Second International

The Second International (1889–1916) was an organisation of socialist and labour parties, formed on 14 July 1889 at two simultaneous Paris meetings in which delegations from twenty countries participated.[1] The Second International continued the work of the dissolved First International, though excluding the powerful anarcho-syndicalist movement. While the international had initially declared its opposition to all warfare between European powers, most of the major European parties ultimately chose to support their respective states in World War I. After splitting into pro-Allied, pro-Central Powers, and antimilitarist 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 International Working Union of Socialist Parties, and the Communist International.[2]

Second International
Founded14 July 1889; 133 years ago (14 July 1889)
Dissolved1916; 106 years ago (1916)
Preceded byInternational Workingmen's Association (not legal predecessor)
Succeeded byCommunist International
International Working Union of Socialist Parties
Labour and Socialist International
Colours  Red


Pre-foundation conferences (1881–1889)Edit

The foundation of a new international was first discussed at a conference at Chur in October 1881. Delegates included members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Belgian socialists, the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France (SFIO), 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.[3] According to Yuri Steklov, the conference was exceedingly poorly organized, and thus didn't engender confidence that a new international could be founded.[4]

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 had moved away from revolutionary socialism towards a more reformist approach, arguing that socialists should pursue whichever reforms are "possible" at any given time, while still taking advantage of revolutionary opportunities.[5] A Marxist faction led by Jules Guesde and Paul Lafargue, and supported by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, denounced the possibilist faction as opportunists, founding the rival French Workers' Party 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.[6]

The theatre "Fantaisies parisiennes," site of the 1889 "Marxist" congress, in 1881.

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 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 in 1887, whereupon the SFIO decided to hold their own international conference the following year. When the London International Trades Union Congress 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 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.[6]

Foundation and pre-war period (1889–1914)Edit

When the first meetings of the new international were held in Paris 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, 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.[7] However, according to John Burns, William Morris, and some of the Marxist delegates, there were no real concerns around verification until 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.[8][9][10] Regardless of which account is true, the split between the Possibilists and Marxists threatened to create two separate internationals, with subsequent conferences in Brussels and 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.[3]

Image of the old Stuttgart Liederhalle, site of the 1907 International Socialist Congress.

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,"[11] a more concrete rift had developed between reformist and revolutionary approaches to socialist power, which resulted in many factions along national lines.[3]

Among the Second International's famous actions were its 1889 declaration of 1 May (May Day) as International Workers' Day and its 1910 declaration of the International Women's Day, 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. It initiated the international campaign for the eight-hour working day.[12]

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 Lenin was a member from 1905.

The Second International is remembered in India for the first raising of the "Flag of Indian Independence" by Bhikaji Cama at the 1907 Stuttgart congress.

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 affirmed that socialists were "brothers with a single common enemy [...] private capital, whether it be Prussian, French, or Chinese."[13] 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."[14] The extraordinary congress in 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."[15] 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.”[3]

First world war and dissolution (1914–1916)Edit

The antimilitarist French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) leader Jean Jaurès's assassination a few days before the beginning of the First World War 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) 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.[16]

The Hotel Beau Séjour, site of the Zimmerwald conference, in 1864

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 or revolutionary socialist 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.[17]

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.[18] The pro-war parties in the allied powers successfully met four times at the Inter-Allied Socialist Conferences of World War I.[19] 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.[20]

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

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 (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 which 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, which continues to this day.

Another successor was the Third International organised in 1919 by revolutionary socialists after the October Revolution and the creation of the Soviet Union. It was officially called the Communist International (Comintern) and lasted until 1943 when it was dissolved by then Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.


Relationship to anarchismEdit

The Second International had a complex and changeable relationship 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 and collectivists) on the other. Tensions reached their peak after the Hague Congress of 1872, wherein an attempt was made to expel Mikhail Bakunin and James Guillaume and move the general council to 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.[21][22][23]

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 which would result in the International Working People's Association 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.[24] 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 faced violence from the other delegates, but was shielded by delegates from the British Socialist League.[25][26]

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 and Christiaan Cornelissen, supported by some Marxist figures including Keir Hardie, Tom Mann, and a very sickly William Morris.[27] Discussion of anarchism would dominate the congress, but the anarchists were not successful in reversing their expulsion.[28]

Bolshevik critiqueEdit

Vladimir Lenin, pictured here in Switzerland in 1916, became a leading figure within the anti-war faction of the international.

