Union Songs

The Internationale

Words by Eugene Pottier (Paris 1871) 
Music by Pierre Degeyter (1888)
Arrangement by Jerry Engelbach (2001)
The Internationale (over 40 versions)

Debout, les damns de la terre
Debout, les forats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratre
C'est l'ruption de la faim
Du pass╗ faisons table rase
Foule esclave, debout, debout
Le monde va changer de base
Nous ne sommes rien, soyons tout

C'est la lutte finale
Groupons nous et demain
L'Internationnale
Sera le genre humain

Il n'est pas de sauveurs supr mes
Ni Dieu, ni Csar, ni Tribun
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-m mes
D╗cr└tons le salut commun
Pour que le voleur rende gorge
Pour tirer l'esprit du cachot
Souflons nous-m me notre force
Battons du fer tant qu'il est chaud

L'Etat comprime et la Loi triche
L'impčt saigne le malheureux
Nul devoir ne s'impose au riche
Le droit du pauvre est un mot creux
C'est assez languir en tutelle
L'Egalit╗ veut d'autres lois
"Pas de droits sans devoirs, dit-elle
Egaux pas de devoirs sans droits"

Hideux dans leur apoth╗ose
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que d╗valiser le travail?
Dans les coffres-forts de la banque
Ce qu'il a cr╗e s'est fondu
En d╗cr╗tant qu'on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dŠ

Les rois nous saoŠlaient de fume
Paix entre nous , guerre aux Tyrans
Appliquons la gr└ve aux armes
Crosse en l'air et rompons les rangs
S'ils s'obstinent ces cannibales
A faire de nous des h╗ros
Ils sauront bientčt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres generaux

Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs
La terre n'appartient qu'aux hommes
L'oisif ira loger aileur
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours
Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours

English version

Arise ye workers 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 the old tradition 
And spurn the dust to win the prize 
       
Chorus
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 
And give to all a happier lot 
Each at the forge must do their duty 
And we'll strike while the iron is hot   

Notes

The Internationale was written to celebrate the Paris Commune of March-May 1871: the first time workers took state power into their own hands. They established in the Commune a form of government more democratic than ever seen before. Representatives were mandated on policy questions by their electors, they were recallable at any time and were paid wages that reflected those of their constituents. Marx's Civil War in France is a contemporary account of the history and significance of the Commune. The Commune was drowned in blood by the conservative French government in Versailles, cheered on by the ruling classes of the world. The words were written by poet Eugene Pottier one of Communards who was killed and the music by was written by his friend the composer Pierre Degeyter in 1888.

The song is still sung right around the world and Rob Elders in Holland has collected over 40 versions The Internationale (over 40 versions) Please let know if you come across any more.

See Paris Commune for history and articles about the commune

Many thanks to Jerry Engelbach for his arrangement of the music (see Arrangement above)

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