Skip to comments.Marxist minstrel
Posted on 02/03/2014 12:51:28 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
Pete Seeger died last week at age 94. The media are remembering Seeger as a social-justice crusading progressive who gave voice to the poor and the working man. He's also being portrayed as an unfortunate victim of wild-eyed McCarthyites who madly searched for a red under every bed.
Well, the full story is a little different.
Pete Seeger was in fact once a communist, a committed one at the height of the Stalin era. Interviewed for a 2008 episode of the PBS series American Masters, Seeger openly conceded he had been a communist. He first joined the Young Communist League as a student at Harvard (mid-1930s) and later (early 1940s) joined Communist Party USA as a card-carrying member.
That latter fact is a halting one. Many American communists, especially Jewish American communists, bolted CPUSA in the 1940s when Stalin allied with Hitler. Not Seeger. He was undeterred.
Seeger was a very loyal communist. If you were a fellow comrade holding a major rally anywhere in the Northeast, Pete Seeger's presence was as reliable as a red flag. He was a guarantee to provide entertainment for the cause. Here are merely a few examples:
At the massive New York City anti-Vietnam rally in April 1967, organized by the radical New Mobe, Seeger was there, singing for the cause.
In the 1950s, New York communist parents sent their red-diaper baby children to something called the Downtown Community School, a supplement to the so-called Little Red School House, founded in the 1920s by New York communists and progressives. There, future Weather Underground terrorists such as Kathy Boudin (still in jail for murder) met musical talents like Seeger, who regularly played and taught music at the school.
Seeger also provided rousing performances at the summer commie camps in the Catskills where the New York faithful sent their children. These surreal spectacles were a perverse red version of vacation Bible school (no kidding).
But Seeger's most disturbing work as a Marxist minstrel was his strumming for a folk group called The Almanacs, which historian Ron Radosh himself a former red-diaper baby correctly calls a communist folk-singing group. At varying times, the group included Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives and Will Geer, who later became famous as Grandpa Walton on The Waltons. Seeger founded the group in 1941.
The most egregious work by The Almanacs was its propaganda for the insidious American Peace Mobilization, which Congress identified as one of the most seditious organizations which ever operated in the United States and one of the most notorious and blatantly communist fronts ever organized. Founded in 1940, the group's objective was to keep America out of the war against Hitler. The group even demanded no lend-lease to Britain as it was being savaged by Hitler's war machine. Why?
It did so because Hitler, at that point, had signed an alliance with Stalin. For American communists, any friend of Stalin had to be a friend of theirs. This is no exaggeration. They literally swore a loyalty oath to the USSR. They were unflinchingly loyal Soviet patriots.
And Pete Seeger was one of them, there to salute the flag.
The kickoff rally to attract recruits to the peace mobilization was a huge April 1941 promotional in New York City. It featured music by Paul Robeson, the devoted Stalinist, and The Almanacs.
Liberals should be enraged at Pete Seeger for such awful activity. Unfortunately, they don't know their own history. For them, the bad guys are never on the left. As James Burnham used to say, for the left, the preferred enemy is always to the right.
Speaking of bad guys, I will be deemed a bad guy for pointing out these inconvenient facts about Pete Seeger. I'll be accused of Neanderthal McCarthyism, whereas Seeger will be portrayed as a peace-loving lamb, a good-hearted hippie unfairly persecuted as a communist for his mere love of peace and social justice.
Some things never change.
Paul Kengor's most recent book is The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama's Mentor. His column appears the first Sunday of every month.
Author: Paul Kengor
another damned Yankee
Thanks for the article and its clear documentation of Seeger’s red roots, along with his fellow travelers. Here in OK, birthplace of Woody Guthrie, time is eroding and softening his communism to allow for his memory to become more mainstream.
See: www.keywiki.org and www.DiscoverTheNetwork.org” for lots of information on Pete Seeger’s communist career with lasted over 70 years despite what the mainstream media said in their generally pro-Seeger articles.
He supported every communist party and major movement that came down the pike, from the CPUSA, SWP, WWP to the Maoist weekly the “Guardian”.
He was a “red” on the inside as was his nose on the outside.
Kengor> Thanks for the good piece on him
I recall as a young man debating someone who made the point that the Soviets were our allies during the war. I immediately answered that they were not our allies but Hitler's despite the fact they ended up betraying each other.
He gave me a peculiar puzzled look as if I didn't know history but couldn't respond to that.
For more on the Lend Lease program and who else it was helping,read Diana Wests,”American Betrayal”,that will open your eyes
Wasn't kind of like the enemy of my enemy is my friend?
I didn’t know that Burl Ives was in that group. I knew there was a reason I hate “Holly, Jolly Christmas.”
“If I had a Hammer...and a Sickle...”
Seeger was a repellent creep and a Grade AA @$$ho!e.
From Mark Steyn’s blog on Seeger’s Stalinism and the infantile nature of folk music (If I Had a Hammer):
“For the cost of a restricted view ticket to a Peter, Paul, and Mary revival, you can buy a half dozen top-of-the-line hammers and have more fun, even if you use them on yourself.”
Funniest line written in the English language this century.
Thanks to their enablers in the Leftist media, all these old Communists died with plenty of capitalist cash in their pockets. What flaming hypocrites.
Get out your “Commie Sickness” bags:
Sunday, Feb 2, 2014 06:00 AM CST - Why youre wrong about communism: 7 huge misconceptions about it (and capitalism)
These same people gave us Paul Wellstone.
I am a little skeptiable about:
“Roosevelt and Churchill's arms embargo..” mistake? Don't think he ever acknowledged a mistake about keeping the Jews out of the country
The title of that article should be: “Straw man arguments about communism (and capitalism): We build, and then tear down, seven of them in our latest show of contempt for your intellect.”
Neither did I, but sure enough - he was blacklisted. Eventually, he testified before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities, which apparently pissed off Seeger for decades.
More than twenty years ago I saw a program on PBS (?) about American commies, and Seeger was willingly interviewed and didn't try to apologize for his views. But Big Media sure tried to cover up for Seeger through the decades.
I doubt the old line folkies planned it that way but for that switch a lot of commie brainwashing would never have happened.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.