Bolshevik figures like Vladimir Lenin and Nikolai Bukharin 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, associating the reformism and social imperialism of the various pro-war parties with the rise of monopoly capital and imperialist superprofits. 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 as a "bribe," in the form of higher wages. The Bolsheviks saw this privileged, highly-skilled strata of workers organized into craft unions 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.[29][30]

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, and the more nuanced "saccharo-conciliatory chauvinis[ts]" represented by Karl Kautsky. 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.[31]

Anti-colonial critiqueEdit

Despite issuing a statement against colonialism at the 1896 London congress,[3] 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.[32] 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 of Germany initially opposed the Herero and Namaqua genocide 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's stated policy was "ethical imperialism."[33] The pro-colonial reputation of the second international would later drive Ho Chi Minh to join the third international.[34]


From its outset, one of the objectives of the international was to build a consensus on the "Jewish question," a contemporary term for debates on the civil, legal, national, and political status and treatment of Jews as a minority group. The founders of the international in 1889 included some noted antisemites including Henry Hyndman, who led the English attendees at the Possibilist congress, but also a great many Jewish-led organizations and Jewish delegates.[35][36]

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 reported that the pair's amendment was greeted with applause and was passed with only minor opposition.[37] 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 was somehow intrinsically tied to Jews. In addition to antisemitism against Jewish bankers and capitalists, the British socialist newspaper Justice reported that "[t]here appears to be a strong feeling against the Jews in the Congress."[38]

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 and Zionist Socialist Workers Party at the 1907 congress.[39][40]

Affiliated organizationsEdit


  • International Socialist Bureau (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.[41]

