George Rawick

A Fabian to the West

(Autumn 1965)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.22, Autumn 1965, p.31.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

Henry Demarest Lloyd and the Empire of Reform
Chester McArthur Destler
Pennsylvania UP/Oxford, 96s

This is a detailed and carefully documented account of the life and work of an important American patrician reformer who took reformist politics as far as they could go and then toyed with the transition to Eugene V. Debs’ socialism. Dr Destler has engaged in a labour of love, although his imagination was no wider than that of his subject. Consequently, he paints a detailed but none too inspiring picture. He establishes one thing, however: the growth of a movement of reform in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in the United States linked to the movement of the working class similar in its social roots and ideology to the British Fabians. And these men and women performed an important service for the American people: they unmasked the activities of monopoly capitalism. Lloyd’s careful analysis and critique of the Rockefeller Standard Oil Trust, Wealth vs. Commonwealth, was one of the most important ‘muckraking books’, even though Lloyd had no overall conception of the nature of monopoly capitalism.


Last updated on 12.5.2008