collapse by 1926. Di v i s i o n s developed because g u i l d socialism was from i t s outset a compromise, an e c l e c t i c synthesis of d i f f e r e n t points of view. Many of i t s disagreements were based upon i t s debts to t r a d i t i o n s ultimately opposed to the goals of the majority of g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s . Guild socialism, usually seen as the epitome of 'participatory democracy', as indeed i t was for the majority of g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s , nevertheless contained wi t h i n i t c e r t a i n tendencies h o s t i l e , on the one hand, to democracy and, on the other, to socialism. In the circumstances p r i o r to 1917 such d i f f i c u l t i e s were at most l a t e n t ; a f t e r 1917, they became increasingly manifest. P r i n c i p a l l y , i t i s argued that c o r p o r a t i s t a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t t r a d i t i o n s of the r i g h t had a su b s t a n t i a l impact upon the formation of g u i l d socialism. In these t r a d i t i o n s originated the very idea of the g u i l d as an i n s t i t u t i o n embodying the ' s p i r i t ' of an i d e a l economic order. I t i s also contended that a Pla t o n i c strand of Fabianism had a l a s t i n g impact upon the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s who, with few exceptions, had at one time or another been members of the Fabian society. Both legacies were detrimental to the ultimate coherence of the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t p o s i t i o n , the f i r s t both to i t s - 5 -democracy and to i t s socialism, and the second to i t s commitment to radical democracy both as a means and an end of emancipation. While guild socialism was unable to fully transcend the limitations of these traditions - and others - i t had inherited, and from which i t was both a development and a reaction, nevertheless G.D.H. Cole, the most able guild theorist, articulated in 1920 an important theory of socialist pluralism which remains of lasting interest and importance. This theory can be more ful l y understood and evaluated when placed in the context of the earlier stages of the formation of the ideology of guild socialism. The argument of this study proceeds both chronologically and thematically. Chapter one develops at greater length the themes outlined above, relating them in particular to the social and economic context of early twentieth century England, and the place of intellectuals i n that society. Pursuing this question, i t examines the beliefs of guild socialists as to the proper role of intellectuals in society, as to the relationship between theory and practice, and in particular as to the connection between means and ends in the construction of normative social theory. It outlines a definition of ideology and concludes with an evaluation of guild socialism as an eclectic ideology based upon 'a synthesis of different points of view' with i t s greatest coherence in the sphere of means rather than of ends. Chapter two examines i n greater detail the eclectic and ambivalent thought within literary and socialist circles in late Victorian and Edwardian England and, in addition, the more general philosophical and moral climate of the period. In this context i t examines the early - 6 -thought of A.R. Orage, whose r o l e i n the f i r s t formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m i n 1912 can only be described as p i v o t a l . Chapter three outlines the f i r s t schematic o u t l i n e of a 'guild idea' i n the work of Arthur Penty i n 1906, and i t s somewhat d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by Orage. I t brings out i n p a r t i c u l a r the strong corporatist tinge of Penty's s o c i a l thought, which involved an opposition to democracy which was paradoxically combined with a c h i l i a s t i c v i s i o n of a s o c i a l i s t millenium. Chapter four describes the t r a n s i t i o n between Penty's g u i l d idea arid that of Orage and Hobson i n 1912 through an account of the p o l i t i c s of the weekly review the New Age of which Orage became editor i n 1907. From Fabianism the New Age gravitated i n 1908 toward more r a d i c a l s o c i a l i s m , but by 1910 was becoming increasingly conservative i n tendency, despite i t s continued commitment to 'democratic socialism'. Chapter f i v e gives an account and analysis of the f i r s t formation of the ideology of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m i n the columns of the New Age, the arguments marshalled by Orage and Hobson, t h e i r antecedents, appeal, and t h e i r implications. In p a r t i c u l a r , i t emphasizes t h e i r a s s o c i a t i o n with a s o c i a l i s m s t r e s s i n g nationalism and national goals as much as human emancipation. Chapter s i x outlines the formation of g u i l d socialism i n 1915 as a movement centred upon an organisation, the National Guilds League, which was composed from the beginning of a c o a l i t i o n of groups owing all e g i a n c e to d i f f e r e n t t r a d i t i o n s . I t also traces the beginnings of the evolution of Cole's s o c i a l theory. Chapter seven traces the beginnings of f a c t i o n a l s t r i f e within the National Guilds League, i t s r e s o l u t i o n , and the subsequent decline and e c l i p s e of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m , while also completing - 7 -the discussion of the evolution of Cole's social theory within the context of the guild movement and i t s experiences. The thesis concludes with a more general overview of guild socialism within the broader contours of the history of p o l i t i c a l theory, considering the place of Cole's socialist pluralism within that tradition. Despite the claims of the founders of guild socialism that i t s genesis was purely English, much of the colour, shape, and diversity of the guild movement was derivative of a mood common throughout intellectual circles in Europe early in the twentieth century: a reaction against what many saw as the dominant bourgeois rationality of the nineteenth century, and a tendency toward the expression of intuitive, s p i r i t u a l , and aesthetic truths the survival of which, i t was f e l t , the advance of capitalist industrialisation, 'rationalisation', and, to many, secularisation, had placed in jeopardy. In this mood lay the seeds both of democratic ideals and of the authoritarian p o l i t i c s of later communisms and fascisms. But as its founders claimed, with some exaggeration, much of the mood of guild socialism was also the result of specifically English circumstances related to intellectual trends, social structure, and p o l i t i c s . In order to discover what remains alive in the dusty rooms of the guild socialist edifice, i t w i l l be necessary to seek to understand the phenomenon, f i r s t of a l l , as an historical movement in which much that is now dead contributed to the formation of ideas and aspirations that somewhat remarkably, but also perhaps inevitably, remain alive. - 8 -CHAPTER ONE MEANS AND ENDS ... Syndicalism, I n d u s t r i a l Unionism, Guild Socialism ... had common c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and, as Sorel emphasised, f i t t e d i n with the Bergsonian philosophy and i t s emphasis on the elan v i t a l . They were a l l , moreover, ambivalent tendencies, i n that they could be combined either with highly democratic or with h e i r a r c h i c a l gospels, so that t h e i r protagonists came to blows with one another i n the post-war period, and the whole movement broke up. - G.D.H. Cole, 1956 (p. 248). The insig h t s offered i n G.D.H. Cole's mature r e f l e c t i o n s upon the i n t e l l e c t u a l climate of his youth have r a r e l y been applied to studies of gu i l d socialism. An ambivalence between highly democratic and h e i r a r c h i c a l 'gospels' has seldom been detected i n a movement generally seen as the epitome of 'participatory democracy' (Patemari, 1970). It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Cole wrote of 'ambivalence' as well as d i v i s i o n , implying - perhaps unint e n t i o n a l l y - an inconsistency within the shared assumptions of guildsmen rather than simply suggesting c o n f l i c t between advocates o f 'the g u i l d idea'. Certainly c o n f l i c t and disagreement among the in d i v i d u a l s involved were what he p r i n c i p a l l y had i n mind; by the 1930's, ten years aft e r the demise of the movement, former guildsmen could be found from the fa r r i g h t to the f a r l e f t of the p o l i t i c a l spectrum, and at almost a l l points i n between. But there are deeper ambivalences to be exposed within the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t p o s i t i o n i t s e l f . Before t h i s task can be - 9 -undertaken, some preliminary remarks are necessary on the h i s t o r y of the g u i l d movement, i t s context and questions concerning i t s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . I The g u i l d s o c i a l i s t movement germinated, flowered, and died over two eventful decades of the early twentieth century. Arthur Penty's proposal for the r e s t o r a t i o n of 'gilds'" 1" was published i n 1906, not long a f t e r the e l e c t i o n of a L i b e r a l government which was to embark h e s i t a n t l y upon the construction of the foundations of a welfare state. Six years l a t e r , A l f r e d Orage and Samuel Hobson designed t h e i r scheme for 'a system of national g u i l d s ' as a middle class and s o c i a l i s t response to what they saw as a threat to s o c i a l order presented by the b r i e f appearance of a s y n d i c a l i s t movement i n B r i t a i n . The formation of the g u i l d movement i t s e l f took place a few months a f t e r the B r i t i s h entrance into the f i r s t t o t a l war i n human h i s t o r y . In the aftermath of the war, as the L i b e r a l party d i s i n t e g r a t e d and the Labour party rose to take i t s place, the trade unions i n which the guildsmen had placed t h e i r hopes were thrust on to the defensive as the B r i t i s h economy entered into a period of sustained c r i s i s and long-term decline. The ignominious f a i l u r e of the general s t r i k e of 1926 was but the f i n a l n a i l i n the c o f f i n holding the aspirations of g u i l d socialism. To a group of men and women claiming to seek to ddvance, 1. The unusual s p e l l i n g ' g i l d ' i s that of an e a r l i e r and more t r a d i t i o n a l form of the word; c f . Watford, 1888, and below, p. 121. - 10 -through applied human w i l l , the cause of human freedom, autonomy, and f u l f i l l m e n t the lessons of t h e i r own experience can only have led to a profound questioning of the basis of t h e i r a s p i r a t i o n s . L i t t l e or nothing had been gained. Their l i t t l e movement, despite the energy, a b i l i t i e s , and enthusiasm of i t s members, had been tossed about l i k e a cork i n the stormy sea of f a t e . Trade unions, the means of bringing about the new order, had f a i l e d i n t h e i r appointed task; the ends of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m remained unattained. Such a v e r d i c t on the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s has been widely accepted since the 1920's. Their aims have been seen not only as Utopian but also as anachronistic i n an age i n which the development of technology has made c e n t r a l i s a t i o n , large organisations, and c o n t r o l by 'experts' i n e v i t a b l e adjuncts of a 'modern' economy. As l a t e as 1964 A.H. B i r c h , i n a general essay on B r i t i s h p o l i t i c s , declared that 'the whole issue' of workers' con t r o l was ' v i r t u a l l y dead' (1964, p. 112). The most accessible account of the g u i l d movement, published not long a f t e r , expressed s i m i l a r views; the aspirations had been noble, but hopelessly bverambitious (Glass, 1966). But already there were signs that such judgements were made within the framework of assumptions themselves open to challenge. I f 'dead' i n B r i t a i n a form of workers' c o n t r o l , although not without i t s imperfections, had been established i n Yugoslavia by a