The Red Flag

From Communpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is about the socialist anthem. For other uses, see Red flag (disambiguation).

</td></tr>

The Red Flag
Lyrics Jim Connell, 1889
Music Ernst Anschütz, 1824

Music sample
File:Oh Christmas Tree.ogg

"The Red Flag" is a song associated with left-wing politics, in particular with socialism. It is the semi-official anthem of the British Labour Party,[1][2] and the official anthem of the Northern Irish Social Democratic and Labour Party and Irish Labour Party. The song is traditionally sung at the close of each party's national conference.

History

The lyrics of the song were written by Irishman Jim Connell in 1889.[3] There are six stanzas, each followed by the chorus. It is normally sung to the tune of "Lauriger Horatius", better known as the German carol "O Tannenbaum", though Connell had wanted it sung to the tune of a pro-Jacobite Robert Burns anthem, "The White Cockade".[4] The lyrics of the first verse and the chorus, which are the most well-known parts of the song, are as follows:

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyr'd dead
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold.
Then raise the scarlet standard high,
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.[5]

"The Red Flag" resonated with the early radical workers’ movement in the United States, and it appeared as the first song in the first edition of the Little Red Songbook of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1909. Only five of the six stanzas were printed, omitting the fourth stanza that begins, "It well recalls the triumphs past."[6]

"The Red Flag" has been the British Labour Party's official anthem from its founding; its annual party conference closes with the song. "The Red Flag" was first sung in the House of Commons on Aug. 1, 1945, when Parliament convened after Labour’s defeat of Winston Churchill’s Conservatives.[7] It was sung by Labour MPs on 27 May 1976, allegedly prompting Michael Heseltine to swing the mace above his head. [8] It was also sung on the evening of 28 March 1979 when a motion of no confidence brought down the Labour Government. [9] It was sung again in Parliament in February 2006 to mark the centenary of the Labour Party’s founding. During the Tony Blair years the leadership sought to downplay its role.[1][10]

Lyrics

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its every fold.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
The sturdy German chants its praise,
In Moscow's vaults its hymns were sung
Chicago swells the surging throng.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
It waved above our infant might,
When all ahead seemed dark as night;
It witnessed many a deed and vow,
We must not change its colour now.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
It well recalls the triumphs past,
It gives the hope of peace at last;
The banner bright, the symbol plain,
Of human right and human gain.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
It suits today the weak and base,
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe before the rich man's frown,
And haul the sacred emblem down.
Then raise the scarlet standard high.
Within its shade we live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.
With head uncovered swear we all
To bear it onward till we fall;
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
This song shall be our parting hymn.[11]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Red Flag ends Labour rally", BBC News, 1 October 1999. Retrieved on 21 December 2011. 
  2. "Labour Party Anthems – Top 10 songs the Labour Party has used over the years", Daily Mirror, 7 April 2010. Retrieved on 21 December 2011. 
  3. It first appeared in print in the paper Justice, December 21, 1889, under the heading "A Christmas Carol," with subheadings, "The Red Flag," "Air – ‘The White Cockade,’" and signed "J. Connell."
  4. Jim Connell, "How I Wrote the "Red Flag," The Call, May 6, 1920, p. 5; reprinted in Archie Green, David Roediger, Franklin Rosemont, and Salvatore Salerno, editors, The Big Red Songbook (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 2007), pp. 367–369.
  5. Dr Helena Sheehan. The Red Flag (sound files). Webpages.dcu.ie. URL accessed on 2012-06-02.
  6. Archie Green et al., eds., The Big Red Songbook, pp. 37–39.
  7. Joe Glazer, Labor’s Troubadour (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001). p. 183.
  8. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/82544.stm
  9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/28/newsid_2531000/2531007.stm
  10. Simon Hoggart. "Red Flag rises above a dodgy future", The Guardian, 28 September 2007. Retrieved on 21 December 2011. 
  11. Connell, Jim The Red Flag: author Jim Connell (1852 -1929) "raise the scarlet standard high". YouTube. URL accessed on 2012-06-02.

External links


This page contains information from Wikipedia (view authors). It has been modified so that it meets Communpedia's standards. WP