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Robert Wyatt - The Red Flag

In which the author is drunk and typically bolshy

So here's the thing about The Red Flag: for years if you heard the tune you knew exactly what you were getting. You were getting the de facto anthem of socialism. Okay, maybe if you were German you might be getting a folk song about a loyal fir tree with some faithful leaves that last all year round, but that was the exception.

And then more and more people started singing O Christmas Tree.

Sure, some of them probably did it because it seemed like a nice tune, and some of them did it because hey, it's Christmas, we'll sing anything with that in the title. But some of them did it very deliberately because they wanted to overwrite the cultural association with leftist politics and claim the tune as a Christmas carol. Am I being paranoid and ridiculous? It's hard to deny that it really does suit the weak and base to haul the sacred emblem down, etc. We're not going to get that tune back without a fight, and the only way to do that it to listen to it and to sing it.

So here's the song of the peoples' flag and the peoples' struggle, sung by Robert Wyatt on his 1982 album Nothing Can Stop Us. Do you know someone who might have been persuaded that the song is an embarrassing old relic? Join in, sincerely. Lend them your strength. We're in this together.

Robert Wyatt - The Red Flag