The "Internationale" is the song of the Paris "Commune" of 1871. On Sep 4, 1870, the republic was proclaimed in Paris, and from Mar 18 to May 28, 1871, workers and radical citizens established the "Commune", propagating radical reforms like legislation by the workers, equal rights for women, a Proletarian People's Militia, controled prices and compulsory attendance of schools. The "Commune" was overthrown with the help of Prussian troups.
Eugéne Pottier wrote the original French lyrics shortly after the defeat of the communards; his verses were set to music by Pierre Degeyter in 1888. The English version reprinted here, which contains references to the Russian revolution, was transcribed from a recording by The New Singers, an unidentified male chorus with Marc Blitzstein, piano, NYC, Fall 1935 (original issue: Timely 526; reissued on "Songs for Political Action", Bear Family Records, BCD 15720, 1996).
Arise, you prisoners of starvation. Arise, you wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation, for a better world's in birth.
No more tradition's change shall bind us. Arise you slaves, no more in thrall.
The earth shall rise on new foundation: we have been naught, we shall be all.
'Tis the final conflict, let each stand in his place.
The International Soviet shall be the human race.
We want no condescending saviors to rule us from a judgment hall
We workers ask not for their favors, let us consult for all.
To make the thief disgorge his booty, to free the spirit from your cell
We must ourselves decide our dutv, we must decide and do it well.
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