Labour and Socialist International

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The Labour and Socialist International (LSI) (German: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, SAI) was an international organization of socialist and labour parties, active between 1923 and 1940. The group was established through a merger of the rival Vienna International and the former Second International, based in London, and was the forerunner of the present-day Socialist International.

The LSI had a history of rivalry with the Communist International (Comintern), with which it competed over the leadership of the international socialist and labour movement. However, unlike the Comintern, the LSI maintained no direct control over the actions its sections, being constituted as a federation of autonomous national parties.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

Arthur Henderson (1863-1935) of the British Labour Party was chosen as the first chairman of the Executive Committee of the LSI in 1923.

Despite the hostility expressed by the Communist International, the left wing of the social democratic movement sought an international "union of the whole proletariat" through 1922.[1] This initiative finally came to a close at the end of the year with the convocation of the 4th World Congress of the Comintern, which decisively rejected calls for a broad and inclusive international body.[1]

This rejection by the Communist wing of the international socialist movement left the center and right — in the form of the Vienna International and the London International, respectively — to patch together their own joint international body.[1] Planning for such a body began in January 1923, a month after the conclusion of the Comintern's 4th World Congress, with the Executive Committees of the Vienna and London groups issuing a joint statement condemning the Communists' decision.[1] The two Executive Committees subsequently issued a convention call for a unification congress in May.[1]

On May 21, 1923, some 620 delegates representing 41 socialist political parties in 30 countries was convened in Hamburg, Germany to bring about the unification of the two Internationals.[1] A wide array of political tendencies were represented among these delegates, running the ideological gamut from activists in the left wing of the French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) and the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) to moderate reformists of the British Labour Party.[2]

The gathering was dominated by 80 delegates of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), including among its membership such esteemed leaders of the international socialist movement as Karl Kautsky, Eduard Bernstein, and Rudolf Hilferding.[2] Other prominent figures in attendance included Arthur Henderson and Sidney Webb of the British Labour Party; Friedrich Adler and Otto Bauer, and Karl Renner of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ); Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans of the Belgian Labour Party (BWP); and the émigré Russian Mensheviks Pavel Axelrod, Raphael Abramovitch, and Fyodor Dan, among others.[2]

The unity congress voted to establish itself as a new International under the name "Labour and Socialist International" (LSI).[2] In marked difference from the Communist movement, no preconditions were established for admission, nor was any binding policy program adopted.[2] Instead the Hamburg Congress issued a manifesto stating that the new International "must grow naturally from the process through which Socialist parties get adapted to one another."[2] Total agreement on fundamental principles was not expected "at the moment of its birth," but the desire was voiced that establishment of the new international body would over time serve as "one of the most important conditions for the harmonizing of their views."[2]

Structure[edit]

The LSI was to remain a federation of fully independent and autonomous political parties — groups which were freely allowed under organizational statutes to determine their own internal policies and programs.[3] The organization was modeled upon the old Second International, with supreme authority vested in the international congress, which could be convened at any time upon the demand of 10 or more affiliated parties, so long as these represented at least a quarter of the organization's voting strength.[4]

Governance between congresses was to be conducted by an Executive Committee, with its participants elected by the member parties.[4] The Executive Committee was given the power to elect its own chair and other officers, to determine the location for its central office, and to elect a 9-member Bureau for prior consideration of matters of concern in advance of meetings of the full Executive Committee.[4] The Executive Committee was additionally to establish a 6-member special committee of local members residing at or near the seat of the committee, who were to be responsible for supervising the work of the Executive and its officers and arranging meetings of the Bureau and the Executive Committee.[4]

The first Executive Committee, elected by the 1923 Hamburg Congress, included Arthur Henderson of the British Labour Party as chairman, Harry Gosling of the British Labour Party as treasurer, with the Austrian Friedrich Adler and the Engishman Tom Shaw joining as members of the group's Secretariat.[4] London was chosen as the seat of the Executive Committee.[4]

Development[edit]

The LSI functioned as a continuation of the Second International.[5]

The Social Democratic Party of Germany was the dominant party within the LSI.[6]

Response to Nazism[edit]

With the rise of Nazism in Europe, there was increased pressure on the LSI and Comintern to cooperate. On February 19, 1933, the LSI Bureau issued a call for joint action of the SPD and the Communist Party of Germany against Adolf Hitler's regime. The Comintern responded by stating that they were not convinced of the sincerity of the declaration. However, the Comintern did soon call its national sections to form united fronts together with social democratic parties locally. The LSI, on its side, did not accept the notion of local social democrats forming united fronts with the communist parties.[7] However, as the Comintern adopted a more conciliatory tone, the resistance of the LSI against forming such united fronts on the national level softened.[8]

