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Pete Seeger: A Mean-Spirited and Vengeful Recollection
PJ Media ^ | 1-29-14 | David P. Goldman

Posted on 02/01/2014 2:52:15 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic

I first heard Pete Seeger perform when I was five or six, when I was a red-diaper baby and he was blacklisted and drunk. What I recall most about the encounter was that the tip of his needle-nose glowed bright red. He was performing for a children’s group of some sort at a time when his Communist background kept him out of public venues. His records — not just the Weavers albums, but the early Asch 78′s of the Almanac Singers — were daily fare in my home, along with Woody Guthrie’s children’s songs. My parents knew Guthrie casually; my father once organized a concert for him at Brooklyn College, and my mother was Arlo Guthrie’s nursery-school teacher.

I was not just a Pete Seeger fan, but a to-the-hammer-born, born-and-bred cradle fan of Pete Seeger. With those credentials, permit me to take note of his passing with the observation that he was a fraud, a phony, a poseur, an imposter. The notion of folk music he espoused was a put-on from beginning to end.

There is no such thing as an American “folk.” We are a people summoned to these shores by an idea, not common ties of blood and culture.

~snip~

Seeger’s (and Guthrie’s) notion of folk music had less to do with actual American sources than with a Communist-inspired Yankee version of Proletkult. The highly personalized style of a Robert Johnson and other Delta bluesmen didn’t belong in the organizing handbook of the “folk” exponents who grew up in the Communist Party’s failed efforts to control the trade union movement of the 1940s.

~snip~

I’m willing to forgive Seeger his Stalinism. Some of my most-admired artists were Stalinists...

(Excerpt) Read more at pjmedia.com ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Chit/Chat; History; Music/Entertainment
KEYWORDS: americanfolk; antiamericanism; arloguthrie; communismkills; communist; cpusa; culturewar; music; nakedcommunist; peterpaulmary; peteseeger; prodictator; protested4hitler; seeger; woodyguthrie
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1 posted on 02/01/2014 2:52:15 PM PST by afraidfortherepublic
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Seeger’s (and Guthrie’s) notion of folk music had less to do with actual American sources than with a Communist-inspired Yankee version of Proletkult.

Same goes for that other fraud, Bruce Springsteen.

2 posted on 02/01/2014 2:53:47 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: afraidfortherepublic
My wife tells me that Mario Batali got all teary-eyed on The Chew over the passing of the communist.
3 posted on 02/01/2014 2:55:22 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Jealousy is when you count someone else's blessings instead of your own.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Thanks for the post.

I went through a rebellious lefty phase when I was young but even then I thought Seeger sounded phony, trite and possibly damn mean-spirited if you caught him wrong.

My sense was that he was in it, one, for the money and, two, (same as me) for the loose hairy chicks.

Thank God I grew out of it and in time for me to let my parents know how right they always were.


4 posted on 02/01/2014 2:59:31 PM PST by Fightin Whitey
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Those commie organizers systematically scoured the country, stealing every folk tune they could lay their hands on. They especially like taking Christian songs and replacing the words with communist propaganda.

May they rot it hell.


5 posted on 02/01/2014 2:59:31 PM PST by Born to Conserve
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Wow! The author thinks that Brecht wrote the funniest song of the 20th Century. Guess Comden & Greene and all the other American musical comedy geniuses just can’t compete with a good German humorist...


6 posted on 02/01/2014 3:00:47 PM PST by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Mario? Who just had to pay up for stealing his waiters’ tips? And who is trying to get rid of the hot dog vendors in Washington Square Park so he can move his upscale cart into the area? Ha!


7 posted on 02/01/2014 3:02:39 PM PST by miss marmelstein (Richard Lives Yet!)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Peter was another mason for brick laying on the road to hell with all his good intentions.


