An arrangement of the utopic workers' tune that avoids anthemism by starting with a bass-driven hip-hop beat and breaking into a swing blues for the choruses. Quotations from Aaron Copeland ("Fanfare for the Common Man"), Bob Marley ("Get Up Stand Up"), Missy Eliott ("Work it") and Cypress Hill ("Real Estate," ironically enough) enliven matters.
Here's a video of us on a cold day with a snippet of the song: http://vimeo.com/19002740
The RMO's Julie Bero with some informal notes on the history:
In short, the Internationale is the worldwide song of both Marxist and non-Marxist socialist parties. The longer history of the song is
a bit more complex. The words are a poem written in French by a member of the Paris Commune (see below), Eugene Pottier, and set to music by P. Degeyter for his French Workers' Party Choir (first performed in 1888). The "Internationale" referred to is the International Working Men's Association, which was an international organization that united different leftist and
trade union groups that focused on the working class and class struggle. Following an international Socialist congress in Copenhagen in 1910, the song was officially adopted by those present as the Socialist anthem.
The Internationale has been used across the world as a song of resistance to oppression by a whole slew of lefties:
socialists, anarchists, marxists, labor unions, and civil rights activists. The song is still well
known and well respected in the modern labor movement as a song that
represents the ongoing struggle for wage equality, rights protections, and
amenable working conditions. The Internationale was also sung by protesting
students in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
British singer and labor activist Billy Bragg rewrote the lyrics and repopularized the song after a discussion with folksinger Pete Seeger during
which they decided the lyrics were out of touch with modern activist movements. Billy Bragg recently performed his version a capella at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday concert, in celebration of the folk singer and in solidarity with workers around the world, which I think speaks to the lasting power and importance of this song.
"Let no one build walls to divide us/ Walls of hatred nor walls of stone/
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us/ We'll live together or we'll die
alone/ In our world poisoned by exploitation/ Those who have taken, now they
must give/ And end the vanity of nations/ We've but one earth on which to
Jonathan Goldman/Trumpet Monkey/Jonny Semi-Colón