The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #89365 Message #1691790
Posted By: GUEST,J C
13-Mar-06 - 04:35 AM
Thread Name: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
Subject: RE: MI5 monitored Ewan MacColl
This argument has now become a circular one revolving around whether MacColl did or did not know what was going on under the Stalinist regime in Russia.
Greg Stephens says he did, I say that not only did he not know, but there was no reason for him to know, any more than the rank-and-file New Labour or Republican Party supporters knew the facts behind W.M.D and the Iraqi invasion – just like wives, the electorate are always the last to be told.
If MacColl was guilty of collusion, so were the British citizens who hung their 'good old Uncle Joe' banners after Russia's great wartime victories. So were the electorate of Stephney in East London and in Glasgow who elected Communists into parliament. So was Pete Seeger, Howard Fast, Bertold Brecht, Garcia Lorca, Bert Lloyd and the host of other artists and intellectuals, (many, like Seeger, were prepared to go to McCarthy's prisons for their beliefs), who continued to lend their support to the Soviet Union right up to Kruschev's revelations at the Party Congress. So, strangely enough, were the vast majority of Soviet citizens who adored Stalin right up to his death, despite the fact that his disastrous collectivization policy was the cause of millions of deaths (Stalin's purges were aimed largely at his political opponents (real or perceived), rather than the ordinary man-in-the-street).
I am sure that the British authorities (and MI5) knew exactly what was going on, but, ever cynical, the British people were kept largely in the dark because, after Lenin's death and the power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky, it had been decided in high places to soft-pedal on anti-Sovietism on the basis that Stalin's 'Communism in one country' policy was preferable to Trotsky's 'Permanent Revolution'.
I have enjoyed this discussion (apart from the usual idiot who inevitably raises his empty head), and would be happy to continue it elsewhere, but once again it, like many other red-herrings , has acted as a diversion from discussing MacColl's contribution to traditional singing – shame!
By the way, the voice on 'The Travelling People' interviewing Justice of the Peace Harry Whatton suggesting that Travellers should be exterminated was that of producer Charles Parker. Charles said that the BBC management wanted to cut out that section and his refusal to do so was the cause of there being no more Radio Ballads (I don't count the two that MacColl and Seeger were not involved in as they abandoned the 'no interviewer' policy and reverted to the old interviewer-interviewee technique).