The Socialist International is a worldwide
association of political parties most of 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.
Initially dominated by parties from Western Europe, it has grown to include more than
160 member parties from more than 100 countries. Its members have governed in many countries
including most of Europe. The Party of European Socialists, a European political party is
an associated organisation of the SI, as is its European parliamentary group, the Progressive
Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The current secretary-general of the SI is
Luis Ayala, who has held the post since 1989. The current president of the SI is the former
Prime Minister of Greece George Papandreou. History The International Workingmen’s Association
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.
International Socialist Commission was formed in February 1919 at a meeting in Berne by
parties that wanted to resurrect the Second International. In March 1919 communist parties
formed Comintern at a meeting in Moscow. Parties which did not want to be a part of the resurrected
Second International or Comintern formed the International Working Union of Socialist Parties
on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna. The ISC and the IWUSP joined to form the Labour
and Socialist International 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. 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 and Spain. 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, whose left-wing
government had incited enmity from the United States.
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 SALTII, 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 member parties not only the FSLN but also the left-wing
Puerto Rican Independence Party, as well as former Communist parties such as the Democratic
Party of the Left of Italy and the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique.
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.
As a result of the 2010–2011 Ivorian crisis, the Ivorian Popular Front was expelled in
March 2011. However, according to section 5.1.3 of the statutes of the Socialist International,
an expulsion requires a decision of Congress by a majority of two-thirds.
On 22 May 2013, the Social Democratic Party of Germany along with other social-democratic
political parties founded a rival organisation to the Socialist International known as the
Progressive Alliance, out of criticism of the perceived corrupt and outmoded nature
of the SI. Presidents, honorary presidents and secretaries
Members 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 International Union of Socialist Youth
Socialist International Women Associated organisations
See also African Socialist International
Latin American Parliament Reformism
Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière Third way
Notes References Further reading
Julius Braunthal, “The Rebirth of Social Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 586–600.
In JSTOR The Socialist International by Nikolai Sibilev,
1984. External links
Official site of the Socialist International Official site of the Party of European Socialists