Anthem of International Communism!



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L'Internationale was written in 1888 by Adolphe Degeyter (to lyrics written 1871 by Eugène Pottier) and embraced by the Socialist International as the transnational anthem or the working masses.

The Bolsheviks adopted L'Internationale as the Soviet national anthem.

In 1944 Stalin replaced it with the "Hymn of the Soviet Union" for reasons of morale -- battlefield reports indicated soldiers were more willing to die for Mother Russia than for an international working class.


L'Internationale on CD at Amazon.com


Amazon.com provides FREE RealAudio excerpts from all of the below, except the French version.


The Reds soundtrack (out of print) has a Russian version performed by the Moscow Radio Chorus. An epic choral sound, in the style of the old USSR.

A more symphonic Hungarian version is available on the Best of Communism CD (Vol. One). Songs sung in Hungarian. Includes a brief Lenin recording that is (naturally) in Russian.

Despite the CD's title, its liner promotes Statue Park, a Hungarian website critical of Communism.

Völker hört die Signale offers both German and French language versions of L'Internationale.

The French version is the longest of any on this page -- 6 stanzas. The German version runs 3 stanzas, as do the (above) Russian and (below) English versions. The (above) Hungarian version has only one stanza.

This French version seems the most complete -- and in the original language. A giddy Frenchman sings the stanzas solo, the refrain sung by an ebullient chorus.

Billy Bragg sings in English on The Internationale.  However, Bragg rewrote the lyrics.

Bragg explains that when "Pete Seeger asked me to sing the Internationale with him at the Vancouver Folk Festival, I told him I thought the English lyrics, whose translator is unknown, were archaic and often unsingable. He agreed and suggested I write some new lyrics to Degeyter's stirring tune." 

Thus does Bragg try to rehabilitate "L'Internationale," for unlike the producers of the Hungarian CD, Bragg still buys into the song's ideology. Included on his little CD (ca. 19 minutes total) is a paean to the Sandanistas.

Actress Judy Davis hums and sings L'Internationale in Children of the Revolution. Davis portrays an Australian Stalinist who one day meets her hero. Dead-on satire of the Western Communist "true believer."

Also features excellent film aging. Davis and her family age 40 years (1951 through 1991) without heavy pancake makeup.  Excellent supporting cast.



[variant words in square brackets]


Arise ye workers [starvelings] from your slumbers
Arise ye prisoners of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

And at last ends the age of cant.

Away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise

We'll change henceforth [forthwith] the old tradition [conditions]

And spurn the dust to win the prize.

So comrades, come rally
And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.

So comrades, come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race.

No more deluded by reaction
On tyrants only we'll make war

The soldiers too will take strike action

They'll break ranks and fight no more

And if those cannibals keep trying

To sacrifice us to their pride

They soon shall hear the bullets flying

We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

No saviour from on high delivers
No faith have we in prince or peer

Our own right hand the chains must shiver

Chains of hatred, greed and fear

E'er the thieves will out with their booty [give up their booty]

And give to all a happier lot.

Each [those] at the forge must do their duty

And we'll strike while the iron is hot.


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