Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 10:27 pm

Quote of the Day, RIP Pete Seeger edition

Filed under: Sad,Salute! — Lex @ 10:27 pm

“Pete was an angry man. He did something great with his anger.” — writer Jeff Sharlett


  1. If only Leni Riefenstahl was a Communist like Pete Seeger

    “…perhaps Morning Joe & the MSM would have remembered & celebrated her the day she died as they did Pete Seeger today.

    Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

    For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action.

    Pete Seeger defended communism during the cold war and aided our enemies at a time when Americans were fighting.

    During that same time Communism slaughtered 100 million people living under it and enslaved hundreds of millions more.

    On the show they mentioned Seeger as a “Communist with a small ‘c’ ” Perhaps Democrat National Committee member Bill Connor should have described himself as a “KKK member with a small ‘k’ ” or Riefenstahl as a “Nazi with a small ‘n’ “?

    I will acknowledge his skill as a singer & a songwriter and influence on American Music those are historical facts but I would no more celebrate his life than I would Riefenstahl…”

    Read more…

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:36 pm @ 11:36 pm

  2. Sorry, Fred, but the kindest thing I can think of to say about anyone who would seriously compare Pete Seeger to Leni Riefenstahl is “morally obtuse.”

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 12:54 pm @ 12:54 pm

  3. Take off your pink colored glasses, Lex.

    On the ocassion of Seeger’s 90th birthday

    The dark side of Pete Seeger

    “…. there is a dark side to Pete Seeger, one that is airbrushed out of all the effusive hagiography. Seeger was a dedicated Stalinist and has not renounced his devotion to communism, a political ideology, which according to the Black Book of Communism, responsible for the murder of over 94 million people. When you speak out against communism you get booed, when you’re a cheerleader for its mass murderers you get a Kennedy Center tribute and presidential praise.

    Seeger was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s through the 1950s. 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 travelers 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 Guthrie was a member of the Almanac Singers, a communist folk group. The group put out the anti-war album Songs from John Doe, containing songs that labeled Franklin Roosevelt a war monger


    Color me unimpressed. Also unimpressive are the moral equivalencies Seeger used to water down his apology for supporting a regime that murdered more people than 20 million people.

    [I’ll apologize for a number of things, such as thinking that Stalin was simply a ‘hard driver’ and not a supremely cruel misleader. I guess anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian should be prepared to apologize for the Inquisition, the burning of heretics by Protestants, the slaughter of Jews and Moslems by Crusaders. White people in the U.S.A. could consider apologizing for stealing land from Native Americans and enslaving blacks. Europeans could apologize for worldwide conquests, Mongolians for Genghis Khan. And supporters of Roosevelt could apologize for his support of Somoza, of Southern white Democrats, of Franco Spain, for putting Japanese Americans in concentration camps.’ ]

    As an apology Seeger’s words are underwhelming. While “cruel misleader” is by no means a term of endearment, in light of Stalin’s monstrous record, it vastly understates the depth of his depravity and the true horror of Stalinism. There are many more apt nouns and adjectives in the English language to describe the man who gave us the purges of the Great Terror, the Gulag, and the Ukrainian Terror Famine. Lost in the obfuscations of Seeger’s moral equivalencies is the fact that contemporary Christians, White people, and Mongolians are not responsible for the acts, however heinous, of Christians, white people, or Mongolians of the past, because they had nothing to do with them. Whereas Seeger is all too culpable for the crimes of Stalin because he was an open apologist for “old cruel Joe” and other communist thugs at the very time they were slaughtering millions.

    Some would argue that these inconvenient truths are peripheral to Seeger’s musical achievements and altruistic fight for civil rights. However, that argument ignores the fact that communism, and for a very long part of his life, support of the Soviet Union were central to Seeger’s politics and worldview. Like his boyhood idol Lincoln Steffens Seeger saw the Soviet Union as the way of the future, and Stalin as the man who would lead humanity to the sunny uplands of history. Seeger preached non- violence and considered himself a man of peace yet he aped the party line for a murderous totalitarian ideology. In the end that makes him a hypocrite. Seeger and his comrades on the Old Left and many in the New Left too, were what Lenin called useful idiots. Western dupes, who could be counted on to provide uncritical support for the Soviet Union thereby providing the rope that would eventually hang them.

    Stalin is dead and gone and the smoking embers of the Soviet Union lie on the ash heap of history, but Seeger’s useful idiocy and hypocrisy remains.

    At Barack Obama’s inauguration Seeger, along with Springsteen led a rendition of “This Land is Your Land” on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The tune is often referred to as a moving song of unity. However, that wasn’t how Guthrie intended it. In fact, it was a protest song written as a communist response to Irving Berlin’s God Bless America. Lost in the wash of history is that many, who perform it deliberately leave out part of Guthrie’s original lyrics.

    As I went rumbling that dusty highway
    I saw a sign that said “private property”
    But on the other side it didn’t say nothing
    This side was made for you and me

    In the squares of the city, in the shadow of the steeple
    Near the relief office, I see my people
    And some were stumbling and some were wondering
    If this land was made for you and me

    However, Seeger reinserted that Marxist ode to taking private property back into the inaugural performance and his birthday concert.”

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:11 pm @ 2:11 pm

  4. No, Fred, seriously. Seeger sang songs and praised a regime he knew little about . Riefenstahl willingly made herself one of the propaganda instruments of a nation-state that sanctioned mass murder. History has shown Seeger to be politically misguided, and he stayed that way long after he should have known better. Riefenstahl was a direct accessory to murder. If she’d worn the uniform like Goebbels, she’d likely have been in the dock at Nuremberg. There is a HUGE difference in their levels of culpability. But then the chain doesn’t do morality, and a right-wing small-market radio nut job doesn’t do nuance.