8 posted on 02/01/2014 3:06:46 PM PST by bmwcyle (People who do not study history are destine to believe really ignorant statements.)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Congrats, Pete. You have finally been stricken from my Liste d’Merde. I leave you for The Ages to hate.


9 posted on 02/01/2014 3:14:02 PM PST by Blogatron (Fight Boner)
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Spengler...dude...don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.
10 posted on 02/01/2014 3:19:23 PM PST by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich! (What'd I say?))
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To: dfwgator
He should have been jailed for what he put his family through. A one room self built house with no running water and no electricity. I often wonder "what did they eat?" No romance there I submit.

IMO he was a bum...couldn't play a legitimate instrument and like a few others, played his own stuff because he lacked the discipline to learn music.

11 posted on 02/01/2014 3:20:08 PM PST by Banjoguy (The Mayor of San Antonio is the smoothest liar I have ever seen.)
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To: miss marmelstein

Bertoldt Brecht, who once said of the victims of the 1937 Moscow purges, “The more innocent they are, the more they deserve to be shot!!”

Anyone who says he can forgive someone their Stalinism has already lost me.


12 posted on 02/01/2014 3:20:26 PM PST by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Seeger was a presence at all sorts of demonstrations including somethat cold and did get violent. From their birth on, he always took his kids putting them in danger. An adult may choose to assume such a risk but the kids had no choice.


13 posted on 02/01/2014 3:21:40 PM PST by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I’m sure he’s now with his pals Marx and Lenin.


14 posted on 02/01/2014 3:36:20 PM PST by Huskrrrr
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Seegar and the Weavers put out the most stooped and insipid version of “Goodnight Irene!”
Leadbelly sang it with some vengeance!. The weavers sang “I’ll see you in my dreams,” Leadbelly sang “I’ll GET you in my dreams. The original is filled with violence and suicidal thoughts. Ry Cooder has the best modern version. Here’s the original. Not a happy-go-lucky love song!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmQXmqbZ3Pc

Here’s Ry and Flaco. “I’m sorry you ever was born”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MMGT8DgM4k

The Weavers version borders on the sacrilegious/ A total distortion


15 posted on 02/01/2014 3:39:09 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Born to Conserve
May they rot it hell.

While I do not wish that on anyone, they will have their part in the lake that burns, and the smoke of their torment will rise forever. On the other hand, I do not mourn at Seeger's passing. I say good riddance to all communists and Muzzie POS too.

16 posted on 02/01/2014 3:40:49 PM PST by Mark17 (Chicago Blackhawks: Stanley Cup champions 2010, 2013. Vietnam Vet 70-71 Msgt US Air Force, retired)
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To: muir_redwoods; afraidfortherepublic

I suspect that Spengler and I grew up about the same time in NYC, and while I was not a red diaper baby, many of my friends were. They had gone to the “Little Red Schoolhouse”...no joke, btw...or to some other hotbed of leftist brainwashing, and in my neighborhood, the Upper West Side, they received more spiritual foundation at the Ethical Culture Society (the Jewish version of Unitarianism). Many of them went to Communist summer camps in New Jersey where they sat around and sang “folk songs,” or at any rate the 1930s leftist version thereof. Pete Seeger revived these for another generation and even added his own silly, clumsily strummed, tuneless propaganda songs.

However, I do have to give him credit for one thing: he used his clout to spearhead the cleanup of the Hudson River, which during my childhood, was an open sewer. Literally. You could barely breathe in Riverside Park when the wind was blowing off the Hudson, and I never did figure out how anybody could go boating on it. Much less fish...I used to see black people standing on along the wall of the marina, dangling their lines among the turds to catch eels. I guess they had inoculated themselves against cholera from years of fishing in this sewer.

There was also a tremendous amount of industrial pollution, so they should have been glowing in the dark, as well!

Many, many people worked on the project to clean up the Hudson, but it was basically Pete Seeger’s fame that got the city and state to finally focus on it and provide money for cleaner sewage systems, enforce better industrial waste disposal, etc. And now it’s lovely and I always go down without holding my nose and have a glass of wine at the café near the boat basin. So I have to give him credit for at least that good thing!


