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Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)

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Elmore 02 Feb 14 - 11:51 AM
Stringsinger 02 Feb 14 - 12:20 PM
Stringsinger 02 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM
ChanteyLass 02 Feb 14 - 07:38 PM
Stringsinger 03 Feb 14 - 12:02 PM
KT 03 Feb 14 - 01:32 PM
Bettynh 04 Feb 14 - 11:19 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 04 Feb 14 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,harriet jerusha korim 05 Feb 14 - 10:12 AM
Elmore 05 Feb 14 - 10:55 AM
voyager 05 Feb 14 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 06 Feb 14 - 06:04 AM
Northerner 06 Feb 14 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Gerry 26 Apr 14 - 07:21 AM
Thomas Stern 27 Apr 14 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 27 Apr 14 - 09:54 PM
Big Mick 28 Apr 14 - 10:12 AM
Stringsinger 28 Apr 14 - 11:02 AM
Stringsinger 28 Apr 14 - 02:51 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Apr 14 - 11:40 PM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 14 - 03:01 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 14 - 03:52 AM
Big Mick 29 Apr 14 - 11:00 AM
Jeri 29 Apr 14 - 11:28 AM
Stringsinger 29 Apr 14 - 11:32 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Apr 14 - 05:20 PM
The Sandman 29 Apr 14 - 05:21 PM
The Sandman 29 Apr 14 - 05:31 PM
Bill D 29 Apr 14 - 06:52 PM
Big Mick 29 Apr 14 - 07:13 PM
Bill D 29 Apr 14 - 08:11 PM
Joe Offer 29 Apr 14 - 08:27 PM
Jeri 29 Apr 14 - 09:00 PM
GUEST,Gerry 29 Apr 14 - 09:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Apr 14 - 01:25 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 14 - 02:22 AM
Joe Offer 30 Apr 14 - 03:24 AM
Jim Carroll 30 Apr 14 - 03:47 AM
The Sandman 30 Apr 14 - 04:29 AM
Big Mick 30 Apr 14 - 10:23 AM
The Sandman 30 Apr 14 - 11:56 AM
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Jeri 30 Apr 14 - 02:10 PM
Joe Offer 30 Apr 14 - 02:21 PM
Thomas Stern 30 Apr 14 - 04:57 PM
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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Elmore
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 11:51 AM

There are a few things in this world you can depend on. I used to watch the CBS show, Sunday Morning every week, but got out of the habit. I watched it this week and, sure enough, there was an excellent, if short, segment about Pete. Maybe I'll start watching the show again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 12:20 PM

I find it ironic that finally his life is being celebrated as it should be when for so many years he was vilified by not only the reactionary right but many so-called liberals as well.

That's the way it is with any decent American who takes a courageous stand for the betterment of his or her government.

Why do brave people have to die before their accomplishments can be acknowledged?

It was the same with MLK, lionized after his death and now trivialized by turning him into a cardboard saint. With Pete, he spoke eloquently about the folly of the Vietnam War and others, today, speak out about the insanity of Iraq and Afghanistan and are being largely ignored, especially by the so-called Media.

Pete's legacy to us has to be that we remember what these American heroes had to go through before we could hear their messages. Even so, Pete's life was a life worth living.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 12:25 PM

P.S., the same above goes for Woody Guthrie. It's a case of "now you tell me!"

Or as one poet described it succinctly in an early edition of the Hobo News,
"Throw your bouquets while I'm living, do your knocking when I'm dead." :)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 02 Feb 14 - 07:38 PM

PBS has been reprising the American Masters episode Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. I caught it this afternoon. You can check your local listings to see if it will be on your local PBS channel.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Feb 14 - 12:02 PM

The best part of that documentary for me was when Toshi told Pete hearing that a man was coming to a concert to kill him, "Peter, you've got to sit down and talk to that man".
Pete did and they resolved their conflict peaceably. That was the real Toshi Seeger.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: KT
Date: 03 Feb 14 - 01:32 PM

KVMR -NOW! - tune in, listen live - if you'd like to listen to a conversation between Pete Seeger and Utah Phillips.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Bettynh
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 11:19 AM

I've been remembering Pete a lot recently, and it's been memories of my lifetime.