communist party which, p a r t l y due to i t s strong popular support, had s u c c e s s f u l l y broken with Soviet Stalinism. Meanwhile the events of 1956 had led to the r e v i v a l i n the west of a r a d i c a l l e f t no longer looking to the Soviet Union as a s o c i a l i s t model. Already by 1958 one of the leading B r i t i s h i n t e l l e c t u a l s i n t h i s - 11 -t r a d i t i o n , Raymond Williams, had declared the contribution of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m to such r a d i c a l s o c i a l thought to be 'creative and indispensable' (1963, p. 191). By 1963 forces were once more i n motion i n B r i t a i n toward the formation of a movement to promote the idea of workers' co n t r o l , and i n March 1968 the I n s t i t u t e for Workers' Control (IWC) was created i n Nottingham. Thus, as Margaret Cole has put i t , i n the 'brave new world of the s i x t i e s ' the ideals of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m seemed no longer out of date and i r r e l e v a n t , f o r 'the human needs to which they were a response were s t i l l f a r from s a t i s f i e d ' (1971a, p. 10). Indeed, i n the 1960's there took place a b r i e f r e v i v a l of something akin to the mood of the early twentieth century. There was a vigorous den i a l that an 'end of ideology' had been accomplished through the development of a r a t i o n a l i s t i c and technocratic consensus. While the early extravagance of t h i s mood has died, i t s f r u i t s l i v e on and with them, something of 'the g u i l d idea'. Such tendencies are, however, far wider than the issue of workers' c o n t r o l , for they include issues such as l o c a l versus c e n t r a l c o n t r o l , 'soft' versus 'hard' technology, and challenges to the power of large corporate groups, demanding t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to society at large. At bottom, these questions stem from a revived concern to l i b e r a t e the i n d i v i d u a l from the constraints of a highly organised, technocratic but - as many would claim -an inc r e a s i n g l y i r r a t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l and economic system over which government con t r o l and regulation has had but questionable success i n preserving, as Cole put i t i n 1941, 'democracy face to face with hugeness' (1950, pp. 90-96). - 12 -These concerns were also those of g u i l d socialism, which had aims far wider and more general than those of workers' c o n t r o l . Nevertheless, i n i t s major p o l i t i c a l thrust g u i l d s o c i a l i s m was a movement to achieve that s p e c i f i c goal. Considerable co n t i n u i t y e x i s t s between g u i l d socialism and the modern B r i t i s h proponents of workers' control ( c f . Barker, 1975; Coates and Topham, 1968). G.D.H. Cole, the most i n f l u e n t i a l g u i l d s o c i a l i s t , died i n 1959, too early to witness the r e v i v a l of his a s p i r a t i o n s , although he had continued to defend them to the l a s t ( c f . Cole, 1957). I t was Bertrand R u s s e l l whose a s s o c i a t i o n with both movements provided an e x p l i c i t connection; Russell too had continued to defend g u i l d s o c i a l i s m long a f t e r i t was fashionable to do so ( c f . R u s s e l l , 1966). However the i n t e l l e c t u a l climate i n B r i t a i n and elsewhere i n the i n d u s t r i a l i s e d west bears only a s u p e r f i c i a l resemblance to that of the world before 1914 i n which g u i l d socialism was born - that world was, as Cole once termed i t , 'a p r e - h i s t o r i c age 1. The p a r a l l e l s are noteworthy, but the two periods stand apart by a considerable distance. Guild s o c i a l i s m must be situated i n the context of i t s time before retrospective judgements can be made. To judge i t on the grounds of what has been learnt since has i t s place, but i s no basis for d i s m i s s a l . I t must be admitted that as an a n t i c i p a t i o n of l a t e r schemes of self-management or of st r a t e g i e s f or t h e i r establishment g u i l d socialism generally proves sadly lacking ( c f . P r i b i b c e v i c , 1959). In l a t e r l i f e Cole was ready to admit the lacunae within g u i l d s o c i a l i s t theory; i t s readiness to si m p l i f y issues, and i t s f a i l u r e to address important questions. But i f there i s a place for c r i t i c i s m , there i s an equally important place for sympathetic - 13 -understanding. If the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s made errors, i t i s worthwhile asking why they did so. Thus att e n t i o n must be paid to the context of t h e i r movement. A contextual approach i s well-suited to the study of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m for the i n t e l l e c t u a l s active i n the movement would have been the f i r s t to claim the necessary connection of t h e i r ideas to the events and circumstances of t h e i r times; they sought, by a p p l i c a t i o n of i n t e l l i g e n c e and w i l l , to change those circumstances and thus thought and a r t i c u l a t e d t h e i r thought with that end i n mind. But there are important p i t f a l l s i n many attempts to put 'ideas i n context'. Too often, thought of the past becomes subject to examination through categories defined a h i s t o r i c a l l y and i n retrospect with the attendant danger of s o c i o l o g i c a l , psychological, or economic reductionism. This i s not to deny the importance of such variables i n the understanding of the history of s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l thought; i t i s , however, an argument for t h e i r s e n s i t i v e and s e l e c t i v e a p p l i c a t i o n . A contextual approach, as demonstrated most ably i n the work of Pocock and Skinner, demands attention to an i n t e l l e c t u a l and to some extent a p o l i t i c a l context; to the debates and discussions of the time, and t h e i r language; and, most of a l l , to the a r t i c u l a t e d aims and self-understandings of the i n d i v i d u a l s under examination. Thus the most appropriate s o c i o l o g i c a l and psychological explanations may be suggested by those who l i v e d i n the period under i n v e s t i g a t i o n . For instance, middle class s o c i a l i s t s themselves suggested that the development of a new s o c i a l class was an) important precondition of the development of middle class s o c i a l i s m i n B r i t a i n a f t e r 1880. Sidney Webb - 14 -and Bernard Shaw i n p a r t i c u l a r claimed the emergence of a 'nouvelle  couche s o c i a l e ' , an ' i n t e l l e c t u a l p r o l e t a r i a t ' , ' l i t e r a r y p r o l e t a r i a t ' , or 'professional p r o l e t a r i a t ' (Hobsbawm, 1964, p. 258). In 1913, the New Age, the review which under Orage's editorship launched g u i l d s ocialism, coined the word ' s a l a r i a t ' to describe the s o c i a l group involved. There i s much evidence that the decades af t e r 1880 saw the considerable expansion — perhaps more accurately the creation of - an ' i n t e l l e c t u a l 1 c l a s s ' i n B r i t a i n , including teachers, c i v i l servants, j o u r n a l i s t s , and o f f i c e workers, who had i n common t h e i r earning a regular salary, however meagre, rather than a wage. In 1871 for instance there were only i4,000 teachers i n B r i t a i n ; by 1900, with the expansion of education, there were 100,000. In 1871 there were but a l i t t l e more than 2,000 'authors, e d i t o r s , and j o u r n a l i s t s ' ; by 1914 there were 14,000. More generally, those employed i n white c o l l a r occupations and i n public administration increased from a l i t t l e under 4% of those employed i n 1891 to a l i t t l e under 8% i n 1921 (cf. Hobsbawm, 1968, p. 283, 130; Carswell, 1978, p. 16). Mid-Victorian B r i t a i n had been characterised by i t s comparative absence of a 'lower middle c l a s s ' separating - or l i n k i n g - the working classes and the middle classes and, i n addition, by the large s i z e of i t s manual working class - 77% of the population i n 1867 (Hobsbawm, 1968, p. 128). Yet the small group occupying t h i s p o s i t i o n was important despite i t s s i z e . I t was e s s e n t i a l l y composed of 'artisans', 'mechanics', small shopkeepers, farmers, traders, and independent craftsmen, a l l groups s k i l l e d , educated, and often i f not always w i l l i n g to accept new technology. - 15 -Nevertheless the advance of c a p i t a l i s t i n d u s t r i a l i s m was often a threat to t h e i r s u r v i v a l and independence, and men from such backgrounds were often a c t i v e i n the r a d i c a l , s o c i a l i s t , and C h a r t i s t movements e a r l i e r i n the century, representing as they did 'the i d e a l of freedom and independence i n an age when everything conspired to degrade labour'(Hobsbawm, 1968, p. 71). This was a t r a d i t i o n of r a d i c a l p o l i t i c s which exerted influence once more i n the s o c i a l i s t r e v i v a l of the 1880's and over the l a t e r development of the labour movement and, by 1914, had reappeared i n a p a r t i c u l a r l y strong form i n g u i l d socialism. For the new i n t e l l e c t u a l class however t h i s t r a d i t i o n was only one a v a i l a b l e source of ideology. While owing debts to r a d i c a l i s m , Marxism, and Utopian socialism, the Fabians also looked to more orthodox sources for t h e i r s o c i a l theory: V i c t o r i a n science, n e o - c l a s s i c a l economics, po s i t i v i s m , and even the evolutionary sociology of Herbert Spencer. According to Hobsbawm, the Fabians may be seen p r i m a r i l y as a 'group of technocratic and managerial thinkers' whose socialism was l a r g e l y unrepresentative of the labour movement they sought in c r e a s i n g l y to influence (1968, p. 142). But as representatives of the expanding s a l a r i a t the Fabians also sought to influence other more i n f l u e n t i a l groups. However the p o l i t i c a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of some of these early members of the emergent s a l a r i a t with r a d i c a l and s o c i a l i s t t r a d i t i o n s was aided by t h e i r early f a i l u r e to be accepted within the e x i s t i n g s o c i a l structure. Thus there was a strong tendency for i t s most energetic members to seek to change and restructure a society which seemed to have no place for them. - 16 -This had psychological implications, for membership of such a new class without deep roots i n e x i s t i n g society could lead to f e e l i n g s of a l i e n a t i o n . Such a psychology was further reinforced by the l a t e V i c t o r i a n decline i n r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f e s p e c i a l l y among t h i s very group. Those who had l o s t t h e i r b e l i e f s often found themselves e x i s t i n g i n a s p i r i t u a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l vacuum, and thus cast about for a l t e r n a t i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l systems through which to give t h e i r l i v e s new meaning. In the context of such a complex i n t e l l e c t u a l climate, as Stanley Pierson has recently argued, middle class s o c i a l i s t s i n B r i t a i n were often characterised by a 'divided consciousness' involving a severe d i s j u n c t i o n between personal values and s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s , which could lead to a search for new and more s a t i s f y i n g ways of l i f e combining both personal and p o l i t i c a l concerns (1979, pp. 7-26). This, then, was the environment out of which Fabianism grew and, to some extent, the early Independent Labour Party, although socialism was by no means the only movement which could tap the phenomenon. But such explanations are only the beginning. While g u i l d s o c i a l i s m grew out of Fabianism i t reincorporated many of the aspirations of the e a r l i e r r a d i c a l t r a d i t i o n l e f t behind by Fabians. In addition, the f i r s t formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m took place twelve years into the new century, by which time the p o s i t i o n of the s a l a r i