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The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
meetings in which delegations from twenty countries participated. The Second International continued the work of the dissolved
First International The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was an international organization, international organisation which aimed at uniting a variety of different Left-wing politics, left-wing Soc ...
, though excluding the powerful
anarcho-syndicalist Anarcho-syndicalism is a political philosophy and anarchist school of thought that views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and thus control influence in b ...
movement. While the international had initially declared its opposition to all
warfare War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (new ...

warfare
between European powers, most of the major European parties ultimately chose to support their respective states in the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
. After splitting into pro-
Allied An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
, pro-
Central Powers The Central Powers, also known as the Central Empires,german: Mittelmächte; hu, Központi hatalmak; tr, İttifak Devletleri / ; bg, Централни сили, translit=Tsentralni sili was one of the two main coalitions that fought World ...
, and
antimilitarist Antimilitarism (also spelt anti-militarism) is a doctrine that opposes war, relying heavily on a critical theory of imperialism Imperialism is a policy or ideology of extending rule over peoples and other countries, for extending political a ...
factions, the international ceased to function. After the war, the remaining factions of the international went on to found the
Labour and Socialist International The Labour and Socialist International (LSI; german: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, label=German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ...
, the
International Working Union of Socialist Parties The International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP; also known as the International or the Vienna International; german: Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialistischer Parteien, IASP) was a political international for the co-operation ...
, and the
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable se ...
.


History


Pre-foundation conferences (1881–1889)

The foundation of a new international was first discussed at a conference at
Chur , neighboring_municipalities= Arosa , neighboring_municipalities= Alvaneu Alvaneu (''Romansh language, Romansh: Alvagni'') is a former municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the district of Albula (district), Albula in the Cantons of S ...

Chur
in October 1881. Delegates included members of the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-makin ...
, Belgian socialists, the
Federation of the Socialist Workers of France The Federation of the Socialist Workers of France french: Fédération des travailleurs socialistes de France, FTSF) was France's first socialist party, being founded in 1879. The party was characterised as Possibilism (politics), possibilist b ...
, French and German-speaking Swiss delegations, two Polish delegates, and one delegate each for Russia and Hungary. The conference did not form an international that year, but decided to write a new socialist manifesto to be approved at a subsequent meeting. According to
Yuri Steklov Yuri Mikhailovich Steklov (russian: Юрий Михайлович Стеклов; born Ovshey Moiseyevich Nakhamkis; russian: Овший Моисе́евич Наха́мкис; , in Odessa - 15 September 1941, in Saratov) was a Russian revolution ...
, the conference was exceedingly poorly organized, and thus didn't engender confidence that a new international could be founded. Efforts to found a new international were greatly complicated by a factional divide within the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France between the Marxists and Possibilists. From its founding in 1879, a faction inspired (though not always endorsed) by
Paul Brousse Paul Brousse (; 23 January 18441 April 1912) was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République français ...

Paul Brousse
had moved away from
revolutionary socialism Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ab ...
towards a more
reformist Reformism is a political doctrine Doctrine (from la, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for ...
approach, arguing that socialists should pursue whichever reforms are "possible" at any given time, while still taking advantage of revolutionary opportunities. A Marxist faction led by
Jules Guesde Jules Bazile, known as Jules Guesde (; 11 November 1845 – 28 July 1922) was a France, French socialist journalist and politician. Guesde was the inspiration for a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Shortly before Marx died in 1883, he wrote a ...

