The International Workingmen’s Association was the prototype of all organizations of the Labor movement and the 150th anniversary of its birth (1864-2014) offers an important opportunity to rediscover its history and learn from its legacy.
The International helped workers to grasp that the emancipation of labour could not be won in a single country but was a global objective. It also spread an awareness in their ranks that they had to achieve the goal themselves, through their own capacity for organization, rather than by delegating it to some other force; and that it was essential to overcome the capitalist system itself, since improvements within it, though necessary to pursue, would not eliminate exploitation and social injustice.
This book reconsider the main issues broached or advanced by the International – such as labor rights, critiques of capitalism and the search for international solidarity – in light of present-day concerns. With the recent crisis of capitalism, that has sharpened more than before the division between capital and labor, the political legacy of the organization founded in London in 1864 has regained profound relevance, and its lessons are today more timely than ever.
Also available in:
Citation Information vii
Notes on Contributors ix
1. Introduction 1
2. On the History and Legacy of the First International 5
3. Documents from the International Workingmen's Association 39
4. Marx and the Politics of the First International 59
George C. Comninel
5. Capitalist Crisis, Cooperative Labor, and the Conquest of Political Power: Marx’s ‘Inaugural Address’ (1864) and its Relevance in the Current Moment 83
Michael Joseph Roberto
6. A Common Banner: Marxists and Anarchists in the First International 107
7. Race, Internationalism and Labor: Reflections upon the 150th Anniversary of the First International 115
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
8. The International Working Class in 1864 and Today 131
9. The Strength of Our Collective Voice: Views of Labor Leaders from around the World 143
10. The German War on American Workers: Deutsche Telekom in the United States 166
11. Barriers and Openings to a New Socialist Internationalism: South African Histories, Strategies and Narratives 183
12. Book Review: Marcello Musto, ed., Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later 215
Reviewed by George C. Comninel