The Second International / Socialist International
The Socialist International (SI) , an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is frequently critical of U.S. policies. The Socialist International is the worldwide organisation of social democratic, socialist and labour parties. It currently brings together 170 political parties and organisations from all continents.
The Socialist International, whose origins go back to the early international organisations of the labour movement, has existed in its present form since 1951, when it was re-established at the Frankfurt Congress. Since then it has been increasingly active and grown considerably in membership, more than doubling the number of its members in recent years. Labour, social democratic and socialist parties are now a major political force in democracies around the world, with numerous member parties of the International leading governments or representing the main opposition force. Over 60 member parties of the International, in over 55 different countries and territories, are currently in government.
The supreme decision-making bodies of the International are the Congress, which meets every three to four years, and the Council, which includes all member parties and organisations and which meets twice a year.
George A. Papandreou, President of PASOK, the organisation's member party in Greece, is President of the Socialist International, first elected in January 2006, and re-elected at the XXIII Congress. Luis Ayala (Chile) is the Secretary General, re-elected at the last Congress. The Vice-Presidents, who are also elected by the Congress, together with the President and the Secretary General, make up the Presidium of the International, the leadership of the organisation.
From 1976 to 1992 the late Willy Brandt, former Chancellor of Germany and winner of the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize, was President of the Socialist International. Pierre Mauroy, former Prime Minister of France, served as President from 1992 to 1999, and António Guterres, former Prime Minister of Portugal, from 1999 to 2005. Former Presidents and Secretaries General of the organisation.
The secretariat of the Socialist International is located in London and coordinates the activities and initiatives of the International, convenes its meetings and conferences, issues statements and press releases and produces its publications.
The Socialist International works intensely throughout the year to strengthen and expand social democracy in the world, including through the activities of its thematic and regional Committees, the SI Commission for a Sustainable World Society and the SI Commission on Global Financial Issues. At the Council of Socialist International held in Mexico on 17-18 November 2008, the International established for this inter-Congress period, in addition to the statutory Ethics Committee and Committee for Finance and Administration, the organisation's thematic and regional Committees.
The Socialist International is financed by annual affiliation fees from its member parties and its fraternal and associated organisations. The International's budget is decided democratically by all members at its Council meetings. The 2008 Budget totals £1,155,000 (pounds sterling). During 2007 the International registered a total income of £1,094,500 with a total expenditure of £1,058,000, which broke down into £48,000 for communications; £126,000 for administration; £382,000 for the Secretariat; £68,000 for conferences and council meetings; £107,000 for delegations and missions; £123,000 for committees and other meetings, as well as £203,000 for Socialist International Women.
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