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The Party is Always Right!

Some people have accused this website of being little more than Communist propaganda. Damn straight, comrade!

Here's some more: perhaps the most famous propaganda song of the former German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany. It's called, appropriately enough, the Song of the Party (The Socialist Unity Party, that is). You can listen to it here. (.mp3 file; 2.7m).*

The song was written in 1950 by Louis Fuernberg, a the son of a Jewish merchant family from Moravia, a part of Czechoslovakia which then had a substantial German-speaking population). Fuernberg joined the Communist party when he was 17, and formed an agit-prop group called "Echo from the Left." When World War II broke out, Fuernberg emigrated to Palestine. His family remained in Czechoslovakia and were all murdered after the Nazi invasion. After the war, Fuernberg made his way through Czechoslovakia to East Germany, where he became a well-known playwright and novelist. He died in 1957

Below the fold, I've provided the German lyrics, with a literal English translation. I have not even attempted to make the translation rhyme or match the meter of the original German. That's really too bad, but of course it's Communist propaganda, folks, not Goethe.

You may find the song laughable or chilling, but it illustrates a typical propaganda technique. The "party is always right," goes the refrain. Not because everything it does is right, mind you, but because, as a whole, its purpose is to "fight[] for the right" and bring "freedom and peace" to the "poorest of the earth." Any stern measures the Party might have to take against decadent bourgeois individualists (remember, the Party never "flatter[s]" us) are justified by the overarching positive goals the Party pursues.

The lines about the Party giving us "sun and wind," however, are just plain bizarre.

Das Lied der Partei

Sie hat uns alles gegeben.
Sonne und Wind und sie geizte nie.
Wo sie war, war das Leben.
Was wir sind, sind wir durch sie.
Sie hat uns niemals verlassen.
Fror auch die Welt, uns war warm.
Uns schützt die Mutter der Massen.
Uns trägt ihr mächtiger Arm.

[Chorus:]

Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer Recht!
Und, Genossen, es bleibe dabei;
Denn wer kämpft für das Recht,
Der hat immer recht.
Gegen Lüge und Ausbeuterei.
Wer das Leben beleidigt,
Ist dumm oder schlecht.
Wer die Menschheit verteidigt,
Hat immer recht.
So, aus Leninschem Geist,
Wächst, von Stalin geschweißt,
Die Partei - die Partei - die Partei.

Sie hat uns niemals geschmeichelt.
Sank uns im Kampfe auch mal der Mut,
Hat sie uns leis nur gestreichelt,
zagt nicht und gleich war uns gut.
Zählt denn noch Schmerz und Beschwerde,
wenn uns das Gute gelingt.
Wenn man den Ärmsten der Erde,
Freiheit und Frieden erzwingt.

[Chorus]

Sie hat uns alles gegeben,
Ziegel zum Bau und den großen Plan.
Sie sprach: Meistert das Leben,
Vorwärts Genossen packt an.
Hetzen Hyänen zum Kriege,
Bricht euer Bau ihre Macht,
Zimmert das Haus und die Wiege,
Bauleute seid auf der Wacht.

[Chorus]

(Text und Musik: Louis Fürnberg, 1950)

The Song of the Party

She gave us everything.

Sun and wind, unsparingly

Wherever she was, there was life,

Whatever we are, we are through her

She has never abandoned us

When the world froze, we were warm

The mother of the masses protects us

Her powerful arm carries us

*

[Chorus:]

*

Oh The Party, The Party is always right

And comrade, may it ever be so;

For who fights for the right

He is always right

Against lies and exploitation

[women] Whoever insults life

is stupid or bad

Whoever defends humanity

Is always right

Grown from the spirit of Lenin

Welded by Stalin

The party – the party – the party

*

She never flattered us

If our courage sank in the struggle

She only stroked us quietly.

never wavered, and soon we were strong

Will pain and complaints still count

When we’ve achieved the good,

when we enforce freedom and peace

for the poorest of the earth.

*

[Chorus]

*

*

She gave us everything

Bricks to build with and the Great Plan

She said: Master life

Forward, comrade, tackle the day!

If hyenas propagandize for war

Your edifice will break their power

Timber the house and the cradle

Workmen, be on your guard.

*

*

[Chorus]

You can find Das Lied der Partei, as well as many others, on this album.

* Yes, I know that adding .mp3 files as normal links kind of sucks, but I don't know of a better plug-in for this purpose. Can anyone point me to a nice YouTube-like service that lets you put audio-file plugins in your webposts?

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