Jules Guesde
and
Paul Lafargue Paul Lafargue (; 15 January 1842 – 25 November 1911) was a Cuban Cuban may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Cuba, a country in the Caribbean * Cubans, people from Cuba, or of Cuban descent ** Cuban exile, a person who left Cu ...
, and supported by
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
and
Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels ( ,"Engels"
''
, denounced the possibilist faction as opportunists, founding the rival
French Workers' Party The French Workers' Party (french: Parti Ouvrier Français, POF) was the French Socialist Party, socialist party created in 1880 by Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue, Karl Marx's son-in-law (famous for having written ''Refusal of work#Paul Lafargue ...
in 1882. Confusingly, both parties would call themselves the ''Parti Ouvrier'' (worker's party), and so were generally known as the Marxist party and possibilist party. The possibilist party would convene international socialist conferences several times, in 1883, 1884, and 1886. At the 1886 convention, it was decided that another convention would be held in 1889, but the
Social Democratic Party of Germany The Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, ; SPD, ) is a social democratic Social democracy is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-makin ...
disagreed with the decision, and the decisions at the 1886 convention were generally seen to have lacked legitimacy. The SPD held its own convention in
St. Gallen , neighboring_municipalities = Eggersriet Eggersriet is a Municipalities of Switzerland, municipality in the ''Wahlkreis'' (constituency) of St. Gallen (Wahlkreis), St. Gallen in the Cantons of Switzerland, canton of St. Gallen (canton), St. Ga ...
in 1887, whereupon they decided to hold their own international conference the following year. When the London International
Trades Union Congress The Trades Union Congress (TUC) is a national trade union center, national trade union centre, a federation of trade unions in England and Wales, representing the majority of trade unions. There are 48 affiliated unions, with a total of about 5. ...
declared that a new international meeting would be called in Paris in 1889, both the SPD and Possibilists decided to fold their next congress into the new one, creating one large international meeting. However, the SPD had only joined the new meeting on the condition that the hosts would not ask for records and names from the delegates, since the SPD could have faced immediate dissolution and ejection from the
Reichstag is a German word generally meaning parliament, more directly translated as ''Diet (assembly), Diet of the Realm'' or ''National diet'', or more loosely as ''Imperial Diet''. It may refer to: Buildings and places is the god specific German word ...
if the German government discovered it had sent delegates abroad. When the Trade Union Congress responded that delegates would only be considered legitimate if they could prove their mandate with appropriate records, the SPD and their Marxist supporters decided to hold a separate congress near the Possibilist congress, with the hope of uniting the two at a later date. The separation into two congresses in 1889 effectively forced foreign delegations to divide themselves up between supporters of the Possibilists, and supporters of the SPD.


Foundation and pre-war period (1889–1914)

When the first meetings of the new international were held on July 14, 1889, the two factions were still discussing the possibility of unity. The two meetings had effectively divided the entire European socialist movement into two camps: the Possibilists, supported by the British
Social Democratic Federation The Social Democratic Federation (SDF) was established as Britain's first organised socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social gr ...
, and the Marxists, supported by the SPD, the British Socialist League, and most of the other European delegates. The Possibilists insisted upon recording the names and documentation of delegates so as to verify their mandate, while the Marxists (many of whom faced conditions of illegality at home) were concerned about information being discovered by the authorities. However according to
John Burns John Elliot Burns (20 October 1858 – 24 January 1943) was an English trade unionist and politician, particularly associated with London politics and Battersea. He was a socialist and then a Liberal Party (UK), Liberal Member of Parliament an ...

John Burns
,
William Morris William Morris (24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) was a British textile designer, poet, artist, novelist, architectural conservationist, printer, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement ...

William Morris
, and some of the Marxist delegates, there were no real concerns around verification until
Henry Hyndman Henry Mayers Hyndman (; 7 March 1842 – 20 November 1921) was a British writer and politician. Originally a Conservative Party (UK), conservative, he was converted to History of the socialist movement in the United Kingdom, socialism by Karl M ...

Henry Hyndman
proposed the measure, and the dispute was a deliberate ploy to split the congress in two, an allegation strongly rebuked by
Annie Besant Annie Besant (''née'' Wood; 1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) was a British socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions In psychology, decision-mak ...

Annie Besant
. Regardless of which account is true, the split between the Possibilists and Marxists threatened to create two separate internationals, with subsequent conferences in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
and
Zürich Zürich () is the in and the capital of the . It is located in north-central Switzerland, at the northwestern tip of . As of January 2020, the municipality has 434,335 inhabitants, the urban area (agglomeration) 1.315 million (2009), and the 1. ...