    BTW, wish you could have heard the speech I heard last night. Although racism per se wasn’t the focus, the speaker talked briefly at the beginning about the “slipperiness” of racism in tone, context, intent, and a number of other dimensions. You might not have agreed with her, but you might have found it interesting grist for discussion, at least. The speech might end up on YouTube, in which case you can watch just the first five or 10 minutes and hear for yourself.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:32 pm @ 2:32 pm

  5. Lex, you are totally tone deaf to history ( rewritig also ) and the huge difference between the lives and careers of Seeger and Riefenstahl. He on one hand supported Stalin long after the world knew about his crimes against humanity . In fact for years, Mr. Seeger used to sing a song with a Yiddish group called “Hey Zhankoye,” which helped spread the fiction that Stalin’s USSR freed the Russian Jews by establishing Jewish collective farms in the Crimea. Singing such a song at the same time as Stalin was planning the obliteration of Soviet Jewry was disgraceful. It is now decades later. Why doesn’t Mr. Seeger talk about this and offer an apology?

    Triumph of the Wiil was released in 1935 and was devoid of any anti-semitism . It glorified Hitlers regime. but she did nothing to propagandize the Hollocaust and her film on 1he Berlin Olympics did not edit out the accomplishments of Jesse Owens and other Americans , despite suggestions to do so. She was not a member of the Nazi pary. Seger was a membder of the Communist party..He was perhaps the last man alive to say that he supported Hitler, Stalin, and Ho Chi Minh. That’s quite the totalitarian trifecta..

    Ed Driscoll notes in Pajamas Media that Seeger was a supporter of some of the worst mass murderers of the 20th Century. As a Communist Party member in the 1940s he was a supporter of Adolf Hitler after the Nazi/Soviet Nonaggression Pact, even going so far as to pillory Franklin Roosevelt in song for opposing Nazi Germany up until the very day Hitler invaded Russia. Then he changed his tune, as it were, without missing a beat and became a supporter of war against Germany, obedient to the dictates of the Communist Party.

    In the decades since, Seeger supported virtually every lefty cause imaginable, inveighing against private wealth while raking it in with concerts and record sales. He was the ultimate limousine lefty, shilling for a totalitarian ideology that would crush freedom while taking advantage of that freedom to become wealthy.

    Seeger was up to the end an unreconstructed radical leftist, only abjuring Stalin in the early 1990s, 40 years after the old monster finally gifted the world with his own death. He spent his last years visiting Occupy Wall Street encampments and performing for the latest great left hope, President Barack Obama.

    So how does one evaluate Seeger’s legacy? Can one separate the music, which often had a radical political subtext, from the man’s politics, which were rancid beyond description? He committed the ultimate perversion of art by placing his music in the service of pure evil. Just as Leni Riefenstahl used her cinematic skills to celebrate Nazism, Seeger used his musical skills to celebrate the equally evil ideology of communism. All the blather about how he was a champion for “social change” will not change that. The social change he favored was George Orwell’s iron boot smashing in the face forever.

    {BTW, I find your code speak, making judgments about what I might agree or disagree with, eerily curious, if not downright priggish}

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 4:23 pm @ 4:23 pm

  6. Tone-deaf to history? No, Fred, you and your sources are. It was possible to be a socialist and even a communist without specifically endorsing Stalin’s genocide. And if the U.S. had supported Ho Chi Minh against the French, as it was urged to do and actually strongly considered doing, history might’ve been different. I’m not arguing that Seeger was a good guy. I actually think he was kind of stupid, to be honest. But he harnessed his art NOT in service to Stalinistic genocide but in service to trying to get this country to cash at least part of the check it wrote itself in 1787. By 1935, anyone closely connected with the Nazis knew what they were up to. Some of the Nazi “theologians” I heard last night joined the party before Hitler ever came to power, and they did so because they agreed with the party’s position on Jewry — that it was a moral rot that had to be expunged from the German Volk. Riefenstahl was all in on that.

    You can condemn Seeger for hanging onto historically bad political beliefs long after he should have known better. But if you expect me to believe that Ed Driscoll can read Seeger’s mind you’re nuts. And if you expect me to take seriously an argument that conflates moderation, liberalism, radicalism, socialism and communism into one unified belief structure (Obama is “the latest great left hope”?? Really? He governs center to center-right, particularly on defense and economic issues, for God’s sake), you’re not going to get me to take you seriously.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 5:00 pm @ 5:00 pm

  7. Lex I really could care less if you take me seriously – inasmuch as you are ideologically mute to any ideas or points that differ from his own world view, so why bother having a discussion.

    PS – “discussion” implies listening to and considering another participant’s position.. Consistently using belittlement and ridicule to make points, is not respectful and open debate. Classic Alinksy and liberal tactic.

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 7:14 pm @ 7:14 pm

  8. Fred, I’ve heard all these arguments before, weighed them, and found them wanting. I don’t mean to belittle or ridicule, but neither do I intend to spend time rehashing very old arguments in the absence of new evidence. I’ve made my points. Feel free to disagree with my opinions with respect to Seeger and Riefenstahl’s relative moral culpability. Feel free to disprove my factual assertions thath underlie those opinions, if you can. But don’t expect me to change my mind just because you think I should, and don’t claim to be a victim when my decision on this matter deviates from your preference.

    Comment by Lex — Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:25 pm @ 10:25 pm

  9. And that is a wrap

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Thursday, January 30, 2014 8:51 am @ 8:51 am

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