Socialist International

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Socialist International
Chairman logo
George Papandreou 2011-09-30.jpg
GreeceGreece Giorgos A. Papandreou
Red Rose (Socialism) .svg
Basic data
Art Umbrella organization
Alignment Socialism , social democracy
distribution Worldwide
Establishment date June 30, 1951
Place of foundation Frankfurt am Main
Chairman GreeceGreece Giorgos A. Papandreou
Deputy Isabel Allende (Chile)
Janira Hopffer Almada (Cape Verde)
Colette Avital (Israel)
Süchbaataryn Batbold (Mongolia)
Victor Benoît (Haiti)
Carlos César (Portugal)
Ahmed Ould Daddah (Mauritania)
Elio Di Rupo (Belgium)
Ousmane Tanor Dieng (Senegal)
Elsa Espinoza (Mexico)
Mizuho Fukushima (Japan)
Alfred Gusenbauer (Austria)
Eero Heinäluoma (Finland)
Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (Namibia)
Bernal Jiménez (Costa Rica)
Chantal Kambiwa (Cameroon)
Pia Locatelli (Italy)
Carlos Lupi (Brazil)
Shazia Marri (Pakistan)
Julião Mateus Paulo (Angola)
Attila Mesterházy (Hungary)
Rafael Michelini (Uruguay)
Mario Nalpatian (Armenia)
Kornelia Ninova (Bulgaria)
Johnson Asiedu Nketiah (Ghana)
Vladimir Plahotniuc (Moldova)
Edi Rama (Albania)
Henry Ramos Allup (Venezuela )
Jesús Rodríguez (Argentina)
Alexander Romanowitsch (Russia)
Pedro Sánchez (Spain)
Nabeel Shaath (Palestine)
Sandra Torres (Guatemala)
Bokary Treta (Mali)
Ouafa Hajji (President of the ISF)
Miguel Vargas (Chairman of the Komi teas for Latin America and the Caribbean)
Secretary General ChileChile Luis Ayala
address Maritime House
London , SW4 0JW United Kingdom
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
Members 147 parties and organizations

The Socialist International ( SI ) is a worldwide union of socialist and social democratic parties and organizations (see also Workers' Party ). A total of 147 parties and organizations belong to it.

Its permanent seat is London . The local secretariat coordinates their activities, organizes the council meetings and congresses, maintains the press release and has their publications produced. As a non-governmental organization, the Socialist International has consultative status (Category I) at the United Nations . In Germany the Socialist International was announced by the presidential Willy Brandt 1976-1992.

The highest decision-making bodies of the International are the Congress, which takes place every three years, and the Council, which is made up of representatives from all member parties and meets twice a year. At the Council meeting in Athens at the end of January 2006 , the former Foreign Minister (Prime Minister from October 2009 to November 2011) of Greece Georgios A. Papandreou was re-elected as President and Luis Ayala from Chile , who has been Secretary General of the International since 1989, was re-elected. The Council also elected the Vice-Presidents who, together with the President and the Secretary General, form the Presidium of the International.

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY), the union of social democratic and socialist youth organizations, was a sister organization of the Socialist International until 2019.


From the International Workers' Association to the Second International

The organization has its roots in the International Workers' Association initiated by Karl Marx , which was founded on September 28, 1864, which broke up in 1872 due to the conflict between the General Council and the autonomous sections and the subsequent expulsion of the anarchists (including Mikhail Bakunin ) in 1872 Dissolved in 1876. Six years after Marx's death (1883), on July 20, 1889, the Second International was founded in Paris , in whose tradition today's Socialist International sees itself .

This foundation was the result of the international socialist congress convened on July 14, 1889 (the deliberately chosen 100th anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution ) , in which around 400 delegates from 20 countries and around 300 different workers' organizations and parties took part. The congress was essentially inspired by Friedrich Engels , who had inherited Marx's ideal legacy, and helped to prepare it from London, even if Engels , who was almost 69 at the time, did not personally take part.