17 posted on 02/01/2014 3:41:47 PM PST by livius
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To: miss marmelstein

Eh, I read this piece and while he’s honest in his title and that part is all kind of amusing in a snarky way (and I really liked Seeger as a singer, even though i know he was an awful commie) but some of his other comments about music are pretty questionable.


18 posted on 02/01/2014 3:45:32 PM PST by jocon307
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To: afraidfortherepublic
You will listen to Seeger, or else.
19 posted on 02/01/2014 3:51:06 PM PST by JPG (Yes We Can morphs into Make It Hurt.)
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To: jocon307
some of his other comments about music are pretty questionable

Agreed. For example, the author states that "There is no such thing as an American folk." I suppose he's trying to say that there is no such thing as American folk music, and any American who claims to be a folk singer is a fraud.

That's just silly. Bluegrass, for example, is uniquely American folk. I sure don't see Flatt and Scruggs as frauds.

20 posted on 02/01/2014 3:53:07 PM PST by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: elcid1970

I can certainly forgive someone for being Stalinist. If he repents of his evil ways.

Whitaker Chambers springs to mind.


21 posted on 02/01/2014 3:56:05 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: afraidfortherepublic
I’m willing to forgive Seeger his Stalinism

Then you just don't get what it is all about.

22 posted on 02/01/2014 3:58:03 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: livius

I wish you’d share more stories of your childhood on the Upper West Side. I’m fascinated by it as a subculture.


23 posted on 02/01/2014 3:58:25 PM PST by Oratam
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To: afraidfortherepublic

I saw Pete Seeger in the mid 70’s sometime in Central Park giving a free concert. I don’t hold any animosity toward him or other leftist musicians. They are for the average person/citizen but they embrace a wrong philosophy of failure especially married to. big government solutions. Their leftism is based on feel good emotions and jellied up with their music - some of it being very good. RIP Pete Seeger, you weren’t evil, just on the wrong track to the path of truth.


24 posted on 02/01/2014 3:59:49 PM PST by tflabo (Truth or Tyranny)
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To: RichInOC

ICYMI, in the “don’t hold back” area here is an amusing thread linking to a movie review of ‘saving mr. banks” in which John Podhoretz has a complete mental meltdown.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/3113561/posts?q=1&;page=51


25 posted on 02/01/2014 4:02:38 PM PST by jocon307
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To: afraidfortherepublic

Excellent


26 posted on 02/01/2014 4:04:17 PM PST by wardaddy (wifey instructed me today to grow chapter president beard back again....i wonder why?)
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To: afraidfortherepublic

LOL, afraid - I just posted a link to your posting of the Podhoretz “review” of ‘saving mr. banks” without realizing this was your thread too. You are doing a good job of keeping us posted to heartfelt rants!


27 posted on 02/01/2014 4:12:38 PM PST by jocon307
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

The Weavers’ version of “Goodnight, Irene” was one of the biggest hits of 1950, but I never understood why, because to me, it made no sense. Leadbelly’s version makes sense.


28 posted on 02/01/2014 4:16:29 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: afraidfortherepublic

The BEST commentary on Folk Music was John Belushi in my favorite ever movie “ Animal HOuse” when he walked down the stairs at their Frat party and smashed the guitar of a folk-singing guy on the stairway! summed it all up!


29 posted on 02/01/2014 4:28:55 PM PST by Recovering Ex-hippie
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To: JPG
You will listen to Seeger, or else.

Here are some songs for you, Vozhd.


30 posted on 02/01/2014 4:29:06 PM PST by Fiji Hill
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Pete Seeger finally did something right: he dropped the f**k dead.

He was a propagandist for Stalin in particular and Communism generally. His death should be celebrated, not mourned.

