The Socialist International is the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties. It currently brings together 135 political parties and organisations from all continents. (List of members in full)
A history of growth and accomplishment
The Socialist International, whose origins go back to the early international organisations of the labour movement, has existed in its present form since 1951, when it was re-established at the Frankfurt Congress. Since then it has been increasingly active and grown considerably in membership, more than doubling the number of its members in recent years. Labour, social democratic and socialist parties are now a major political force in democracies around the world, with numerous member parties of the International leading governments or representing the main opposition force. Currently 28 member parties of the International are in government.
The supreme decision-making bodies of the International are the Congress, which meets every four years, and the Council, which includes all member parties and organisations and which meets twice a year.
George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece, is President of the Socialist International and Luis Ayala (Chile) is the Secretary General, both re-elected at the last Congress. The Vice-Presidents, who are also elected by the Congress, together with the President and the Secretary General, make up the Presidium of the International, the leadership of the organisation.
From 1976 to 1992 the late Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of Germany and winner of the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize, was President of the Socialist International. The late Pierre Mauroy, former Prime Minister of France, served as President from 1992 to 1999, and António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, from 1999 to 2005.
The secretariat of the Socialist International is located in London and coordinates the activities and initiatives of the International, convenes its meetings and conferences, issues statements and press releases and produces its publications.
The Socialist International (SI) is a worldwide organisation of political parties 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. The organisation currently includes 147 member parties and organisations from over 100 countries. Its members have governed in many countries including most of Europe.
The current secretary general of the SI is Luis Ayala (Chile) and the current president of the SI is the former Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, both of whom were re-elected at the last SI Congress held in Cartagena, Colombia in March 2017.
First and Second Internationals (1864–1916)
The International Workingmen’s Association, also known as the First International, 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.
Labour and Socialist International (1919–1940)
The International Socialist Commission (ISC), also known as the Berne International, 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 (the Third International) at a meeting in Moscow.
Parties which did not want to be a part of the resurrected Second International (ISC) or Comintern formed the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP, also known as Vienna International/Vienna Union/Two-and-a-Half International) on 27 February 1921 at a conference in Vienna. The ISC and the IWUSP joined to form the Labour and Socialist International (LSI) 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.