Michael Medved

“A FINE OLD CONFLICT” For the better part of five generations, the enemies of capitalism have been singing lustily to celebrate its imminent demise.

During strikes, demonstrations, May Day parades and other sacred occasions, those who reject and denounce the free market system still raise their clenched fists and solemnly intone the thrilling words of “The Internationale”, worldwide anthem of the socialist movement:

No more tradition’s chains shall bind us,
Arise you slaves no more in thrall!
The earth shall rise on new foundations
We have been nought, we shall be all!

‘Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place
The international soviet
Shall be the human race!
‘Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place
The international working class
Shall be the human race!

As a young teenager in London, Jessica Mitford accompanied her governess to Hyde Park for regular Sunday expeditions to savor radical soapbox oratory and to listen to fervent renditions of this song. Unfortunately, she mistook the repeated references to “the final conflict” to be an invocation of a “fine old conflict.” In fact, she later gave the title “A Fine Old Conflict” to a wry 1977 memoir of her decades-long affiliation with the Communist Party.

For Mitford and other critics of the free market system, their ongoing conflict with capitalism may indeed count as “fine” and “old” but it’s never come close to climactic finality.

The florid text of “The Internationale” came from the pen of transport worker and revolutionary leader Eugene Pottier in June, 1871, two weeks after the collapse of the sixty-day socialist insurrection known as the Paris Commune. Despite the bloody breakdown of his utopian dreams, Pottier felt exhilarated by his personal participation in street fighting amidst the boulevard barricades; as he poetically proclaimed in his celebrated song: “Justice thunders condemnation: a better world’s in birth!”


Michael Medved

Michael Medved's daily syndicated radio talk show reaches one of the largest national audiences every weekday between 3 and 6 PM, Eastern Time. Michael Medved is the author of eleven books, including the bestsellers What Really Happened to the Class of '65?, Hollywood vs. America, Right Turns, The Ten Big Lies About America and 5 Big Lies About American Business
 
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