The internationale

by Billy Bragg

In memoriam to my mothers father I present you an english version of the internationale interpreted by Billy Bragg.



For the Billy Bragg album, see The Internationale (album). For the Brainiac EP, see Internationale (EP).

"The Internationale" (French: L'Internationale) is a widely-sung Left-wing anthem. It has been one of the most recognizable and popular songs of the socialist movement since the late 19th century, when the Second International (now the Socialist International) adopted it as its official anthem. The title arises from the "First International", an alliance of workers which held a congress in 1864. The author of the anthem's lyrics, Eugène Pottier, attended this congress.

The original French refrain of the song is C'est la lutte finale / Groupons-nous et demain / L'Internationale / Sera le genre humain. (English: "This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow / The Internationale / Will be the human kind."). "The Internationale" has been translated into many languages.

It is often sung with the left hand raised in a clenched fist salute and is sometimes followed (in English-speaking places) with a chant of "The workers united will never be defeated."[citation needed] The Internationale has been celebrated by Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Democratic Socialists, and Social Democrats. It was also used by Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.[1]

1 Copyright
2 Original lyrics
3 Translations into other languages
3.1 Russian lyrics
3.2 English lyrics
4 Cultural influence
4.1 In literature
4.2 In music
4.3 In film
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887, previously a member of the Paris Commune)[2] and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of "La Marseillaise".[3] Pierre De Geyter (1848–1932) set the poem to music in 1888.[4] His melody was first publicly performed in July 1888[5] and became widely used soon after.
In a successful attempt to save Pierre De Geyter's job as a woodcarver, the 6,000 leaflets printed by Lille printer Bolboduc only mentioned the French version of his family name (Degeyter). In 1904, Pierre's brother Adolphe was induced by the Lille mayor Gustave Delory to claim copyright, so that the income of the song would continue to go to Delory's French Socialist Party. Pierre De Geyter lost the first copyright case in 1914, but after his brother committed suicide and left a note explaining the fraud, Pierre was declared the copyright owner by a court of appeal in 1922.[6]
In 1972 Montana Edition owned by Hans R. Beierlein bought the rights for 5,000 Deutschmark, first for the territory of the West Germany, then East Germany, then worldwide. East Germany paid 20,000 DM every year for playing the music. Pierre De Geyter died in 1932, which means the copyright expired 2002.[7] The German text Luckhards is public domain since 1984.
As the "Internationale" music was published before 1 July 1909 outside the United States of America, it is in the public domain in the United States.[8] As of 2013, Pierre De Geyter's music is also in the public domain in countries and areas whose copyright durations are authors' lifetime plus 80 years or less.[9] Due to France's wartime copyright extensions (prorogations de guerre), SACEM claims that the music is still copyrighted in France until October 2017.[10]
As Eugène Pottier died in 1887, his original French lyrics are in the public domain. Gustave Delory once acquired the copyright of his lyrics through the songwriter G B Clement having bought it from Pottier's widow.[11]

Original lyrics

French lyrics

Literal English translation

First stanza

Debout, les damnés de la terre
Debout, les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère
C'est l'éruption de la fin
Du passé faisons table rase
Foule esclave, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
Stand up, damned of the Earth
Stand up, prisoners of starvation
Reason thunders in its volcano
This is the eruption of the end.
Of the past let us make a clean slate
Enslaved masses, stand up, stand up.
The world is about to change its foundation
We are nothing, let us be all.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Second stanza

Il n'est pas de sauveurs suprêmes
Ni Dieu, ni César, ni tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes
Décrétons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge
Battons le fer quand il est chaud
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
There are no supreme saviours
Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune.
Producers, let us save ourselves,
Decree the common salvation.
So that the thief expires,
So that the spirit be pulled from its prison,
Let us fan our forge ourselves
Strike the iron while it is hot.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Third stanza

L'État comprime et la loi triche
L'impôt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez, languir en tutelle
L'égalité veut d'autres lois
Pas de droits sans devoirs dit-elle
Égaux, pas de devoirs sans droits
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
The State oppresses and the law cheats.
Tax bleeds the unfortunate.
No duty is imposed on the rich;
The rights of the poor is an empty phrase.
Enough languishing in custody!
Equality wants other laws:
No rights without duties, she says,
Equally, no duties without rights.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Fourth stanza

Hideux dans leur apothéose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail ?
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu'il a créé s'est fondu
En décrétant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
Hideous in their apotheosis
The kings of the mine and of the rail.
Have they ever done anything other
Than steal work?
Inside the safeboxes of the gang,
What work had created melted.
By ordering that they give it back,
The people want only their due.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Fifth stanza

Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans
Appliquons la grève aux armées
Crosse en l'air, et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent, ces cannibales
À faire de nous des héros
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
The kings made us drunk with fumes,
Peace among us, war to the tyrants!
Let the armies go on strike,
Stocks in the air, and break ranks.
If they insist, these cannibals
On making heroes of us,
They will know soon that our bullets
Are for our own generals.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Sixth stanza

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger ailleurs
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.
|: C'est la lutte finale
Groupons-nous, et demain
Sera le genre humain :|
Workers, peasants, we are
The great party of labourers.
The earth belongs only to men;
The idle will go to reside elsewhere.
How much of our flesh have they consumed?
But if these ravens, these vultures
Disappear one of these days,
The sun will shine forever.
|: This is the final struggle
Let us group together, and tomorrow
The Internationale
Will be the human race. :|

Translations into other languages

The German version, Die Internationale, was used by East German anti-Stalinists in 1953 and again during the 1989 protests which toppled SED rule. When numerous East Germans were arrested for protesting the 40th anniversary celebrations for the GDR, several of them sang the hymn in police custody to embarrass their captors, and imply that they had abandoned the socialist cause they were supposed to serve.[citation needed]
Luckhardt's version, the standard German translation, of the final line of the chorus tellingly reads: "Die Internationale erkämpft das Menschenrecht". (The Internationale will win our human rights.) It was coupled with the chant: "Volkspolizei, steh dem Volke bei" (People's police, stand with the people!)[citation needed]
The Internationale in Chinese (simplified Chinese: 国际歌; traditional Chinese: 國際歌; pinyin: Guójìgē), literally the International Song, has several different sets of lyrics. One such version served as the de facto anthem of the Communist Party of China,[12] the national anthem of the Chinese Soviet Republic,[13] as well as a rallying song of the students and workers at the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.[14]
Versions of the song in Indian languages, particularly Bengali and Malayalam, have existed since the time of colonial rule. It was translated into Bengali by the radical poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and subsequently by Hemanga Biswas. The Assamese version was translated by the poet Bishnu Rabha. The Malayalam version of the song has also existed since the 1950s with the translation of the song for the people of the Indian state of Kerala by actor and social activist Premji for the united Communist Party of India (CPI). In the 1980s, more translations appeared. Translations by Sachidanandan and Mokeri Ramachandran were sung by the activists of Janakeeya Samskarikavedi, an organisation connected with CPI(Marxist-Leninist) (CPI(ML). Translation by N. P. Chandrasekharan was for Students Federation of India (SFI), the student organisation associated with CPI(Marxist) (CPI(M) and published in the Student Monthly, the organ of SFI.[citation needed]
Nepali translations of the song have also been sung in Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal, and the song has been popularised by the Nepali Maoists.[citation needed]

Russian lyrics

The Russian version was initially translated by Aron Kots (Arkady Yakovlevich Kots) in 1902 and printed in London in Zhizn, a Russian émigré magazine. The first Russian version consisted of three stanzas (as opposed to six stanzas in the original French lyrics, and based on stanzas 1, 2 and 6) and the refrain. After the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, the text was slightly re-worded to get rid of "now useless" future tenses - particularly the refrain was reworded (the future tense was replaced by the present, and the first person plural possessive pronoun was introduced). In 1918, the chief-editor of Izvestia, Yuri Steklov, appealed to Russian writers to translate the other three stanzas and in the end, the song was expanded into six stanzas.[15] In 1944, the Soviet Union adopted the "Hymn of the Soviet Union" as its national anthem. Prior to that time, the "Internationale" served as the principal musical expression of allegiance to the ideals of the October Revolution and the Soviet Union (the "Internationale" continued to be recognized as the official song of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and the post-1919 Soviet version is still used by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation). The full song is as follows:

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English lyrics

The traditional British version of The Internationale is usually sung in three verses, while the American version, written by Charles Hope Kerr with five verses, is usually sung in two.[16] [17] The American version is sometimes sung with the phrase "the internationale", "the international soviet", or "the international union" in place of "the international working class". In English renditions, "Internationale" is sometimes sung as /ɪntərnæʃəˈnæli/ rather than the French pronunciation of [ɛ̃tɛʁnasjɔnal(ə)].
The English versions are known to be notoriously difficult to sing, as the lyrics may appear sometimes forced and unnatural.[citation needed] British musician Billy Bragg, after talking to the American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, agreed that the old lyrics were "archaic and unsingable".[18] However, the Scottish musician Dick Gaughan takes a different view.[19] Bragg composed revised verses for the song, based on the British version. The recording was released on his album The Internationale along with reworkings of other socialist songs. A full, six-stanza translation can be found on the Wikisource page on The Internationale.