31 posted on 02/01/2014 4:45:16 PM PST by Repeal 16-17 (Let me know when the Shooting starts.)
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To: jocon307
"questionable"

That's just it...much of Goldman's taste in music is simply personal. As far as early blues music, I prefer the country blues (Memphis Minnie, Blind Blake) to delta blues musicians like Robert Johnson. Johnson is idolized by many blues guitar players. So many years ago I bought one his records with most of his famous songs. Most of the songs sounded the same, and I never played it again. Condemn me if you want, but I prefer a variety of folk styles even ones from musicians Goldman despised.

By the way, many popular songs came from a variety of sources including Yiddish folk music ("Those Were The Days"). Black musicians certainly contributed a huge amount, but American popular music is not solely the province of one ethnic group.

I agree with Goldman about his dislike of Seeger and all the other commies for trying to politicize folk music. And he's right...most of Seeger's well-known "folk" songs were not really folk songs but neo-folk. Most Americans have never really heard much of the real American folk music.

32 posted on 02/01/2014 4:47:53 PM PST by driftless2
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To: afraidfortherepublic
I trusted the author up until the point where he said he didn't much care for Bob Dylan.

Saving Grace, by Bob Dylan

If you find it in Your heart, can I be forgiven?
Guess I owe You some kind of apology
I've escaped death so many times, I know I'm only living
By the saving grace that's over me
By this time I'd-a thought I would be sleeping
In a pine box for all eternity
My faith keeps me alive, but I would still be weeping
For the saving grace that's over me
Well, the death of life, then come the resurrection
Wherever I am welcome is where I'll be
I put all my confidence in Him, my sole protection
Is the saving grace that's over me
Well, the devil's shining light, it can be most blinding
But to search for love, that ain't no more than vanity
As I look around this world all that I'm finding
Is the saving grace that's over me
The wicked know no peace and you just can't fake it
There's only one road and it leads to Calvary
It gets discouraging at times, but I know I'll make it
By the saving grace that's over me

33 posted on 02/01/2014 4:49:16 PM PST by Scoutmaster (I'd rather be at Philmont)
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To: tflabo
"They are for the average person/citizen but they embrace a wrong philosophy of failure especially married to. big government solutions."

We could use some "Power to the People" these days.

34 posted on 02/01/2014 4:50:13 PM PST by Paladin2
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To: Recovering Ex-hippie
"summed it up"

Speaking as a huge fan of folk music, I might have smashed the guitar too. Because I've always hated that song. But you sound like a person that hasn't heard much folk music. And I'll bet if I could look at your music collection, I'd probably use most of it for skeet practice.

35 posted on 02/01/2014 4:52:59 PM PST by driftless2
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To: Sherman Logan

Whittaker Chambers repented & is a hero for it. His book “Witness” is timeless. And when he renounced communism, Chambers assumed he was coming over to the losing side in history.

Seeger grudgingly made a few Jane Fonda-style backtracks very late in life “Stalin was at times a hard driver” but he always thought himself part of the revolutionary Bolshevik intelligentsia sent to reeducate the masses.


36 posted on 02/01/2014 5:46:15 PM PST by elcid1970 ("In the modern world, Muslims are living fossils.")
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To: Scoutmaster

Lovely song. Thanks for posting the lyrics.


37 posted on 02/01/2014 6:03:33 PM PST by thecodont
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To: Leaning Right

“Bluegrass, for example, is uniquely American folk.”

Yes, I love music, but I’m not smart about it - I really rely on hubby who’s very musical - but I’d have to agree that bluegrass is uniquely american.

Years ago hubby turned me on to David Bromberg. At one point I was telling someone about him and she asked “what kind of music does he play?” And in trying to think of how to describe it, I finally said “he plays American music.”

What do you know, but now they describe that whole genre of folk/country/bluegrass/maybe a little vaudeville, etc. as “Americana” music.

There really is no other way to describe it.