a t was much improved; as Hobsbawm h i n t s , the profe s s i o n a l i n t e l l e c t u a l class had become a s e l f -conscious group by the Edwardian period and was beginning to evolve a d i s t i n c t l i f e - s t y l e of i t s own (1968, p. 6). In addition, for many by t h i s time r e l i g i o u s uncertainties were no longer so deep-seated or - 17 -distur b i n g . The influence of the state of mind of the e a r l i e r period remained important, but there were now other factors at work. It i s also worth noting that such a general d e s c r i p t i o n of an i n t e l l e c t u a l and s o c i a l climate can only form the background to an examination of the b e l i e f s and actions of i n d i v i d u a l s . Many i n d i v i d u a l s under such pressures did not seek to resolve t h e i r personal or s o c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s through membership of the s o c i a l i s t movement. Fabians and other middle class s o c i a l i s t s were the exceptions from the normal p o l i t i c a l behaviour of t h e i r s o c i a l group. Their p o l i t i c a l commitment must therefore be perceived as the outcome not only of a combination of s o c i a l factors but also of other le s s e a s i l y generalised events and influences. Making common cause with the ideology supposed to represent a class more outcast than t h e i r own was a question of choice and accident as w e l l as of sociology and psychology; of w i l l as well as of circumstance. Members of an i n t e l l e c t u a l class who seek to r a d i c a l l y change t h e i r society become more than i n t e l l e c t u a l s ; they become an ' i n t e l l i g e n t s i a ' united by more than f a m i l i a r i t y with and i n t e r e s t i n ideas. As S i r Isaiah B e r l i n points out, they become 'a dedicated order, almost a :.secular priesthood, devoted to the spreading of a s p e c i f i c a t t i t u d e to l i f e , something l i k e a gospel' (1979, p. 117). By the 1890's and the early years of the twentieth century something l i k e an i n t e l l i g e n t s i a was coming to e x i s t i n B r i t a i n , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n London. The growth of the i n t e l l e c t u a l c l a s s , fueled by increasing l i t e r a c y , urbanisation, and educational opportunities had reached a point at which the more daring and d i s s a t i s f i e d of i t s members had found themselves s u f f i c i e n t l y numerous to constitute a - 18 -'defined c u l t u r a l community' of the 'advanced'. This was the group i n which the New Age, the weekly review which took the ce n t r a l r o l e i n the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m , found the majority of i t s readers. The New Age, which d i d much to encourage the vogue of Russian l i t e r a t u r e , a rt and thought i n these c i r c l e s , also did much to introduce the Russian term ' i n t e l l i g e n t s i a ' into the English language j u s t before the war (Martin, 1967, p. 142). 2 The New Age has recently had much well-deserved a t t e n t i o n f o r , i n the judgement of Wallace Martin, i t provides 'a comprehensive record of the emergence of modern culture from i t s V i c t o r i a n and Edwardian ante-cedents' (1967, p. 3). Its contribution was most s i g n i f i c a n t i n the f i e l d s of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t , and i t gave encouragement to many of the formative figures of twentieth century B r i t i s h a rt and l e t t e r s at the beginning of t h e i r careers. I t helped to popularise Russian l i t e r a t u r e , 2. There i s some controversy over the use of th i s term i n the English context. Anderson (1965) has claimed that English i n t e l l e c t u a l s have always been too c l o s e l y integrated into the establishment culture to form a true i n t e l l i g e n t s i a on the Russian model, while H a l l (1979) has argued that an i n t e l l i g e n t s i a has existed i n England at le a s t since 1830, i t s hallmark being 'that self-consciousness of a status group which made i t a proper i n t e l l i g e n t s i a ' (p. 292). An i n t e l l i g e n t s i a i n i t s o r i g i n a l usage r e f e r s to a group of r a d i c a l , advanced, and alienated i n t e l l e c t u a l s ; whether a condition of membership i s to be a revolutionary i s a nice point, leaving aside one's d e f i n i t i o n of 'revolutionary', which would be i n addition a matter of debate. To Anderson an i n t e l l i g e n t s i a must r e j e c t i t s society completely; one wonders whether even a l l members of the early Russian i n t e l l i g e n t s i a would have gone that f a r . To H a l l , a l l i n t e l l e c t u a l s may belong provided they see themselves as members of a 'status group'. As used here, ' i n t e l l i g e n t s i a ' r e f e r s to the r a d i c a l f r i n g e of an i n t e l l e c t u a l class which recognises i t s d i s t i n c t i v e and 'advanced 1 character, and i t i s contended that such a phenomenon could be found i n Edwardian England. - 19 -post-impressionism, and imagism, thus doing much to bring English taste out of the i n s u l a r i t y of the V i c t o r i a n period. The contribution of the New Age to discussion of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l thought has so far received less attention than i t deserves, for although a s u p e r f i c i a l r etrospective glance suggests the f a i l u r e of i t s more prominent enthusiasms, less obviously the New Age did much to introduce into England the work of Bergson, Nietzsche, Croce, Freud, and Jung and moreover, i t s e c l e c t i c i s m was such that, as John Carswell has observed, 'with hindsight, one can trace i n the New Age l i n e s of thought which led to almost every operative doctrine of the t h i r t i e s and f o r t i e s , including the most h o r r i f i c ' (1978, p. 147). Nevertheless from 1907 to 1914 the New Age above a l l provides considerable i n s i g h t into an e c l e c t i c , c r e a t i v e , and now somewhat neglected period i n the h i s t o r y of B r i t i s h s o c i a l i s m , i n which g u i l d s o c i a l i s m arose to challenge the gradualist p o l i t i c a l s t rategies of the Fabian society and of the Labour party - at that time l i t t l e more than a pressure group c l i n g i n g to the coat t a i l s of the L i b e r a l party - by recommending a more r a d i c a l reconstruction of B r i t i s h society. II The readers and writers of the New Age and the members of the g u i l d movement who gathered together i n 1915 were hardly p o l i t i c a l philosophers i n an academic or ' c l a s s i c a l ' sense. They did not conceive themselves as making a contribution to a timeless dialogue on abstract questions of p o l i t i c a l l i f e ; indeed, i t i s doubtful that c l a s s i c a l p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l - 20 -t h e o r i s t s defined t h e i r a c t i v i t y wholly, or even p r i n c i p a l l y , i n those terms (cf. Lockyer, 1979, p. 209). The guildsmen did not ignore or avoid abstract questions, but did tend to give them short s h r i f t , for t h e i r major concern was, as Matthew Arnold had put i t , 'the a p p l i c a t i o n of ideas to l i f e ' . They saw English society as i n need of thoroughgoing change, and sought to o u t l i n e a new order for the future and ind i c a t e means by which i t might be r e a l i s e d . For G.D.H. Cole i n p a r t i c u l a r , the prime commitment was to what a recent study has termed ' p r a c t i c a l relevancy' within a t r a d i t i o n of r a d i c a l and s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l thought (Wright, 1979) . Such a concern required the development of theory i n intimate r e l a t i o n with p r a c t i c e , such p r a c t i c e being both that made necessary by present contingency and that deemed desi r a b l e for a society of the future. Cole i n p a r t i c u l a r p e r s i s t e n t l y stressed the necessity of the r e l a t i o n and the compatibility of means with ends. The r o l e of theory was to l i n k the present and future; i t was a guide for navigation. But i n the background guildsmen did i d e n t i f y a further sphere of i n t e l l e c t u a l r e f l e c t i o n , for l i k e most Edwardians they distinguished between philosophy and science, while continuing to regard the two pursuits as c l o s e l y l i n k e d . For g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s the task of science was the construction of p r e s c r i p t i v e s o c i a l theory; B r i t i s h trade unionism was urged to re-organise i t s e l f upon ' s c i e n t i f i c ' l i n e s . Science, and i n p a r t i c u l a r 'sociology' was therefore seen as a means to serve normative or p h i l o s o p h i c a l ends of s o c i a l reconstruction - a common phrase of the time i n a l l i d e o l o g i c a l camps - thus continuing a concern apparent i n the very o r i g i n s of sociology i n the P o s i t i v i s m of August Comte, but one which was - 21 -now already i n r e t r e a t . Nevertheless, such a construction of sociology had an important impact upon the formation of g u i l d socialism. Edwardians defined the sphere of philosophy i n terms more cl o s e l y associated today with e x i s t e n t i a l i s m or r e l i g i o n than with academic philosophy, at least as t h i s i s commonly undertaken i n the Anglo-Saxon world. For most Edwardians, i n the academy and outside of i t , philosophy had an intimate r e l a t i o n to questions of r e l i g i o n , f a i t h , a r t , morality, and ways of l i f e . By t h i s time the road toward a more modest d e f i n i t i o n of the tasks of philosophy was already open, but i t was not u n t i l a f t e r the war that Oxford Idealism, with i t s high r e l i g i o u s and moral content, l o s t i t s influence - more often i n d i r e c t than d i r e c t - over those engaged i n s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l theory. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , i n the prewar years challenges to such broad conceptions of philosophy were confined to s p e c i a l i s t s i n the u n i v e r s i t i e s , and had not yet spread into society at large. Most readers of the New Age were outside the academic world, and many of the l a t e r g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s , i f u n i v e r s i t y educated, had attended Oxford where Idealism was s t i l l most i n f l u e n t i a l . Consequently given the assumptions of the time and t h e i r own a s p i r a t i o n s , there was no reason why g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s should f e e l obliged to confine t h e i r thought to the sphere of abstract contemplation and r e f l e c t i o n ; l i k e Marx, they believed that the point of t h e i r e f f o r t s was not only to i n t e r p r e t the world but also to change i t . The e f f o r t s of the guildsmen did not produce so monumental a contrib-ution to s o c i a l theory as that of Marx, for they perceived t h e i r times as p a r t i c u l a r l y malleable and thus ready for change. Accordingly, theory - 22 -received, i n retrospect, what seems to be less than i t s due and ac t i o n , which had l i t t l e l a s t i n g impact, somewhat more. And yet i f g u i l d s o c i a l i s m produced no contribution to p o l i t i c a l theory of the f i r s t rank, i t stands squarely i n the forefront of the second rank. Cole himself claimed g u i l d socialism to have made 'the outstanding contribution to new non-Communist theories of socialism during and immediately a f t e r the f i r s t world war' (1958, p. .25), and did much himself to elaborate a theory of s o c i a l i s t p l u r a l i s m which remains of l a s t i n g value and i n t e r e s t . In addition, R.H. Tawney's c l a s s i c work, The A c q u i s i t i v e Society (1921) remains a milestone i n B r i t i s h s o c i a l i s t thought and was written from a g u i l d s o c i a l i s t point of view. The d i f f i c u l t i e s of theoris i n g as a guide f o r p r a c t i c e , rather than abstracting and generalising f o r purposes purely p h i l o s o p h i c a l , are widely appreciated. Yet to use theory as a guide seems an ever recurrent theme i n