Within the LSI, a north-south cleavage emerged, as the Mediterranean LSI parties built fronts with the communists whilst the British and Scandinavian parties rejected the notion of cooperation with the communists. With the German party in disarray, the British and Scandinavians became more influential within the LSI. Thus the space for socialist-communist cooperation decreased. On September 25, 1934, the Comintern Executive issued a call for 'peace negotiations' between the two internationals, but the LSI rejected the offer.[9]

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the LSI and the International Federation of Trade Unions launched an 'Aid for Spain' campaign.[10] The LSI/IFTU relief efforts were channelled through the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT).[11]

Colonial question[edit]

Although the communists opposed colonialism, the LSI were generally supportive of colonialism. For example, the participation of the British Independent Labour Party in the communist-sponsored League against Imperialism caused a controversy within LSI, and the ILP was asked to break its ties with the League. However, the support of the LSI for colonialism was not complete. Regarding the Rif War, the second LSI congress, held in Marseille August 22–27, 1925, adopted a resolution calling for support of the independence of the Rif and urging the League of Nations to accept the Republic of the Rif as a member.[12]

Congresses[edit]

Congress Location Date Notes and references
1st Congress Hamburg, Germany May 21-25, 1923
2nd Congress Marseilles, France August 22-27, 1925
3rd Congress Brussels, Belgium August 5-11, 1928
4th Congress Vienna, Austria July 25-Aug. 1, 1931
Conference Paris, France August 21-25, 1933

List of members of the LSI[edit]