The German delegation was headed by Wilhelm Liebknecht , the leading Reichstag member of the SPD predecessor party SAP . With 85 delegates it was the most influential and strongest parliamentary group in the congress and shaped its content significantly. The activities of the then still Marxist German social democracy outside the Reichstag and the state parliaments were forbidden in the German Reich at the time due to the socialist laws valid from 1878 to 1890 .

In its early years - until the beginning of the 20th century - the International campaigned worldwide above all against the nationalism , which was intensifying with an imperialist colonial policy, and the armament policy in the states of Europe, as well as for the strengthening of the workers' movement. The proclamation of May 1st as international “working class day” in 1889 and originally March 19th (today March 8th) as International Women's Day in 1910 still have an effect today. Jean Jaurès played a particularly important role in the diplomatic process : until his murder on July 31, 1914, he campaigned for reconciliation between France and the German Reich .

The Second International disintegrated in 1914 until it was reconstituted in 1951

With the beginning of the First World War , the International broke up in 1914: the German SPD , the Austrian SDAP , the French SFIO , the British Labor Party and others. a. Most of them accepted the political positions of their respective national governments (cf. Burgfriedenspolitik and Union sacrée ), whereby the conception of international solidarity de facto failed and the basis for further cooperation was lost for a long time. In particular, the lack of protest by the SPD against the invasion of neutral Belgium discredited the German Social Democrats internationally - reinforced by the fact that Belgian Brussels was the seat of the International. Ultimately, the October Revolution of 1917 led by the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky in Russia and the establishment of the Soviet system there (see also real existing socialism ) to split numerous member parties into reform-oriented socialist / social democratic parties on the one hand and communist parties with revolutionary claims on the other . Many of the latter joined the Third International , the Communist International ( Comintern ), founded in 1919 under Lenin's leadership .

The attempt by the International Working Group of Socialist Parties (also known as the Two and a Half International ) to mediate between the remnants of the Second International and the Third International in the sense of reunification failed in Berlin at the beginning of April 1922. This led - as planned - to the dissolution of the “working group” and its reintegration into the Second International.

The Socialist Workers' International was founded in Hamburg on May 21, 1923 . It went under in the course of the smashing of the bulk of the European workers' parties during the Second World War .

The Socialist International since 1951

After the Second World War , at a congress of the International Socialist Conference from June 30 to July 3, 1951 in Frankfurt am Main, another merger of socialist and social democratic parties, the Socialist International (SI), succeeded.

The internationalism that still prevailed after the founding of the SI gave way in the course of the 1950s and 1960s to an increasing Euro-centricity and a capitalism-affirming attitude of the SI. In the 1970s the organization supported the social democratic parties in Spain and Portugal in the transition from dictatorships to democracy . With the SI Congress in Geneva in 1976, the organization steered towards its international opening. Regional conferences followed; for example the Caracas Conference, at which party leaders from Europe and Latin America met for the first time. From the mid-1970s the SI and some of its member parties showed solidarity with liberation movements in Africa and Central America.

Role of the Socialist International in the Present

Today the SI consists of a heterogeneous collection of parties and movements, mainly from Europe, Africa and Latin America, which often have different views due to their origins and their careers. On the one hand, there are former liberation movements such as the African National Congress , the Sandinistas or the SWAPO , and on the other, parties like the Labor Party , which ended its New Labor orientation with the election of Chairman Corbyn , the modernized parties like the Austrian Social Democrats , the French Parti Socialiste , Spain's PSOE , Italy's PSI and the Luxembourg LSAP . There are also former communist parties from the former Soviet sphere of influence, whose reforms led towards social democracy after the end of the Cold War .