Member parties and unionsEdit

Party State Member from Notes
    Armenian Revolutionary Federation Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, Qajar Iran (Armenian) 1907–1916
  Australian Socialist League Colony of New South Wales 1893–1901
  Battersea Labour League United Kingdom 1891–1900 Present in 1891, later became part of the Labour Party.[50]
  Belgian Labour Party Belgium 1889–1916 Founding member.
  Bloomsbury Socialist Society United Kingdom 1889–1900 Founding member. Later became part of the Labour Party.[50]
  Bulgarian Workers' Social Democratic Party Bulgaria 1894–1907
  Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party (Broad Socialists) Bulgaria 1903–1916
  Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers' Party (Narrow Socialists) Bulgaria 1903–1915
  Central Revolutionary Committee France –1898
  Czech Social Democratic Party Austria-Hungary (Czechoslovak)
  Democratic Socialist Party of Basle Switzerland 1891 Present at the 1891 congress. Membership is unclear after 1891.
  Democratic Socialist Party of St. Gall Switzerland 1891 Present at the 1891 congress. Membership is unclear after 1891.
  Dublin Socialist Club United Kingdom (Irish) 1889–1896 Founding member.[8]
  Emancipation of Labour Russian Empire 1889–1903 Founding member. Would go on to become the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party and is sometimes referred to as such.
  Fabian Society United Kingdom 1889–1896 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1896.[8]
  Federation of the Socialist Workers of France France 1889–1902 Founding member. Sometimes confusingly referred to as the Parti Ouvrier.
  French Section of the Workers' International France 1905–1916 Founded as a project of the international to merge the French parties.
  French Socialist Party (1902) France 1902–1905 Ordered by the international to merge into the French Section of the Workers' International.
  French Workers' Party France 1889–1902 Founding member. Otherwise known as the Parti Ouvrier, not to be confused with the Federation of the Socialist Workers of France from which it split.
  General Jewish Labour Bund Russian Empire 1897–1912
  General Workers Party of Hungary Austria-Hungary (Hungarian) 1889–1890 Founding member.
  German Workers Union of New York United States (German) 1889 Founding member and trade union. Membership is unclear after 1889.
  Grütli Union Switzerland 1889–1916 Founding member.
  Independent Labour Party United Kingdom 1893–1916
  International Typographical Union United States 1889 Founding member and trade union. Membership is unclear after 1889.[8]
  Italian Socialist Party Kingdom of Italy 1892–1914
  Italian Workers' Party Kingdom of Italy 1889–1892 Founding member.
  Jewish Social Democratic Labour Party in Palestine (Poale Zion) Ottoman Empire (Jewish-Palestinian) 1915–1916
  Jewish Socialist Workers Party Russian Empire (Jewish) 1907–1916 The JSWP was incorporated as a sub-group of the Socialist Revolutionary Party in 1907, but had a separate consultative vote in the Stuttgart congress.[39][40]
  Knights of Labor United States 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889.
  Knights of Labour, Birmingham United Kingdom 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889. A separate British entity to the Knights of Labor.[8]
  Labour Party Norway
  Labour Party United Kingdom 1900–1916
  Labour Party of Portugal Portugal 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889. May refer to the Portuguese Socialist Party.
  Legal Eight Hours and International Labour League United Kingdom 1891–1900 Present in 1891, later became part of the Labour Party.
  Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party Luxembourg 1902–1916
  Metropolitan Radical Federation United Kingdom 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889.[8]
  Miners' Federation of Great Britain United Kingdom 1896– Trade union.
  National Union of Gas Workers and General Labourers United Kingdom 1889–1891 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1891. Initially called the Gas Stoker's Union, gas workers were a very important force behind the 8 hour day.[8][50]
  Paris Indian Society British Raj 1907 While not a party as such, the Paris Indian Society represented Indian nationalist interests at the 1907 congress.
Poale Zion Multiple states. A very loose Marxist-Zionist movement starting in 1903.
  Polish Social Democratic Party of Galicia Austria-Hungary (Polish-Ukrainian) 1890–1916
  Polish Social Revolutionaries Russian Empire (Polish) 1891 Minor party present in 1891, later membership is unclear.
  Polish Socialist Party Russian Empire (Polish) 1893–1916
  Republican Socialist Union of Alsace-Lorraine German Empire 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889.
  Revolutionary Communist Alliance France 1896–1901
  Revolutionary Socialist Workers' Party France 1890–1901
  Russian Social Democratic Labour Party Russian Empire 1898–1912 Delegates began acting independently of the party from 1900, which intensified after the split into the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks from 1903.
  Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) Russian Empire 1912–1916 Actually had separate delegates at the international from 1903 as members of the RSDLP.
  Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (Mensheviks) Russian Empire 1912–1916 Actually had separate delegates at the international from 1903 as members of the RSDLP.
  Second Proletariat Russian Empire (Polish) 1889–1893 Founding member.
  Scottish Labour Party United Kingdom 1889–1895 Founding member.
  Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania Russian Empire (Polish) 1893–1916
   Social Democrat Hunchakian Party Russian Empire, Ottoman Empire (Armenian) 1904 Represented by Georgi Plekhanov at the 1904 congress, it is unclear if the party attended other congresses.[51]
  Social Democratic Federation United Kingdom 1889–1911 Founding member.
  Social Democratic League Netherlands 1889–1900 Founding member.
  Social Democratic Party of Austria Austria-Hungary (Austrian)
  Social Democratic Party of Finland Russian Empire (Finnish)
  Social Democratic Party of Germany German Empire 1889–1916 Founding member.
  Social Democratic Party of Hungary Austria-Hungary (Hungarian) 1890–
  Social Democratic Party of Denmark Denmark
  Social Democratic Party of Romania Romania 1910–1916
  Social Democratic Party of Switzerland Switzerland 1889–1916 Founding member.
  Social Democratic Workers' Party Netherlands 1894–1916
  Social Democratic Workers' Party of Romania Romania 1893–1900
  Socialist group of Buenos Aires Argentina 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889 but likely folded into the Socialist Party.
  Socialist Labor Party Australia 1901–1916
  Socialist Labor Party of America United States 1889– Founding member.
  Socialist League United Kingdom 1889–1901 Founding member.
  Socialist Party Argentina 1896–1916
  Socialist Party of Denmark Denmark 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889. May refer to the Social Democratic Party of Denmark.
  Socialist Party of Great Britain United Kingdom 1904 The SPGB attended just one congress of the international in 1904 before splitting to form the World Socialist Movement.
  Socialist Party of Uruguay Uruguay 1910–1916
  Socialist Party of America United States 1901–1916
  Socialist Party of France France 1902–1905 Ordered by the international to merge into the French Section of the Workers' International.
  Socialist Revolutionary Party Russian Empire 1902–1916
  Socialist Revolutionary Party France 1898–1901
  Spanish Socialist Workers' Party Spain
  Swedish Social Democratic Party Sweden 1889–1916 Founding member.
  Third Proletariat Russian Empire (Polish) 1900–1909
  United Brothers of Iowa United States 1889 Founding member. Membership is unclear after 1889.
  United Hebrew Trades United States (Jewish) 1889–1891 Founding member and trade union. Membership is unclear after 1891.
  Zionist Socialist Workers Party Russian Empire (Jewish) 1907–1908 The ISB granted the ZSWP a consultative vote in 1907, but the decision was overturned a year later.[39][40]