1963, Dad was messing around with his latest technotoy, a reel-to-reel tape recorder. He set it up in front of the tv and recorded air-to-air the WGBH broadcast of Boston's arts festival from Boston Common. Pete, singing and telling songs and stories. We played it over and over and transcribed some of the songs. The Girl Scouts of the area learned "Little Boxes" and "Mrs. McGrath" from that tape. "Little Boxes" wasn't ironic to us at the time - it was a description of our lives.

1967, Dad and I got to go to Ford Hall Forum in Boston. Pete was irate that he had been censored off the Smothers Brothers show. I had been watching him Saturday afternoons on tv for years and the whole thing made no sense to me at the time.

1987. My twins were 5. Dad was retired and had a beard now, a lot like Pete's. Lawrence common, the 75th anniversary of the Bread and Roses strike. Dad was watching from the edge of the crowd, standing, and there were several men of his age there, several with that same beard. I wish I'd known then that Dad and Pete had been on Saipan at the same time. The kids had climbed a statue and sat on top to watch Pete.

2002. The National Storytelling Festival. Harlan, one of the twins now 20, and I saw Pete. His voice was fractured, but the crowd sang well. It was a bit sad, but Pete was still Pete. Harlan did the driving home through DC sniper stories and with "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" on the tape recorder.

Through it all, there were records and tapes and radio programs.

Thanks Pete, we loved you.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 04 Feb 14 - 12:39 PM

Two things to add to what I wrote earlier.

First, amid the celebrations of Pete's extraordinary life and career in which his broadest impact was made with political and other singer-songwriter material, it's less often mentioned what an extraordinary traditional-style musician he was. Though he preferred to be called, as is correct, a singer of traditional songs, he had the style down pat when he wanted.

His best work in this line is still his first LP, "Darling Corey" (Folkways, since reprinted with Goofing-Off Suite), but it's well to remember he re-embraced the traditional for his wonderful American Ballads and Folk Songs LPs right in the middle of his most politically active period.

You only had to hear his astonishing recreation of Kentuckian Walter Williams' banjo spectacular, "East Virginia," or "Darling Corey," "John Riley" or "Danville Girl" to hear what early traditional song meant to him. It buoyed him all during his career, even as he turned to many other kinds of songs.

Second, I think few remember what an startling unsung role he played in the early folk movement during the 1950s as a true "Johnny Appleseed"-by-mail. He conducted at his own expense (when he had all too little money himself), a tremendous correspondence linking up young folkies, me among them, with singing weekends and other gatherings, and putting us in touch with one another. His practice was to send on what he received from one and swap back something he got from another, for an exciting cross-fertilization when folk singers were still as rare as hen's teeth, and we all scarcely knew what we were trying to do. Kind of an early internet.

Still realizing what a blow his loss is.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,harriet jerusha korim
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 10:12 AM

The past days remind me I'm part of an extended family, grieving the loss and celebrating the life of our musical brother, pop or grandpa or great-grandpa, depending how old you are... And all the sharing of photos, anecdotes, songs and videos are like food and drink we would share if we were sitting shiva together.

The kerfluffle about memorials got me thinking what I would love to see is a day of local, global all-ages truly participatory stone-soup potlucks, community sings and dances FOR PETE'S SAKE on May 3.

Remembering long-ago and recent encounters, but even more just feeling the resonance of Pete's presence, his voice, humor, imagination, intelligence, open-heartedness. And so many songs, including ones I heard him sing live and haven't heard or thought of for years, like "Farewell little Fishes" and "Maple Syrup Time" (soon coming):

"...I'll send this song to Scott and Helen [Nearing], up in Maine where they are dwellin'
Hoping they don't mind a little advice in rhyme.
As in life or revolution, rarely is there a quick solution,
Anything worthwhile takes a little time.
We boil and boil and boil and boil it all day long..."