It is more dominated by a social democracy with a moderate tendency ( third way ). The long-term goal is still to overcome the capitalist system . However, this is no longer a core area of ​​work, rather the SI tries today to deny a social democratic path in times of globalized capitalism, which, however, is clearly oriented towards real politics and therefore no longer tries to overcome the system soon. In addition, the Socialist International no longer has as much influence on the subsidiary parties internally as it did at the time of the Portuguese and Spanish solidarity (see above).

Criticism of the membership of non-democratic parties

On January 17, 2011, the SI announced that the membership of the Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique (RCD / Tunisia) party had been terminated by the SI. The extraordinary decision was made by the President of the SI, Giorgos Andrea Papandreou, together with the Secretary General Luis Ayala and was justified by the current political developments in Tunisia at the time. The Tunisian party Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique , which was taken over by Ben Ali in 1987 after his coup against the then President Habib Bourguiba , was founded in 1989 at the XVIII. Congress of the Socialist International in Stockholm under the SI presidency of Willy Brandt accepted as a full member. Even then it was clear that the authoritarian ruling Ben Ali was not a democrat and that his system of rule was more like a dictatorship.

On January 31, 2011, the National Democratic Party (NDP / Egypt) was also expelled from the SI by a letter from Secretary General Luis Ayala in the wake of the ongoing unrest in Egypt .

Withdrawal of European Social Democrats and Progressive Alliance

In an article published in the Frankfurter Rundschau at the beginning of March 2011 , the SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel called for the exclusion of further SI members "who once started as a freedom movement and have long since deviated from this path". As an example he cited the Front Populaire Ivoirien . According to Gabriel, the SI is "no longer a voice of freedom". A “complete reform - maybe even a new foundation - the SI” was therefore “overdue”. The SPD is willing to leave the SI, should it not come to that. Der Spiegel reported in its January 22nd, 2012 edition that the SPD had stopped paying membership fees to the organization. According to section 5.1.3 of the statutes of the Socialist International, a party can only be excluded by the Congress of the International, whereby a two-thirds majority of the voting parties is necessary. Therefore, the mentioned “exclusions” are only a political appeal to refrain from exercising membership rights.

Since the beginning of 2013, the SPD has effectively suspended its membership and has reduced the contribution from 100,000 to 5,000 British pounds. The SPD only takes part in conferences with one observer. This was justified with the poor condition of the SI and the inability to act in central policy areas in recent years. Instead, it announced the establishment of the Progressive Alliance as a new platform for international cooperation.

The British Labor Party's executive committee also decided in January 2013 to downgrade the party's participation to observer status. As a justification, she cited “ethical concerns” and the wish to shape her international contacts through new networks in the future. The Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ) and the parliamentary group of the Progressive Alliance of Social Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) also reduced their participation.

The Progressive Alliance was founded on May 22, 2013 in Leipzig with the participation of around 70 parties. In addition to the social democratic parties in Europe, it also includes center-left parties that are not or were not organized in the SI. On this occasion, SI President Georgios Papandreou accused the SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel, who is considered to be the main operator of the new network, of splitting the global left. Gabriel had previously attested the SI to have undemocratic structures and accused its Secretary General Luis Ayala of corruption.

Full members (present)

Associated Parties

Observer parties

Excluded parties

former members

Congresses of the Socialist International since its re-establishment in 1951

  • I , Frankfurt am Main , June 30 to July 3, 1951
  • II , Milan , 17th - 21st October 1952
  • III , Stockholm , 15.-18. July 1953
  • IV , London , 12. – 16. July 1955
  • V , Vienna , 2. – 6. July 1957
  • VI , Hamburg , 14.-17. July 1959
  • VII , Rome , 23.-27. October 1961
  • VIII , Amsterdam , 9.-12. September 1963
  • IX , Brussels , 5. – 6. September 1964
  • X , Stockholm , 5th - 8th May 1966
  • XI , Eastbourne , 16th-20th June 1969
  • XII , Vienna , 26. – 29. June 1972
  • XIII , Geneva , 26.-28. November 1976
  • XIV , Vancouver , 3rd – 5th November 1978
  • XV , Madrid , 12.-14. November 1980
  • XVI , Albufeira , 7. – 10. April 1983
  • XVII , Lima , 20.-23. June 1986
  • XVIII , Stockholm , 20. – 22. June 1989
  • XIX , Berlin , 15.-17. September 1992
  • XX , New York City , Sept. 9-11 September 1996
  • XXI , Paris , 8. – 10. November 1999
  • XXII , São Paulo , 27.-29. October 2003
  • XXIII , Athens , June 30th to July 2nd, 2008
  • XXIV , Cape Town , August 30th to September 1st, 2012