Zürich
respectively. However, after the anger aroused during the split congresses had died down, the Marxists ultimately agreed to join the Brussels conference and create a single, unified international. While the factional divide between the possibilists and Marxists abated to a degree, the international continued to be plagued by major factional disputes at each congress. By the time of the 1896 congress in London, considered "the most agitated, the most tumultuous, and the most chaotic of all the congresses of the Second International," a more concrete rift had developed between reformist and revolutionary approaches to socialist power, which resulted in many factions along national lines. Among the Second International's famous actions were its 1889 declaration of 1 May (
May Day May Day is a public holiday A public holiday, national holiday or legal holiday is a holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are susp ...

May Day
) as
International Workers' Day International Workers' Day, also known as ''Labour Day'' in most countries and often referred to as May Day, is a celebration of labourers and the working class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual-labou ...
and its 1910 declaration of the
International Women's Day International Women's Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. It is also a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to ...
, first celebrated on 19 March and then on 8 March after the main day of the women's marches in 1917 during the
Russian Revolution The Russian Revolution was a period of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relatio ...

Russian Revolution
. It initiated the international campaign for the eight-hour working day. The International's permanent executive and information body was the
International Socialist Bureau The International Socialist Bureau (French: ''Bureau Socialiste International'') was the permanent organization of the Second International, established at the Paris congress of 1900. Before this there was no organizational infrastructure to the "Se ...
(ISB) based in
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Brusse ...

Brussels
and formed after the International's Paris Congress of 1900.
Emile Vandervelde Emile Vandervelde (25 January 1866 – 27 December 1938) was a Belgian Belgians ( nl, Belgen, french: Belges, german: Belgier) are people identified with the Belgium, Kingdom of Belgium, a federation, federal state in Western Europe. As Belg ...

Emile Vandervelde
and
Camille Huysmans Jean Joseph Camille Huysmans (born as Camiel Hansen 26 May 1871 – 25 February 1968) was a Belgian politician who served as Prime Minister of Belgium from 1946 to 1947. He studied German philology at the University of Liège and was a teacher ...
of the
Belgian Labour Party The Belgian Labour Party or Belgian Workers' Party ( nl, Belgische Werkliedenpartij, BWP; french: Parti Ouvrier Belge, POB) was the first major Socialism, socialist party in Belgium. Founded in 1885, the party was officially disbanded in 1940 and s ...
were its chair and secretary.
Vladimir Lenin Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov. ( 1870 – 21 January 1924), better known by his alias Lenin,. was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as the first and founding head of government The head of government is e ...

Vladimir Lenin
was a member from 1905. The pre-war period is notable for the repeated statements against militarism jointly issued by members of the international, which were largely ignored in 1914. At the founding of the international,
Paul Lafargue Paul Lafargue (; 15 January 1842 – 25 November 1911) was a Cuban Cuban may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Cuba, a country in the Caribbean * Cubans, people from Cuba, or of Cuban descent ** Cuban exile, a person who left Cu ...
affirmed that socialists were "brothers with a single common enemy ..private capital, whether it be Prussian, French, or Chinese." The 1907 conference at Stuttgart resulted in a joint resolution which stated that "struggle against militarism cannot be separated from the Socialist class struggle in general." The extraordinary congress in
Basel , french: link=no, Bâlois(e), it, Basilese , neighboring_municipalities= Allschwil , neighboring_municipalities= Baselland (BL), Binningen, Switzerland, Binningen, Buschwiller (FR-68), Hégenheim (FR-68), Neuwiller (FR-68), Oberwil, Basel- ...

Basel
in 1912 was largely devoted to a discussion of rising militarism, which resulted in a manifesto stating that the working classes should "exert every effort in order to prevent the outbreak of war by the means they consider most effective." Finally on July 29, 1914, the ISB held an emergency meeting wherein it “resolved unanimously that it shall be the duty of the workers of all nations concerned not only to continue but to further intensify their demonstrations against the war, for peace, and for the settlement of the Austro-Serbian conflict by international arbitration.”


