Second International

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The Second International (1889–1916), the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated.[1] It continued the work of the dissolved First International, though excluding the still-powerful anarcho-syndicalist movement and unions, and was in existence until 1916.

History

Among the Second International's famous actions were its (1889) declaration of May 1 as International Workers' Day and its (1910) declaration of March 8 as International Women's Day. It initiated the international campaign for the 8-hour working day.[2]

The International's permanent executive and information body was the International Socialist Bureau (ISB), based in Brussels and formed after the International's Paris Congress of 1900. Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans of the Belgian Labour Party were its chair and secretary. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a member from 1905.

The Second International dissolved during World War I, in 1916, as the separate national parties that composed it did not maintain a unified front against the war, instead generally supporting their respective nations' role. French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) leader Jean Jaurès's assassination, a few days before the beginning of the war, symbolized the failure of the antimilitarist doctrine of the Second International. In 1915, at the Zimmerwald Conference, anti-war socialists attempted to maintain international unity against the social patriotism of the social democratic leaders.

In 1920, the defunct Second International was reorganized. However, some European socialist parties refused to join the reorganized international, and decided instead to form the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP) ("Second and a half International" or "Two-and-a-half International"), heavily influenced by Austromarxism. In 1923, IWUSP and the Second International merged to form the social democratic Labour and Socialist International. This international continued to exist until 1940. After World War II, a new Socialist International was formed to continue the policies of the Labour and Socialist International, and it continues to this day.

Latin America

In Latin America, the International had two affiliates; the Socialist Party of Argentina and the Socialist Party of Uruguay.[3]

The exclusion of anarchists

Anarchists tended to be excluded from the Second International, nevertheless "anarchism had in fact dominated the London Congress of the Second International".[4] This exclusion received the criticism from anti-authoritarian socialist present at the meetings.[5] It has been argued that at some point the Second International turned "into a battleground over the issue of libertarian versus authoritarian socialism. Not only did they effectively present themselves as champions of minority rights; they also provoked the German Marxists into demonstrating a dictatorial intolerance which was a factor in preventing the British labor movement from following the Marxist direction indicated by such leaders as H. M. Hyndman".[6]

Congresses and Conferences of the Second International

Source: Julius Braunthal, History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968. London: Victor Gollancz, 1980; pg. 562.
Event Location Date Notes
First Congress Paris 14–19 July 1889
Second Congress Brussels 3–7 August 1891
Third Congress Zurich 9–13 August 1893
Fourth Congress London 26–31 July 1896
Fifth Congress Paris 23–27 September 1900
Sixth Congress Amsterdam 14–20 August 1904
Seventh Congress Stuttgart 18–24 August 1907
Eighth Congress Copenhagen 28 Aug.-3 Sept. 1910
Extraordinary Ninth Congress Basle 24–25 November 1912

After the First World War there were three Socialist Conferences in Switzerland. These were as a bridge to the creation of the Labour and Socialist International

Event Location Date Notes
Berne Conference of 1919 Berne 3–8 February 1919
International Socialist Conference, Lucerne, 1919 Lucerne 1–9 August 1919
International Socialist Congress, Geneva, 1920 Geneva 31 July-4 Aug. 1920

Related international gatherings

Source: Julius Braunthal, History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968. London: Victor Gollancz, 1980; pp. 562-563.
Event Location Date Notes
Conference of Socialist Parties of Neutral Countries Copenhagen 17–18 January 1915
Conference of Central European Socialist Parties Vienna 12–13 April 1915
First Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Zimmerwald 5–8 September 1915
Second Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Kienthal 24–30 April 1916
Third Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Stockholm 5–12 September 1917
First Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 14 February 1915
Second Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 28–29 August 1917
Third Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 20–24 February 1918
Fourth Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 15 September 1918

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ Rubio, José Luis. Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid: 1971. p. 42.
  2. ^ Rubio, José Luis. Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid: 1971. p. 43
  3. ^ Rubio, José Luis. Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid: 1971. p. 49
  4. ^ George Woodcock. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962). pgs 263-264
  5. ^ "As well as all the anarchist leaders, Keir Hardie and Tom Mann appeared on the platform to make speeches asserting the rights of minorities, and William Morris, now nearing his death, sent a message to say that only sickness prevented him from adding his own voice to the chorus of protest." George Woodcock. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962). pgs 263-264
  6. ^ George Woodcock. Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962). pgs 263-264

External links