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The Internationale
August 3, 2005 1:52 PM   Subscribe

The Internationale, written in 1871 by Eugene Pottier (lyrics) and P. Degeyter (music), has been (and will be) the theme of a variety of Marxist and non-Marxist socialist groups around the world. This Norwegian site catalogues a healthy sampling of MP3 versions of this stirring ballad; my personal favorite is Billy Bragg's [MP3, 8.9 MB]. But for the chuckles, nothing beats this [.wav] rousing folk version, complete with cartoonish accent.
posted by ford and the prefects (25 comments total)

 
Here it is broadcast from the moon.

(Hope the link works if not see Luna-10 at the bottom here)
posted by Pollomacho at 1:55 PM on August 3, 2005


variety of Marxist and non-Marxist socialist groups

forgive my ignorance, but I didn't know it was possible to be a non-Marxist socialist.

I also remember reading in a bography of Woody Guthrie that when he hooked up with the Socialists during the depression, that he was flabbergasted that their idea of "entertainment for the people" was stuff like choirs singing "Internationale," and wrote "This Land Is Your Land," and starting picthing them traditional blues and country numbers to set them straight.
posted by jonmc at 1:56 PM on August 3, 2005


Socialism predates Marxism, which is just one form of socialism. Marx himself argued that some of the earliest forms of human organization were essentially socialist in structure.
posted by maxsparber at 2:03 PM on August 3, 2005


My favorite version is by Soul Flower Mononoke Summit.
posted by maurice at 2:08 PM on August 3, 2005


Woody wrote "This Land Is Your Land" in reaction to "God Bless America".

In February 1940, Guthrie wrote "This Land is Your Land" in reaction to Irving Berlin's song "God Bless America." Guthrie heard Berlin's song repeatedly while he traveled cross-country and became increasingly annoyed that it glossed over the lop-sided distribution of land and wealth that he was observing and had experienced as a child. Although Guthrie was no statistician his observations accurately reflected the fact that, even in the depths of the Depression, nearly 20 percent of the nation's wealth rested with one percent of its population.
posted by ursus_comiter at 2:11 PM on August 3, 2005


I know there's a clever answer to this - can anyone think of another song which has been translated into more languages than the Internationale? Here's a big list of the translations made so far.

I hope there is one, otherwise the commies win.
posted by unperplex at 2:13 PM on August 3, 2005


I'll go with 'This Land is Your Land' over 'God bless america' any day. Speaks to my heart much more than. . . that other song. . .
I also remember hearing that one a lot in classrooms during the sixties. I was a military brat stationed overseas, go figure... Perhaps all the teachers on the military bases were god-forsaken commies. . .
posted by mk1gti at 2:19 PM on August 3, 2005


"I didn't know it was possible to be a non-Marxist socialist."

Most people don't. Actually socialism and communism predate Marxism, which is a subcategory of socialism. (Which I see maxsparber beat me to.)

I love Wikipedia, though I sometimes disagree. For starters there's the History of Socialism article, the Libertarian Socialism one (my kind), and the one on the First International. If you really care, I recommend leafing through the links from its "Category:Socialism" page, and so on.
posted by davy at 2:22 PM on August 3, 2005


I propose a lyrical re-write. Something like:

"Get up lard-asses from your couches,
Put aside your Dish remote,
Don't just sit and stuff your faces
While them rich sons of bitches gloat..."
posted by davy at 2:39 PM on August 3, 2005


Or should it be "sofas"? Is that like "soda" and "pop"?
posted by davy at 2:43 PM on August 3, 2005


Jonmc: forgive my ignorance, but I didn't know it was possible to be a non-Marxist socialist
In Europe at least, most of the people who call themselves "socialists" are non-Marxist (i.e. they don't call themselves marxists and have parted ways with marxists a long time ago).
BTW, this seems to be as confusing to Americans as are US Christian denominations to Europeans. Staying with some very liberal US friends in Berkeley some years ago, I really had trouble understanding their questions, because the fact that my (then) government was "socialist" led them to believe some really strange things. More recently I had to set the record staight with a conservative guy in another forum, as he had trouble understanding the difference betwen "socialist" Vietnam and "socialist" Sweden.
posted by elgilito at 3:21 PM on August 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


I like Billy Bragg's version, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the more modern styling of New York's Maxx Klaxon.
posted by mkhall at 3:29 PM on August 3, 2005 [1 favorite]


I guess the poster forgot to include a link to the website in question in the FPP, but I think this is it.
posted by mr.marx at 3:43 PM on August 3, 2005


I'll go with 'This Land is Your Land' over 'God bless america' any day. Speaks to my heart much more than. . . that other song. . .

