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The Labour and Socialist International (German: Sozialistische Arbeiter-Internationale, SAI) was an international organization of socialist and labour parties, active between 1923 and 1940. The LSI was a fore-runner of the present-day Socialist International.

LSI had a history of rivalry with the Communist International (Comintern), with whom it competed over the hegemony of the socialist and labour movement in Europe.[1] However, unlike the Comintern the LSI had no control over its sections, the LSI was composed of autonomous national affiliated parties.[2]

Contents

Founding

The LSI was founded at a congress in Hamburg in May 1923 through the merger of the Berne International and the Vienna International.[3][4]. The LSI functioned as a continuation of the Second International.[5] The Social Democratic Party of Germany was the dominant party within the LSI.[6]

Rise of Nazism

With the rise of Nazism in Europe, there was increased pressure on the LSI and Comintern to cooperate. On February 19, 1933 the LSI Bureau issued a call for joint action of the SPD and the Communist Party of Germany against Hitler. The Comintern responded by stating that they were not convinced of the sincerity of the declaration. However, the Comintern did soon call of its national sections to form united fronts together with social democratic parties locally. The LSI, in its behalf, did not accept the notion of local social democrats forming united fronts with the communist parties.[7] However, as the Comintern adopted a more concilatory tone, the resistance of the LSI against forming socialist/communist united fronts on the national level softened.[8]

Within the LSI, a north-south cleavage emerged, as the Mediterrean LSI parties built fronts with the communists whilst the British and Scandinavian parties rejected the notion of cooperation with the communists. With the German party in disarray, the British and Scandinavians had become more influential within the LSI. Thus the space for socialist-communist cooperation decreased. On September 25, 1934 the Comintern Executive had issued a call for 'peace negotiations' between the two internationals, but the LSI rejected the offer.[9]

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, the LSI and the International Federation of Trade Unions launched an 'Aid for Spain' campaign.[10] The LSI/IFTU relief efforts were channelled from the PSOE and UGT.[11]

Colonial question

LSI did not have the same anti-imperialist approach of the communists and were generally supportive of colonialism. For example, the participation of the British Independent Labour Party in the communist-sponsored League against Imperialism caused a controversy within LSI, and the ILP was asked to break its ties with the League. However, the support of the LSI for colonialism was not 100%. Regarding the Rif War the second LSI congress, held in Marseille August 22-27, 1925, adopted a resolution calling for support to the independence of the Rif and urging the League of Nations to accept the Republic of the Rif as a member.[12]

References

  1. ^ Vickers, Rhiannon. The Labour Party and the World. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. p. 72
  2. ^ Buchanan, Tom. The Spanish Civil War and the British Labour Movement. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 21
  3. ^ Vickers, Rhiannon. The Labour Party and the World. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. p. 71
  4. ^ Derrick, Jonathan. Africa's "Agitators": Militant Anti-Colonialism in Africa and the West, 1918-1939. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. p. 109
  5. ^ Smith, Jackie, Charles Chatfield, and Ron Pagnucco. Transnational Social Movements and Global Politics: Solidarity Beyond the State. Syracuse studies on peace and conflict resolution. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1997. p. 35
  6. ^ Jupp, James. The Radical Left in Britain, 1931-1941. London: Cass, 1982. p. 13
  7. ^ Jupp, James. The Radical Left in Britain, 1931-1941. London: Cass, 1982. p. 45
  8. ^ Jupp, James. The Radical Left in Britain, 1931-1941. London: Cass, 1982. p. 68
  9. ^ Jupp, James. The Radical Left in Britain, 1931-1941. London: Cass, 1982. p. 77
  10. ^ Vickers, Rhiannon. The Labour Party and the World. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004. p. 125
  11. ^ Buchanan, Tom. The Spanish Civil War and the British Labour Movement. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1991. p. 144
  12. ^ Derrick, Jonathan. Africa's "Agitators": Militant Anti-Colonialism in Africa and the West, 1918-1939. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008. p. 156, 180







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