Monday, 1 May 2017

alistair hulet and jimmy gregory - the internationale

Following my previous  post another one : This one makes me think of the connections between the two ways of thinking that I am drawn to, the balance between being part of a greater whole, solidarity, oneness, and then the importance of diversity and individual freedom.
As its International Worker's Day here's  Alistair Hulet and Jimmy Gregory doing Alistair's  version of the 19th century left wing anthem  that came out of the Paris Commune : The Internationale." (French: "L'Internationale"). It has been one of the most recognizable and popular songs of the socialist movement since the late 19th century, when the Second International (now the Socialist International) adopted it as its official anthem. The title arises from the "First International", an alliance of socialist parties formed by Marx and Engels which held a congress in 1864. The author of the anthem's lyrics, Eugène Pottier, attended this congress.
The original French refrain of the song is C'est la lutte finale / Groupons-nous et demain / L'Internationale / Sera le genre humain. (English: "This is the final struggle / Let us group together and tomorrow / The Internationale / Will be the human race.") "The Internationale" has been translated into many languages. It is often sung with the left hand raised in a clenched fist salute and is sometimes followed (in English-speaking places) with a chant of "The workers united will never be defeated." "The Internationale" has been celebrated by socialists, communists, anarchists, democratic socialists, and some social democrats.
The original French words were written in June 1871 by Eugène Pottier (1816--1887, previously a member of the Paris Commune) and were originally intended to be sung to the tune of "La Marseillaise". Pierre De Geyter (1848--1932) set the poem to music in 1888. His melody was first publicly performed in July 1888 and became widely used soon after.
Today many will be singing  it on May Day,  honoured by labourers and the working class, promoted by the international labour movement, socialists, anarchists and communists alike . The celebration of Mayday as a working class holiday evolved from the struggle for the eight-hour day in the USA in the1880’s. In 1884, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution stating that eight hours would constitute a legal day's work from and after May 1, 1886. The resolution called for a general strike to achieve the goal. With workers being forced to work ten, twelve, and fourteen hours a day, rank-and-file support for the eight-hour movement grew rapidly, despite the indifference and hostility of many union leaders. Revolutionaries believed in the struggle for an eight-hour day. A protest and rally was called in Chicago on the first of May 1886 after trade unionists had been hanged and imprisoned. Over one million American workers demonstrated for an eight hour day; despite being fired on by Chicago police, they succeeded in their demands
By 1890, the initial protest in Chicago had spread into an international protest for worker’s rights.
 Leaders of the Second International requested an international day of protest to be in held in May 1890. The UK demonstration took place and in Hyde Park, London alone – attracted 300,000 protesters. It was originally intended to be a one-off protest but it created a boom of trade unionism. It has since  helped advocate renewal, revival and of course that  powerful  trait known as solidarity, a time to organise around issues that are of vital importance today. This celebration is as relevant today as it was in 1890, a time to remember our triumphs and past struggles. Today more than ever we have to stand up to workers rights.  You only have to look at the Tories' approach to workers’ rights to see how our hard-won gains are at risk as they seek to remove  regulations that protect us.

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