Books for changing the world
Under the Socialist Banner
Resolutions of the Second International, 1889-1912

Recent years have seen a massive growth of interest in socialism, particularly among young people. But few are fully aware of socialism 's revolutionary history. For this reason, an appreciation of the Second International--often called the "Socialist International"--during its Marxist years is particularly relevant.

From 1889 to 1912 resolutions of the Second International helped disseminate and popularize a revolutionary aim: the overturn of capitalism and its replacement by the democratic rule of the working class, as a first step toward socialism.

Despite weaknesses and contradictions that led to the Second International 's collapse in 1914, its resolutions during these years remain a resource for those studying the socialist movement 's history and objectives. Many of the topics dealt with--war and militarism, immigration, trade unions and labor legislation, women 's rights, colonialism, socialist strategy and tactics--remain just as relevant today.

This book is the first English-language collection ever assembled of all the resolutions adopted by congresses of the Second International in its Marxist years.

  • “Mike Taber’s Under the Socialist Banner gives us a sparkling portrayal of working-class thought and action at the dawn of the twentieth century. Collected resolutions of international socialist gatherings convey the quest of working people for democracy, peace, gender equality, and global wellbeing.” —John Riddell, general editor, The Communist International in Lenin’s Time

    “An invaluable resource for the new generation of radicals today who are looking to revive the socialist movement’s best traditions. A must read for anybody looking to understand the politics and promise of the Second International.” —Eric Blanc, author of Red State Revolt: The Teachers' Strike Wave and Working-Class Politics

    “I wonder if even Mike Taber is fully aware of what he has accomplished by the magnificent job of research and editing needed to put together this collection of authoritative statements by the international congresses of the Second International. Penned by the sharpest Marxist minds of their generation, these resolutions show us a consistent outlook applied to the manifold crises and challenges of two crucial decades. A must-read for anyone interested in the Marxist tradition.” —Lars Lih, author of Lenin Rediscovered: What Is to Be Done? In Context

    “An invaluable resource for studying the past and thinking about the future, this splendid volume provides insights into the problems of global capitalist reality that have relevance for our own time.” —Paul LeBlanc, author of Lenin and the Revolutionary Party

    “The Second International, which played a pivotal role in socialist politics between 1889 and 1914, was the political and ideological cauldron in which many of the leading figures in early twentieth Marxism first developed their political and theoretical perspectives—such as Kautsky, Lenin, Luxemburg, Martov, Pannekoek, and so many others. While the literature on the Second International is vast, this is the first time the resolutions at its international congresses are available in English—providing a vital window into its response to such issues as the general strike, the birth of anti-colonial movements, women’s emancipation, and the question of militarism.” —Peter Hudis, general editor, The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg

    “A fundamental work for understanding the history of the international workers’ movement: it presents with talent essential texts which still question us today.” —Jean-Numa Ducange, author of Jules Guesde: The Birth of Socialism and Marxism in France

    “Mike Taber's meticulously edited volume collecting together the resolutions adopted at the congresses of the Second International prior to its collapse in 1914 fills an astonishing gap in social history, and more particularly in the history of socialist internationalism. This corpus of documents, some of them now made available for the first time in English, reveals the range of themes discussed by the Second International, highlighting the importance of its legacy. The book will be essential reading for everyone working on the history of the labour movement, on liberation movements, and on feminism in the 20th and 21st centuries.” —Brigitte Studer, author of The Transnational World of the Cominternians

    “At a time when the most pressing task of left-wing activists worldwide is to master the forgotten art of building mass socialist parties of the working class, there could hardly be a more timely contribution than this collection of all the resolutions adopted by the Second International, from its first congress held in Paris in 1889 to its ninth and last congress held in Basel in 1912, whose ‘Manifesto on War and Militarism’ was added by Lenin as an appendix to his book Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.” —Daniel Gaido, author of The Formative Period of American Capitalism: A Materialist Interpretation

    “The legacy of the Second International runs like a red thread through the live debates of the revived socialist movement today—sometimes hidden, sometimes explicit, but always shaping how new socialists are thinking about politics and strategy. Until now, these debates have had very few reference points to the historical actors who undertook the rebuilding of Marx’s International over one hundred years ago. Now, finally, the resolutions of the once great Socialist International in its heyday have been made not only available as a collection, but accessibly contextualized by Mike Taber in this volume. Engaging with the history, debates, and politics in this book will sharpen the minds of a new generation of socialists. It could not be more timely!” —Sean Larson, author of “The Rise and Fall of the Second International”

    “Mike Taber’s latest book is crucial to a long overdue reassessment of the legacy of Second International. By bringing together all the resolutions agreed by congresses, as well as some defeated motions, over a period of 23 years, he gives us an unprecedented insight into this extraordinary international movement. A vital resource which will hopefully be a trigger for a stimulating and informed debate on this history.” —Anne McShane, historian of the Soviet Women’s Movement

    “This collection and its exceedingly useful critical apparatus will serve as an introductory guide to this vital chapter in the history of socialism.” —Daniel Gaido, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books

Other books edited by Mike Taber