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 A political international is a transnational organization of political parties A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have sim ...
for the co-operation of
socialist Socialism is a 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 relations between individuals, s ...


The IWUSP was founded on February 27, 1921, at a conference in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label= ) is the , largest city, and one of of . Vienna is Austria's , with about 2 million inhabitants (2.6 million within the , nearly one third of the country's population), and its , , and centre. It ...

Austria Austria (, ; german: Österreich ), officially the Republic of Austria (german: Republik Österreich, links=no, ), is a landlocked A landlocked country is a country that does not have territory connected to an ocean or whose coastli ...

, by ten parties, including the
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (german: Unabhängige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, USPD) was a short-lived political party A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a parti ...
(USPD), the
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. The SFIO was found ...
(SFIO), 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 ...
(ILP), the
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland The Social Democratic Party of Switzerland (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz, SP; rm, Partida Socialdemocrata de la Svizra), also rendered as the Swiss Socialist Party (french: Parti socialiste suisse, PS; it, Partito Socialista Svi ...
(SPS), the
Social Democratic Party of Austria The Social Democratic Party of Austria (german: Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs, SPÖ), founded and known as the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria (german: link=no, Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei Österreichs, SDAPÖ) until ...
(SPÖ), and the Federation of Romanian Socialist Parties (FPSR, created by splinter groups of the Socialist Party of Romania). In April 1921, it was joined by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. The Maximum programme, Maximalist faction of the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) also joined.


The secretary of the IWUSP was the Austrian Friedrich Adler (politician), Friedrich Adler of the SPÖ; other prominent members were Otto Bauer and Julius Martov. The group was heavily influenced by Austromarxism. It published ''Nachrichten der Internationalen Arbeitsgemeinschaft Sozialistischer Parteien'' ("News of the IWUSP"). Poale Zion (labour Zionist) leaders David Ben-Gurion and Shlomo Kaplansky were active in the movement behind the Two and a Half International.


The founders of the IWUSP were parties that saw neither the Reformism, reformist Second International (politics), Second International nor the Communism, Communist and pro-Soviet Union, Soviet Comintern, Third International as alternatives for affiliation. The IWUSP criticized the other two Internationals for what it perceived to be dogmatism, and advocated that more consideration should be given to the particularities of the political situation in each country. It worked for the unification of the Second and Third Internationals. From April 2 to April 5 1922 the Conference of the Three Internationals was held in Berlin with delegations from the three different international bodies to discuss a merger, but unity was not achieved and the Comintern withdrew from the talks.


In Germany on September 24, 1922, the USPD, one of the main components of the IWUSP, merged with the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), a member of the Berne International. Discouraged by the intransigent position of the Third International, the Second International and the IWUSP merged to form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) at a joint congress in Hamburg in May 1923. Some, such as the FPSR, refused to join the new body. In the 1930s, a similar effort was made to create an international between the reformism of the Second and the Stalinism of the Third, as the International Revolutionary Marxist Centre, London Bureau of left-wing socialist parties. Sometimes called the "Three-and-a-Half International", it involved many of the same parties.

See also

*Democratic socialism


Further reading

* André Donneur: ''Histoire de l’Union des partis socialistes pour l’action internationale (1920-1923)''. Sudbury Ontario: Libr. de l’Université Laurentienne, 1967.
Lenin "The restoration of the International"

External links

Archive of the International Working Union of Socialist Parties
*[ ''The Second and Third Internationals and the Vienna Union'' The proceedings of the Berlin conference] {{Authority control Socialism History of socialism Left-wing internationals Political parties established in 1921 1923 disestablishments