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Reform, Revolution, and Opportunism: Debates in the Second International, 1900–1910

by Mike Taber

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An essential record from the Second International, assembled by Under the Socialist Banner editor Mike Taber.

At its height, the Second (Socialist) International (1889-1914) represented the majority of organized workers in the world, with the revolutionary goal of overthrowing capitalism. Its major accomplishments—such as the eight-hour day and International Women’s Day—remain a testimony to its lasting influence around the world.

In this important collection of debates at congresses of the Second International, Reform, Revolution, and Opportunism captures the International’s vibrancy and gives a snapshot of its strengths, weaknesses, and contradictions. Divergent perspectives on reform and revolution are expressed in these pages, as socialists debate topics that remain deeply contested today: militarism and war, immigration, colonialism and imperialism, women’s rights, and socialist participation in government.

Reform, Revolution, and Opportunism—taken together with Under the Socialist Banner—offers a rounded view of the Second International and its legacy, showing it to be a living, breathing movement with valuable insights for activists today.