Friday, October 01, 2010

Anti-American Art: Machine Gun Sing-Along

Today is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China; here's a Chinese poster from the bygone era of Chinese Anti-Americanism, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. While it doesn't mention the U.S. by name, this 1971 poster marking the centenary of the Communist anthem "The Internationale" displays the a particularly militant tableau of world revolutionaries united in defiance against imperialism. From the top there's a Vietnamese guerrilla, an armed Albanian peasant, an armed Chinese worker, and a traditionally-clad Korean woman with bayonet-mounted rifle slung over her back. The ranks of singing revolutionaries below them run from a Cambodian guerrilla and headband-wearing student rebel to keffiyah-clad Arab, to blonde European or American to my favorite, a sten-gun-carrying African guy in some sort of sporty striped tunic over a white polo shirt, a leopard-skin cap jauntily set atop his head.

When I was in the organized left, we actually used to sing this song all the time. Everybody sing along:

Arise, you prisoners of starvation!
Arise, you wretched of the earth!
For justice thunders condemnation:
A better world's in birth!
No more tradition's chains shall bind us,
Arise you slaves, no more in thrall!
The earth shall rise on new foundations:
We have been nought, we shall be all!

'Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place.
The international working class
Shall be the human race


  1. I enjoy playing The Internationale on the ukulele.

  2. probably because of the italian-american influences of my upbringing but i like this one:

    used to sing it to my kids in the crib

  3. Oh marc that's brilliant! Thanks for that. I'm trying to picture the Vegas act that would go along with this! Jon...take a listen!