The Second International (1889–1916) was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated. It continued the work of the dissolved First International, though excluding the still-powerful anarcho-syndicalist movement and unions, and was in existence until 1916.
Among the Second International's famous actions were its (1889) declaration of May 1 as International Workers' Day and its (1910) declaration of March 8 as International Women's Day. It initiated the international campaign for the 8-hour working day.
The International's permanent executive and information body was the International Socialist Bureau (ISB), based in Brussels and formed after the International's Paris Congress of 1900. Emile Vandervelde and Camille Huysmans of the Belgian Labour Party were its chair and secretary. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a member from 1905.
The Second International dissolved during World War I, in 1916, as the separate national parties that composed it did not maintain a unified front against the war, instead generally supporting their respective nations' role. French Section of the Workers' International (SFIO) leader Jean Jaurs's assassination, a few days before the beginning of the war, symbolized the failure of the antimilitarist doctrine of the Second International. In 1915, at the Zimmerwald Conference, anti-war socialists attempted to maintain international unity against the social patriotism of the social democratic leaders. The International continued in skeleton form in neutral Switzerland through the war, as the Berne International.
In 1920, the defunct Second International was reorganized. However, some European socialist parties refused to join the reorganized international, and decided instead to form the International Working Union of Socialist Parties (IWUSP) ("Second and a half International" or "Two-and-a-half International"), heavily influenced by Austromarxism. In 1923, IWUSP and the Second International merged to form the social democratic Labour and Socialist International. This international continued to exist until 1940. After World War II, the Socialist International was formed to continue the policies of the Labour and Socialist International, and it continues to this day.
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