Social Democracy and the Question of Labour Migration before World War I

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Abstract

The split in the Second International in 1914 dramatically expressed the insurmountable limits of its proclaimed internationalism. Surprising though they were to many contemporary observers, the events of the summer of that year were the result of pre-existing tensions that were long hidden behind radically worded compromise resolutions in the congresses of the International. In general, these pre-existing tensions had been assessed with a focus on the question of militarism, the colonial question and even the problems of patriotism and nationalism. Less attention, in relative terms, has been paid to the question of migrations, even though it was an important debate of the first decade of the 20th century. Drawing upon a wide range of secondary literature, socialist newspapers from different countries and archive materials of the Second International, this paper will explore the debates of the Amsterdam (1904) and especially the Stuttgart (1907) congresses, against the background of the ideas and development of the different socialist parties, particularly those of countries and regions of immigration such as Argentina, the United States, Australia and South Africa. More generally, it seeks to draw some conclusions about the tensions that have crossed the global history of the working class in terms of nationalism and racism.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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