I agree wholeheartedly, although I do like "that other song" too, but I'm weird. I might have got the chronology wrong but I do remember a lengthy section in the bio about Woody setting the leftists straight on musical matters, though.
posted by jonmc at 4:51 PM on August 3, 2005


Thanks, mr.marx—I was pretty annoyed that the poster omitted the most interesting link. I'm a sucker for the song, despite its unfortunate association with Bolshevism (it was a real thrill to hear my man Toscanini conduct it!); here's a site that has the words in even more languages, including Breton and Kirghiz.
posted by languagehat at 5:22 PM on August 3, 2005


While we're at it, let's also have a quick rendition of:

"The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts blood dyed its every fold.

Then raise the scarlet banner high,
Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here."

Do New Labour still sing the Red Flag, I wonder?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:25 PM on August 3, 2005


Thanks for the info on non-Marxist socialism, I may have to do some investiagting. Maybe I'll find an ideology that suits me yet.
posted by jonmc at 5:34 PM on August 3, 2005


Genius! The folkie version- priceless. I haven't laughed so hard since I saw the scullery knock over the bucket outside the dying John Reed's hospital room in Reds. A thousand thanks. Who is the singer? And what's on the b side?
posted by IndigoJones at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2005


jonmc, it's said that Woody became involved with the Wobblies during his travels, and tried to learn their official party Little Red Songbook, but soon realized he could write better songs than any of them. When he reached New York City, he was "embraced" by city socialists enchanted by his Okie "authenticity". I don't think these are mutually exclusive.
posted by dhartung at 9:12 PM on August 3, 2005


I also prefer "This Land" to both "God Bless America" and "The Star Spangled Banner," which IMO is a horrible choice for a national anthem. It's not as if there aren't better choices out there.

Hell, I'd even be willing to put up with the references to god...
posted by hifiparasol at 10:09 PM on August 3, 2005


Hey, sorry I didn't post the other link. Didn't mean to annoy: I don't know if I can still claim newbie ignorance, but if I can, then I damn well do.
posted by ford and the prefects at 12:49 AM on August 4, 2005



Do New Labour still sing the Red Flag, I wonder?


They do indeed, or at least started to again in 2003 (says Wikipedia) - I'm pretty sure I remember seeing Blair belting it out relatively recently. Which made me feel ill.

Cracking post, anyway, ford and the prefects (cracking username too, for that matter!)
posted by jack_mo at 4:07 AM on August 4, 2005


Dhartung -

I'm not sure how one writes better poetry than "Dump the Bosses Off Your Back," or:
Oh Mr. Block, you were born by mistake
You take the cake
You make me ache
Go tie a rock on your block
And go jump in a lake
Kindly do that for liberty's sake
Heh. The point of the Wobbly songs isn't that they were good. They reflected the early Wobblies. (Most of us today are at least partly ideologically motivated.)
posted by graymouser at 8:29 AM on August 4, 2005


The workers' flag is turning pink
It's not as red as people think;
The working class can kiss my ass
I've got the foreman's job at last.

(An old parody.)
posted by davy at 9:14 AM on August 4, 2005


elgilito, while socialists in Europe may not consider themselves Marxists, it's interesting to note that the predominant socialist ideology in Europe, social democracy, is descended from Marxism. The original social democrats did consider themselves Marxists, but felt that capitalism could be ameliorated without violent proletarian revolution, and that reformism could gradually introduce the advantages of a Marxist-socialist society without abolishing the capitalist society first.
posted by bpt at 6:15 AM on August 5, 2005


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