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The International was formed in 1932, following a fringe meeting at the Socialist International conference in Vienna in 1931. The IRMC underwent a variety of names. It was initially called the Committee of Independent Revolutionary Socialist Parties and later the International Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Unity, but throughout the period it was generally known simply as the London Bureau (and nicknamed by some the 3â½ International, in an analogy with the so-called 2â½ International of 1921-3), although its headquarters were transferred from London to Paris in 1939 (on the grounds that in addition to the French affiliate, five parties-in-exile had their central committees there). Its youth wing was the International Bureau of Revolutionary Youth Organizations.
For a period, the IRMC was close to the Trotskyist movement and the International Left Opposition. In the early 1930s, Leon Trotsky and his supporters believed that Stalin's influence over the Third International could still be fought from within and slowly rolled back. They organised themselves into the International Left Opposition in 1930, which was intended to be a group of anti-Stalinist dissenters within the Third International. Stalin's supporters, who dominated the International, would no longer tolerate dissent. All Trotskyists, and those suspected of being influenced by Trotskyism, were expelled.
Trotsky claimed that the Third Period policies of the Comintern had contributed to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany, and that its turn to a popular front policy (aiming to unite all ostensibly anti-fascist forces) sowed illusions in reformism and pacifism and "clear[ed] the road for a fascist overturn". By 1935 he claimed that the Comintern had fallen irredeemably into the hands of the Stalinist bureaucracy. He and his supporters, expelled from the Third International, participated in a conference of the London Bureau. Three of those parties joined the Left Opposition in signing a document written by Trotsky calling for a Fourth International, which became known as the "Declaration of Four". Of those, two soon distanced themselves from the agreement, but the Dutch Revolutionary Socialist Party worked with the International Left Opposition to declare the International Communist League.
This position was contested by AndrĂ©s Nin and some other members of the League who did not support the call for a new International. This group prioritised regroupment with other communist oppositions, principally the International Communist Opposition (ICO), linked to the Right Opposition in the Soviet Party, a regroupment which eventually led to the formation of the 'International Bureau for Revolutionary Socialist Unity'. Trotsky considered those organisations to be centrist. Despite Trotsky, the Spanish section merged with the Spanish section of ICO, forming the POUM. Trotsky claimed the merger was to be a capitulation to centrism. The Socialist Workers' Party of Germany, a left split from the Social Democratic Party of Germany founded in 1931, co-operated with the International Left Opposition briefly in 1933 but soon abandoned the call for a new International.
The secretariat of the International Centre remained with the British Independent Labour Party for all but one of the eight years 1932-1940. Fenner Brockway, ILP leader, was chairman of the Bureau for most of this period, while in 1939, Julian Gorkin of the POUM became its secretary. By this time, the Bureau had member parties in more than 20 countries, including the Netherlands, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the United States, and Palestine.
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