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Corbyn Rally in Newcastle ends with "The Red flag" been sung by the packed out audience

Corbyn Rally in Newcastle ends with "The Red flag" been sung by the packed out audience.


"The Red Flag" is a socialist song, emphasising the sacrifices and solidarity of the international labour movement. It is the anthem of the British Labour Party, and also 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.


Irishman Jim Connell wrote the song's lyrics in 1889 in Nicholas Donovan's house. 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" ("O Christmas Tree"), though Connell had wanted it sung to the tune of a pro-Jacobite Robert Burns anthem, "The White Cockade".

When Billy Bragg recorded the song in 1990 with Scottish folk singer Dick Gaughan, he sang it to this original "White Cockade" melody. 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 martyred dead
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its every fold.
So raise the scarlet standard high,
Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.


Official 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.
Beneath its shade we'll 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


A version of the lyrics sung regularly at the UK's Liberal Democrats Glee Club, also dated to the mid-sixties, is:

The people’s flag is palest pink,
It's not as red as most think.
We must not let the people know
What socialists thought long ago.
Don't let the scarlet banner float;
We want the middle classes' vote.
Let our old fashioned comrades sneer,
We'll stay in power for many a year.

A parody of unknown origin, noted by University of Chicago Press, is known as The Foreman's Job It is sometimes also considered a rugby union song. This has many variants but usually begins:

The working class can kiss my arse
I got the foreman's job at last.
You can tell old Joe I'm off the dole
He can stick his Red Flag up his 'ole!

Bandiera Rossa[]


Bandiera Rossa by Pankrti-0

A revolutionary song played by a Slovenian punk group Pankrti.

Bandiera Rossa (Italian for "Red Flag"), often also called Avanti Popolo after its opening words (also to avoid any confusion with The three flags, another socialist song) is one of the most famous songs of the Italian labour movement. It glorifies the red flag, symbol of the socialist and communist movement. The text was written by Carlo Tuzzi in 1908; the melody is taken from two Lombard folk songs.

Apart from the first Italian text, there are several variants which are identified with certain socialist or communist parties. The last two lines "Evviva il comunismo e la libertà" were put in the text after the rise of Benito Mussolini; at the same time the original beginning "Compagni avanti alla riscossa" was changed to "Avanti o popolo, alla riscossa". Also, the word "comunismo" at the end of the chorus is often replaced with "socialismo", especially in more recent renderings of the song.

Bandiera Rossa was notably quoted in Frederic Rzewski's piano work The People United Will Never Be Defeated!.

Notable covers of the song were made by the Slovenian punk-rock band Pankrti in 1984 on the Rdeči album (Red album), as well as the Croatian punk-rock band KUD Idijoti in 1990, on their album Mi smo ovdje samo zbog para (We are only here for the money).

From the song's opening words is derived the title of the 1986 Israeli film Avanti Popolo. The film's protagonists – very non-heroic Israeli and Egyptian soldiers wandering the Sinai Desert in the aftermath of the 1967 War – in one scene sing the song in a rather facetious way.

A famous song of the Italian labour movement has the same title (though in Italian): Bandiera Rossa, but different lyrics and tune.

First verse:
Avanti popolo, alla riscossa,
Bandiera rossa, Bandiera rossa.
Avanti popolo, alla riscossa,
Bandiera rossa trionferà.


Bandiera rossa trionferà
Bandiera rossa trionferà
Bandiera rossa trionferà
Evviva il comunismo e la libertà.
Literal Translation:
Forward people, towards redemption:Red Flag, Red Flag
Forward people, towards redemption:Red Flag will triumph.
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Red Flag will be triumphant,
Long live communism and freedom.

Also see[]


  1. https://www.discogs.com/Pankrti-Rdeči-Album/release/771343
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandiera_Rossa
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandiera_Rossa
  4. https://www.marxists.org/subject/art/music/lyrics/it/bandiera-rossa.htm
  5. http://webpages.dcu.ie/~sheehanh/rf-lyrics.htm
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/462871.stm
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandiera_Rossa
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Flag
  9. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tqr0AgAAQBAJ&pg=PP259&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  10. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/redflag.html
  11. http://webpages.dcu.ie/~sheehanh/connell.htm
  12. http://www.marxists.org/subject/art/music/index.htm
  13. http://protestsongs.ca/volume-1/the-red-flag/