The song of the First and Second International, it was written by a transport worker after the Paris Commune was crushed by the French government. The song was later used as the first Soviet Union National Anthem and Anthem of the (Third) Communist International, until 1944 when the latter was disolved.
Written by: Eugène Pottier - Paris, June 1871
Music by: Pierre Degeyter - 1888,
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.
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.
Adaptation of Charles H. Kerr translation from the original, for The IWW Songbook (34th Edition).
Arise ye pris’ners of starvation
Arise ye wretched of the earth
For justice thunders condemnation
A better world’s in birth!
No more tradition’s chains shall bind us
Arise, ye slaves, no more in thrall;
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been naught we shall be all.
’Tis the final conflict
Let each stand in his place
The International Working Class
Shall be the human race.
We want no condescending saviors
To rule us from their judgement 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 its cell
We must ourselves decide our duty
We must decide and do it well.
The law oppresses us and tricks us,
The wage slave system drains our blood;
The rich are free from obligation,
The laws the poor delude.
Too long we’ve languished in subjection,
Equality has other laws;
"No rights", says she "without their duties,
No claims on equals without cause."
Behold them seated in their glory
The kings of mine and rail and soil!
What have you read in all their story,
But how they plundered toil?
Fruits of the workers’ toil are buried
In strongholds of the idle few
In working for their restitution
The men will only claim their due.
We toilers from all fields united
Join hand in hand with all who work;
The earth belongs to us, the workers,
No room here for the shirk.
How many on our flesh have fattened!
But if the norsome birds of prey
Shall vanish from the sky some morning
The blessed sunlight then will stay.
Source: Eugène Pottier, Chants Révolutionnaires. Paris, Comité Pottier, [n.d. 1890-1900]
Translated: for marxists.org by Mitchell Abidor
Translator’s note: Eugène Pottier wrote the “Internationale” just weeks after the crushing of the Paris Commune, in June 1871. Hiding from the authorities, soon to be condemned to death in absentia, he wrote it while waiting to flee to London. Published in his 1887 collection “Chants Révolutionnaires,” it was set to music a year later by Pierre Degeyter, but did not immediately become the hymn of the international working class. In fact, in 1893, when Engels addressed the International Workers Congress in Zurich, the delegates sang the “Marseillaise.” According to the French historian Michel Winock it was the followers of Jules Guesde in the Socialist Party of France who first adopted the song at the time of the Dreyfus Affair, and it was in 1900 that they presented it at the International Congress in Paris. It was only then that the song began its conquest of the world.
The following translation is a literal one of all the song’s stanzas. Most other translations are meant to be sung, and so radically change Pottier’s original sense. This is the song as Pottier wrote it.
To Citizen Lefranςais, member of the Commune
’Tis the final conflict,
Let us unite and tomorrow,
Will be the human race
Arise, the damned of the earth!
Arise, prisoners of hunger!
Reason thunders in its crater,
’Tis the eruption of the end.
Let’s make a clean slate of the past,
Enslaved mass, arise, arise!
The world’s foundation will change,
We are nothing, now let’s be all!
There are no supreme saviors,
Neither God, nor Caesar nor tribune;
Producers, let us save ourselves,
We decree common salvation!
So that the thief should offer us his throat
So that spirit be wrested from its cell,
Let us fan the forge’s flames ourselves
And strike while the iron is hot.
The state represses, the law cheats,
Taxes bleed the poor;
No duties are imposed on the rich,
The rights of the poor are empty words,
We have languished long enough under domination,
Equality wants other laws:
“No rights without duties,” it says
“Equals, there are no duties without rights.”
Hideous in their apotheosis,
The kings of mines and rails,
Have they ever done aught
But rob from labor?
In the safes of that gang
What is created is smelted,
By decreeing that they turn it over
The people only want what is their due.
Kings intoxicated us with smoke,
Peace among us, war on tyrants!
Let’s apply the strike to armies,
Rifle butts raised on high and breaking ranks.
And if they insist, those cannibals,
On making heroes of us,
They’ll soon learn that our bullets
Are for our own generals.
Workers, farmers, we are
The great party of the workers,
The earth belongs only to men,
Idlers can go someplace else.
How many on our flesh eat their fill?
But if the ravens, the vultures
One morning disappeared
The sun would shine still!
