The Socialist International is the worldwide organization of social democratic, socialist and labor parties. It currently brings together 170 political parties and organizations from all continents.
The Socialist International, whose origins go back to the early international organizations of the labor 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. Labor, social democratic and socialist parties are now a major political force in several countries around the world, with numerous member parties of the International leading governments or representing the main opposition force. Over 60 member parties of the International, in over 55 different countries and territories, are currently in government.
The contemporary incarnation of the Socialist International was formed in Frankfurt, Germany in July 1951 as a successor to the Labor Socialist International. During the post-World War II period, the SI aided social democratic parties in re-establishing themselves, particularly during the communist military coup in Portugal in 1974.
According to Timothy Sears, Michael Harrington was the principal author of the Socialist International’s new statement of principles, "but he found the process of writing-by-committee maddening. The initial draft he wrote was absolutely brilliant—some of the best he ever wrote." However, at the SI Congress in Lima, Peru in 1986, it was roundly criticized by those (particularly from the French Socialist Party) who "were essentially Blairites before Tony Blair" and considered his draft excessively “utopian.” They insisted on major changes to tone it down. Harrington also wrote the final version that was adopted, "which is quite good, but he was really frustrated with the whole thing". Harrington, Jim Chapin and Sears were Democratic Socialists of America delegates at the Lima Congress.
- I remember Mike and Jim talking about whether we should publish his original draft as a DSA pamphlet. Someplace I must still have a copy of the original draft…
During the seventies and eighties. At that time, Harrington was the SI's leading American spokesperson and a valued adviser and strategist for the SI's ruling triumvirate of Olaf Palme, Willy Brandt and Francois Mitterrand. According to John Mason,
- For over a decade, DSA's marginality at home was offset within SI councils by Harrington's brilliance as an essayist, and his energy and insight as a socialist strategist. But this also meant that DSA's connection to the SI was largely a one-man show Since Michael's death in 1989—and with the disappearance of the generation of European leaders who had welcomed him into their ranks—the relationship between DSA and the SI has never been the same.
In 1974, after a pro-communist military coup in Portugal by the MFA (Portuguese: Movimento das Forças Armadas or Armed Forces Movement)
- More than eighty Americans, all identified with opposition to the Vietnamese war and with various radical and liberal causes, sent on August 9 a cablegram to to the Portugese Armed Forces Movement, to Portugese president Francisco da Costa Gomes and to Portugese Socialist leader Mario Soares expressing the hope that "democratic freedoms...will continue to grow in Portugal".
Michael Harrington, the national chairman of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, organized the effort with help from 5 "Initiators" - Lawrence Birns (writer), Sissy Farenthold (past president National Women's Political Caucus), Congressman Michael J. Harrington [not to be confused with DSA founder Michael Harrington], Martin Peretz (chairman, editorial board New Republic), Cleveland Robinson (vice president, Distributive Workers of America), Leonard Woodcock (president United Auto Workers, Jerry Wurf (president AFSCME).
Elected officials who signed the cablegram included: Julian Bond, Willie Brown, Jr., John Conyers, Jr., Don Edwards, William Gluba, Edward Koch, Parren J. Mitchell, Henry S. Reuss, Benjamin S. Rosenthal and Louis Stokes.
While the Socialist International claims to support "the strengthening of democracy", many of its member parties stand at the head of dictatorial regimes or have done so in the past, while other member parties support terrorism and engage in other shameful actions. The following are among the International’s more disreputable members:
- MPLA – The ruling party of Angola. A report by Freedom House described their regime as undemocratic, corrupt and prone to committing human right violations. While the party no longer identifies with marxism, it still maintains cordial ties with the tyrannical regime in Cuba. The MPLA regime has also been implicated by the UN in “crimes of genocide” in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- New Democratic Party – A Canadian party that had a crucial role in giving female serial killer Karla Homolka a lenient sentence rather than life in prison. While Homolka was proven beyond a doubt to have been actively involved in the rape and murder of three young girls (one of whom was her sister), she was sentenced to only 12 years.
- Socialist Party of Chile – The party of Salvador Allende.
- Meretz – An Israeli party which supports terrorism and has ties with the Cuban regime (for more details see the relevant Conservapedia article on this party).
- Progressive Socialist Party – A Lebanese party which is allied with Hezbollah and Syria.
- FRELIMO – The ruling party in Mozambique. Formerly Marxist, it still retains cordial ties with Cuba. The party’s victory in the 2009 elections is believed to have been achieved through electoral fraud.
- SWAPO – Namibia's ruling party, which has ties with Cuban regime.
- FSLN – The party headed by Nicaragua’s president Daniel Ortega. Known for its alliance with Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. It is currently engaged in a tireless effort to abolish Nicaragua’s democracy through electoral fraud and judicial activism.
- Fatah – A Palestinian terrorist organization dedicated to bringing an end to the state of Israel.
In addition, current president of the Socialist International George Papandreou has come out in support of terrorist Yasir Arafat in the past and said that his death was “a great loss for the Palestinian people”.
- TYR, Jan. 2008
- Dem. Left Millenium issue Part 2, 1999, page 4
- Democratic Left, Sep. 1975, page 2
- Socialist Internatioanl’s website
- A full list of the SI membership can be seen on their website.
- Freedom in the World - Angola
- Angola profile - BBC
- MPLA Official Exalts Cuba´s Support To Angolan Cause - allafrica.com
- The Politics behind the Karla Homolka Plea-Bargain
- Notorious Sex Killer Karla Homolka Freed
- Lebanese Druze leader support Hezbollah
- Mozambique profile - BBC
- Cuban VP Receives FRELIMO General Secretary
- Swapo, Cuba's Communist Party Sign Co-Operation Agreement
- Iran and Nicaragua vow close ties - BBC
- Nicaragua and Venezuela’s Well-Oiled Relationship - The American Enterprise Institute
- Nicaragua’s Presidential Elections: How Daniel Ortega Could Shame Democracy - The American Heritage Foundation
- Abbas Must Act
- Abbas Means to Destroy Israel – Arutz Sheva
- George Papandreou’s website