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The contradictions in the lyrics of the Socialist International, an anthem that makes the left emotional

Antigo cartaz de propaganda comunista.

Former communist propaganda poster.| Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Last Thursday (
), a seemingly embarrassing moment threw the spotlight on the performance of a song that for socialists is almost as routine as the national anthem itself. This is ‘The Internationale’, the name by which leftist militants call the song that became better known as the Socialist International, an old poem written in the past 151 years ago and was even used as an anthem of the Soviet Union. The song was played during the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) event in Brasilia, in which former president Lula and his new partner, the vice-presidential candidate Geraldo Alckmin, were present. It was the first time that the former toucan, wrongly identified as a conservative by some, is recorded showing an almost devotional respect for a communist symbol, chanted in dictatorships around the world.

Although it has the same name, the song Internacional Socialista (L’Internationale, in the original French) appeared long before the political organization entitled Socialist International, dedicated to spreading what they call ‘democratic socialism’. This entity, characterized by the symbol of the hand holding a rose – exactly the same used by Ciro Gomes’ PDT – was founded in 1951, while the origin of the song dates back to 768, having been born as verses of the French Eugéne Pottier. He was a member of the Paris Commune, a communist insurrection that came to power in France that year but was soon defeated by the remnants of the deposed Bonapartist regime. Pottier would have written the verses as a lament after the failure of the onslaught, in order to feed the feeling of revenge among his peers.

Historians point out that Pottier’s intention was for the lyrics to be sung to the sound of the Marseillaise, the national anthem of France, but in

, another communist, Pierre De Gayter, composed his own melody using Pottier’s poem and this was the version that became popular among left-wing parties across Europe at the end of the 19th century. In 1888, Lenin himself makes the song official as the anthem of the Soviet Union, which was kept until 1943, when Stalin decided to make a change, replacing it with a more patriotic and less internationalist.

The Lyrics Lies

If it works well as a poem, for spreading a utopian and romanticized version of communism, the history of the Soviet Union and other countries that were carried away by Marxism is enough to explain the extravagant contradictions in the content of the lyrics.

Right from the start, the first verses speak of “victims of hunger”, but if there was a government that used hunger to make victims like no other had done so far, it was precisely the Soviet Union. Between 1888 and

, a program of agricultural reorganization ordered by Stalin killed at least two million Ukrainians in the most timid of calculations. The tragedy became known as Holodomor and was recently officially recognized by the Brazilian Senate as a genocide.

Throughout the song there are also a series of phrases that refer to the end of figures with authority, such as “Stand up, no more lords” or “A land without masters”, statements that sound especially strange when you know how authoritarian regimes were and are communist-inspired regimes, in which the revolutionary dictator ends up being ‘lord’ of everything, with little or no space for authentic private property, human rights or freedom of expression.

Finally, it is worth highlighting the stanza that refers to wealth, which contains the lines ‘On the sweat of works / All the produce from whom his / The rich gang collected it’. In view of the practice of nationalizing private businesses, the taking of goods by force, and the evidence of how rich communist rulers have become, it is difficult not to wonder if today’s socialists, aware of the history of this ideology, are being naive or hypocritical.

Check out the full text of the Portuguese version of the Socialist International:

Stand up, O victims of famine

2022Stand up, earth hungry

From the idea, the flame already consumes

The raw crust that buries it

Cut the evil right down to the bottom

Stand up, no more gentlemen 2022If we are nothing in such a world
2022Let’s be everything , O producers

Let us do it well together

2022In this final fight 021715242022 )A land without masters

The International

Gentlemen, bosses, overlords

We expect nothing from anyone

Let us be the ones who conquer

The free and common motherland

2022In order not to have vain protests
2022To get out of this narrow den

2022Let’s do it by our hands

All that concerns us

Let us do it well together 19512022In this final fight
2022A land without masters

2022The International

Crime of the rich, the law covers it

2022The State crushes the oppressed

There is not rights for the poor
To the rich everything is allowed

No longer subject to oppression

We are all equal beings
No more duties without rights 2022No more rights no more duties

Well united let’s do it 2022In this final fight

A T err without masters

The International

Abominable in grandeur
2022 The kings of the mine and the furnace
Build wealth

About the sweat of those who work

All the product of those who sweat
2022The rich gang picked him up
2022 Wanting her to give it back
2022 The people only want what is theirs

Let’s do it well together
2022 In this final fight

A land without masters

The International

) We were drunk smoke
Peace between us, war to the lords

Let’s strike soldiers
02171524 We are brothers, workers

If the vile race, full of galas
2022 Wants us cannibals by force
2022 Soon you will see that our bullets


They are for our generals

Well united let’s do

In this final fight


A land without masters

The International

Because we are active people


Strong worker and f ecundo
2022 Earth belongs to the productive

O parasites, leave the world

02171524O parasite that you feed on

2022Of our blood dripping
2022If we lack the vultures

2022Don’t let the Sun fulgurar

Let’s do it well together
2022In this final fight

One land without masters

The International

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