Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), the leading party in the “Socialist International” for many decades, is talking about leaving the “International”.

Both Mubarak’s NDP in Egypt, and Ben Ali’s RCD in Tunisia, were until their downfall members of the “Socialist International”.

An article by SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel in the liberal Frankfurter Rundschau points out the obvious, that the Socialist International is irrelevant, that it is no longer a “voice for freedom”, that many member parties should be expelled from it, that it is embarrassing that parties such as Mubarak’s or Ben Ali’s only got expelled after they were deposed at home…

Formally the “Socialist International” traces its history back to the Second International, founded in 1889, which included Frederick Engels, August Bebel, Jean Jaures, Lenin, Luxemburg, Trotsky and many others among its leading members. In fact that International collapsed in 1914, when most of its member parties backed their “own” bourgeois governments in World War One.

Reassembled after 1918, it still had something of the character of an association of (now clearly reformist) workers’ parties, but for many decades now it has swollen its ranks by including parties like the NDP and RCD.

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