The Internationale

Stand up, all victims of oppression
For the tyrants fear your might
Don’t cling so hard to your possessions
For you have nothing, if you have no rights
Let racist ignorance be ended
For respect makes the empires fall
Freedom is merely privilege extended
Unless enjoyed by one and all

Chorus:
So come brothers and sisters
For the struggle carries on
The Internationale
Unites the world in song
So comrades come rally
For this is the time and place
The international ideal
Unites the human race

Let no one build walls to divide us
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us
We’ll live together or we’ll die alone
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations
We’ve but one Earth on which to live

And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour
We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by like and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above

I dreamed I saw Phil Ochs last night
Alive as you and me
Says I to Phil “You’re ten years dead”
“I never died” says he
“I never died” says he

The music business killed you Phil
They ignored the things you said
And cast you out when fashions changed
Says Phil “But I ain’t dead”
Says Phil “But I ain’t dead”

The FBI harassed you Phil
They smeared you with their lies
Says he “But they could never kill
What they could not compromise
I never compromised”

“Though fashion’s changed and critics sneered
The songs that I have sung
Are just as true tonight as then
The struggle carries on
The struggle carries on”

With the song of freedom rings out loud
From valleys and from hills
Where people stand up for their rights
Phil Ochs is with us still
Phil Ochs inspires us still

Here we are, seeking out the Reds
Trying to keep the communists in order
Just remember when you’re sleeping in your beds
They’re only two days drive from the Texas border

How can a country large as ours
Be scared of such a threat
Well if they won’t work for us
They’re against us you can bet
They may be sovereign countries
But you folks at home forget
That they all want what we’ve got
But they don’t know it yet

We’re making the world safe for capitalism

Here we come with our candy and our guns
And our corporate muscle marches in behind us
For freedom’s just another world for nothing left to sell
And if you want narcotics we can get you those as well

We help the multi-nationals
When they cry out protect us
The locals scream and shout a bit
But we don’t let that affect us
We’re here to lend a helping hand
In case they don’t elect us
How dare they buy our products
Yet still they don’t respect us

We’re making the world safe for capitalism

If you thought the army
Was here protecting people like yourself
I’ve some news for you
We’re here to defend wealth
Away with nuns and bishops
The Good Lord will help those that help themselves
I’ve some news for you
We’re here to defend wealth

We’re making the world safe for capitalism

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the Holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?
And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Amongst these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of Fire.
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

Oh Nicaragua Nicaraguita
The most beautiful flower dearest to my heart
The hero and martyr Diriangen
Died for you
Nicaraguita
Oh Nicaragua you are even sweeter
Than the honey from Tamagas
But now that you are free
Nicaraguita
I love you much more
But now that you are free
Nicaraguita
I love you much more

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 to every fold

Chorus:
Then raise the scarlet standard high
Beneath its folds we’ll 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

Chorus

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

Chorus

It suits today the meek and base
Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
To cringe beneath the rich man’s frown
And haul that sacred emblem down

Chorus

With heads uncovered swear we all
To bare it onward till we fall
Come dungeons dark or gallows grim
This song shall be our parting hymn

Chorus

My youngest son came home today
His friends marched with him all the way
The fife and drum beat out the time
While in his box of polished pine
Like dead meat on a butcher’s tray
My youngest son same home today

My youngest son was a fine young man
With a wife, a daughter and two sons
And a man he would have lived and died
Till by a bullet sanctified
Now he’s a saint or so they say
They brought their young saint home today

An Irish sky looks down and weeps
Upon the narrow Belfast streets
At children’s blood in gutters spilled
In dreams of glory unfulfilled
As part of freedom’s price to pay
My youngest son came home today

My youngest son came home today
His friends marched with him all the way
The pipe and drum beat out the time
While in his box of polished pine
Like dead meat on a butcher’s tray
My youngest son came home today
And this time he’s here to stay

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© Billy Bragg 2019