Country Party LSI membership LSI Executive representatives
Argentina Argentina Socialist Party 1924–1940 Etchegoin (March 1925 – August 1927), Bernardo B. Delom (August 1928 – February 1934), Rondani s (February 1934 – 1940)
Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation 1923–1940 Varandian (May 1923 – March 1925, from 1924 shared seat with Kaplansky, July 1933 – April 1934), Archak Izakchjan (March 1925 – July 1933), Setrak Sassuni (April 1934 – December 1936), Vahan Champarzumian s (December 1936 – 1939), Hrand Samuelian (1939–1940)
Austria Austria Social Democratic Workers Party of Austria 1923–1940 Bauer b (May 1923 – July 1938), Ferdinand Skaret (May 1923 – October 1931), Danneberg (October 1931 – December 1935), Seitz (October 1931 – December 1935), Franz Korac (December 1935 – 1938), Joseph Buttinger (1939/1940, under the pseudonym 'Gustav Richter')
Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers Party in the Republic of Austria 1923–1940 Alois Wawrousek (August 1925 – 1937)
Belgium Belgium Belgian Labour Party 1923–1940 Louis de Brouckère (May 1923 – May 1939, b August 1935-), Vandervelde b (May 1923 – June 1925, November 1927 – March 1935, February 1937 – December 1938), Joseph van Roosbroeck (June 1927 – 1940, became the treasurer of LSI in November 1927), Huysmans (August 1931 – 1940), Désiré Bouchery (March 1935 – June 1936), Arthur Wauters (August 1935 – February 1937), Jean Delvigne (June 1936 – 1937, b September 1936-), Max Buset (1937–1940), Achille Delattre (1938–1940)
British Guiana British Guiana British Guiana Labour Union 1924–1940
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (Broad Socialists) 1923–1940 Sakazov (May 1923 – 1940, until August 1925 seat shared with Topalović)
Taiwan China Social Democratic Party of China 1920s
Czechoslovakia Czechoslovakia Czechoslovak Social Democratic Workers Party 1923–1938 Antonín Němec (May 1924 – August 1925), František Soukup (August 1925 – September 1938, b 1932-), Leo Winter (August 1931 – August 1935), Josef Stivín (August 1935 – September 1938), Gustav Winter (1937–1938)
German Social Democratic Workers Party in the Czechoslovak Republic 1923–1938 Czech (May 1923 – February 1930), Taub (February 1930 – 1938), Jaksch (1939–1940)
Hungarian-German Social Democratic Party 1923–1926
Polish Socialist Workers Party 1923–1938 Chobot (1931-, shared seat with Kowoll)
Social Democratic Workers Party in Subcarpathian Rus 1923–1930
Socialist Association 1923–1925
Denmark Denmark Social Democratic Federation 1923–1940 Stauning (May 1923 – April 1924, January 1927 – May 1929), Carl F. Madsen (May 1923 – October 1928), Andersen (April 1924 – January 1927, May 1929 – November 1935), Vilh. Nygaard (October 1928 – December 1936), Hedtoft (November 1935 – 1940, b May 1936-), Jensen (February 1938 – 1940)
Estonia Estonia Estonian Socialist Workers Party 1923–1940 Rei (February 1931 – November 1932, December 1933 – 1937)
Finland Finland Social Democratic Party 1923–1940 Wiik (May 1923 – 1938), Jaakko William Keto b (1939–1940)
France France French Section of the Workers International 1923–1940 Alexandre Bracke b (May 1923 – May 1936), Longuet (May 1923 – 1939), Pierre Renaudel (August 1925 – June 1929, July 1930 – November 1933), Blum (June 1929 – July 1930, May 1934 – May 1936, b June 1939 – 1940), Jean-Baptiste Sévérac (November 1936 – 1940), Jean Zyromski (-November 1936), Marceau Pivert (1938), Salomon Grumbach (1939–1940)
Free City of Danzig Free City of Danzig Social Democratic Party of the Free City of Danzig 1923–1936 Brill (January 1929 – 1936, July 1931- seat shared with Kowoll)
Germany Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany 1923–1940 Artur Crispien (May 1923 – May 1926), Müller (May 1923 – June 1928, February 1931 – March 1931), Wels b (May 1923-Summer of 1938), Johannes Stelling (June 1928 – February 1931, Summer of 1938), Vogel (1931–1938), Hilferding (May 1936 – 1937, 1939/1940),
Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic Georgia Social Democratic Labour Party of Georgia 1923–1940 Tsereteli (May 1923 – July 1929), Constantin Gvardjaladze (July 1929 – 1940)
United Kingdom Great Britain Labour Party 1923–1940 Henderson (b May 1923 – January 1924, February 1925 – July 1929, b August 1925-), James Ramsey MacDonald (May 1923 – January 1924), James Henry Thomas (May 1923 – January 1924), Harry Gosling (May 1923 – January 1924, Treasurer of LSI), Cameron (January 1924 – February 1925), Cramp (January 1924 – October 1925, b July 1925 -), William Gillies (July 1929 – 1940, b May 1930-), Joseph Compton (October 1929 – January 1937), George Dallas (October 1936 – 1940), Hugh Dalton (October 1936 – 1940), Arthur Jenkins (January 1937-late c. 1937)
Independent Labour Party 1923–1933 Wallhead (February 1924 – August 1925, Treasurer of LSI), Clifford Allen (January 1924 – November 1927), Fenner Brockway (November 1927 – November 1932)
Greece Greece Socialist Party of Greece 1923–1931, 1933
Hungary Hungary Hungarian Social Democratic Party 1923–1940 Gyula Peidl (February 1924 – October 1928), Ernö Garami (May 1930 – March 1931), Emanuel Buchinger (March 1931 – 1940)
Világosság Socialist Emigrant Group 1923–1940 Vilmos Böhm (August 1931 – 1940)
Iceland Social Democratic Party 1926–1940
Italy Italy United Socialist Party of Italian Workers 1923–1930 Giuseppe Emanuele Modigliani b (May 1923 – 1938), Treves (May 1923 – July 1930, August 1931 – June 1933), Nenni (July 1930 – 1940), Franco Clerici (June 1933 – March 1934)
Italian Socialist Party 1930–1940
Latvia Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers Party 1923–1940 Feliks Cielens (May 1923 – April 1924, February 1928 – April 1932, 1938–1940), Kalniņš (April 1924 – February 1928), Fritz Menders (April 1932 – 1938)
Lithuania Lithuania Lithuanian Social Democratic Party 1923–1940 Kairys (November 1931 – November 1934)
Luxembourg Luxembourg Workers Party of Luxembourg 1923–1940 Jean Fohrman (February 1936 – 1939), Alphonse Hummer (1939–1940)
Netherlands Netherlands Social Democratic Workers Party 1923–1940 Troelstra b (May 1923 – May 1925), Willem Hubert Vliegen b (May 1925 – 1930), Florentinus Marinus Wibaut (August 1925 – April 1935), Albarda b (April 1930 – August 1939), Vorrink (April 1935 – 1940)
Norway Norway Social Democratic Labour Party of Norway 1923–1927 Nilssen (May 1923 – January 1927)
Norwegian Labour Party 1938–1940 Tranmæl (1939/1940), Gerhardsen (1939–1940)
Mandatory Palestine Palestine Poalei Zion 1923–1930 Kaplansky (shared seat with Varandian May 1923 – June 1924, 1925–1940)
Mapai 1930–1940
Poland Poland Polish Socialist Party 1923–1940 Herman Diamand (May 1923 – February 1931), Niedziałkowski (August 1925 – 1940), Lieberman (1931–1940, b1932-)
German Socialist Labour Party in Poland 1923–1940 Johann Kowoll (January 1929 – June 1936, 1929 – July 1931 seat shared with Brill, July 1931- seat shared with Chobot), Emil Zerbe (June 1936 – 1940)
Independent Socialist Workers Party 1923–1933 Drobner (May 1923 – June 1928), Kruk (June 1928 – October), both shared their seat with Topalović
General Jewish Labour Bund in Poland 1930–1940 Henryk Erlich (December 1930 – 1940)
Ukrainian Socialist-Radical Party 1931–1940 Stachiw (August 1931 – 1940)
Portugal Portugal Portuguese Socialist Party 1925–1933
Romania Romania Romanian Social Democratic Party 1923–1940 Şerban Voinea (May 1923 – December 1923), Iacob Pistiner (May 1923 – August 1930), Gheorghe Grigorovici (January 1931 – May 1933), Ilie Moscovici (May 1933 – 1940)
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic Russia Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks) 1923–1940 Raphael Abramovitch b (May 1923 – 1940)
Socialist-Revolutionary Party 1923–1940 Vassilij V. Suchomlin (May 1923 – May 1930), Chernov (May 1923 – 1940)
Spain Spain Spanish Socialist Workers Party 1923–1940 Besteiro (May 1924 – October 1932), Largo Caballero (October 1932 – November 1932, September 1933 – September 1936), Remigio Cabello (November 1932 – September 1933), Fernando de los Ríos (September 1933 – 1937), Manuel Cordero (September 1933 – 1938)
Sweden Sweden Social Democratic Labour Party of Sweden 1923–1940 Branting b (May 1923 – October 1924), Möller (May 1923 – October 1924, b July 1929 – September 1932), Arthur Engberg (October 1924 – July 1926), Rickard Lindström (October 1924 – July 1926, b September 1932 – 1940), Hansson (July 1926 – September 1932), Höglund (September 1932 – 1940)
Switzerland Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland 1927–1940 Grimm (January 1927 – 1940, b August 1935-)
Turkey Turkey Independent Socialist Party
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic Ukraine Ukrainian Social Democratic Labour Party 1923–1940 Yosyp Bezpalko (June 1924 – February 1929), Opanas Fedenko (February 1929 – 1938)
Uruguay Uruguay Socialist Party of Uruguay 1932–1940
United States United States Socialist Party of America 1923–1940 Berger (May 1923 – August 1929), Hillquit (May 1923 – October 1933), Thomas (December 1932 – 1940), Oneal (November 1933 – October 1935), Devere Allen (October 1935 – 1936)
Kingdom of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia Socialist Party of Yugoslavia 1923–1929, 1934–1940 Topalović (May 1923 – January 1929, until August 1925 seat shared with Sakazov, August 1925 – June 1928 seat shared with Drobner, June 1928- seat shared with Kruk)

