Already have the AmMasters special on tape. Have to remember to pull it out and watch it tonight. My favorite part is when they talk about the fact that it was considered OK with the FBI and HUAC for him to sing to children at summer camps throughout the 1950's... little did they know that those same kids would grow up to be the backbone of the Civil Rights movement, the Feminist movement and the Anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960's.
Wow, 94! Must be his purity of character that keeps him strong. There aren't enough superlatives for me to describe how much I admire this man, his music, and his work.
Hard to pick a favourite song, but I was just listening to this one the other day and thinking how completely timeless it is.
Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
Sorry but I remain nonplussed. Suppose it were the birthday of a former member of the '30s pro-Nazi German American Bund who took 50 years before he acknowledged the monstrous nature of Adolf Hitler, would we be as this congratulatory? Especially if he were to declare himself as "still being a fascist with a small 'f'?"( as Seeger did regard himself as still being a small 'c' communist).However talented Seeger is as a songwriter, his record (no pun intended) as Stalin's Songbird must be addressed. http://www.examiner.com/article/the-...of-pete-seeger And he is still on the wrong side of history.http://pjmedia.com/ronradosh/2011/03...-latest-shame/
And Pope Benedict was a member of the Hitler Youth...do you write him off too?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pete_Se...nd_early_1960sIn the 1950s and, indeed, consistently throughout his life, Seeger continued his support of civil and labor rights, racial equality, international understanding, and anti-militarism (all of which had characterized the Wallace campaign) and he continued to believe that songs could help people achieve these goals. With the ever-growing revelations of Joseph Stalin's atrocities and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, however, he became increasingly disillusioned with Soviet Communism. In his PBS biography, Seeger said he "drifted away" from the CPUSA beginning in 1949 but remained friends with some who did not leave it, though he argued with them about it.
I once lived on two kibbutzim in Israel...communities based on socialist/communist philosophy. Do we condemn the kibbutz movement because of Stalin? Do we condemn those who were unaware of Stalin's crimes?
Pete Seeger did not support Stalin. Many people had been mislead and deceived. When the truth became known, most people denounced Stalin and what he represented.
A man should be judged by the totality of his life and work. I think Pete Seeger has led a wonderful life of service and social justice.
Last edited by dardar1126; 05-04-2013 at 07:21 AM.
Also, denouncing Stalin was something Paul Robeson (good friend of Seeger) should have done. Supporting US-USSR relations post-WWII destroyed his career in the US which is a shame, considering he was a black entertainer who was one of the biggest concert draws of his time. My dad has the AmMaster documentary on him and I watched it recently, amazed why this man is not talked about more often when we talk about high achievers in the black community, especially those in pre-Civil Rights Era time.
I also agree with your last paragraph. Pete recently told Andrew Cuomo that his father was one of the best governors NY has ever had in his opinion. But Andrew would go down in history as being the worst governor NY has ever had if he approves fracking, a very controversial subject in this state. As someone who is very anti-fracking myself, I couldn't agree more.
First, as Karina1974 pointed out, being in the Hitler Youth was not a choice, espousing the party line of the American Communist Party back in the late '30s and onward was.
Second, kibbutzims are voluntary and not imposed by dictatorial decree, in short, they are not gulags.
Third, Seeger did support Stalin. He felt that Stalin was a good bulwark against Hitler........that is......until the Nazi-Soviet Pact got signed, then he became an ardent pacifist and released the anti-war album "Songs For John Doe". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songs_For_John_Doe denouncing FDR as a war-mongering puppet of J. P. Morgan. Then Stalin's former allie broke the pact, declared war against the Soviet Union, and somehow for Seeger supporting the war effort wasn't so reactionary after all. Then President Truman felt the need to prevent Western Europe from ending up like the East European states falling under Soviet rule, and now Seeger's pacifism kicks into gear once again.
How could Seeger be 'unaware' of the show trials that Stalin staged? Political candidate Norman Thomas and philosopher John Dewey were aware of their nature, and both were socialists/social democrats. How could he be 'unaware' of the Nazi-Soviet Pact with it's division of Poland and the Soviet imperialism against Finland and the Baltic States?
It wasn't that Seeger was 'unaware', 'mislead' or 'deceived', it was that he was willfully blind.
Sorry read this thread and thought Bob Seger, then thought of Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.
I saw Pete in concert many years ago with Arlo Guthrie. It was wonderful.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
(Edna St Vincent Millay)