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Red Fly the Banners High is a sort of unofficial communist anthem, or at least a song loudly praising the virtues of collective ownership. Red, of course, is the colour most symbolically associated with communism, used, for example, on the Chinese flag. (Of course, it’s an open question to what extent a system running numerous stock exchanges and that allows businessmen to join the communist party still upholds the kind of Marxist ideas this song is praising.) Given the dismal failure of communism as a political and, especially, economic system, in the USSR, North Korea, and other such places, the song now mainly has value in terms of either irony or nostalgia, depending upon how you feel about the various communist projects large segments of humanity have been drawn through.

The song is strongly influenced by the principles of collective effort and solidarity that have underpinned various Marxist, communist, and socialist ideologies. Tiefling has informed me that the lyrics are strongly reminiscent of those of Green Grow the Rushes, O!.The lyrics are as follows:

Who will sing me one? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you one. Oh red fly the banners high!

One’s for the workers’ unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me two? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you two. Oh red fly the banners high!

Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me three? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you three. Oh red fly the banners high!

Three, three, the rights of the people.
Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me five? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you five. Oh red fly the banners high!

Five is for the five year plan,
Four the years we did it in.
Three, three, the rights of the people.
Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me six? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you six. Oh red fly the banners high!

Six is for the workers’ week.
Five is for the five year plan,
Four the years we did it in.
Three, three, the rights of the people.
Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me seven? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you seven. Oh red fly the banners high!

Seven is for the day of rest, so the workers keep their zest.
Six is for the workers’ week. Five is for the five year plan,
Four the years we did it in.
Three, three, the rights of the people.
Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

Who will sing me eight? Oh red fly the banners high!
I’ll sing you eight. Oh red fly the banners high!

Eight is for the workers’ state.
Seven is for the day of rest, so the workers keep their zest.
Six is for the workers’ week. Five is for the five year plan,
Four the years we did it in.
Three, three, the rights of the people.
Two is for the workers’ hands: soiling, toiling, horny, hard.
And one’s for the worker’s unity which ever more shall be.

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