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.
Die Partei, die Partei, die hat immer Recht!
Sie hat uns niemals geschmeichelt.
Sie hat uns alles gegeben,
(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
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.
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.
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?