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Defenders of the future

The Young Guard: a revolutionary song for today's conditions

The French revolutionary song The Young Guard is scarcely known in France, far less in Britain. It was composed in 1920 following World War I and the Russian revolution. I first learned the English version of it in the heady days of 1969 and have never forgotten its inspirational lyrics. Here is a YouTube recording of it followed by the English lyrics.

Defenders of the future

the vanguard youth our strength we’ll try.

Raised up in want and hunger,

yes we will conquer or we’ll die.

No more, no more a life of famine,

we’ve not to lose and all to gain,

We’ll seize the mines, the mills, the workshops,

at last we’ll live and work again.

On your guard then!

On your guard then!

All you exploiters who starve us of bread

The youth are waiting,

their vengeance taking,

every pavement rings to our tread.

The final struggle now is beginning,

we shout revenge for all who starved and died.

The revolution runs like a river.

rise up in arms with justice by your side.

On your guard then, on your guard then

the young batallions march.


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