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International,

any of a succession of international socialist and Communist organizations of the 19th and 20th cent.

The First International

The First International was founded in London in 1864 as the International Workingmen's Association. Karl MarxMarx, Karl,
1818–83, German social philosopher, the chief theorist of modern socialism and communism. Early Life

Marx's father, a lawyer, converted from Judaism to Lutheranism in 1824.
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 was a key figure in inspiring its creation and was later chosen as its leader. Its goal was to unite all workers for the purpose of achieving political power along the lines set down by Marx and Friedrich EngelsEngels, Friedrich
, 1820–95, German socialist; with Karl Marx, one of the founders of modern Communism (see communism). The son of a wealthy Rhenish textile manufacturer, Engels took (1842) a position in a factory near Manchester, England, in which his father had an
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 in the Communist Manifesto (1848). Marx viewed the International as a vehicle for revolution, but it played only a minor role in the revolutionary Commune of ParisCommune of Paris,
insurrectionary governments in Paris formed during (1792) the French Revolution and at the end (1871) of the Franco-Prussian War. In the French Revolution, the Revolutionary commune, representing urban workers, tradespeople, and radical bourgeois, engineered
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 (1871). Power struggles within the organization greatly weakened it, and the clash between Marx and the anarchist Mikhail BakuninBakunin, Mikhail
, 1814–76, Russian revolutionary and leading exponent of anarchism. He came from an aristocratic family but entered upon revolutionary activities as a young man.
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 led to its complete disintegration (1876).

The Second International

By 1889, socialist parties had been founded in numerous European nations and the need for another International was felt. The Second, or Socialist, International, was founded in that year at a Paris congress, and it later set up permanent headquarters in Belgium, with Emile VanderveldeVandervelde, Émile
, 1866–1938, Belgian statesman and Socialist leader. He entered parliament in 1894, and served in many cabinets, notably as minister of justice (1918–21), foreign minister (1925–27), and deputy prime minister and minister of public
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 as its president. This International was predominantly political in character, and the German and Russian Social Democratic parties were its most important elements. Its early leaders included Engels, August BebelBebel, August
, 1840–1913, German Socialist leader. A wood turner by trade, he became a Marxian Socialist under the influence of Wilhelm Liebknecht. At a congress at Eisenach (1869) he was instrumental in founding the German Social Democratic party, which he later
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, Karl KautskyKautsky, Karl Johann
, 1854–1938, German-Austrian socialist, b. Prague. A leading figure in the effort to spread Marxist doctrine in Germany, he was the principal deviser of the Erfurt Program, which set the German Social Democratic party on an orthodox Marxist path and
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, and Georgi Valentinovich PlekhanovPlekhanov, Georgi Valentinovich
, 1857–1918, Russian revolutionary and social philosopher. He was a leader in introducing Marxist theory to Russia and is often called the "Father of Russian Marxism.
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.

Despite the ideological schisms that plagued socialismsocialism,
general term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods.
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 during this period, the Second International did much to advance labor legislation and strengthen the democratic socialist movement. It failed, however, in what was perhaps its primary concern—the prevention of war. On the outbreak (1914) of World War I nearly all the socialist parties supported their individual governments, and the Second International collapsed.

The Third International (Comintern)

After the victory of Communismcommunism,
fundamentally, a system of social organization in which property (especially real property and the means of production) is held in common. Thus, the ejido system of the indigenous people of Mexico and the property-and-work system of the Inca were both communist,
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 in the Russian Revolution (1917), a Third, or Communist, International was created (1919). Under the leadership of Vladimir Ilyich LeninLenin, Vladimir Ilyich
, 1870–1924, Russian revolutionary, the founder of Bolshevism and the major force behind the Revolution of Oct., 1917. Early Life
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, this Communist International, or CominternComintern
[acronym for Communist International], name given to the Third International, founded at Moscow in 1919. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin feared a resurgence of the Second, or Socialist, International under non-Communist leadership.
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, hoped to foster world revolution. The Comintern was not generally acceptable to socialist labor groups, however, and was dissolved in 1943.

After World War II, the Comintern was replaced (1947) by the Communist Information Bureau, or CominformCominform
[acronym for Communist Information Bureau], information agency organized in 1947 and dissolved in 1956. Its members were the Communist parties of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia.
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, which aided the seizure of power by the Communists in Czechoslovakia. Because of world political pressures the Cominform lost its influence and power after 1948 and became a vehicle for Soviet propaganda. It was disbanded in 1956.

The Socialist International

After World War I, the Second International was revived (1919) by moderate socialists, and a Vienna, or Two-and-a-Half, International was formed (1921) from splinter leftist groups that spurned both the Second International and the Comintern. In 1923 the Second and Vienna internationals merged to form the Labor and Socialist International, which lasted until the beginning of World War II. After the war this International was continued under the name of the Socialist International, and it exists today. Among its tenets are support for internationally integrated economic systems and civil rights and opposition to left-wing and right-wing totalitarianism and all forms of exploitation and enslavement.

Bibliography

See J. Joll, The Second International, 1889–1914 (1955); M. M. Drachkovitch, ed., The Revolutionary Internationals, 1864–1943 (1966); J. Braunthal, History of the International (2 vol., 1967). See also bibliographies under communismcommunism,
fundamentally, a system of social organization in which property (especially real property and the means of production) is held in common. Thus, the ejido system of the indigenous people of Mexico and the property-and-work system of the Inca were both communist,
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 and socialismsocialism,
general term for the political and economic theory that advocates a system of collective or government ownership and management of the means of production and distribution of goods.
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.

International

 

a group of German left-wing social democrats which was formed at an underground conference held in Berlin in March 1915. The group issued a journal under the same name in April 1915, including articles by K. Liebknecht, R. Luxemburg, C. Zetkin, and F. Mehring. The group organized antiwar demonstrations in a number of cities and prepared and distributed materials furthering the political education of the masses. A program of revolutionary struggle against the war was worked out and was approved by an all-German conference of the International on Jan. 1, 1916. From this time, the group became known as the Spartacus group, later adopting the name “Spartacus League.”

REFERENCES

Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung, vol. 2. Berlin, 1966.
Wolgemuth, H. Die Entstehung der Kommunistischen Partei Deutsch-lands 1914 bis 1918. Berlin, 1968.

international

1. of, concerning, or involving two or more nations or nationalities
2. established by, controlling, or legislating for several nations
3. available for use by all nations
4. Sport
a. a contest between two national teams
b. a member of these teams

International

any of several international socialist organizations
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