Congresses and Conferences of the Second InternationalEdit

Prewar congressesEdit

Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). History of the International: Volume 3, 1943–1968. London. Victor Gollancz. p. 562.
Event Location Date Notes
First Congress Paris 14–19 July 1889 Actually two separate conferences, one Possibilist, the other Marxist. Notable decisions included the establishment of May Day.
Second Congress Brussels 3–7 August 1891 The first united conference.
Third Congress Zurich 9–13 August 1893 Notable decisions included the election of Friedrich Engels as honorary president, and the establishment of an International Metalworkers Federation, and the expulsion of anarchists.
Fourth Congress London 26–31 July 1896 Notable decisions included an affirmation of national self-determination, discussions on the colonies, and an appeal to lift the ban on anarchists.
Fifth Congress Paris 23–27 September 1900 The International Socialist Bureau was formed during this conference, becoming the international's executive.
Sixth Congress Amsterdam 14–20 August 1904 The "Grand Old Man of India", Dadabhai Naoroji, attended the Congress and pleaded the cause of India's freedom
Seventh Congress Stuttgart 18–24 August 1907 Notable for the creation of the Youth and Women's groups, as well as a joint statement against militarism.
Eighth Congress Copenhagen 28 August – 3 September 1910 Notable for establishing International Women's Day.
Extraordinary Ninth Congress Basel 24–25 November 1912 Notable for a further joint manifesto against war and militarism.

Postwar conferencesEdit

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.

Event Location Date Notes
Berne Conference of 1919 Bern 3–8 February 1919
International Socialist Conference, Lucerne, 1919 Lucerne 1–9 August 1919
International Socialist Congress, Geneva, 1920 Geneva 31 July – 4 August 1920 Scheduled for Feb 1920, it was actually convened on 31 July. Sidney Webb as committee chairman drafted a resolution entitled 'Political System of Socialism,' that distanced the Second International from Leninism, but emphasized it was "ever more urgent that Labour should assume power in society." It also moved the Secretariat from Brussels to London and set the "next congress of the Second International in 1922" [but this did not take place] [52]