b = Bureau member

Other Executive members: International Women's Commission: Adelheid Popp (February 1924 – September 1935), Alice Pels (September 1935 – 1940) Socialist Youth International: Karl Heinz (February 1924 – October 1932), Erich Ollenhauer (October 1932 – 1940)

Source:[13]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Julius Braunthal, History of the International: Volume 2: 1914-1943. [1963] John Clark, trans. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1967; pg. 264.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Braunthal, History of the International, vol. 2, pg. 265.
  3. ^ Braunthal, History of the International, vol. 2, pg. 266.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Braunthal, History of the International, vol. 2, pg. 267.
  5. ^ Jackie Smith, Charles Chatfield, and Ron Pagnucco, Transnational Social Movements and Global Politics: Solidarity Beyond the State. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1997; gp. 35.
  6. ^ James Jupp, The Radical Left in Britain, 1931–1941. London: Frank Cass, 1982; pg. 13.
  7. ^ Jupp, The Radical Left in Britain, pg. 45.
  8. ^ Jupp, The Radical Left in Britain, pg. 68.
  9. ^ Jupp, The Radical Left in Britain, pg. 77.
  10. ^ Rhiannon Vickers, The Labour Party and the World. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004; pg. 125.
  11. ^ Tom Buchanan, The Spanish Civil War and the British Labour Movement. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1991; pg. 144.
  12. ^ Jonathan Derrick, Africa's "Agitators": Militant Anti-Colonialism in Africa and the West, 1918–1939. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008; pp. 156, 180.
  13. ^ Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. pp. 282-338