First world war and dissolution (1914–1916)

The antimilitarist
French Section of the Workers' International The French Section of the Workers' International (french: Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière, SFIO) was a political party in France that was founded in 1905 and succeeded in 1969 by the modern-day Socialist Party Socialist Party is ...
(SFIO) leader
Jean Jaurès Auguste Marie Joseph Jean Léon Jaurès (3 September 185931 July 1914), commonly referred to as Jean Jaurès (), was a French Socialist Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with maki ...

Jean Jaurès
's assassination a few days before the beginning of the
First World War World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainmen ...
generated an outpouring of antimilitarist sentiment from many members of the socialist international. Nonetheless, immediately after the outbreak of war, all of the major socialist parties in belligerent nations (with the notable exception of the
Independent Labour Party The Independent Labour Party (ILP) was a British political party of the left, established in 1893, when the Liberal Party (UK), Liberals appeared reluctant to endorse working-class candidates, representing the interests of the majority. A sitt ...
) had issued statements in full support of war. This took many socialist parties in neutral countries by surprise, such as the Romanian Social Democrats, who initially refused to print the SPD's endorsement of war, believing it to be a forgery. The war effectively split the international into three factions: the pro-war social democratic parties in the Central Powers, the pro-war parties of the Triple Entente, and the various anti-war parties, including the parties in neutral countries and many
pacifist Pacifism is the opposition or resistance to war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...
or
revolutionary socialist Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ab ...
parties. The leadership of the international, especially Secretary General of the ISB Camille Huysmans, attempted to coordinate meetings between the various parties, including one-on-one meetings between pro-war leaders from opposing sides, but by July 1916 the ISB's attempts had failed. Despite the failure to bring the various parties together into a single congress, each faction would hold its own conferences during the war. The German, Austrian, and Hungarian pro-war parties successfully met at the
Vienna Socialist Conference of 1915 The Vienna Socialist Conference of 1915 gathered representatives from the Socialist parties of Germany, Austria and Hungary to the only meeting of the pro-war socialist parties of the Central Powers during World War I. Seen by some as a response o ...
. The pro-war parties in the allied powers successfully met four times at the Inter-Allied Socialist Conferences of World War I. Anti-war parties first met as representatives from the neutral countries at the Neutral Socialist Conferences during the First World War, then as part of the Zimmerwald movement which successfully convinced the neutral, pacifist and revolutionary parties to split from the international. The Zimmerwald movement would lead to a much greater schism between the reformist and revolutionary wings of the international, which would eventually result in the
Third International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable se ...
.


Attempted re-establishment and successor organizations (1918–1923)

In July 1920 at Geneva, the last congress of the Second International was held, following its functional collapse during the war. However, some European socialist parties refused to join the reorganised International and decided instead to form the
International Working Union of Socialist Parties The International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP; also known as the International or the Vienna International; german: Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialistischer Parteien, IASP) was a political international for the co-operation ...
(IWUSP) (Second and a half International or Two-and-a-half International), heavily influenced by
Austromarxism Austro-Marxism was a Marxist theoretical current, led by Victor Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Renner, Max Adler (Marxist), Max Adler and Rudolf Hilferding, members of the SDAPÖ, Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria in Austria-Hungary and the Fir ...
. In 1923, IWUSP and the Second International merged to form the social democratic
Labour and Socialist International The Labour and Socialist International (LSI; german: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, label=German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ...
which continued to exist until 1940. After
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, a new
Socialist International The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophi ...
was formed to continue the policies of the Labour and Socialist International, which continues to this day. Another successor was the Third International organised in 1919 by revolutionary socialists after the
October Revolution The October Revolution,. officially known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. under the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence ...

October Revolution
and the creation of the Soviet Union. It was officially called the
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable se ...
(Comintern) and lasted until 1943 when it was dissolved by then Soviet leader
Joseph Stalin ( – 5 March 1953) was a Georgians, Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who governed the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power both as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (1922–1952 ...
.


