International Workingmen's Association

The International Workingmen's Association (IWA), often called the First International (1864–1876), was an international organisation which aimed at uniting a variety of different left-wing socialist, communist[1] and anarchist groups and trade unions that were based on the working class and class struggle. It was founded in 1864 in a workmen's meeting held in St. Martin's Hall, London. Its first congress was held in 1866 in Geneva.

International
Workingmen's Association
Logo first used by the Spanish IWA.
AbbreviationIWA
SuccessorSecond International
(not legal successor)
Formation28 September 1864; 156 years ago (1864-09-28)
FoundersGeorge Odger, Henri Tolain, Edward Spencer Beesly
Dissolved1876; 145 years ago (1876)
TypeIntergovernmental organization
Legal statusDefunct
Purpose
HeadquartersSt James's Hall, Regent Street, West End
Location
Region served
Worldwide
Membership
5–8 million
Key people
Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Mikhail Bakunin, Louis Auguste Blanqui, Giuseppe Garibaldi
Main organ
Congress of the First International

In Europe, a period of harsh reaction followed the widespread Revolutions of 1848. The next major phase of revolutionary activity began almost twenty years later with the founding of the IWA in 1864. At its peak, the IWA reported having 8 million members[2] while police reported 5 million.[3] In 1872, it split in two over conflicts between statist and anarchist factions and dissolved in 1876. The Second International was founded in 1889.