International

The First International

The First International was founded in London in 1864 as the International Workingmen's Association. Karl Marx was a key figure in inspiring its creation and was later chosen as its leader. Its goal was to unite all workers for the purpose of achieving political power along the lines set down by Marx and Friedrich Engels in the Communist Manifesto (1848). Marx viewed the International as a vehicle for revolution, but it played only a minor role in the revolutionary Commune of Paris (1871). Power struggles within the organization greatly weakened it, and the clash between Marx and the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin led to its complete disintegration (1876).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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