The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties which seek to establish democratic socialism. It consists mostly of democratic socialist, social-democratic and labour political parties and other organisations. Although formed in 1951 as a successor to the Labour and Socialist International, it has antecedents to the late 19th century. The organisation currently includes 147 member parties and organisations from over 100 countries. Its members have governed in many countries, including most of Europe. The current secretary general of the SI is (Chile) and the current president of the SI is the former Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, both of whom were re-elected at the last SI Congress held in Cartagena, Colombia in March 2017.


First and Second Internationals (1864–1916)

The International Workingmen's Association, also known as the First International, was the first international body to bring together organisations representing the working class. It was formed in London on 28 September 1864 by socialist, communist and anarchist political groups and trade unions. Tensions between moderates and revolutionaries led to its dissolution in 1876 in Philadelphia. The Second International was formed in Paris on 14 July 1889 as an association of the socialist parties. Differences over World War I led to the Second International being dissolved in 1916.

Labour and Socialist International (1919–1940)

The International Socialist Commission (ISC), also known as the Berne International, was formed in February 1919 at a meeting in Bern by parties that wanted to resurrect the Second International. In March 1919 communist parties formed Comintern (the Third International) at a meeting in Moscow. Parties which did not want to be a part of the resurrected Second International (ISC) or Comintern formed the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP, also known as Vienna International/Vienna Union/Two-and-a-Half International) on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna. The ISC and the IWUSP joined to form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) in May 1923 at a meeting in Hamburg. The rise of Nazism and the start of World War II led to the dissolution of the LSI in 1940.

Socialist International (1951–present)

The Socialist International was formed in Frankfurt in July 1951 as a successor to the LSI. During the post-World War II period, the SI aided social democratic parties in re-establishing themselves when dictatorship gave way to democracy in Portugal (1974) and Spain (1975). Until its 1976 Geneva Congress, the SI had few members outside Europe and no formal involvement with Latin America. In the 1980s, most SI parties gave their backing to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas (FSLN), whose democratically elected left-wing government was subject to a campaign to overthrow it backed by the United States, which culminated in the Iran–Contra affair after the Reagan administration covertly continued US support for the Contras after such support was banned by Congress. In the late 1970s and in the 1980s the SI had extensive contacts and discussion with the two leading powers of the Cold War period, the United States and the Soviet Union, on issues concerning East–West relations and arms control. The SI supported détente and disarmament agreements, such as SALT II, START and INF. They had several meetings and discussion in Washington, D.C. with President Jimmy Carter and Vice-President George Bush and in Moscow with Secretaries General Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev. The SI's delegations to these discussions were led by the Finnish Prime Minister Kalevi Sorsa. Since then, the SI has admitted as members an increasing number of parties and organisations from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America (see below for current list). Following the Tunisian Revolution, the Constitutional Democratic Rally was expelled from the SI in January 2011; later that month the Egyptian National Democratic Party was also expelled; and as a result of the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis, the Ivorian Popular Front was expelled in March 2011, in accordance with section 7.1 of the statutes of the Socialist International. These decisions were approved at the subsequent SI Congress in Cape Town in 2012 in line with section 5.1.3 of the statutes.

Progressive Alliance split (2013)

On 22 May 2013 the SPD along with some other current and former member parties of the SI founded a rival international network of social-democratic parties known as the Progressive Alliance, citing their perceived undemocratic and outmoded nature of the SI, as well as the Socialist International's admittance and continuing inclusion of undemocratic political movements into the organization. After the 2012 Congress, the SI underwent major changes as many of the large European parties allowed their membership to lapse - for example the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the Swedish Social Democratic Labour Party - or downgraded their membership to observer status - for example, the British Labour Party and the Norwegian Labour Party (DNA) . These parties now concentrate their international links on the Progressive Alliance, with the SI's focus now increasingly being on the global south.

