Here's what Billy wrote: "Eugene Pottier wrote the original lyrics of the I. after the fall of the Paris Commune in 1871. This was set to music by Pierre Degeyter, a textile worker from Lille who composed the tune for his factory chorus in 1888. 8 years later the song was adopted by the French Workers Party as its annual congress (1). Foreign delegates wrote down hasty translations and by the turn of the century it was being sung by socialists, communists and anarchists all over the world in dozen of languages (2) and was most recently heard being sung by Chinese students in Tiananmen Square during the pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989. (3) Shortly after that ecent Pete Seeger (4) asked me to sing the I. with him at the Vancouver Folk Festival. I told him I thought the English lyrics, whose translator is unknown (5), were archaic and often unsingable. He agreed and suggested I write some new lyrics to Degeyter's stirring tune.
Some notes I make: (1) ANNUAL congress ?!? Left parties in Italy use to have a congress every 4, 5, or 6 years just to tell the Secretary how he is good and intelligent. It seems that real Socialists in older time were much more intelligent and used to meet and discuss more often. (2) Isn't there a Yiddish version? Lemme know. (3) Students protesting against that Stalinist regime were not asking for McDonald's or free trade, and they were not singing some MTV cretin pop song. (4) Who's he? Lemme know. (5) See the other thread about The Internationale.
I think Billy and Woody look like each other maybe because they are both true sons of the people who look around and use their brain.