Sister organizations

Associated Organizations

Web links

Commons : Socialist International  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  • Knopp, Eberhard: The Socialist International: Origin, Structure and Goals of a Transnational Party Organization. Dissertation, Heidelberg University, 1992.
  • Braunthal, Julius: History of the International, Volume 1, 1961, and Volume 2, 1963, Verlag JH W, Dietz Nachf. GmbH.
  • Callesen, Gerd (Ed.): Socialist Internationals: A Bibliography: Publications of the Social Democratic and Socialist Internationals 1914-2000. Bonn 2001, [07.04.2019]

Individual evidence

  1. About us website of the SI (English)
  2. Sebastian Bischoff: Good comrade, welscher enemy. The SPD, the International and the personification of the "Belgian danger" in the First World War , in: Arbeit - Bewegungs - Geschichte , Issue I / 2018, pp. 9-27.
  3. ^ Theodor Rathgeber: Social Democratic Solidarity with Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Interest of the Liberation Movements in the Socialist International. In: FDCL, Forschungs- u. Documentation Center Chile - Latin America e. V. Berlin (Hrsg.): Social Democracy in Latin America (= Edition / FDCL 3/4). FDCL, Berlin (West) 1982, ISBN 3-923020-02-3 , pp. 277-310, here p. 280.
  4. ^ Klaus Lindenberg: Social Democracy and Latin America. In: New Society. Vol. 26, H. 2, 1979, pp. 166-175, here p. 172.
  5. ^ A b SI decision on Tunisia . Socialist International , January 17, 2011, accessed January 18, 2011 .
  6. ^ XVIII Congress of the Socialist International, Stockholm . Socialist International , June 22, 1989, accessed January 18, 2011 .
  7. The Unmasked Dictator. Der Tagesanzeiger, January 11, 2011, accessed on January 18, 2011 .
  8. a b Letter from the Socialist International to the NDP of January 31, 2011. (PDF; 201 kB), January 31, 2011, accessed on February 3, 2011 (English).
  9. SPD is considering leaving the socialist international ( Memento of the original from March 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  10. Guest post: No companionship with despots
  11. SPD wants to turn off the money for the Socialist International and not pay the membership fee
  12. ^ Statute of the Socialist International., February 5, 2011, accessed February 5, 2011 .
  13. Focus online, May 4, 2013: SPD gives up Socialist International and promotes the establishment of a competing organization
  14. ^ Report from Labor's January executive. In: Left Futures , February 2013.
  15. Socialist International is to be disempowered., May 17, 2013.
  16. ^ Open letter to the member parties of the SI, May 19, 2013, on the SI website
  17. ^ Thomas Vieregge: The end of the socialist international . The press, May 21, 2013
  18. ^ Veit Medick : Crash in Socialist International. Papandreou accuses Gabriel of dividing the left. Spiegel Online, May 22, 2013
  19. SI Presidium addresses situation in Côte d'Ivoire. SI, March 19, 2011
  20. Bosnian Serbs Shrug Off Socialist International Snub Balkan Insight, September 5, 2012
  21. Press release 2017 - accessed on August 15, 2017
  22. DSA resignation resolution on August 5, 2017 - accessed on August 15, 2017
  23. ^