the h i s t o r y of p o l i t i c a l thought. In times of change, of perceived i n j u s t i c e , or of perceived c r i s i s i t seems i n e v i t a b l e that those concerned for the future w i l l attempt to use the i r i n t e l l i g e n c e to influence the course of events, whatever the d i f f i c u l t i e s involved. Among these d i f f i c u l t i e s i s the problem of consistency. A t h e o r i s t seeking to o u t l i n e a course of action i s s t i l l obliged to d i r e c t a t t e n t i o n to the coherence and l o g i c of his theories unless he wishes to abandon his c a l l i n g as an i n t e l l e c t u a l for that of a prophet. But a thinker seeking relevance i s far more vulnerable to the play of events than the abstract philosopher; nor would he have i t any other way. In times without p o t e n t i a l i t y f o r change, h i s task w i l l be pr i m a r i l y that of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n - 23 -unless, of course, he i s prepared to abandon serious and constructive thought e n t i r e l y i n senseless violence and terrorism, as were the Russian n i h i l i s t s of the 1870's and 1880's, and as others have done i n our own time. In a time of c r i s i s or change, l i k e that perceived by many Englishmen between 1911 and 1920, for a committed i n t e l l e c t u a l the balance between thought and action w i l l become unstable. Opportunities for advance perhaps e x i s t , and cannot be missed. Time for thought may be l i m i t e d , and emotions always intrude into the necessary process of judgement. The guildsmen always gave a s u b s t a n t i a l weight to i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , but the very nature of t h e i r goals and circumstances led them often to f a i l to pursue i t beyond l i m i t s prescribed by t h e i r commitments and t h e i r general lack of p o l i t i c a l experience. Like a l l p o l i t i c a l actors, they were prone to inconsistency p a r t i c u l a r l y when responding to events beyond t h e i r c o n t r o l . They were aware of such d i f f i c u l t i e s , and constantly sought to r e l a t e p r i n c i p l e to p r a c t i c e , while recognising that the gap between those two spheres could not be e a s i l y spanned. Only with at l e a s t the beginnings of the r e a l i s a t i o n of t h e i r goals could a s o l i d bridge be b u i l t between the two a c t i v i t i e s . To understand the ideas of the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s i t i s therefore necessary to examine not only the i n t e l l e c t u a l context but also the broad parameters, and some of the d e t a i l s , of the p o l i t i c a l context i n which they were actors. Thus weaknesses, lacunae, and misjudgements i n t h e i r theory and p r a c t i c e may be more r e a d i l y explained. - 24'-To explain the d i f f i c u l t i e s of g u i l d theory w i l l involve discerning them. The problem of the r e l a t i o n of theory to p r a c t i c e has already been i d e n t i f i e d , but i t i s the question of 'ambivalence', suggestively r a i s e d by Cole himself, which deserves most atte n t i o n . This ambivalence, i t was hinted, may be found i n the whole complex of ideas shared by members of the g u i l d movement, and i n the ideas held by many i n d i v i d u a l guildsmen. It may also be i d e n t i f i e d i n the actual d i v i s i o n s and disagreements between i n d i v i d u a l s i n the movement. For g u i l d s o c i a l i s m was based upon an e c l e c t i c synthesis of ideas, not a l l of which were compatible. The d i v i s i o n s between i n d i v i d u a l s and groups i n the movement were not unrelated to the d i s j u n c t i o n between theory and p r a c t i c e noted above, but they also ran deeper. There were many disagreements upon basic questions of p r i n c i p l e , although these took some time to f u l l y emerge. Given the importance of these matters for a f u l l understanding of the gu i l d movement, i t i s noteworthy that only recently have the f a c t i o n a l disputes within the movement been accorded sustained s c h o l a r l y a ttention (c f . Carpenter, 1973; Wright, 1979). But these accounts, although i l l u m i n a t i n g , have not approached the question through a perspective of the movement as a whole, or of i t s varied and complex o r i g i n s , but have instead defined t h e i r approach i n r e l a t i v e i s o l a t i o n , l a r g e l y from the point of view of Cole, who was the major i d e o l o g i s t of the movement i n the years of i t s maturity and l a t e r d ecline. Thus, while other points of view have been recognised, there remains a general impression of g u i l d socialism as, i n the words of C.E. Bechhofer, 'Cole socialism'(GN, February 1919, pp. 7-8). - 25 -As Margaret Cole has recently noted, Cole's 'voluminous l i t e r a r y output' has led to a tendency 'to write as though he was the dominating i f not the only formulator' of g u i l d socialism; t h i s impression i s , however, misleading (1971a, p. 272). As the pioneer scholar of g u i l d socialism, N i l e s Carpenter, was most c a r e f u l to emphasise, Cole was a convert to g u i l d socialism i n early 1914, and was not therefore among the founders of the ideology. C e r t a i n l y , t h i s i s seldom forgotten, but Cole nevertheless receives the most attention; indeed, he merits i t , as h i s contr i b u t i o n was the most i n t e l l e c t u a l l y rigorous and i n t e r e s t i n g . As a r e s u l t , the many other d i f f e r e n t points of view i n the movement receive less attention than they deserve. They deserve a t t e n t i o n not so much due to t h e i r own merits, but rather because of t h e i r contribution to g u i l d socialism as an h i s t o r i c a l movement. For instance, i t i s r a r e l y noted that the c r i t i c s of Cole i n the movement played an important part i n helping Cole to formulate a stronger and more consistent p o s i t i o n . At the same time, the e c l e c t i c i s m of Cole's own s o c i a l theory was sustained and reinforced by that of the g u i l d movement. From a sca t t e r i n g of co r p o r a t i s t authoritarians on the extreme r i g h t of the movement, i t s i d e o l o g i c a l range spanned communitarian C h r i s t i a n s o c i a l i s t s , g r a d u a l i s t proponents of workers' c o n t r o l , revolutionary Marxists, crypto-anarchists such as the Bertrand Ru s s e l l of 1916 to 1920, and q u a l i f i e d c o l l e c t i v i s t s such as R.H. Tawney, whose own version of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m owed l i t t l e to Cole and had more i n common with that f i r s t outlined i n the New Age. It was no wonder that debate within the g u i l d movement was so v i t a l and that a l l these positions could not for - 26 -long remain contained within the same organisation. General studies of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m as a whole are few. The most recent account, that of S.T. Glass (1966) i s a succinct and most able account of the ideas and h i s t o r y of the movement. Its b r e v i t y i s of great advantage i n terms of i t s a c c e s s i b i l i t y , but a disadvantage i n that many questions have of necessity been examined only i n o u t l i n e form or simply passed over. N i l e s Carpenter's pioneering study (1922) i s a contemporary account which, although e s s e n t i a l reading, now requires supplementation. It does provide the f u l l e s t account of the v a r i e t y and complexity of the g u i l d movement. The i n t e l l e c t u a l context of the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m i n 1912 and 1913 has also been illuminated by the work of l i t e r a r y h i s t o r i a n s who have examined Orage and the New' Age; the work of Martin (1967) , Thatcher (1970), Gibbons (1973) and Carswell (1978) i s - p a r t i c u l a r l y worthy of note. Such studies have however interpreted g u i l d socialism very much according to i t s presentation i n the New Age and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , within the l i t e r a r y and p h i l o s o p h i c a l context of a p o l i t i c a l l y d i f f u s e but increasingly reactionary group of i n t e l l e c t u a l s who became associated with the New Age p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r 1914, but whose influence upon the review may be detected as early as 1910. This i s a side of the g u i l d movement which requires s e n s i t i v e treatment, although many of. t h e ^ i n d i v i d u a l s involved had l i t t l e or no contact with the g u i l d movement. Nevertheless the e a r l i e s t a n t i c i p a t i o n s of 'the g u i l d idea' owed much to a n t i - c a p i t a l i s m of the r i g h t as w e l l as of the l e f t . Elements of nationalism, anti-semitism, corporatism, and - 27 -authoritarianism may be detected i n the New Age, and could be found i n the ideas of some of i t s contributors who did i d e n t i f y with the gu i l d movement. There i s a tendency for some of the l i t e r a r y scholars to i d e n t i f y g u i l d s o c i a l i s m as a whole with these tendencies; thus Gibbons has described the ideology as a species of 1neo-feudalism' which sought to develop 'a s o c i a l i s t i c corporate state' (1973, p. 25, 27, 100). Nevertheless the l a t e r f l i r t a t i o n of some guildsmen with fascism i n the 1930's makes t h i s side of the g u i l d movement worthy of att e n t i o n , i f only to put i t i n i t s proper perspective. Considering the widely d i f f e r i n g pictures of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m derived from study of d i f f e r e n t aspects of the movement, an emphasis on the di v i s i o n s between guildsmen rather than upon t h e i r unity seems long over-due, f o r the gu i l d movement cannot be f u l l y understood through the ideas and a c t i v i t i e s of any one group or i n d i v i d u a l within i t . Guildsmen themselves recognised the d i v e r s i t y of opinions within the National Guilds League and, as stated by a report accepted by a majority at an annual meeting i n 1920: ... though i t was possible to form the League on the basis of common b e l i e f s , i t was recognised from the f i r s t that d i f f e r e n t philosophies underlay the p r i n c i p l e s of the League. For some time i t seemed that a synthesis of these d i f f e r e n t points of view had been reached ... ('Report of the Committee of Five ' , Bedford MSS, 1 , 3 ) . The g u i l d movement shared 'common b e l i e f s ' and p r i n c i p l e s but these were derived from ' d i f f e r e n t philosophies' or, as we would say today, ideologies. Such common b e l i e f s were developed from a synthesis of the - 28 -d i f f e r e n t points of view, and i t i s perhaps only i n t h i s sense that the r e a l basis of unity of the movement may be f u l l y understood. This raises the question of the success of the synthesis, i t s b a s i s , and i t s degree of s t a b i l i t y even when the movement was at i t s most united. The Bolshevik revolution i n Russia was the cat a l y s t which began the process of d i s s o l u t i o n . At f i r s t , the problems i t raised involved a reappraisal of strategies which had already been c a l l e d into question by the experience of war. The debate soon s p i l l e d over into questions of the ends i n view. The deeper roots of t h i s dilemma merit closer a t t e n t i o n than they have so far received. The g u i l d movement was from i t s beginnings a c o a l i t i o n , and i t s breakdown can only be understood a f t e r examination of i t s construction. This concern i s therefore given p r i o r i t y i n the chapters that follow; i t i s , as indicated, the formation of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m which i s the major theme of t h i s study. I t i s argued that the divergences within the movement were important from the very beginning, and that t h e i r apparent harmony i n i t s early years - from 1915 to 1917 - was more apparent than a c t u a l . I l l But another vexed question has so far been begged - that of ideology. A discussion of t h i s question w i l l however a s s i s t i n the establishment of the nature and character