[too much Work]

Cultural influence

In literature

The residents of the lunar penal colony in The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein sing it in the opening political protest meeting which sets up the inescapability of the revolution.

In music

The song "Hammerblow" from the 2008 album Susquehanna by American ska-swing band the Cherry Poppin' Daddies includes a verse of "L'Internationale" within its bridge ("L'Internationale/Sera le genre humain"). The song itself concerns an underground Marxist movement.[citation needed]
The music video to the Manic Street Preachers' 1998 hit single, "If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next" features excerpts from De Geyter's melody at the beginning and end. The song itself makes numerous references to the Spanish Civil War The Internationale having served as a popular Republican anthem during the conflict.[citation needed]

In film

The novel Animal Farm, written in 1945 by George Orwell, alludes to the anthem with the song, Beasts of England, and its replacement (alluding to the National Anthem of the Soviet Union) being symbolic of betrayal of the ideas of the revolution.[citation needed]
The 1965 Propaganda Film The East Is Red concludes with a mass sing along at the play's final act.
The 1974 film Sweet Movie, features two different versions of the melody, one being played in 6/8 time signature with an accordion, the other one, played in 4/4 at fast tempo with an organ.
In the 1993 film 'In the Heat of the Sun' (Yangguang canlan de rizi) by Chinese director Jiang Wen, the song plays loudly over a brutal scene where the main character, Ma Xiaojun, repeatedly beats an innocent victim to a state of bloodied unconsciousness. Set during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the film's use of The Internationale, a song played at official events and at the end of the day's radio broadcast during this era, is intended to symbolise the hypocrisy of Maoist ideological rectitude. ([21])[22]
In the 1997 film, Air Force One, inmates at a prison sing the song as General Radek, a communist terrorist leader, is released.
In the 1999 film Cradle Will Rock by Tim Robbins, Bill Murray's character Tommy Crickshaw sings one verse of the song (mostly from the "American Version" above) at the end. He's a ventriloquist at the end of his career, a man who once was a fiery radical, but who has now been reduced to a near nonentity. He can't even bring himself to sing it, so he sings it through his puppet.
In the 2009 American film, Capitalism: A Love Story, by director Michael Moore, singer Tony Babino sings a lounge version of the Internationale over the ending credits.

See also

Anarchism and the arts
Eugene Pottier
Pierre De Geyter
The Internationale, an album by Billy Bragg featuring Bragg's rewritten lyrics to the song.
The Internationale in Chinese
A Las Barricadas, an anthem of anarchism.


[2] The Guardian, Australia. "The International" . pp. first paragraph. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
[3] David Walls, Sonoma State University. "Billy Bragg's Revival of Aging Anthems: Radical Nostalgia or Activist Inspiration?".
[4] The Guardian, Australia. "The International" . pp. ninth paragraph. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
[5] The Guardian, Australia. "The International" . pp. 11th paragraph. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
[6] The Guardian, Australia. "The International" . Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
[7] "Ich habe die Kommunisten bezahlen lassen", Die Welt, Hans R. Beierlein, 2014-04-18.
[8] Peter B. Hirtle. "Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States".
[9] Year 1932 when Pierre De Geyter died, plus 80 years, would get to year 2012.
[10] Vulser, Nicole (April 8, 2005). "Siffloter "L'Internationale" peut coûter cher". Le Monde (in French). Retrieved December 7, 2015.
[11] The Guardian, Australia. "The International". pp. 16th paragraph. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25.
[12] (Chinese) Xinhua Net: 瞿秋白:译词传谱国际歌
[13] (Chinese) People's Daily: History of Chinese national anthems in a hundred years
[14] Modern History Sourcebook: The Internationale
[15] A.V. Lunacharskiy(ed). "The International (in Russian)". Fundamental'naya Elektronnaya Biblioteka.
[16] David Walls, Sonoma State University. "Billy Bragg's Revival of Aging Anthems: Radical Nostalgia or Activist Inspiration?".
[17] The Internationale in 82 languages
[18] Billy Bragg sings the Internationale at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday concert, May 3, 2009: [1]
[19] Scottish musician Dick Gaughan supports an older British English version [2]
[20] Billy Bragg: Albums: The Internationale.
[21] Braester, 258
[22] Braester, Yomi (2001). "Memory at a standstill: 'street-smart history' in Jiang Wen's In the Heat of the Sun". Screen 42 (4): 350–362.

External links

Source: Wikipedia, copy taken on the 2016-01-11
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