Analysis


Relationship to anarchism

The second international had a complex and changeable relationship to
anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of hierarchy. Anarchism calls for the abolition of the State (polity), state, which it holds to ...

anarchist
groups and individuals. The conflict between anarchist and Marxist factions dated back to the days of the First International, which was frequently characterized by clashes between the state socialists (ie. the Lassallists, Marxists and Blanquists) on one hand, and the anarchists (ie. the
mutualists Mutualism describes the ecological Biological interaction, interaction between two or more species where each species has a net benefit. Mutualism is a common type of ecological interaction. Prominent examples include most vascular plants engage ...
and collectivists) on the other. Tensions reached their peak after the Hague Congress of 1872, wherein an attempt was made to expel
Mikhail Bakunin Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (; – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to someth ...

Mikhail Bakunin
and
James Guillaume James Guillaume (February 16, 1844, London – November 20, 1916, Paris) was a leading member of the Jura federation, the anarchist wing of the First International. Later, Guillaume would take an active role in the founding of the Anarchist St. I ...

James Guillaume
and move the general council to
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
, effectively disbanding the organization. Competing anarchist and state socialist internationals attempted to continue on alone, but both ultimately ended in failure within five years.
Mikhail Bakunin Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin (; – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary A revolutionary is a person who either participates in, or advocates a revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term ''revolutionary'' refers to someth ...

Mikhail Bakunin
,
On the International Workingmen's Association and Karl Marx
, 1872
As a result of the 1872 split, anarchist and social democratic factions were reluctant to work with one another. The anarchist organizations ultimately refused to participate in the Chur congress of 1881, instead opting to hold a separate congress in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...

London
which would result in the
International Working People's Association The International Working People's Association (IWPA), sometimes known as the "Black International," was an international anarchist political organization established in 1881 at a convention held in London, England. In America the group is best r ...
or "black" international. As a result, anarchist organizations were not involved in discussions to found the second international in 1889. Nonetheless, several anarchist individuals would hold positions in the international, and anarchists were actually the dominant faction within several of the ostensibly Marxist organizations, such as the
Social Democratic League The Social Democratic League ( nl, Sociaal-Democratische Bond, SDB) was a socialist Socialism is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy encompassing a range of Economic systems, economic and ...
. Despite holding positions as delegates, and ostensibly being welcome during the first two congresses, expressions of anarchist ideas were often shouted down, and in one incident
Francesco Saverio Merlino Francesco Saverio Merlino (9 September 1856 – 30 June 1930) was an Italian lawyer, anarchist Anarchism is a political philosophy and Political movement, movement that is sceptical of authority and rejects all involuntary, coercive forms of ...
faced violence from the other delegates, but was shielded by delegates from the British Socialist League. Anarchist individuals and factions would ultimately be officially excluded at the 1893 Zurich congress, prompting many social democratic parties to expel their anarchist factions. An attempt to repeal the decision was made at the subsequent London congress of 1896, which was attended by anarchist figures like
Errico Malatesta Errico Malatesta (14 December 1853 – 22 July 1932) was an Italian anarchist and revolutionary socialist. He spent much of his life exiled from Italy and in total spent more than ten years in prison. Malatesta wrote and edited a number of radi ...

Errico Malatesta
and
Christiaan Cornelissen Christiaan Gerardus Cornelissen (30 August 1864 – 21 January 1942) was a Dutch syndicalism, syndicalist writer, economist, and trade unionist. Cornelissen was the second of five children of Johannes Cornelissen, carpenter in Den Bosch, Nor ...
, supported by some Marxist figures including
Keir Hardie James Keir Hardie (15 August 185626 September 1915) was a Scottish trade unionist A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve c ...
,
Tom Mann Thomas Mann (15 April 1856 – 13 March 1941), was an English trade unionist A trade union (or a labor union in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. E ...
, and a very sickly William Morris. Discussion of anarchism would dominate the congress, but the anarchists were not successful in reversing their expulsion.


Bolshevik critique

Bolshevik The Bolsheviks (Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (росс ...