38 posted on 02/01/2014 6:44:04 PM PST by jocon307
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To: tflabo
I saw Seeger at the Hatch Shell in Boston in 1962. The place was over run with commies passing out literature.

I came to see Jim Kewsken and Joanie Mitchell, whom I saw singing outside of a music store in Cambridge. He sucked.

39 posted on 02/01/2014 6:46:47 PM PST by Little Bill
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To: driftless2

“Yiddish folk music (”Those Were The Days”)

Yes, yes, of course.

I’m not a big Robert Johnson fan, but I really don’t have a great ear, I’m a philistine and I like what I like.

Did you ever read the book “A Confederacy of Dunces”?

There’s a great bit in there when the lefty chick friend of the protagonist travels the south to sing old Negro spirituals that she learned at Columbia U. to the modern day Negroes who’ve clearly (from her point of view) lost touch with their roots. Something like that, anyway! It really encapsulates how the Left views the proles.


40 posted on 02/01/2014 6:48:49 PM PST by jocon307
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To: dfwgator
"Same goes for that other fraud, Bruce Springsteen."

Couldn't agree more! Add the faux talent, Tom Petty, to the list.

41 posted on 02/01/2014 7:07:19 PM PST by uncommonsense (Liberals see what they believe; Conservatives believe what they see.)
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To: driftless2

Doc Watson’s version is pretty good, though.


42 posted on 02/01/2014 7:14:05 PM PST by Argus
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To: elcid1970

Didn’t mean to imply a moral equivalency between Chambers and Seeger. Only that not every person who was ever a Stalinist was therefore beyond redemption.


43 posted on 02/01/2014 7:19:40 PM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: afraidfortherepublic
There is no such thing as an American “folk.” We are a people summoned to these shores by an idea, not common ties of blood and culture.

I disagree strongly with what he says here. Despite current conventional wisdom, there was a core of an American nationality established here by the start of the 19th Century. Despite the impression you might get from TV shows, America did not begin at Ellis Island.

44 posted on 02/01/2014 7:40:04 PM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: afraidfortherepublic
Wow!!! That was a fabulous read!! A Red Diaper Baby who grew up on a diet of commie folk music, whose mother was Arlo Guthrie's nursery school teacher, and who heard Pete Seeger live for the first time when he was six years old, concludes:

One of Seeger’s great selling points is that during the great leveling of the 1960s, any idiot who could play three chords on a guitar could plunk and howl through most of his repertoire. Try to play like Robert Johnson. There’s a great gulf fixed. Johnson may have been self-taught, but his music sought to rise above adversity and sorrow with craft and invention. The folkies aimed lower .... I know how mean-spirited and vengeful this sounds, but after suffering through this pap through my childhood, I feel entitled.

A very excellent read. Even mentions the song in my home page, a song I have always loathed: "Where have all the flowers gone?"

I was blessed and lucky enough to be listening to Paul Desmond on the saxophone when I was six -- my mom and dad played great music on the stereo all the time, I was so ... lucky. I totally understand this guy's contempt for Pete Seeger! {^)

45 posted on 02/01/2014 7:47:47 PM PST by Finny (Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. -- Psalm 119:105)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; cardinal4; ColdOne; ...

> Seeger’s (and Guthrie’s) notion of folk music had less to do with actual American sources than with a Communist-inspired Yankee version of Proletkult.

Thanks afraidfortherepublic.


46 posted on 02/01/2014 7:54:26 PM PST by SunkenCiv (http://www.freerepublic.com/~mestamachine/)
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To: tflabo
RIP Pete Seeger, you weren’t evil, just on the wrong track to the path of truth.

Do you have the same attitude toward the likes of Kennedy,Clinton,Clinton,Reid,Pelosi,Soros and Obama?

