Workers of the World, Unite!
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Workers of the World, Unite!
A Kuban Cossacks squadron at the 1937 May Day parade in Moscow, marching across the phrase written in German, Spanish, Russian and other languages of the world
The State Emblem of the Soviet Union had the slogan emblazoned on the ribbons in 15 languages spoken in the republics

The political slogan "Workers of the world, unite!" is one of the rallying cries from The Communist Manifesto (1848)[1][2][3][4] by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (German: Proletarier aller Länder vereinigt Euch!, literally "Proletarians of all countries, unite!",[5] but soon popularised in English as "Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!").[5][note 1] A variation of this phrase ("Workers of all lands, unite") is also inscribed on Marx's tombstone.[7] The essence of the slogan is that members of the working classes throughout the world should cooperate to defeat capitalism and achieve victory in the class conflict.


In this still from the historical drama The Man with the Gun, the phrase (in pre-reform Russian orthography) is depicted on a banner in the background.

Five years before The Communist Manifesto, this phrase appeared in the 1843 book The Workers' Union by Flora Tristan.[8]

The International Workingmen's Association, described by Engels as "the first international movement of the working class" was persuaded by Engels to change its motto from the League of the Just's "all men are brothers" to "working men of all countries, unite!".[9] It reflected Marx's and Engels' view of proletarian internationalism.

The phrase has overlapping meanings: first, that workers should unite in unions to better push for their demands such as workplace pay and conditions;[10] secondly, that workers should see beyond their various craft unions and unite against the capitalist system;[11] and thirdly, that workers of different countries have more in common with each other than workers and employers of the same country.

The phrase was used by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in their publications and songs[12][13] and was a mainstay on banners in May Day demonstrations. The IWW used it when opposing World War I in both the United States[13] and Australia.[14]

The slogan was the Soviet Union's state motto (? ? , !; Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes'!) and it appeared in the State Emblem of the Soviet Union. It also appeared on 1919 Russian SFSR banknotes (in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian and Russian),[15] on Soviet ruble coins from 1921 to 1934[16] and was the slogan of Soviet newspaper Pravda.[17]

Some socialist and communist parties[who?] continue using it.[18] Moreover, it is often chanted during labor strikes and protests.[]


In the first Swedish translation of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, the translator Pehr Götrek substituted the slogan with Folkets röst, Guds röst! (i.e. Vox populi, vox Dei, or "The Voice of the People, the Voice of God"). However, later translations have included the original slogan.[19]

The guiding motto of the 2nd Comintern congress in 1920, under Lenin's directive, was "Workers and oppressed peoples of all countries, unite!".[20] This denoted the anti-colonialist agenda of the Comintern, and was seen as an attempt to unite racially-subjugated black people and the global proletariat in anti-imperialist struggle.[20]

As the national motto of countries

Use by the Soviet Union and its satellites as an official motto, as used in the official emblem of the Soviet Union:

  • Armenian: , ?
    Romanization: Proletarner bolor yerkrneri, miats'ek'!
  • Azerbaijani: Bütün ölk?l?rin proletarlar?, birlin!
    Cyrillic? , !
  • Belarusian: ? ? , !
    ?acinka: Praletaryji ?sich krajin, jadnajciesia!
  • Estonian: Kõigi maade proletaarsed, ühinege!
  • Finnish: Kaikkien maiden proletaarit, liittykää yhteen! (used by the Karelo-Finnish SSR)
  • Georgian: , !
    Romanization: Proletarebo q'vela kveq'nisa, sheertdit!
  • Kazakh: , ?!
    Romanization: Barlyq elderdi? proletarlary, birigi?der!
  • Kyrgyz: ? , !
    Romanization: Bard?q ölkölordün proletarlar?, birikkile!
  • Latvian: Visu zemju prolet?rie?i, savienojieties!
  • Lithuanian: Vis? ?ali? proletarai, vienykit?s!
  • Romanian: Proletari din toate rile, uni?i-v?!
    Moldovan Cyrillic: , -!
  • Russian: ? ? , !
    Romanization: Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes'!
  • Tajik: ?, !
    Romanization: Proletarhoi hamai mamlakatho, yak shaved!
  • Turkmen: Ähli ýurtlary? proletarlary, birle?i?!
    Cyrillic , !
  • Ukrainian: ? ? , ?!
    Romanization: Proletari vsikh krayin, yednaytesya!
  • Uzbek: Butun dunyo proletarlari, birlashingiz!
    Cyrillic? ? , !

Use as official motto by the German Democratic Republic:

  • German: Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt Euch!

Use as official motto by the Slovak Soviet Republic and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic:

  • Czech: Proletá?i v?ech zemí, spojte se!
  • Slovak: Proletári v?etkých krajín, spojte sa!