Bolshevik
figures like Vladimir Lenin and
Nikolai Bukharin Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (russian: Никола́й Ива́нович Буха́рин) ( – 15 March 1938) was a Bolsheviks, Bolshevik Russian Revolution, revolutionary, Soviet Union, Soviet politician, Marxist philosopher and economist ...
gained international notability during the war years for their criticisms of the international's inability to coordinate an anti-war opposition. Lenin and Bukharin based their critique in a
theory of imperialism The theory of imperialism refers to a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the expansion of capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), productio ...
, associating the reformism and
social imperialism As a political term, social imperialism is the political ideology of people, parties, or nations that are, according to Soviet The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a socialist state A soc ...
of the various pro-war parties with the rise of monopoly capital and imperialist
superprofit Superprofit, surplus profit or extra surplus-value (german: extra-Mehrwert) is a concept in Karl Marx's critique of political economy subsequently elaborated by Vladimir Lenin and other Marxism, Marxist thinkers. Origin of the concept in Karl M ...
s. The Bolsheviks believed that monopoly capitalists had created large national blocs of capital which sought to divide the world among themselves, a process which created superprofits either through tariffs, or as a side-effect of capital export. Superprofits extracted from colonized areas were diverted to the advanced countries, whereupon a portion was given over to a
labor aristocracy Labor aristocracy American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, or labour aristocracy (also aristocracy of labor) has at least four meanings: (1) as a term with Marxist theoretical underpinnings; (2) as a specific type of trade unio ...
as a "bribe," in the form of higher wages. The Bolsheviks saw this privileged, highly-skilled strata of workers organized into
craft unions Craft unionism refers to a model of trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the i ...
as a threat within the labor movement, which would try to take leadership positions in order to gain higher wages at the expense of other proletarians. Lenin and Bukharin believed that the leadership of the international, especially in the pro-war parties, were largely labor aristocrats or else were influenced by a labor aristocratic ideology. While the labor aristocracy thesis informed the Bolsheviks' general critique of the international, Lenin also had more specific criticisms of the leaders of the international who had sided with the pro-war parties. Lenin believed that there were really two pro-war ideologies in the international, the "who started it?" theorists represented by
Georgi Plekhanov Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov (; rus, Гео́ргий Валенти́нович Плеха́нов, p=ɡʲɪˈorɡʲɪj vəlʲɪnˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ plʲɪˈxanəf, a=Ru-Georgi Plekhanov-JermyRei.ogg; – 30 May 1918) was a Russian revolution ...

Georgi Plekhanov
, and the more nuanced "saccharo-conciliatory chauvinis represented by
Karl Kautsky Karl Johann Kautsky (; ; 16 October 1854 – 17 October 1938) was a Czech-Austrian philosopher, journalist, and Marxism, Marxist theoretician (Marxism), theoretician. Kautsky was one of the most authoritative promulgators of orthodox Marxism aft ...
. Plekhanov generally agreed with the Entente, believing that German warmongering was a criminal act that needed to be punished by an international coalition. Kautsky suggested that the principle of national self-determination gave each national proletariat the right to defend itself, including violence against other proletarians. Lenin believed that both positions represented different attempts to rationalize labor aristocratic ideology.


