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There have been several previous international workers' organisations, and the call for a Fifth International presupposes the recognition of four in particular, each of which regarded itself as the successor to the previous ones:
In November 1938, two months after the founding congress of the Fourth International, seven members of the Spanish Workers' Party of Marxist Unification on trial in Barcelona declared their support for a "fighting Fifth International". The Argentine Trotskyist Liborio Justo called for a Fifth International when he broke from Trotskyism in 1941. Another call for a Fifth International was made by Lyndon LaRouche after leaving the Spartacist League in 1965. Later, a "Fifth International of Communists" was founded in 1994 by several small former Trotskyist groups around the Movement for a Socialist Future.
In 2003, the League for a Revolutionary Communist International called for the formation of the Fifth International "as soon as possible – not in the distant future but in the months and years ahead". The group became the League for the Fifth International (L5I), which as of 2010 has sections in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Pakistan, Sri Lanka (the Socialist Party of Sri Lanka), Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States. The League for the Fifth International campaigns in the European Social Forum and the international labour movement for the formation of a new International. Splinter group the Communist Workers' Group in New Zealand also argues for a Fifth International.
Hugo Chávez announced in 2007 that he would seek to create a new international: "2008 could be a good time to convoke a meeting of left parties in Latin America to organise a new international, an organisation of parties and movements of the left in Latin America and the Caribbean". On November 21, 2009, in Caracas, Venezuela, during the First International Encounter of Left-wing Parties, Chávez called for the convoking of the Fifth Socialist International in April 2010 in Venezuela.
It was reported that Bolivia's Movement for Socialism, the International Marxist Tendency, El Salvador's Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, Nicaragua's Sandinista National Liberation Front, Ecuador's PAIS Alliance, Chile's Proposal for an Alternative Society, Guatemala's New Nation Alternative, and Australia's Socialist Alliance were likely to join the new International. Representatives of the Portugal's Left Bloc, Germany's The Left, and France's Left Party expressed interest but said they would need to consult. The Communist Party of Cuba seemed to favour the proposal, but other Communist Parties were strongly opposed. The League for the Fifth International critically supported the proposal.