Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stalin's Songbird......Pete Seeger Dies !

Pete Seeger is dead at 94 years of age, and the flowing tributes will tend to ignore his long and weaselly record of support for communism and Stalinists. Most people don't know it, but Seeger was a card-carrying member of the American Communist party (CPUSA) from the 1930's through the 1950's. He left the party but never gave up the faith. He told the Washington Post in 1995, ''I am still a communist.'' Like his comrades and fellow travellers, Seeger twisted and turned with every pronouncement from Moscow. Seeger supported the Nazi-Soviet Pact, a curious position for a noted ''anti-fascist.''  In 1941 Seeger along with Millard Lampell, Lee Hayes and Woody Gutrie formed the Almanac Singers, a communist folk group (In Photo - Seeger in the middle). The group put out the anti-war album Songs from John Doe, containing songs that labelled Franklin Roosevelt a war monger. One of the songs had the following lyrics:

                                Franklin D, listen to me,
                                You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea,
                                You may say it's for defense
                                That kinda talk ain't got no sense.

Of course when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Seeger and the Almanac Singer's literally changed their tune to get in lockstep with Stalin's new foreign policy. They pulled Songs from John Doe from the market and quickly replaced it with the pro-war song, pro-Roosevelt album Dear Mr. President:
                               Now, Mr President
                               You're commander-in-chief of our armed forces
                              The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses,
                              I guess you know best just where I can fight....
                              So what I want is you to give me a gun
                              So we can hurry up and get the job done!

The Weavers (Seeger top left)
In 1950, the Almanacs were reconstituted as the Weavers.  In the atmosphere of the 1950's ''red scare'', the Weaver's repertoire had to be less overtly topical than that of the Almanacs had been, and its progressive message was couched in indirect language - arguably rendering it even more powerful. After a string of hits the Weavers' performing career was abruptly derailed in 1953 as defamatory reviews appeared in New York newspapers whenever they performed. Throughout the 1950's and 1960's, Seeger called for peace, peaceful co-existence between the United States and the Soviet Union, singing songs like ''Put My Name Down Brother, Where Do I Sign?'' - a ballad in favour of the Soviet Union's phoney international peace petition that favoured unilateral disarmament by the West while leaving the Soviet atomic stockpile intact.

Seeger refusing to testify at HUAC
With ever-growing revelations of Joseph Stalin's atrocities and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, however, he became increasingly disillusioned with Soviet Communism. On August 18, 1955, Seeger was subpoenaed to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Seeger refused to plead the Fifth Amendment (which implied that his testimony might been self incriminating) ad refused to name personal and political associations on the grounds that is would violate his First Amendment rights. His refusal to testify led to a March 26, 1957 indictment for contempt of Congress and he faced 10 years in jail, but an appeals court 4 years later overturned his conviction. In the 1960's he would sing and give his support to peace rallies and anti-Vietnam marches covertly sponsored by the Soviet Union and its Western front groups and dupes -- while leaving his political criticism only for the United States and its defensive actions during the Cold War.

The Way I See It.....President Barack Obama's statement today on Seeger's death is beyond pathetic and needs translation. Let me help: The Marxist/Socialist Obama claims Seeger believed in ''community'' when he means ''communism'', and wielded a ''hammer'' when he means ''hammer and sickle'':

         Once called ''America's tuning fork,'' Pete Seeger believed deeply in the power of song.
         But more importantly, he believed in the power of community - to stand up for what's right,
         speak out against what's wrong, and move this country closer to the America he knew we
        could be. Over the years, Pete used his voice - and his hammer - to strike blows for worker's
        rights and civil rights; world peace and environmental conservation. And he always invited us to sing along. For reminding us whee we come from and showing us where we need to go, we will always be grateful to Pete Seeger. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to all those who loved him.

Seeger later in life made half-hearted apologies for being a propagandist of one of the deadliest totalitarian  regimes in history. ''I certainly should apologize for saying that Stalin was a hard driver rather than a very cruel leader. I don't speak out about a lot of things....only in my songs. Some may find them merely diverting melodies. Others may find them incitements to Red revolution. And who will say if either or both is wrong? Not I.  I usually quote Plato about this, who said : It is very dangerous to allow the wrong kind of music in the republic."  How right the old philosopher was!

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