Anti-colonial critique

Despite issuing a statement against colonialism at the 1896 London congress, the international was criticized by anti-colonial figures for providing insufficient opposition to colonial expansion. While the pre-war international was relatively consistent in its opposition to an inter-imperialist conflict between European powers, it was often paternalistic towards colonial areas, and statements often mentioned a need to educate or civilize conquered peoples. By the Stuttgart congress of 1907, parties in the international had substantially shifted away from their earlier consensus on ostensible anticolonialism towards a mix of overtly pro-colonial, anti-colonial and neutral views. These divisions were made apparent in a proposal by the Dutch delegate Henri van Kol that the international drop its anticolonial position, which was defeated 128 votes to 108. Part of this was due to a concerted effort by non-socialist parties and the media to question the patriotism of anti-colonial parties, for example the SPD and
Catholic Centre Party The Centre Party (german: Zentrum), officially the German Centre Party (german: link=no, Deutsche Zentrumspartei) and also known in English as the Catholic Centre Party, is a Catholic political party in History of Germany, Germany, influentia ...
of Germany initially opposed the
Herero and Namaqua genocide #REDIRECT Herero and Namaqua genocide The Herero and Namaqua genocide or the Herero and Nama genocide was the first genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or relig ...
before giving in to extreme political pressure. The Dutch Social Democratic Workers' Party was particularly insistent on the legitimacy of a "socialist colonialism," and opposed most anti-colonial resolutions on the basis that colonialism under a socialist government could be benevolent and mutually beneficial. The French SFIO likewise supported a policy of "national colonialism," while the right-wing of the SPD supported "national imperialism," and the
British Labour Party The Labour Party is a List of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of Social democracy, social democrats, Democratic socialism, democratic socialists and trade u ...
's stated policy was "ethical imperialism." The pro-colonial reputation of the second international would later drive
Ho Chi Minh (; , ; : ; 19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969), born , also known as , , , Người cha dân tộc or simply ('Uncle', ), was a Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeas ...

Ho Chi Minh
to join the third international.


Antisemitism

From its outset, one of the objectives of the international was to build a consensus on the "
Jewish question The Jewish question, also referred to as the Jewish problem, was a wide-ranging debate in 19th- and 20th-century Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm ...
," a contemporary term for debates on the civil, legal, national, and political status and treatment of
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), ...

Jews
as a minority group. The founders of the international in 1889 included some noted
antisemites Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is hostility to, prejudice, or discrimination against Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 ISO The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an ...
including Henry Hyndman, who led the English attendees at the Possibilist congress, but also a great many Jewish-led organizations and Jewish delegates.Virdee, Satnam. "Socialist Antisemitism and Its Discontents in England, 1884–98." Patterns of Prejudice 51.3-4 (2017):362-363Hirshfield. Claire. ‘The Anglo-Boer War and the issue of Jewish culpability’, Journal of Contemporary History 15.4 (1980):622 Despite these differences, at the 1891 congress in Brussels the delegates managed to pass a unanimous resolution against antisemitism, however at the insistence of the Blanquist delegates Dr. A. Regnard and M. Argyriades, the congress would pass an amended resolution targeting "philo-semitic tyranny," noting that many Jewish bankers were "great oppressors of labour." Regnard stated that he believed many Jews owned the newspapers, while Argyriades stated his belief that Jews owned the banks and many industries. ''
The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' reported that the pair's amendment was greeted with applause and was passed with only minor opposition. This has been noted as a major instance of antisemitism within the international, as although all of the delegates were ostensibly opposed to antisemitism, the resolution indicates that many delegates believed in the antisemitic canard that Jews controlled the banking system, or that
financial capital Financial capital (also simply known as capital or equity in finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful money bags handed to King George III are contra ...
was somehow intrinsically tied to Jews. In addition to antisemitism against Jewish bankers and capitalists, the British socialist newspaper ''
Justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...
'' reported that " ere appears to be a strong feeling against the Jews in the Congress." The "Jewish question" was not revisited after the 1891 congress, however after the establishment of the ISB there appears to have been some attempt to rectify the imbalance against Jewish organizations within the international by granting them additional consultative votes on relevant issues. Such votes were granted to the
Jewish Socialist Workers Party The Jewish Socialist Workers Party (russian: Социалистическая еврейская рабочая партия, 'SERP', which means 'sickle' in Russian), often nicknamed ''Seymists'', was a Jewish socialist political party in the Russ ...
and
Zionist Socialist Workers Party Zionist-Socialist Workers Party (russian: Сионистско-социалистическая рабочая партия), often referred to simply as Zionist-Socialists or S.S. by their Russian language, Russian initials, was a Jewish territori ...
at the 1907 congress.Frankel, Jonathan.
Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862–1917
'.
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a university city and the county town In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' ...

