Friday, 26 February 2010
Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez [right] has called for the formation of a Fifth International to unite socialists around the world. The previous internationals were places of debate and action, established to strengthen the international socialist movement. Dan Swain of the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has writen a breif history of each one, arguing that we “can learn an enormous amount by studying them”.The First International was forged in struggle On 28 September 1864, delegations of workers from different countries met in London to form the International Working Men’s Association. This was later known as the First International. The Second International: From class war to imperialist slaughter Divisions over the question of revolution led to the break up of the First International. The same problem was also of decisive importance to the fate of the next attempt to unite socialists across borders. The Socialist International, known as the Second International, was established in 1889. The Third International: Revolutionary hope crushed by Stalinism When the parties of the Second International voted to support the First World War many socialists were left uncertain about what to do next. From the carnage of the war, however, came a beacon of hope that inspired millions across the world. A revolution in Russia put workers in control in October 1917. The success of the revolution inspired the creation of Communist Parties across Europe. The Fourth International: Keeping the flame alive Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian revolution, opposed Joseph Stalin’s increasing stranglehold on the Soviet Union and the Third International. As a result he was exiled from Russia. In 1938 he gathered together a small number of his supporters to form the Fourth International. You can read the full articles here on UNITYblog.