of the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t synthesis. The vexation involved i n a discussion of ideology i s simply that any account of ideology i s open to dispute. Two very general contrasting but s i m p l i f i e d - 29 -types of p o s i t i o n on the question may be i s o l a t e d f o r purposes of discussion. In one view, ideology i s a more e a s i l y pronounced term for the welthanschung which a l l men and women acquire through upbringing, experience, and exposure to various s o c i a l s t i m u l i . Extending this p o s i t i o n , ideology becomes 'a'.cultural system' (cf. Geertz, 1973, pp. 193-229). With a Marxist gloss, ideology i n t h i s sense may be viewed as an epiphenomenon of class p o s i t i o n or i n t e r e s t . Whether or not the p o s i t i o n i s developed so far i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n , the shared assumption i s that a l l men and women cleave to ideologies of various kinds - i n other words, that c e r t a i n assumptions must be made purely on grounds of f a i t h i n order for human beings to begin to attempt to make sense of t h e i r world i n order to go about t h e i r business i n i t . These assumptions form ' b e l i e f systems' which may either be unconsciously assumed or consciously a r t i c u l a t e d . Most men and women i n h e r i t t h e i r b e l i e f systems - which may be secular or r e l i g i o u s - from the culture i n which they were born. A l l i n t e l l e c t u a l s are i n t h i s sense ' i d e o l o g i s t s ' e s p e c i a l l y when they address s o c i a l questions, either making systematic established assumptions, or attempting to challenge and c r i t i c i s e conventional wisdom i n the name of other values. Sometimes these values are found i n the remote or immediate past, and sometimes i n anomalies within established t r a d i t i o n s . In times of change both r a d i c a l s and conservatives are l i k e l y to challenge established values and, i n c e r t a i n cases, r a d i c a l s and conservatives are not e a s i l y distinguished, as w i l l be seen when examining the views of c e r t a i n guildsmen. The formation of the s o c i o l o g i c a l t r a d i t i o n also provides examples of such ambiguity, and - 30 -that t r a d i t i o n , as noted, i s not without relevance for g u i l d socialism.. To conclude t h i s discussion of the f i r s t notion of ideology, i t s assumption i s that a l l p r e s c r i p t i v e s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s are, i n t h i s general sense, i d e o l o g i s t s , and therefore that the term ideology i s 'neutral' i n connotation and a p p l i c a t i o n . The second notion of ideology sees i t not as a neutral term but as a pejorative word to be applied to d o c t r i n a i r e , unphilosophical, 3 u n s c i e n t i f i c , and therefore i n a sense i l l e g i t i m a t e thought. I t i s seen as the d i s p o s i t i o n of a p a r t i c u l a r psychology, one seeking c e r t a i n answers to a l l i t s questions through resort to r e l i g i o u s or q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s f a i t h . In t h i s quest i t f i n d s , most commonly, a s i n g l e answer, thus taking up a monistic view of the universe^in which a personal f a i t h i s the connecting thread between a d e f i n i t i o n of s e l f and a conception of i t s place i n the world. In t h i s theory of ideology a sharp boundary i s therefore drawn between ideology and r e l i g i o n , on the one hand, and philosophy and science, on the other. Most s i g n i f i c a n t l y however the acceptance of p r e v a i l i n g values, norms, theories and t r a d i t i o n s i s no longer a question of accepting p r e v a i l i n g ideology, but i s instead a question of common sense or experience. Thus t h i s notion of ideology, whatever the motives behind i t , has the e f f e c t of l e g i t i m a t i n g at the l e v e l . o f epistemology a p a r t i c u l a r kind of conservative d i s p o s i t i o n , and brands a. p r i o r i a l l such committed i n t e l l e c t u a l s as the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s as 3. The Marxist notion of ideology contains aspects of t h i s p o s i t i o n , but should be seen rather as f a l l i n g between the two notions outlined here, with closer a f f i n i t y to the f i r s t . - 31 -confused, ' q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s ' , and profoundly mistaken about the proper r o l e of i n t e l l e c t u a l inquiry i n society. Both notions of ideology have t h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s , which need not be explored here; both have something to o f f e r , which i s more to the point. For present purposes, ideology i s to be understood as a neutral term for the a r t i c u l a t i o n of a b e l i e f system, but a d i s t i n c t i o n i s made between two types of actors or agents engaged i n that task. The f i r s t type are i d e o l o g i s t s , engaged i n the conscious a r t i c u l a t i o n of b e l i e f systems, and the second, committed to a more thoroughgoing s t y l e of i d e o l o g i c a l thinking, are ideologues. Their s t y l e of thought i s d o c t r i n a i r e . They are concerned with s e t t i n g themselves i n r e l a t i o n to some orthodoxy, and they aspire to the development of t o t a l explanations to a l l problems of l i f e . They locate themselves, i n general, with reference to sources of authority, textual or i n s t i t u t i o n a l , and consequently t h e i r s t y l e may be described as 'theological' or ' q u a s i - r e l i g i o u s ' , i f not simply r e l i g i o u s . The guildsmen r a r e l y used the term 'ideology', using the word 'philosophy' i n contexts where 'ideology' might be expected today. Many, including Cole, saw t h e i r ideals as e s s e n t i a l l y ' p e t i t bourgeois' but generally defended them i n s p i t e of that damning d e s c r i p t i o n . For others questions of philosophy or psychology were p r i o r to such 'material' matters of class and s o c i a l background; they were matters derived from f a i t h and r e l i g i o n . Cole's p o s i t i o n was more r e l a t i v i s t , but he too seemed to believe i n a p a r t i c u l a r v i s i o n of humanity acquired through a quasi-r e l i g i o u s '^conversion' af t e r reading William Morris' News From Nowhere. - 32 -However to l a b e l guildsmen a p r i o r i as ideologues i n the sense of 'q u a s i - r e l i g i o n ' would be to miss the e c l e c t i c i s m of t h e i r thought, and th e i r continued willingness to compromise between opposed p o s i t i o n s . Indeed, the whole g u i l d p o s i t i o n was intended to s t r i k e a balance between syndicalism and c o l l e c t i v i s m . As R u s s e l l put i t , with a touch of subtle humour, the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s , 'though some persons i n t h i s country regard them as extremists', r e a l l y represented 'the English love of compromise' (1966, p. 84). Cole's p o s i t i o n can again best i l l u s t r a t e the point. While he remained deeply committed to c e r t a i n ends - the creation of a society of fr e e , equal, and autonomous men and women - he viewed the question of means as determined not exc l u s i v e l y by those ends. The ends themselves could be achieved i n many d i f f e r e n t ways, of which Cole only t e n t a t i v e l y suggested one. Contingency and fate had a su b s t a n t i a l r o l e to play i n the achievement of desired ends although, as Cole seldom forgot, c e r t a i n means were not an option for those who wished to create a t r u l y democratic society, the choice of means within the options presented by fate to a great extent determining the nature and q u a l i t y of the ends sought. Within these l i m i t a t i o n s there was ample place f o r a f l e x i b l e response to events, sometimes dogmatic, and sometimes remarkably undogmatic. Cole was therefore the complete opposite of a sec t a r i a n , f o r his p o s i t i o n i n the s o c i a l i s t movement was - to push t h i s not always h e l p f u l analogy - that of a broad churchman. Cole believed that h i s ultimate values were not a matter, for d i s i n t e r e s t e d discussion; he asserted t h e i r t r u t h . But those ultimate values were r a d i c a l and to some extent l i b e r a l - 33 -values and were deeply embedded i n the p h i l o s o p h i c a l assumptions of Edwardian i n t e l l e c t u a l s ; indeed, they would not be viewed as widely unacceptable today. Cole was quite prepared to argue with those who contended that socialism was not a v i a b l e means through which to r e a l i z e l i b e r t a r i a n p r i n c i p l e s ; he respected that point of view, which was argued most f o r c i b l y i n the Edwardian period by l i b e r a l s such as G.K. Chesterton and H i l a i r e B e l l o c , who took up that p o s i t i o n on the g u i l d s o c i a l i s m they themselves had i n d i r e c t l y helped to i n s p i r e . Cole himself i m p l i c i t l y recognised a d i s t i n c t i o n between the i d e o l o g i s t and the ideologue, for he described the s t y l e of s o c i a l theory to be found i n the B r i t i s h Communist party as d o c t r i n a i r e and therefore r e l i g i o u s (cf. Cole, 1927). It was r e l i g i o u s because communists would often foreclose discussion of questions needing debate by appealing to doctrine rather than to experience. Cole's own s t y l e of s o c i a l theory was never far from experience, and he was the very opposite of a d o c t r i n a i r e . The certainty and near-dogmatism with which he advanced his 'objective' ultimate ends i s deceptive, for those ends were e s s e n t i a l l y not ends at a l l ; they were means through which a l l men and women might themselves develop the freedom to determine t h e i r ends (cf. Cole, 1950, pp. 245-251). A somewhat d i f f e r e n t example of the r e l a t i o n s h i p of guildsmen to ideology may be provided by A.R. Orage, the editor of the New Age from 1907 to 1922, and whose r o l e i n the formation of g u i l d socialism was p i v o t a l . Orage i s a c l a s s i c example of an i n t e l l e c t u a l l y s p l i t personality. As Samuel Hynes has aptly noted, he was 'a born b e l i e v e r ' (.1972, p. 40); as Orage's biographer noted, 'everything Orage took up ... was half-way - 34 -toward a r e l i g i o n ' (Mairet, 1966, p. 23); and as h i s acquaintance, J. Middleton Murry, observed: ... i n Orage there was an obstinate substratum of b e l i e f that there was some secret of control over the universe: a key by which one could unlock a l l the doors, and be aomaster of Power ... something, i n short, of the mentality of the Grand Inq u i s i t o r i n Dostoevsky's great legend (NEW, 15.11.34, p. 115). This was the mind of an ideologue, a man searching f o r an a l l - i n c l u s i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l system which would o f f e r s p i r i t u a l peace, c e r t a i n t y , and a concept of the s e l f based upon an e s s e n t i a l l y monistic v i s i o n . But Orage had been born at the wrong time for him to become such a be l i e v e r without much i n t e l l e c t u a l and s p i r i t u a l t o i l and trouble; he was a l a t e V i c t o r i a n , and i n a period of the decline of orthodox r e l i g i o n he could not accept i t s teachings. He was therefore as much a d i s b e l i e v e r as a b e l i e v e r , and h i s mind was much influenced by the c r i t i c a l aspects of the Socratic method of d i a l e c t i c and by intensive study of Nietzsche. Orage was a seeker but one nearly always confounded by his willingness to follow arguments f a r along i n the d i r e c t i o n of n i h i l i s m . His l i f e was thus a long pilgrimage from one promising source of certainty to the next; such sources of certainty were often as much derived from the b e l i e f s of friends and colleagues as much as from the imaginative, r e l i g i o u s , and ph i l o s o p h i c a l l i t e r a t u r e that he constantly devoured. Yet he never l e f t any doctrine he had espoused f u l l y behind, imposing the the next upon the heap of previous doctrines i n what John Carswell has aptly described as h i s 'curiously s t r a t i f i e d mind'.