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Billy Bragg’s version of The Internationale

September 1, 2008

Stand up, all victims of oppression,
For the tyrants fear your might!
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions,
For you have nothing if you have no rights!
Let racist ignorance be ended,
For respect makes the empires fall!
Freedom is merely privilege extended,
Unless enjoyed by one and all.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

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 live.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

And so begins the final drama,
In the streets and in the fields.
We stand unbowed before their armour,
We defy their guns and shields!
When we fight, provoked by their aggression,
Let us be inspired by life and love.
For though they offer us concessions,
Change will not come from above!
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

Bonus links: Image of first published version, 1888, by Pierre Degeyter (1848–1932) with the lyrics written in 1870 by Eugène Pottier (1816–1887). Too musty? Get an “Internationale” ringtone.

Addendum: Billy Bragg at Harbourfront in Toronto, June 17, 2008:

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2 Comments
  1. September 2, 2008 11:31 am

    For Labour Day celebrators, here is a copy of my letter that the TJ did not choose to publish:

    BASHING DISSENTERS

    The Telegraph-Journal appears to be running a campaign against dissenters.

    First there is the largest close-up photo – like a police mug shot – that I can recall ever seeing in my 10 years of reading the paper. That was Patty Higgens, facial pores and all, who voted not to accept the majority view of City Council on the proposal for an Irving Oil headquarters on Long Wharf.

    Then I read that MLA Abel LeBlanc is conducting an “insurgence,” and the paper calls on the Premier to fire Abel for doing what democracy permits and expects – no matter on which side of the legislature one sits.

    The paper continues union bashing by reference to The International Longshoremen’s Union Local 273 as “protective of its turf.” Are The Telegraph-Journal and Irving interests not protect of their turf?

    I do not understand that LeBlanc is advocating or inciting violence, although I believe he is aware of a history of labour violence in the Port City. Is The Telegraph-Journal in denial of that history?

    If one “thrives off the energy of political protest,” does that make one culpable of a crime against democracy?

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