Relationship with Latin America

For a long time, the Socialist International remained distant from Latin America, considering the region as a zone of influence of the United States. For example, it did not denounce the coup d'état against Socialist President Jacobo Árbenz in Guatemala in 1954 or the invasion of the Dominican Republic by the United States in 1965. It was not until the 1973 Chilean coup d'état that we discovered "a world we did not know", explains Antoine Blanca, a diplomat for the French PS. According to him, solidarity with the Chilean left was "the first challenge worthy of the name, against Washington, of an International which, until then, had done everything to appear subject to American strategy and NATO". Subsequently, notably under the leadership of François Mitterrand, the SI supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and other movements in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras in their struggle against US-supported dictatorships. In the 1990s, it was joined by non-socialist parties that took note of the economic power of the European countries governed or to be governed by their partners across the Atlantic and calculated the benefits they could derive from it. During this period, "the socialist international works in a clientist way; some parties come here to rub shoulders with Europeans as if they were in the upper class," says Porfirio Muñoz Ledo, one of the representatives of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (Mexico) at the SI. It is home to "the very centrist Argentinean Radical Civic Union (UCR); the Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which was not very democratically in power for seventy years; the Colombian Liberal Party—under whose governments the left-wing formation Patriotic Union (1986–1990) was exterminated—introduced the neoliberal model (1990–1994) and to which, until 2002, Álvaro Uribe will belong". In the following decade, many left-wing parties that came to power (in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and El Salvador) preferred to keep their distance from the SI.

Presidents, honorary presidents and secretaries general


*Morgan Phillips, United Kingdom (1951–1957) *Alsing Andersen, Denmark (1957–1962) *Erich Ollenhauer, West Germany (1963) *Bruno Pittermann, Austria (1964–1976) *Willy Brandt, West Germany (1976–1992) *Pierre Mauroy, France (1992–1999) *António Guterres, Portugal (1999–2005) *George Papandreou, Greece (2006–present)

Honorary presidents

Current and honorary presidents include: *Pierre Mauroy, former president of the SI *Mustapha Ben Jafar, Tunisia *Leonel Brizola, Brazil *Rubén Berríos, Puerto Rico *Philippe Busquin, Belgium *Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, Mexico *Mohamed El Yazghi, Morocco *Alan García, Peru *Anita Gradin, Sweden *Elazar Granot, Israel *Tarja Halonen, Finland *Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger *Anker Jørgensen, Denmark *Lionel Jospin, France *Neil Kinnock, Great Britain *Horacio Serpa, Colombia *Enrique Silva Cimma, Chile *Mário Soares, Portugal *Hans-Jochen Vogel, Germany *

Secretaries general

*Julius Braunthal, Austria (1951–1956) *Bjarne Braatoy, Norway (1956–1957) *Albert Carthy, Great Britain (1957–1969) *Hans Janitschek, Austria (1969–1976) *Bernt Carlsson, Sweden (1976–1983) *Pentti Väänänen, Finland (1983–1989) *, Chile (1989–present)


* I Frankfurt 1951 * II Milan 1952 * III Stockholm 1953 * IV London 1955 * V Vienna 1957 * VI Hamburg 1959 * VII Rome 1961 * VIII Amsterdam 1963 * IX Brussels 1964 * X Stockholm 1966 * XI Eastbourne 1969 * XII Vienna 1972 * XIII Geneva 1976 * XIV Vancouver 1978 * XV Madrid 1980 * XVI Albufeira 1983 * XVII Lima 1986 * XVIII Stockholm 1989 * XIX Berlin 1992 * XX New York City 1996 * XXI Paris 1999 * XXII São Paulo 2003 * XXIII Athens 2008 * XXIV Cape Town 2012 *XXV Cartagena 2017


Full members

The following parties are full members:

Consultative parties

The following parties are consultative parties:

Observer parties

The following parties are observer parties:

Former members

Fraternal organisations

* International Falcon Movement – Socialist Educational International * Socialist International Women

Associated organisations

See also

* French Section of the Workers' International * Reformism




Further reading

''The Socialist International'' by Nikolai Sibilev, 1984.

''Social Democracy and Southern Africa'' by Vladimir Shubin (pseudonym of Vladimir Bushin), 1989.
* Julius Braunthal, "The Rebirth of Social Democracy," ''Foreign Affairs,'' vol. 27, no. 4 (July 1949), pp. 586–600
* Pentti Vaananen, ''The Rose and the Fist,'' SYS Print, 2014, pp. 50–230.

External links

* {{authority control Category:History of socialism Category:Organisations based in the London Borough of Lambeth Category:Political parties established in 1951 Category:Political organisations based in London Category:Political internationals Category:Social democracy Category:Organizations with general consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council Category:1951 establishments in Germany