(1978, p. 148). - 35 -Thus e c l e c t i c i s m was a facet of Orage's thought, as i t was of the New Age. But above a l l the major thrust of Orage's mind was that of a s p i r i t u a l quest. Guild socialism was more of an adjunct to t h i s pilgrim's progress than a stop on the way, for Orage saw l i f e as a whole and the task of the New Age as the development of a philosophy much broader than p o l i t i c s combining a r t , l i t e r a t u r e , psychology, sociology, and r e l i g i o n . His own talents were l i t e r a r y , and were those of a c r i t i c rather than of a creator, and i t i s i n t h i s f i e l d i n which his major importance l i e s . On s o c i a l questions Orage was a moralist rather than the p o l i t i c a l and economic t h e o r i s t he pictured himself to be, but he sought to cloak h i s moral v i s i o n i n those garments. In so doing, he provided a foundation upon which others were to b u i l d . This foundation was composed l a r g e l y of the values of C h r i s t i a n humanism, despite the influence of Nietzsche upon h i s thought -evidence of the contradictions and inconsistencies which he embraced as he conducted h i s 'editor's progress'. He could be both open-minded and dogmatic: so open minded as to advance contradictory positions from week to week and so dogmatic as to cleave to untenable arguments for months at a time. Ultimately h i s commitment was to a divine natural order beyond the world of men providing the material world with meaning and sustenance, a r e l i g i o u s v i s i o n derived from h i s deep and intensive study of Plato. Orage and Cole were very d i f f e r e n t men with very d i f f e r e n t minds. Orage was a schoolteacher turned e d i t o r , Cole's senior by twenty years, and Cole a b r i l l i a n t young Oxford don. They represented, i n cast of mind, almost the opposite poles of the g u i l d movement. Cole was an i d e o l o g i s t but not an ideologue; Orage, a man who would have been an ideologue were - 36 -i t not for h i s f a i l u r e to f i n d c e r t a i n t y . Indeed, as Orage f a i l e d to be an ideologue h i s e c l e c t i c i s m was so immense that f or much of the time he f a i l e d to be a consistent i d e o l o g i s t , moving through b e l i e f system a f t e r b e l i e f system, sometimes never consistently adhering to one at any one time. Cole too was e c l e c t i c , but with i n more defined boundaries than Orage. To a point, the two men shared t h i s e c l e c t i c i s m , but more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , also shared a deep f a i t h i n the power of ideas to change society. They also shared, to some degree, deeper and more s o l i d common ground, but above a l l t h e i r b e l i e f that 'a system of national g u i l d s ' must be established i n England. This both men saw e s s e n t i a l l y as a means to more important ends, some of which they shared, and some of which they did not. Cole f o r instanced denied that g u i l d s o c i a l i s m was 'merely a theory of i n d u s t r i a l reorganisation' while admitting i n the sphere of industry i t found ' i t s most immediate and p r a c t i c a l expression'. I t s ends he viewed as 'two fundamental p r i n c i p l e s of function and self-government' (1918a, pp. 210-211). Orage would not have agreed with Cole's discussion of ends, but he would have concurred with the claim that the objects of the National Guilds League, 'the a b o l i t i o n of the Wage System, and the establishment of Self-Government i n Industry through a system of National Guilds working i n conjunction with the State" (NGL, 1916b) , were but the means to greater ends. I t was therefore i n the sphere of industry and of means i n which guildsmen found common ground and the core of t h e i r synthesis of d i f f e r e n t points of view:. In th i s sense g u i l d socialism was not i t s e l f alone a complete ideology: i t was, as i t were, a p a r t i a l ideology insofar as i t - 37 -was shared by many who d i f f e r e d on more fundamental i d e o l o g i c a l or p h i l o s o p h i c a l questions. To the extent that g u i l d socialism formed a coherent and e a s i l y defined i d e o l o g i c a l framework for those who subscribed to i t , i t was a means or 'mechanism' for the r e a l i s a t i o n of the shared immediate goals of men and women who subscribed, i n c r e a s i n g l y , to a number of d i f f e r e n t ideologies. The proposed mechanism owed, at f i r s t glance, much to the ideas of i t s r i v a l s , the B r i t i s h s y n d i c a l i s t s and i n d u s t r i a l " u n i o n i s t s , for the guildsmen sought to encourage the working class to convert: t h e i r trade unions into instruments for the control of industry, through the amalgamation of e x i s t i n g unions on an i n d u s t r i a l b a s i s , one union to each industry. Their more o r i g i n a l suggestions were to recommend, f i r s t , the incorporation of the ' s a l a r i a t ' into the trade union or g u i l d , a l o g i c a l p o s i t i o n for middle class s o c i a l i s t s from a Fabian background. Second, they proposed that with t h i s task accomplished, the union would be ready f o r i t s transformation into a g u i l d on assuming the c o n t r o l of industry i n conjunction with the state. The state, representing the community at large would own the 'land, houses, and machinery'; the g u i l d , recognised and regulated by the state and by the other associated g u i l d s , would control the industry. Thus syndicalism and c o l l e c t i v i s m were married, and the basis of the new order outlined. It i s perhaps most important to emphasise the c e n t r a l r o l e of the trade union or g u i l d i n t h i s new model of society - thus, g u i l d socialism, an obvious enough point, perhaps, but one e a s i l y missed through the f a m i l i a r i t y of the constant use of a name or t i t l e . Thus, when Cole - 38 -claimed i n l a t e r l i f e to be a g u i l d s o c i a l i s t a f t e r having l a r g e l y abandoned trade unions as the basic components of a society of the future hi s d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s b e l i e f s may be taken as sentimental (understandably so) rather than as wholly well-considered. Would i t be g u i l d s o c i a l i s m without guilds? Indeed, unlike Cole i n the l a t e 1950's, the modern IWC continues to see i n trade unionism the basis of the future control of industry, t h i s 'mechanical' continuity with g u i l d socialism being perhaps one of the more co n t r o v e r s i a l issues concerning the present movement (cf . Hyman, ;1974; Barrett-Brown, Coates and Topham, 1975). Although most coherently a 'mechanism', the g u i l d idea implied shared ends i n common. To Cole, s o c i a l i s m must rest not upon c e n t r a l i s a t i o n and bureaucracy, but instead upon freedom and democracy. A l l guildsmen with few exceptions shared a U t o p i a n v i s i o n of an i d e a l society based upon human freedom, but not a l l connected i t with socialism. In f a c t , such a v i s i o n was shared by some Edwardian r a d i c a l s outside the s o c i a l i s t movement altogether: i n p a r t i c u l a r , by G.K. Chesterton and H i l a i r e B e l l o c , whose U t o p i a n l i b e r a l i s m or ' d i s t r i b u t i v i s m ' aspired toward the creation of an agrarian society based upon widely d i s t r i b u t e d private property. The ends of g u i l d socialism, l i k e those of d i s t r i b u t i v i s m , were therefore i n many ways an outgrowth of the l i b e r a l i d e a l as w e l l as that of socialism. I t therefore took no great change of p r i n c i p l e s for l i b e r a l s such as Bertrand Russell and Victor Gollancz to become g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s during the war. The ends of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m could equally well be conceived as anticipated by some v a r i e t i e s of romantic thought, as w e l l as by some C h r i s t i a n s o c i a l thought, and perhaps they were most v i v i d l y i l l u s t r a t e d by Orage i n 1910 - 39 -when he outlined an i d e a l of ' C h r i s t i a n n o b i l i t y ' upon which he would rest 'a new order of society' (NA, 8.12.10, p. 132). Here the foundations of g u i l d s o c i a l i s m could hardly have been sunk deeper into a strong current w i t h i n the Judeo-Christian t r a d i t i o n - a concern for human equality, j u s t i c e , and s o c i a l redemption on earth as well as i n heaven. This was perhaps the common thread which bound the values of the guildsmen together, despite t h e i r differences on important matters of d e t a i l , t h e i r d i f f e r e n t ideologies, and the declared atheism of most g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s , f o r t h i s t r a d i t i o n of thought has strongly moulded the ideas of even the most i r r e l i g i o u s of s o c i a l t h e o r i s t s i n the European t r a d i t i o n . The strengths, weaknesses, and dangers of applying such a morality to p o l i t i c s have been the subject of much attention i n the more chastened and s c e p t i c a l atmosphere of the l a t e r twentieth century (cf. Kolakowski, 1974). It i s often pointed out that e v i l i s frequently achieved through the e f f o r t s of those with intentions of the highest and most noble character, e s p e c i a l l y when the a s p i r a t i o n involved i s to eradicate e v i l s which to many are seen as ineradicably a part of the human condition. But i f morality can be misapplied i n the p o l i t i c a l realm, neither can i t be banished. I t i s easy to exaggerate the dangers of a p r i n c i p l e d concern to promote freedom and j u s t i c e l i k e that which animated the g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s . While a p r a c t i c a l and s c e p t i c a l outlook i s c l e a r l y an advantage to a l l would-be reformers -and many g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s would have benefited from a more sub s t a n t i a l dose of such v i r t u e s - and a moral commitment i n i t s e l f i s c l e a r l y i n s u f f i c i e n t or, overzealously applied, dangerous, nevertheless given t h e i r p o s i t i o n on the need to r e l a t e means and ends, most g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s were not disposed - 40 -to believe that good could be achieved through e v i l means. As for the ambition of t h e i r ends, i t i s by no means clear that a society combining greater freedom and s o c i a l j u s t i c e i s attainable by the human race: what i s clear i s that very favourable circumstances would be necessary for the more complete r e a l i s a t i o n of both those goods. England immediately before 1914 rode the crest of i t s economic, s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l progress of the previous century and a h a l f . I t s downfall was already under way, but t h i s was not immediately apparent u n t i l the end of World War One. The g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s rejected the l i b e r a l f a i t h i n continued evolutionary progress, but believed that further progress was attainable i f i t were w i l l e d . They unconsciously assumed that the conditions of such progress would continue, but soon learnt t h e i r mistake. By the 1920's B r i t a i n ' s i n d u s t r i a l decline had begun i n earnest. Meanwhile in.some guildsmen the moral impulse was more pronounced, and means and ends were not so c l o s e l y bound i n partnership; i n t h i s sense, g u i l d socialism was an ambivalent doctrine i n that, for some on the r i g h t , and perhaps for some on the l e f t as w e l l , a c h i l i a s t i c impulse could lead to what Cole c a l l e d the acceptance of ' h i e r a r c h i c a l gospels'. Paradoxically, i t was among those i n whom t h i s tendency sometimes appeared that the consciousness of B r i t a i n ' s decline i n i n d u s t r i a l performance r e l a t i v e to other nations was most apparent. Thus nationalism could be one motive for those wishing to reorganise B r i t i s h industry i n order to bring an end to class c o n f l i c t . There i s