47 posted on 02/01/2014 7:59:06 PM PST by Gay State Conservative (Osama Obama Care: A Religion That Will Have You On Your Knees!)
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To: tflabo

Not evil? Everyone should read Seeger’s entire Keywiki page. Keywiki - the best site for looking up your favorite leftist.

http://keywiki.org/index.php/Pete_Seeger

Contents
[hide]

1 Communist Activity
2 Vagabond Puppeteers
3 Highlander School
4 GI Civil Liberties Defense Committee
5 National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
6 60th Birthday Celebration of James E. Jackson
6.1 Program
6.2 Sponsors
7 Rally for Detente and World Peace
7.1 “Victory over German fascism”
8 Socialist Debs award
9 New American Movement
10 We Will Make Peace Prevail!
11 DSA concert
12 CoC National Conference endorser
13 Honoring the Sidels
14 Peace for Cuba Appeal
15 Massachusetts May Day
16 Letter to the Editor, People’s Weekly World, October 12, 1996, Page 16
17 Communist “Manifestivity”
18 Robeson event sponsors
19 Rosenberg Fund for Children
20 Not In Our Name Newspaper Ad, New York Times, January, 2003
21 Peoples World reader
22 Symposium on James and Esther Jackson
23 Endorsed people’s World
24 Obama inauguration
25 Chicano movement
26 Nobel Prize for Pete Campaign
27 National Jobs For All Coalition
28 “Free the Cuban 5”
29 External links
30 References

A few excerpts:

Communist Activity

Pete Seeger first subscribed to the Communist Party USA paper New Masses in 1932 and formally joined the Party ten years later, under the influence of his secret Party member father.

His father, an ethno-musicologist at Julliard and later at UCLA, wrote a column for the Daily Worker under the byline Carl Sands.[3]

Seeger says he left the Party in 1950, but continued involvement in communist fronts and organs for decades including;

American Peace Mobilization
American Youth Congress
American Youth for Democracy
Council on African Affairs
American Committee for Yugoslav Relief
National Council of American-Soviet Friendship
Civil Rights Congress
American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born
Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy
Jefferson School of Social Science
New Masses
Daily World
Labor Youth League
California Labor School
National Lawyers Guild
Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
Committee for the First Amendment
American Peace Crusade
National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee
National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee

Political Rights Defense Fund SWP front

Communist “Manifestivity”

On October 30 and 31, 1998 the Brecht Forum presented the “Communist Manifestivity to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Communist Manifesto” at Cooper Union’s Great Hall, New York.

Individual endorsers of the event included Pete Seeger.[19]

Obama inauguration

In 2008, Pete Seeger sang at a concert to benefit the Obama presidential campaign.
Pete Seeger at the Obama inauguration party

At Barack Obama’s inauguration concert Pete Seeger sang fellow communist Woody Guthrie’s socialist anthem “This Land is Your Land” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Fred Klonsky-son of communist Robert Klonsky, former Students for a Democratic Society activist Progressives for Obama supporter and brother of Obama supporter Mike Klonsky, marked the occasion on his blog;

How ironic. Here was the legendary Pete Seeger singing for the president-elect at the Lincoln Memorial. Seeger, a life-long radical, one-time communist, fighter for working people and defender of the environment from corporate greed. For the first time many got to hear the original Woody Guthrie lyrics to This Land is Your Land, which include these words:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I’d seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?
Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Massachusetts May Day

In May 1995 the Communist Party USA newspaper Peoples Weekly World published a May Day supplement. Included was a page offering May Day greetings to Massachusetts Communists Lew Johnson, Laura Ross, and Ann Timpson. Endorsers of the greeting included Pete Seeger.[18]


48 posted on 02/01/2014 8:08:52 PM PST by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: elcid1970

Check out the Keywiki link I just posted above.


49 posted on 02/01/2014 8:10:36 PM PST by little jeremiah (Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. CSLewis)
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To: Borges

Ping to this music thread!


50 posted on 02/01/2014 8:17:42 PM PST by Finny (Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. -- Psalm 119:105)
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