Related international gatheringsEdit

Source: Julius Braunthal (1980). History of the International: Volume 3, 1943-1968. London. Victor Gollancz. pp. 562–563.
Event Location Date Notes
Conference of Socialist Parties of Neutral Countries Copenhagen 17–18 January 1915 An anti-war meeting with delegates from the neutral countries.
Conference of Central European Socialist Parties Vienna 12–13 April 1915 A pro-war meeting with delegates from the Central Powers.
First Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Zimmerwald 5–8 September 1915 An anti-war meeting with delegates from all the anti-war parties.
Second Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Kienthal 24–30 April 1916 An anti-war meeting with delegates from all the anti-war parties.
Third Conference of the Zimmerwald Movement Stockholm 5–12 September 1917 An anti-war meeting with delegates from all the anti-war parties.
First Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 14 February 1915 A pro-war meeting with delegates from the Allies of World War I.
Second Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 28–29 August 1917 A pro-war meeting with delegates from the Allies of World War I.
Third Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 20–24 February 1918 A pro-war meeting with delegates from the Allies of World War I.
Fourth Conference of Inter-Allied Socialist Parties London 15 September 1918 A pro-war meeting with delegates from the Allies of World War I.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ José Luis Rubio (1971). Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid. p. 42.
  2. ^ Braunthal, Julius (1967). History of the International, 1914-1943, Vol. 2, pp. 245-247.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Second International". Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  4. ^ Steklov, Yuri. "History of the First International, Part II: Chapter Thirteen. International Socialist Congress at Chur (Coire)". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  5. ^ Carl Landauer, "The Origin of Socialist Reformism in France"; International Review of Social History, Volume 12 , Issue 1 , April 1967 , pp. 81 - 107.
  6. ^ a b Bernstein, Eduard. "The International Working Men's Congress of 1889 A Reply to Justice". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  7. ^ Hyndman, Henry. "The International Congress of Workers". Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Burns, John. "The Paris International (Possibilist) Congress". Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  9. ^ Morris, William. "Impressions of the Paris Congress". Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  10. ^ "Latest Intelligence. (From our Correspondents.) The Workers' Congress Paris July 16". Retrieved 24 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ Haupt, Georges La Deuxième Internationale, 1889-1914: étude critique des sources, essai bibliographique p. 153
  12. ^ José Luis Rubio (1971). Las internacionales obreras en América. Madrid. p. 43.
  13. ^ Nation, R. Craig (August 2009). War on War: Lenin, the Zimmerwald Left, and the Origins of Communist Internationalism (New ed.). Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books. p. 3. ISBN 9781931859820.
  14. ^ "Resolution adopted at the Seventh International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart". Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  15. ^ "Manifesto of the International Socialist Congress at Basel". Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  16. ^ Kirby, David G. (April 1986). War, Peace, and Revolution: International Socialism at the Crossroads, 1914-1918 (First ed.). New York, NY: St. Martin's Press. p. 30. ISBN 9780312855871.
  17. ^ History of the International, 1914-1943, Vol 2, p38, 52
  18. ^ Olga Hess Gankin and H.H. Fisher eds, The Bolsheviks and the First World War: the origins of the Third International Stanford University Press, 1940 p.284
  19. ^ Gankin and Fisher eds, The Bolsheviks and the First World War, pp.273–274
  20. ^ Nation. War on War. pp. 91, 218–219.
  21. ^ Woodcock, George (2004). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. Broadview. ISBN 9781551116297.
  22. ^ Mikhail Bakunin, "On the International Workingmen's Association and Karl Marx", 1872
  23. ^ Steklov, Yuri. "History of the First International Part II: Chapter Twelve. International Anarchist Congress in London". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  24. ^ Steklov, Yuri. "History of The First International". Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  25. ^ Morris, William. "Impressions of the Paris Congress: II". Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  26. ^ Kitz, Frank. "The Paris Congress: A Delegate's Report". Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  27. ^ George Woodcock (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. pp. 263–264.
  28. ^ George Woodcock (1962). Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. pp. 263–264.
  29. ^ Brewer, Anthony A. (August 1990). Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (Second ed.). London, UK: Routledge. pp. 110–128. ISBN 9780415044691.
  30. ^ Hobsbawn, Eric (1 December 2012). "Lenin and the "Aristocracy of Labor"". Monthly Review. Retrieved 18 August 2021.
  31. ^ Lenin, Vladimir. "The Collapse of the Second International, Chapter III". Retrieved 21 August 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  32. ^ Lenin, Vladimir. "The International Socialist Congress in Stuttgart[1] (Proletary)". Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  33. ^ Cope, Zak (December 2019). The Wealth of (Some) Nations: Imperialism and the Mechanics of Value Transfer (First ed.). London, UK: Pluto Press. pp. 169–182. ISBN 9780745338859.
  34. ^ Ho Chi Minh. "The Path Which Led Me To Leninism". Retrieved 21 August 2021.
  35. ^ Virdee, Satnam. "Socialist Antisemitism and Its Discontents in England, 1884–98." Patterns of Prejudice 51.3-4 (2017):362-363
  36. ^ Hirshfield. Claire. ‘The Anglo-Boer War and the issue of Jewish culpability’, Journal of Contemporary History 15.4 (1980):622
  37. ^ "The socialist labour congress at Brussels". p. 3. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  38. ^ "Congresses of Social Democracy: Second International Congress of Brussels, August 16th to 22nd 1891". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  39. ^ a b c Frankel, Jonathan. Prophecy and Politics: Socialism, Nationalism, and the Russian Jews, 1862–1917. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. p. 283
  40. ^ a b c Jacobs, Jack Lester. Jewish Politics in Eastern Europe: The Bund at 100. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001. p. 185
  41. ^ "Bach - Consultation du document « La Deuxième Internationale, 1899-1914. Étude crit... »".
  42. ^ See The International Federation of Socialist Young People's Organizations 1907-1919 by Gerd Callesen at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation
  43. ^ Compte-rendu de la Première Conférence Internationale de la Jeunesse Socialiste tenue à Stuttgart le 24, 25 et 26 août 1907 Gand: Secretariat de la Fédération Internationale de la Jeunesse Socialiste, 1907 pp.22-23
  44. ^ L'Internationale Ouvriere et Socialist, the official report of the Stuttgart Congress, gives the date for this decision as September 28, 1906
  45. ^ JUSOS & Die Falken (August 2007). 100 Years of Struggle for Peace and Equality. Berlin. p. 5.
  46. ^ The International Socialist Women's Conference l
  47. ^ Reports to the first International Conference of Socialist Women: in Stuttgart on Saturday 17 August 1907, at 9 a.m. in the Liederhalle. International Conference of Socialist Women , [Stuttgart, 1907].
  48. ^ The International Socialist Women's Conference
  49. ^ Marion Philips ed. Women and the Labour Party B.W. Huebsch, 1920 p.103
  50. ^ a b c Marx, Eleanor. "Report from Great Britain and Ireland to the Delegates of the Brussels International Congress, 1891". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  51. ^ Nalbandian, Louise (September 2018). The Armenian Revolutionary Movement: The Development of Armenian Political Parties through the Nineteenth Century. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 211n. ISBN 9780520303850.
  52. ^ Braunthal, History of the International, 1914-1943, p159-161

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