Use as official motto by the Hungarian People's Republic:

  • Hungarian: Világ proletárjai, egyesüljetek!

Use as official motto by the Socialist Republic of Romania:

  • Romanian: Proletari din toate rile, uni?i-v?!

Use as official motto by the People's Socialist Republic of Albania:

  • Albanian: Proletarë të të gjitha vendeve, bashkohuni!

Use as official motto by the People's Republic of Bulgaria

  • Bulgarian , !
    Romanization: Proletarii ot vsichki strani, saedinyavayte se!"

Use as official motto by the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan:

  • Dari ? ? ?
    Romanization: Kârgarân-e jahân mottahed ?avid!

Use as official motto by the Mongolian People's Republic:

  • Mongolian !
    Romanization: Oron bürijn proletari nar negdegtün!

Use as official motto by the Tuvan People's Republic:

  • Tuvan ? ?!
  • Romanization: Pygy telegejni? proletarlar? polga? tarlatkan arattar? katt?ar!

Use as official motto by the People's Republic of Benin and Democratic Republic of Madagascar:

  • French: Prolétaires de tous les pays, unissez-vous!

Use as official motto (as co-official language) by the Democratic Republic of Madagascar:

  • Malagasy: Mpiasa eran'izao tontolo izao, mampiray!

See also

The tomb of Karl Marx at Highgate Cemetery bearing the slogan "Workers of All Lands Unite"


  1. ^ The final paragraph of The Communist Manifesto was translated by Samuel Moore as follows: "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!". This translation is the authorised translation by Marx and Engels and is the most commonly used version in English.[6]


  1. ^ Gabrijela Ki?i?ek; Igor ?. ?agar (3 October 2013). What Do We Know About the World?: Rhetorical and Argumentative Perspectives. University of Windsor. p. 471. ISBN 978-0-920233-70-2. One of the most famous rallying cries of communism Workers of the world, unite!
  2. ^ Simon Levis Sullam (21 October 2015). Giuseppe Mazzini and the Origins of Fascism. Palgrave Macmillan US. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-137-51459-2. only a few years later, would give the famous rallying cry Workers of t...
  3. ^ Edward R. Kantowicz (1999). The Rage of Nations. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-8028-4455-2. titled The Communist Manifesto, which contained the famous rallying cry: "Workers of the w...
  4. ^ Ronald Niezen (15 April 2008). A World Beyond Difference: Cultural Identity in the Age of Globalization. John Wiley & Sons. p. 129. ISBN 978-1-4051-3710-2. The famous rallying cry from The Communist Manifesto, "workers of the world unite!" was meant only to hasten the [...]
  5. ^ a b "Translator's note to the Communist Manifesto". Marxist Internet Archive. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich (2002). Jones, Gareth Stedman (ed.). The Communist Manifesto (New ed.). London: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-140-44757-6.
  7. ^ Wheen, Francis (2002). "Introduction". Karl Marx: A Life. New York: Norton.
  8. ^ Marie M. Collins and Sylvie Weil-Sayre (1973). "Flora Tristan: Forgotten Feminist and Socialist". Nineteenth-Century French Studies. 1 (4): 229-234. JSTOR 23535978.
  9. ^ Lucia Pradella in 'The Elgar Companion to Marxist Economics.' Edited by Ben fine and Alfredo Saad-Filho, 2012, p.178.
  10. ^ Wiktionary, entry for "Workers of the World"
  11. ^ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1848. [1]
  12. ^ Joseph Grim Feinberg, "The Gifts of the IWW," Against the Current 117, July-August 2005. [2]
  13. ^ a b Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All, Quadrangle Books, 1969.
  14. ^ Nick Armstrong, "The Industrial Workers of the World," Socialist Alternative, June 2005. [3]
  15. ^ Anderson, Joel. "RUSSIAN COINS AND CURRENCY". Interesting World Coins.
  16. ^ "Communist States: Russia and China". Retrieved .
  17. ^ Heritage, Timothy (2012-05-04). "Russia's Pravda hits 100, still urging workers to unite". Reuters. Retrieved .
  18. ^ Thurston, Robert W.; Bonwetsch, Bernd (2000). The People's War: Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union (illustrated ed.). University of Illinois Press. p. 64. ISBN 9780252026003. Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ Götrek, Pehr (1848). Kommunismens röst : förklaring af det kommunistiska partiet, offentliggjord i februari 1848. Pogo Press. ISBN 91-7386-018-2.. libris 7639421. reprint of libris 2683080.
  20. ^ a b Pateman, Joe (2 January 2020). "V. I. Lenin on the 'Black Question'". Critique. 48 (1): 77-93. doi:10.1080/03017605.2019.1706786. ISSN 0301-7605. S2CID 213348492. Retrieved 2020.

External links

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