Political nostalgia and reality


This video of the twenty-first century Scottish folk music version of a nineteenth century song, originally in French, says about itself:

English Internationale (with lyrics)

9 September 2008

The British/Irish version of the Internationale sung by Alistair Hulett. Enjoy!

Promising movements for a better society keep arising. Then, they are confronted with difficulties, and may decline.

Some reactions to this are like: ‘In the nineteenth, or twentieth, century all workers fought in solidarity with each other … Then, there was still mass socialist consciousness… While now … All was better in the age of grandfather …’

People reacting like this to problems should listen again to the most famous socialist song, the Internationale. Its lyrics are by Eugène Pottier. Pottier wrote them in June 1871, one month after the bloody defeat of the Paris Commune. The First International, to which the lyrics refer, became defunct five years later.

The first line of the (anonymous) English translation is Arise! ye workers, from your slumbers. So, it says that quite some workers are not awake, but asleep. So, everything was not automatically better for efforts to make a better society in the age of great-great-great-great-grandfather.

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