"PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM" -- WHAT IT WAS AND WHAT IT IS
T HE Socialist working-class movement has possessed international features from its earliest days, and the content of this internationalism has been subject to the same fluctuations as the collaboration between the parties of the working class.
The call, "Workers of the World, Unite!", appeared in the Communist Manifesto and in the statutes of the League of Communists, the first international workers' association. The declared aim of this internationalism was the overthrow of the "bourgeoisie" in every country and the setting up of the rule of the proletariat. For Marx and Engels, the fathers of these ideas, it went without saying that all members of the League must enjoy equal rights.
Marx's draft statutes for the International Working Men's Association (the First International) embodied these same ideas on the international collaboration of the proletariat with the aim of overthrowing the bourgeoisie and the equality of rights of all members. The organization of the First International was loose in form; and the "General Council acting as an international agency" (p. 15) served mainly for the mutual exchange of information between the various national and local groups. The Second International had no statutes and no fixed organization, and there was not even an International Socialist Bureau until 1896. Questions of international proletarian collaboration were, it is true, discussed at the "International Socialist Congresses", but there is little indication that these discussions led to any results in the practical political sdhere. The First and Second Internationals failed because of a historically- rooted nationalism which, in the wars of 1870 and 1914, moved