’Tis the final conflict
Let us unite and tomorrow,
Will be the human race
— Paris, June 1871
Marching Song of the Revolutionary Proletariat
Source: The Weekly People, April 26th, 1924.
Also Published: in May Day vs. Labor Day, Olive M. Johnson, Socialist Labor Party pamphlet, 1936; Daniel De Leon editorial “Damned Men of Toil,” Daily People, 1912.
Transcribed: by Alan Barbour.
Sheet Music: The International. Marching Song of the Revolutionary Proletariat;
Source: Sheet Music Collection (University of Illinois at Chicago);
Published: by Labor News Co., 45 Rose St., New York City (S.L.P.), 1911.
Stand up! Ye wretched ones who labor,
Stand up! Ye galley-slaves of want.
Man’s reason thunders from its crater,
‘Tis th’ eruption naught can daunt.
Of the past let us cleanse the tables,
Mass enslaved, fling back the call,
Old Earth is changing her foundations,
We have been nothing, now be all.
‘Tis the last call [Alt. “cause”] to battle!
Close the ranks, each in place,
The staunch old International
Shall be the Human race.
[Evidently alternate first two lines of Chorus,
“’Tis the class-strife’s triumphant,
last and mighty tug-of-war!”]
There are no saviors e’er will help us,
Nor God, nor Caesar, nor Tribune,
’tis ours, O workers, must the blows be
That shall win the common boon.
From the thief to wring his stolen booty,
From the its prison to free the soul.
’tis we ourselves must ply the bellows,
‘Tis we must beat the anvil’s roll.
The state is false, the law mockery,
And exploitation bows us down;
The rich man flaunts without a duty,
And the poor man’s rights are none.
Long enough have we in swaddling languished,
Lo, Equality’s new law
“Away with rights that know no duties,
Away with duties shorn of rights.”
All hideous in their brutal lordship
Stand king of mill and mine and rail.
When have they e'er performed a service,
Or at work done aught but quail?
In the coffers of these robber barons,
Blind the world’s great wealth is thrown,
In summ'ning them to restitution,
The people seeks but what’s its own.
Toilers from shop and field united,
The Party we of all who work;
The earth belongs to those who labor,
Hence! the idler and the shirk!
Say, how many on our flesh have feasted?
But if all this vampire flight
Should vanish from the sky some morning,
The sun will still shine on us as bright!
1. Helen Keller to Eugene V. Debs, 1919.
2. Daniel De Leon editorial “Damned Men of Toil,” Daily People, 1912
The original lyrics in French.
Debout! les damnés de la terre
Debout! les forçats de la faim
La raison tonne en son cratère,
C’est l’éruption de la fin.
Du passé 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
Sera le genre humain.
Il n’est pas de sauveurs suprêmes:
Ni dieu, ni césar, ni tribun,
Producteurs, sauvons-nous nous-mêmes!
Décrétons le salut commun!
Pour que le voleur rende gorge,
Pour tirer l’esprit du cachot
Soufflons nous-mêmes notre forge,
Battons le fer quand il est chaud!
L’etat opprime et la loi triche,
L’impôt 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’égalité veut d’autres lois;
«Pas de droits sans devoirs», dit-elle,
«Egaux, pas de devoirs sans droits!»
Hideux dans leur apothéose,
Les rois de la mine et du rail
Ont-ils jamais fait autre chose
Que dévaliser le travail?
Dans les coffres-forts de la bande
Ce qu’il a créé s’est fondu.
En décrétant qu’on le lui rende
Le peuple ne veut que son dû.
Les rois nous saoulaient de fumées.
Paix entre nous, guerre aux tyrans!
Appliquons la grève aux armées,
Crosse en l’air et rompons les rangs!
S’ils s’obstinent, ces cannibales,
A faire de nous des héros,
Ils sauront bientôt que nos balles
Sont pour nos propres généraux.
Ouvriers, paysans, nous sommes
Le grand parti des travailleurs;
La terre n’appartient qu’aux hommes,
L’oisif ira loger ailleurs.
Combien de nos chairs se repaissent!
Mais si les corbeaux, les vautours,
Un de ces matins disparaissent,
Le soleil brillera toujours!
Lyrics: A. Kots
December 21, 2015
The International Anthem: English /Français/ Русский
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