The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #100487   Message #2178651
Posted By: eddie1
25-Oct-07 - 02:38 AM
Thread Name: Pete Seeger: Nobel Peace -Updated-deadline Feb1!
Subject: Nobel Prize for Pete Seeger
There must have been a previous thread on this but a search revealed a mountain of threads on Pete Seeger and I have to get to work!
I got this e-mail today. I can think of nobody else in the world of folk who deserves such recognition more!
Those who agree, will sign. Those who don't agree, won't.


Dear Petition Signer,

The petition to nominate Pete Seeger for a Nobel Peace Prize has grown
rapidly; there are over 7600 signatures and you are one of them. The
comments on the petition web page attest to how deeply Pete has touched our
lives, from our parents to our children and grandchildren, and
helped shape our sense of human responsibility.

In response to this initial outpouring of support, we have launched a new
website, specifically to support this campaign. While it is still under
development, we are asking you to take a look, and to publicize its existence
to others who might want to support this campaign. The site can be reached at:

We are actively seeking additional help in building this campaign. Of particular
interest would be organization endorsements of the campaign that we can publicize.
If you are involved in such an organization, please ask them to endorse this effort,
and have them send email to that effect to:

Another goal of ours is to collect additional materials to support this campaign.
Because Pete is such a private person there is little besides what's on
his record jackets that fills in his life story. Everybody has a little
tale to tell about when they first met Pete or when he sang at their
camp or school. Others may have photographs of Pete or of activities he has been
involved with. It would be nice to collect those memories. He is
essential to so many people.

Below are some of my thoughts on this campaign that you might be able to use in
convincing others to join in!

Eleanor Walden

==== some thoughts ====

The fact that Al Gore won the Peace Prize award this year encourages our
effort for Pete Seeger for 2008! I hope this recognition helps the
environmental movement and increases ways to protect the planet that is
our home. I hope it makes more of us aware of the chasm we endure
between rich and poor, between obscenely rich and obscenely poor. I am
also encouraged that it was through an art form, a film, that Al Gore
got his message around the world so quickly and won such acceptance. How
tired I am of having the arts referred to as "artsy/fartsy", how
insulting to have the Universities cut back programs in the
"humanities", and music and arts enhancement in grade schools be the
first to go for budget cuts.

The folk music revival movement that spread around the world encouraged
young people to learn to play an instrument, give poetic voice to
political opinions, and find appreciation for the carriers of folk
tradition who had kept those jewels of music alive in their families and
communities. One of Pete's most important contributions to our
consciousness was that he always paid homage to the lineage of folk
traditions and was one of the first to see that folk music, was not cute
and quaint, but was a form of protest against oppression.

Pete Seeger is an ambassador for Peace and Social Justice and has been
over the course of his 88-year lifetime. His work shows up wherever you
look in the history of labor solidarity, growth of mass effort to end
the Vietnam war, ban of nuclear weapons, work for international
diplomacy, support of the Civil Rights Movement, for cleaning up the
Hudson River and for environmental responsibility in general. Pete knit
the world together with songs from China, the Soviet Union, Israel,
Cuba, South Africa and Republican Spain. We learned that Crispus
Attucks, born a slave, was the first man to die at the opening of the
Revolutionary War, that the Farmer-Labor party in the mid-west had a
socialist philosophy that lasted well into the 20th century, we learned
that anti-slavery movements were often inspired by songs that indicated
a map of escape, such as "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd," he popularized
many of the IWW songs that helped in CIO organizing, and spread the
Civil Rights Movement through promoting the SNCC Freedom Singers and
making songs such as "We Shall Overcome," known all over the world.

When subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee and
Senator Joseph McCarthy, Pete defended himself on the basis of the First
Amendment, the right of an American citizen to free association, not the
Fifth Amendment, protection against self incrimination. When he was
boycotted from earning a living and practicing his craft on a national
scale Pete appeared at union meetings, summer camps, Jr. High and High
Schools, and Colleges. His pay at times was as little as $5, but his
value was priceless!

Pete also had his mentors: among them Paul Robeson, who said: "The
Artist must elect to fight for freedom or slavery..." It is time that a
cultural worker receives the acknowledgment that, as Bertolt Brecht
points out, "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with
which to shape it." The cultural workers who know the power of the arts
for social and political change, also know how difficult it is to gain
recognition for cultural creation without either trivializing the art or
somehow qualifying for designation of "high art" selected by an elite.
Pete Seeger always held to the principals that people's music is not
only "good art" but is representational art through music. Thus "folk
music" was a living, vibrant form of culture.

Culture, in essence, means to honor our forbears. In the words of the
Eastern European writer Milan Kundera: " the struggle for people's power
is the struggle for memory and against forgetting". Pete's talent, sense
of decency, and inalterable belief in, as Anne Franke said, that, "at
heart, people are basically good", were uniquely his, but he has never
been alone in his work; the support of his wife Toshi and his family
gave him the opportunity to be all he could be. We all stand on Pete
Seeger's shoulders in a manner of speaking. We share Pete Seeger as a
"father" of cultural, social, and political movements, as much as we
share our parental DNA.

It is time that cultural work receives the recognition that the arts
have great influence and global reach, that it is not only a medium of
entertainment but of education, compassion and action. It is the desire
of the committee that Pete Seeger be recognized as a beacon of integrity
and principle in a time, and in a country, more defined by the absence
of those qualities than by their honor.

Eleanor Walden