Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Red Flag by Jim Connell

Well here it is the first in a series of mini posts. The Red Flag by Jim Connell is one of the oldest Socialist anthems, made in 1889 by Irish song writer Jim Connell originally sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum or O Christmas Tree in English. In my view this is much better then the English version of the Socialist Internationale which aside from the noble sentiment its lyrics are almost un listen-able. It is the Anthem of the British Labour party which ends its annual conference with a big sing along. Cynics might like to point out the irony of having lyrics such as "cowards flinch, and traitors sneer" being sung by the New Labour clique during the Blair years though.

Lyrics here

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 standard high. (chorus)
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here."

Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow's vaults its hymns are sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.

It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.

It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.

It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.

With heads uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn

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