Jim Connell: The Red Flag

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’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 are 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 heads uncovered swear we all

To bear it onward till we fall;

Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,

This song shall be our parting hymn.

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.

Red is resistance, red is its anger, red is its blood and red is its flag, and Jim Connell writes ‘The Red Flag’ in 1889.

There is a monument to Jim Connell in Crossakiel in County Meath in Ireland. He had addressed a meeting there in 1918.  He was born nearby in Kilskyre in 1852.

The Red Flag was raised in the Merthyr Rising in 1831 across the Irish Sea in Wales. On the barricades, they called out: ‘Caws a bara’ (Cheese with Bread). This time, only one was hanged after defeat. His name is Dic Penderyn, a miner hanged in Cardiff in August 1831.

The Red Flag was raised before and has been raised again and will be raised in the time to come. From continent to continent, the people will move, the people will sing, and win the world they need.

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