Fifth International

Fifth International

The phrase Fifth International refers to the efforts made by some sections of the Far left to create a new Workers' International.

There have been many previous international workers' organisations, and the call for a Fifth International presupposes the recognition of four in particular, all of which regarded themselves as the successor to the previous ones:

# The International Workingmen's Association, created by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1864.
# The Second International, also known as the Socialist International, was founded in 1889. It is the only one that still exists undisputed (see The Fourth International below) today, but most of its member parties are social democratic rather than revolutionary socialists.
# The Communist International (Comintern). It was founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919, in the wake of the Russian Revolution. The Comintern eventually came under the full control of Stalin after his rise to power, and was dissolved in 1943 by Stalin as a concession to the Western Allies who were supporting his government during World War II. It was followed by the Cominform from 1947 to 1956.
# The Fourth International was founded in 1938 by Leon Trotsky, the leader of the communist opposition against Stalinism. It was meant to replace the Comintern, which Trotsky believed to be irreformable and to have crossed over to counter-revolution under the control of a bureaucratic elite in the Soviet Union; however, some Trotskyists argue that the Fourth International broke down politically in the decade following World War II.

For some, the call for a fifth international implies a Trotskyist background, and a belief that the Fourth International and its splits have degenerated to such an extent that a new International is necessary.

In November 1938, just two months after the founding congress of the Fourth International, seven members of the POUM on trial in Barcelona declared their support for a "fighting Fifth International". ["During the trial Poum defendants stressed that, while they 'admired Trotsky,' they regarded his Fourth International as too academic and favored a fighting Fifth International." Time Magazine, November 7, 1938,,9171,788849,00.html] . The Argentine Trotskyist Liborio Justo, better know as "Quebracho", called for a fifth international when he broke from Trotsykism in 1941. [ [ Argentine Trotskyism, Part III - RH ] ] Another call for a fifth International was made by Lyndon LaRouche after leaving the Spartacist League in 1965 [ [ - A '60's Socialist Takes a Hard Right ] ] . Later, a 'Fifth International of Communists' was founded in 1994 by several very small former Trotskyist groups around the Movement for a Socialist Future.

In 2003, the League for a Revolutionary Communist International called for the formation of the Fifth International "as soon as possible - not in the distant future but in the months and years ahead". [ [ Arbetarmakt - LFI: Forward to the Fifth International ] ] The LRCI changed its name at this time to League for the Fifth International.

Currently, the forces calling for a Fifth International are limited to the League for the Fifth International (LFI), which has sections in Austria, Britain, Czech Republic, Germany and Sweden and sympathising groups in Pakistan (the Revolutionary Socialist Movement) and Sri Lanka (the Socialist Party of Sri Lanka). The League for the Fifth International campaigns in the European Social Forum and the international labour movement for the formation of a new International.

Hugo Chavez has announced that he will seek to create a new international, which because of the size of the party he has made in Venezuela, could become an actual fifth international: "2008 could be a good time to convoke a meeting of left parties in Latin America to organise a new international, an organisation of parties and movements of the left in Latin America and the Caribbean". [] , []


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