perhaps a sense i n which a l l guildsmen, seeking as they did r a d i c a l s o c i a l change based upon a moral v i s i o n , were missionaries seeking - 41 -to convert the masses to a means of s o c i a l s a l v a t i o n . But they were also at the same time i n t e l l e c t u a l s prepared to discuss and defend t h e i r proposals on r a t i o n a l rather than t h e o l o g i c a l grounds. Many, including Cole, rejected C h r i s t i a n i t y and defended a moral p o s i t i o n grounded i n secular humanism. whatever t h e i r r e l i g i o u s views, the guildsmen were o p t i m i s t i c , not only about t h e i r powers to convince, but also i n the i r b e l i e f that the tools of human reason, applied to the problems of i n d u s t r i a l organisation, could point the way toward a very d i f f e r e n t order of society founded upon p r i n c i p l e s of freedom and j u s t i c e . This task involved problem-solving, not preaching, and seeking to learn from the working class as well as seeking to influence i t s a c t i v i t i e s and goals. Some, l i k e Orage, did not f u l l y appreciate t h i s point, but g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s a f t e r 1915 were predominantly p l u r a l i s t s , b e l i e v i n g that i n d i v i d u a l s and s o c i a l groups would themselves fashion the shape of a new order which could not simply be c a l l e d into being by a group of superior persons writing f o r an i n t e l l e c t u a l review preaching to the people while also advocating reform from above. A l l guildsmen were indeed l i k e l y to occasionally use r e l i g i o u s imagery of preaching, converting, and spreading the f a i t h , but t h i s was i n e v i t a b l e i n a movement seeking to gain popular support when the major precedents for such an enterprise were those set by r e l i g i o u s movements. Readers, crowds, and audiences were most f a m i l i a r with such a s t y l e of exposition and would respond to i t . I t i s not so much the 'missionary' s t y l e of the guildsmen as t h e i r good f a i t h , enthusiasm, energy, and optimism which i s , i n retrospect, most noteworthy; these q u a l i t i e s now seem quaint and naive, - 42 -although perhaps more than a few might wish they had survived more strongly i n the remainder of the century than h i s t o r y has allowed. If an ambivalence i s not necessarily that of the moral impulse i t s e l f , i t may perhaps be detected i n the g u i l d movement as the i n d i r e c t r e s u l t of i t s emphasis on moral questions f o r , perhaps p a r t l y as the r e s u l t of t h i s emphasis, the end of g u i l d socialism, the attainment of a free society based on r e a l democracy was often ambiguously and vaguely defined and discussed. Members of the movement would often write or speak of 'the g u i l d idea', a phrase that generally summarised the ends of the movement as w e l l as the machinery through which i t hoped to a t t a i n them; the creation of a society of i n d i v i d u a l freedom and autonomy. This then to a degree was common ground, but i t should be noted that guildsmen often saw other ends involved, upon which not a l l could agree. Some stressed the importance of national unity, and the economic and m i l i t a r y s u r v i v a l of B r i t a i n as a great power; others stressed the a b o l i t i o n of class e s , and the creation of a society of equality of condition. Some stressed the ' s p i r i t u a l progress' of the nation, and the r e s t o r a t i o n of the c l a s s i c a l Greek s t y l e of p o l i t i c s ; others sought only the freedom of the i n d i v i d u a l to determine his own ends, and the a b o l i t i o n of p o l i t i c s as i t had been understood by the Greeks. Some saw the a b o l i t i o n of capitalism as an objective to which a l l else must at f i r s t be subordinated; others saw the development of a l t e r n a t i v e i n s t i t u t i o n s to form the nucleus of the new order as the f i r s t p r i o r i t y . A l l these differences of outlook had th e i r impact on the various kinds of 'freedom' demanded by g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s , f o r that grand and noble - 43 -aim has many d i f f e r e n t implications. It may involve freedom from the interference of others; or, more s p e c i f i c a l l y , from the coercive power of the state and i t s laws and e d i c t s . I t may imply freedom from the les s v i s i b l e but often very r e a l coercion involved i n capitalism and i t s system -i n the words of guildsmen - of 'wage-slavery'. I t could involve more a c t i v i s t notions of freedom: freedom to be one's own master; freedom to be responsible for oneself; freedom to enjoy one's labour; freedom to obey rules or laws i n the making of which one has p a r t i c i p a t e d ; freedom to do one's duty. Now, not a l l these notions of freedom are compatible, and some are s e l f - c o n t r a d i c t o r y ; i s one r e a l l y free i n the act of obeying, i n the act of doing one's duty or, even more questionably, i n the acceptance of one's l i m i t e d s t a t i o n i n l i f e ? One may f r e e l y accept these things but th i s i s not the essence of freedom, as some schools of thought would have i t , and i t i s i n t h i s sense, although not i n a l l forms of 'positive freedom', that S i r Isaiah B e r l i n ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of such b e l i e f s as 'a monstrous impersonation' i s most apt. As w i l l be seen, such c r i t i c i s m s may be applied to a small but important group of guildsmen. But even for those g u i l d s o c i a l i s t s whose concept of freedom was less confused, there was a d i f f i c u l t y , f o r a paradox ex i s t s i n any attempt to widen the realm of freedom. I t i s quite conceivable men and women w i l l not themselves choose freedom, p r e f e r r i n g t h e i r ends and ways of l i f e to be determined not by free choice but by authority, t r a d i t i o n and convention. Must they then, as Rousseau put i t , be 'forced to be free'? Even based upon the - 44 -most clear-sighted and rigorous d e f i n t i o n of 'negative freedom' t h i s argument stands poised upon a knife edge of r a z o r - l i k e sharpness, for the means of i t s attainment are the a n t i t h e s i s of the ends i n view-Not s u p r i s i n g l y , i t was t h i s dilemma which was the nemesis of g u i l d socialism. - 45 -CHAPTER TWO THE ROAD TO SOPHILIAUS Spencer and Darwin had mechanised the world and carried the i n d u s t r i a l r e v o l u t i o n into thought. Tennyson had p r e t t i f i e d i t and hung i t with paper garlands. But nothing could conceal the fa c t that the new world was repellent and that nothing was better than the only certainty promised by i t . - A.R. Orage ( c i t e d , Hynes, 1972, p. 40). So wrote Orage on the subject of perhaps the c e n t r a l dilemma of h i s l i f e . His problem can best be examined on two l e v e l s , the f i r s t p h i l o s o p h i c a l and psychological, and the second s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l . P h i l o s o p h i c a l l y , Orage rejected science as a source of values. From where were values hence to come? Born i n 1870, Orage was of the generation which bore the f u l l brunt of the c r i s i s of r e l i g i o u s f a i t h i n t e n s i f i e d and widened by the p u b l i c a t i o n and reception of Darwin's Or i g i n of Species (1859). From t h i s point onward, the i n t e l l e c t u a l currents of the time led toward either what w i l l be described as 'positivism', involving the l a t e V i c t o r i a n orthodoxies of deterministic materialism, i n competing versions such as Marxism, Darwinism, or other forms of evolutionary s o c i a l theory; or to another orthodoxy, Kantian and Hegelian Idealism which, i n the work of T.H. Green, sought to make r e l i g i o n and science compatible; or, le s s commonly, to resort to t r a d i t i o n a l forms of C h r i s t i a n b e l i e f , such as Catholicism; or, to despondent n i h i l i s m ; or, f i n a l l y , to outright - 46 -mysticism. Orage could f u l l y accept none of these a l t e r n a t i v e s and sought to compromise between them i n various forms of e c l e c t i c i s m . His goal was c e r t a i n t y , and he sought to construct, or f a i l i n g that to f i n d , a monistic i n t e l l e c t u a l system into which a l l aspects of l i f e could be incorporated. In h i s search Orage was i n i t i a l l y much assis t e d by those who had faced the problem of l o s t f a i t h even before Darwin, for the impact of the O r i g i n of Species had reinforced e x i s t i n g i n t e l l e c t u a l tendencies as much as i t had created new ones. Orage could therefore f i n d precedents f o r his own d i s l i k e of the world pictured as a mechanism or a Newtonian clock, with the disturbing implications of denial of the effectiveness or even of the existence of human free w i l l , i n V i c t o r i a n prophets such as C a r l y l e , and l i t e r a r y and s o c i a l c r i t i c s such as Matthew Arnold. This c r i s i s of f a i t h , often involving deep despair and pessimism, had begun to gather storm i n the early nineteenth century, and reached i t s height toward the conclusion of the century. As one contemporary was to note, no one born a f t e r 1880 could understand i t s depth and f u l l implications (cf. Freeden, 1978, p. 13). The s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l dimensions of Orage's dilemma were equally profound. The new i n d u s t r i a l world i t s e l f was repellent and showed few signs of improvement. I n d u s t r i a l society was ugly, inhumane, i l l -organised, and divided into antagonistic classes. By the l a t e V i c t o r i a n and Edwardian period B r i t i s h society was characterised by increasing v i s i b i l i t y and awareness of the gap between the r i c h - f l a u n t i n g t h e i r wealth more obviously than ever - and the poor, whose problems had recently been exposed by early pioneers of s o c i a l research. - 47 -W i l l i a m M o r r i s s p o k e f o r many w h e n h e d e c l a r e d t h a t , a p a r t f r o m h i s d e s i r e a s a n a r t i s t t o c r e a t e t h i n g s o f b e a u t y , t h e ' l e a d i n g p a s s i o n ' o f h i s l i f e was ' h a t r e d o f m o d e r n c i v i l i s a t i o n ' , f o r w h a t c o u l d b e s a i d i n f a v o u r o f : . . . i t s m a s t e r y o f a n d i t s w a s t e o f m e c h a n i c a l p o w e r , i t s c o m m o n w e a l t h s o p o o r , i t s e n e m i e s o f c o m m o n w e a l t h s o r i c h , i t s s t u p e n d o u s o r g a n i s a t i o n - f o r t h e m i s e r y o f l i f e . ' I t s c o n t e m p t o f s i m p l e p l e a s u r e s w h i c h e v e r y o n e c o u l d e n j o y b u t f o r i t s f o l l y ? I t s e y e l e s s v u l g a r i t y w h i c h h a s d e s t r o y e d a r t , t h e o n e c e r t a i n s o l a c e o f l a b o u r ? F o r M o r r i s t h e l i k e l i h o o d was t h a t t h e i m m e d i a t e f u t u r e w o u l d b u t ' i n t e n s i f y a l l t h e p r e s e n t e v i l s ' ( 1 9 7 3 a , p . . 2 4 4 - 2 4 5 ) . S u c h f e e l i n g s o f p e s s i m i s m w e r e t h e c a u s e o f M o r r i s ' i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h e s o c i a l i s t movemen t ( c f . T h o m p s o n , 1 9 7 7 , p . 