Cambridge
: Cambridge University Press, 1981. p. 283
Jacobs, Jack Lester. ''Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100''. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001. p. 185


Affiliated organizations


Sub-organizations

*
International Socialist Bureau The International Socialist Bureau (French: ''Bureau Socialiste International'') was the permanent organization of the Second International, established at the Paris congress of 1900. Before this there was no organizational infrastructure to the "Se ...
(1900–1916): The BSI was the only permanent organizing committee of the international, founded to provide a degree of continuity between conferences. It met yearly alongside the regular conferences to coordinate decision-making between the member parties. After 1914 the BSI failed to meet aside from sporadic attempts at one-on-one meetings between delegates, contributing to the dissolution of the international. * International Federation of Socialist Young People's Organizations (1907–1916): Socialist youth groups were common among member parties of the international from its foundation, and the need to create youth organizations was encouraged at the 1900 and 1904 conferences. At the 1907 Stuttgart conference a youth federation was officially formed, with a headquarters in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, mos ...

Vienna
. This organization actually outlasted the international as the
International Union of Socialist Youth The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) is an international organization, founded in 1907, whose activities include publications, support of member organizations and the organization of meetings. It was formed as the youth wing of the Se ...
. *
Women's International Council of Socialist and Labour Organizations The Women's International Council of Socialist and Labour Organizations was a body established within the Second International to enable special conferences of the socialist and labour movements to be held. It was founded at the International_Social ...
(1907–1916): The women's international was formed out of the
International Socialist Women's Conferences During the period of the Second International The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of workers' movement, socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous Paris meetings in which delegations from twen ...
held in conjunction with the regular congresses of 1907, 1910, and 1915.
Clara Zetkin Clara Zetkin (; ; ''née'' Eißner ; 5 July 1857 – 20 June 1933) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens ...

Clara Zetkin
was elected as secretary of the organization, with ''
Die Gleichheit ''Die Gleichheit'' (Equality) was a Social Democratic Social democracy is a Political philosophy, political, Social philosophy, social, and economic philosophy within socialism that supports Democracy, political and economic democracy. As a p ...
'' chosen as the official newspaper. The women's grouping outlasted the international as
Socialist International Women Socialist International Women is the international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable set of norms and rules meant to govern the behavior of s ...
.Marion Philips ed. ''Women and the Labour Party'' B.W. Huebsch, 1920 p.103


Member parties and unions


Congresses and Conferences of the Second International


Prewar congresses

:Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). ''History of the International: Volume 3, 1943–1968''. London. Victor Gollancz. p. 562.


Postwar conferences

After World War I, there were three Socialist Conferences in Switzerland. These served as a bridge to the creation of the
Labour and Socialist International The Labour and Socialist International (LSI; german: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, label=German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ...
.


Related international gatherings

:Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). ''History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968''. London. Victor Gollancz. pp. 562–563.


See also

*
Communist International The Communist International (Comintern), also known as the Third International, was an international organization An international organization (also known as an international institution or intergovernmental organization) is a stable se ...
(Third International or Comintern) *
Fourth International The Fourth International (FI) is a revolutionary socialist international organization ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international affairs. ...
and Trotskyist internationals *
Fifth International The phrase Fifth International refers to the efforts made by groups of socialists Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, o ...
*
International Anarchist Congresses Over the past 150 years, anarchists Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about e ...
*
International Working People's Association The International Working People's Association (IWPA), sometimes known as the "Black International," was an international anarchist political organization established in 1881 at a convention held in London, England. In America the group is best r ...
("Black" International) *
International Workingmen's Association The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field ...
(First International) *
Labour and Socialist International The Labour and Socialist International (LSI; german: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, label=German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ...
*
International Working Union of Socialist Parties The International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP; also known as the International or the Vienna International; german: Internationale Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialistischer Parteien, IASP) was a political international for the co-operation ...
(Second and a half international or Vienna International) *
Socialist International The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism Democratic socialism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophi ...


Footnotes


External links


"The Second International"
Marxists.org.
Igor Mikhailovich Krivoguz. "The Second International 1889-1914: The History and Heritage"
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1989.

(in French and English).

Fractal-vortex. * {{Authority control Political internationals History of socialism History of social movements Political parties established in 1889 Organizations disestablished in 1916 International Socialist Organisations