8 0 9 ) . T h o s e who w e r e m o s t l i k e l y t o come t o s u c h c o n c l u s i o n s w e r e o f t h e l o w e r m i d d l e c l a s s o r o f t h e e m e r g i n g ' s a l a r i a t ' , many o f t h e membe r s o f w h i c h w e r e b e i n g r e c r u i t e d f r o m t h e d e c l i n i n g l o w e r m i d d l e c l a s s . T o w a r d s t h e e n d o f t h e c e n t u r y t h e r e v i v a l o f s o c i a l i s m was a s s o c i a t e d b o t h w i t h a c h a n g i n g s o c i a l s t r u c t u r e a n d a s e n s e o f d o u b t c o n c e r n i n g t h e f u t u r e . Few d e n i e d t h e i n c r e a s e o f w e a l t h a n d p o w e r a c h i e v e d i n t h e i n d u s t r i a l r e v o l u t i o n b u t m a n y , l i k e M o r r i s , d e n o u n c e d i t s m i s d i r e c t i o n a n d i t s f a i l u r e t o s u b s t a n t i a l l y b e n e f i t t h e common p e o p l e t h e m a j o r i t y o f w h o s e l i v e s r e m a i n e d m a t e r i a l l y , s p i r i t u a l l y , a n d a e s t h e t i c a l l y i m p o v e r i s h e d . M e a n w h i l e some a l s o s e n s e d t h a t B r i t a i n was b e g i n n i n g t o f a l l b e h i n d o t h e r n a t i o n s i n t h e r a t e o f g r o w t h , d e v e l o p m e n t , a n d e f f i c i e n c y o f i t s e c o n o m y . T h u s t h e c r i s i s o f f a i t h a n d t h e d e s p a i r o f t h e t e n d e n c i e s o f m o d e r n c i v i l i s a t i o n c o u l d m e e t i n a common d i a g n o s i s o f s o c i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l i l l s . - 48 -The t r a d i t i o n a l moral, s p i r i t u a l , and r e l i g i o u s values had s t e a d i l y been subverted by the commercial s p i r i t , so that those possessing economic and p o l i t i c a l power no longer f e l t a sense of o b l i g a t i o n to those less fortunate than themselves. Those despairing of such a s i t u a t i o n had many d i f f e r e n t responses to i t : some looked toward a renewal of C h r i s t i a n f a i t h and values; some to i n s t i t u t i o n a l , s o c i a l , and p o l i t i c a l reforms; some to the creation of new bases of values and morality i n socialism; and others to the r e v i v a l of a r i s t o c r a t i c v i r t u e s among the t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t e s or, more commonly, among new emerging e l i t e s better able to e f f i c i e n t l y administer an i n d u s t r i a l society. Here was room for su b s t a n t i a l disagreement among those convinced of the need f o r change. Some, a very small group, were, l i k e s M d r r i s , r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s , r e j e c t i n g the e n t i r e s o c i a l and economic system and hoping to see i t destroyed and completely replaced; some, as r a d i c a l reformists, believed that c e r t a i n e x i s t i n g tendencies of the system not presently dominant could be c u l t i v a t e d and shaped i n the pursuit of a completely d i f f e r e n t society; some, as evolutionary s o c i a l i s t s , believed that the ex i s t i n g and l a r g e l y dominant features of i n d u s t r i a l society would, with some encouragement, tend toward socialism. Making cap i t a l i s m both more e f f i c i e n t and more j u s t would transform i t into socialism by s t e a l t h , as the Fabians believed. A fourth group, the progressive l i b e r a l s , simply believed i n the need for reforms within a continued c a p i t a l i s t framework. These four schools of thought only imperfectly represent the complex pattern of views on the B r i t i s h l e f t and centre between 1890 and 1914, but have the advantage of se t t i n g out some of the major landmarks i n an otherwise - 49 -chaotic landscape. In the 1880's the dream of re v o l u t i o n had attracted the hopes of a few romantic s o c i a l i s t s , but by the early 1890's revolu t i o n a r i e s such as Morris were beginning to r e a l i s e that p o l i t i c a l s t r ategies for reform could not be eschewed by s o c i a l i s t s . Meanwhile a c o a l i t i o n of r a d i c a l reformists and evolutionary s o c i a l i s t s had set up the Independent Labour Party, (ILP) i n 1893 i n an attempt to constitute a p o l i t i c a l party on less s e c t a r i a n l i n e s than those of H.M. Hyndman's Marxist S o c i a l Democratic Federation (SDF). Most s o c i a l i s t s of the 1880's and 1890's had believed that r e a l s o c i a l change must be moral as well as p o l i t i c a l . A new society based upon new ways of l i f e must be developed through the formation of a s o c i a l movement embodying i n i t s e l f the new values of the society of the future (cf. Yeo, 1977; 1979). By the middle of the 1890's t h i s ' r e l i g i o n of socialism' was i n decline due both to sectarianism and to the increasingly p o l i t i c a l aspirations of the leaders of the movement, t h e i r i n i t i a l f a i l u r e , and a consequent loss of hope and enthusiasm by many members of the s o c i a l i s t movement. Hopes for rev o l u t i o n faded; and so did hopes f o r r a d i c a l reform, and evolutionary s o c i a l i s m became the dominant tendency among s o c i a l i s t s . Even r a d i c a l reformists came to see socialism as a long way o f f , and came to support evolutionary strategies i n pr a c t i c e while s t i l l c r i t i c i s i n g them i n theory. B r i t i s h popular s o c i a l i s t s found themselves divided into two schools: the 'economic s o c i a l i s t s ' , who took t h e i r lead from the SDF, seeing the economic transformation of society as t h e i r goal, and i t s achievement to be sought by parliamentary means combined with s t r i c t - 50 -adherance to Marxist theory; and the more numerous 'e t h i c a l s o c i a l i s t s ' , centred around the ILP, i n whose hands the r e l i g i o n of socialism was trans-formed from a communitarian v i s i o n into a vague and m o r a l i s t i c appeal to sentiments of brotherly love and C h r i s t i a n j u s t i c e , and whose immediate goals could therefore be defined according to the more s p e c i f i c p o l i t i c a l and economic concerns of the working class whose votes they sought to gain. The i d e a l of socialism as 'a new l i f e ' u n i t i n g both ' e t h i c a l ' and 'economic' perspectives i n a non-sectarian movement, the goals of which were to be as much educative and p o l i t i c a l , was fading. In 1896 William Morris, who more than anyone represented that t r a d i t i o n , died t r a g i c a l l y early. Meanwhile the influence of evolutionary socialism as promoted by the i n t e l l e c t u a l s o c i a l i s t s of the Fabian Society was increasing, and t h i s was a tendency which further reinforced the p o l i t i c a l s t rategies of the leaders of the ILP. In t h i s view socialism could be established gradually by s t e a l t h , taking advantage of already dominant tendencies toward c o l l e c t i v i s m . In addition the l e f t wing of the L i b e r a l Party was also becoming more sympathic toward c e r t a i n forms of c o l l e c t i v i s m , and were prepared to more cautiously support proposals l i k e those of the ILP and the Fabians to promote the greater interference of the state i n the economy and i n society i n pursuit of s o c i a l j u s t i c e . Thus the s o c i a l i s m of 1906, shaped by the ILP and Fabianism, was very d i f f e r e n t from that of 1896, and to many s o c i a l i s t s l i k e Orage who s t i l l remembered the aspirations of the previous decade, i t seemed in d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from reformist l i b e r a l i s m . I f 1880 as a date of b i r t h marks o f f V i c t o r i a n s from non-Victorians, then the founders of the g u i l d ideology - Orage, Sam Hobson and Arthur Penty - 51 -- were a l l V i c t o r i a n s . A l l remained touched by the V i c t o r i a n c r i s i s of f a i t h and resolved i t i n various forms of r e l i g i o n . As members of the early s a l a r i a t , Orage and Hobson both led insecure existences on the f r i n g e of B r i t i s h society; as a member of the lower middle c l a s s , Penty found arch i t e c t u r e and f u r n i t u r e design not e n t i r e l y stable sources of income. As young men i n the 1890's, a l l were exposed to the r a d i c a l and sometimes revolutionary s o c i a l i s m of moral regeneration which Morris and many others described as 'the r e l i g i o n of socialism'. The young s o c i a l i s t s who became converts to 'the g u i l d idea' i n 1914 and afterward grew to maturity i n a very d i f f e r e n t environment, that of the Edwardian years. This was an important source of some of the d i f f e r e n t points of view i n the g u i l d movement. But the generation of the Edwardian years remained influenced by the outlook of the previous generation; many of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s to whom they at f i r s t looked for leadership had grown to maturity i n the 1880's and 1890's. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two generations was therefore complex, for although much was passed on, t h i s took-place i n a new century, and i n the context of d i f f e r e n t experiences, d i f f e r e n t issues, and d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l events. Consequently, i t i s f i r s t necessary b r i e f l y to examine relevant aspects of the decade of the 1890's and, from that foundation, to turn toward an examination of the Edwardian period. In both periods, i t i s the i n t e l l e c t u a l development of Orage which w i l l be used as the major, although not the only, theme for discussion - f i r s t , because of his importance for the l a t e r formation of - 52 -the g u i l d movement, secondly because of h i s great influence upon Hobson and Penty, and t h i r d l y because of the three founders he wrote and r e f l e c t e d the most i n these periods. I B r i t a i n i n the 1890's and i n the Edwardian period was i n no sense i s o l a t e d from wider currents of thought on the European continent, although, r e l a t i v e l y speaking, B r i t i s h thought remained i n s u l a r compared with that of the continent. This was a period of great importance for the formation of twentieth century s o c i a l thought, and themes ra i s e d by deeper and more systematic continental thinkers often appear i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l debates between Edwardian thinkers i n B r i t a i n , sometimes i n c l e a r l y d e r i v a t i v e forms, and sometimes o r i g i n a t i n g independently and i d i o s y n c r a t i c a l l y within a purely English idiom. Often, continental thought would also enter the B r i t i s h world of ideas transformed into English idioms which frequently would change the emphasis and content of the o r i g i n a l , and thus transform i t completely. This was to be the e f f e c t of Orage's work on Nietzsche, upon which he concentrated i n the early years of the new century. H. Stuart Hughes has characterised a major theme of the i n t e l l e c t u a l climate of the 1890's i n continental Europe as a r e v o l t against p o s i t i v i s m . In t h i s sense, p o s i t i v i s m - a ' d i f f i c u l t word to define - i s i d e n t i f i e d with a ' s c i e n t i f i c ' approach to the understanding of human society oh ' m a t e r i a l i s t ' and 'mechanical' assumptions. I t i s seen as most c l o s e l y associated with Comte's science of sociology - Comte f i r s t adopted the term - 53 -'Positivism' - and, l a t e r , with s o c i a l Darwinism and Herbert Spencer's evolutionary sociology (Hughes, 1974, pp. 37-38). In i t s widest sense p o s i t i v i s m could be associated both with r a t i o n a l i s t system b u i l d i n g -as i n France - and with u t i l i t a r i a n , i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c and emp i r i c i s t approaches, more common i n England (cf. Annan, 1959; C o l l i n i , 1978). In England p o l i t i c a l l y i t spanned a l l p o s i t i o n s , from Spencer's defence of l a i s s e z - f a i r e to the Webbs' promotion of the Fabian theory of c o l l e c t i v i s m . Most of a l l however i n t h i s context i t was associated with the view that ends as w e l l as means could be determined s c i e n t i f i c a l l y ; as Morris had put i t , the Fabians overestimated 'the importance of the mechanism of a system of society apart from the end to which i t may be used' ( c i t e d , Williams, 1963, p. 185). From assuming that t h e i r ends would evolve through the ongoing development of soc i e t y , the Fabians were led to neglect moral questions of ends. For Morris, t h i s was a serious error and Orage too expressed a s i m i l a r dissent from the assumptions of Edwardian Fabianism from the stand-point of an e a r l i e r socialism of r a d i c a l reform when he declared i n 1907: '... there i s no i n s p i r a t i o n i n s o c i a l reform, even of the most r a d i c a l order, without passion for a remote end' (NA, 3.10.07, p. 361). The continental challenge to p o s i t i v i s m was a response to the degeneration of the p o