That advice also resonates in Pete's singing of Jacob's Ladder http://youtu.be/n7d6ATNyA98 and in a verse I made up and tacked on to our singing of Steve Earle's great '06 tribute "Steve's Hammer (for Pete)" http://youtu.be/wx9SGI97wuU :

"One of these days I'm gonna pass this hammer on
to a little kid who's listening to our song
'cause life is short, but the struggle's long
it takes generations to right these wrongs
One of these days I'm gonna pass this hammer on."

with gratitude from Jerusha and The Beat Greens...

what never dies "goes on to organize"--


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Elmore
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 10:55 AM

Bettynh: Your post yesterday at 11:19 brought back a lot of memories. I was fortunate to have seen Pete's appearance at Boston Common in 1963,which drew an enormous crowd, and Pete gave an electrifying (not electric) performance. The Ford Hall Forum appearance in 1967 was unusual because it gave Pete a chance to explain himself, rather than be explained by others. Finally, by 1987 in Lawrence, Pete's voice was pretty far gone, but his performance gave my son the opportunity to understand what Pete was all about. Thanks for helping me to recall these wonderful events , Elmore.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: voyager
Date: 05 Feb 14 - 03:16 PM

The more we go 'back to the well' of Pete Seeger's life in music, the cooler is the water, the more nourishing is the drink. Hope this thread goes on forever....

You've Got to Walk That Lonesome Valley - Pete Seeger and Doc Watson

voyager


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 06:04 AM

When you've watched it make sure you catch the awesome clip of John Hurt singing Lonesome Valley, which is advertised on the same page. Pete doesn't join in that one but he's there in the background, as is Hedy West.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Feb 14 - 01:27 PM

A wonderful performer! Wish I'd had the opportunity to see him perform. RIP Pete.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 26 Apr 14 - 07:21 AM

Several posts up, there's a great story about Pete Seeger singing (or, rather, not singing) in Barcelona in the late days of the Franco regime. The story is taken from a book by Scott Alarik. But that book is a novel; does anyone know whether what's described there actually happened? I ask because all my efforts to search for that story on the web lead to Alarik's novel; I'd have thought a great story like that would have been told elsewhere over the 40 years since the events it describes.

The David Dunaway biography of Seeger (How Can I Keep From Singing) discusses the tour of Spain on page 298. It lists three songs Spanish censors prohibited him from singing; it also says "He knew he couldn't sing --- and didn't try --- the songs of the Spanish Civil War...." It says police cancelled his concert at a university in Barcelona. But that's it. No mention of his playing forbidden songs on the banjo, the audience doing the singing.

I also found this on the web, written by Seeger's friend, the Spanish singer Raimon, at http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2014/01/28/actualidad/1390945415_202516.html

Quise convencerle, con mi mujer, Analisa, de que viniera a España a cantar. Como muchos de los artistas progresistas que entonces entendían que estando Franco no debían venir, él dijo que prefería no hacerlo; le convenció finalmente el argumento de que si ellos no venían la gente que vivía aquí pensaría que lo que había por esos mundos era el universo cultural carca que nos llegaba en ese momento.

Actuó en Terrassa el 7 de febrero de 1971. Yo estaba programado también, pero solo le permitieron cantar a él. Siguió en San Sebastián, pero lo prohibieron en Madrid y en la Escuela Industrial de Barcelona; pudo actuar otra vez en Sevilla. Yo traduje las letras de sus canciones y se alojó en nuestra casa. Desde entonces establecimos mucho contacto y en 1976, muerto Franco, vino a cantar a Madrid y Barcelona.

My Spanish is none too good, but it's clear that Raimon does not tell the story Alarik tells, and, again, it's such a good story that it surprises me the Raimon doesn't tell it. So, does anyone have any pre-Alarik references to the Barcelona story?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 12:48 AM

In the MAY 2014 issue of THE CATHOLIC WORKER there is a tribute to
Pete Seeger by BUD COURTNEY.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 27 Apr 14 - 09:54 PM

Enough already!

This thread needs a little balance:
He also celebrated a form of government that was responsible for the execution of tens of millions of innocent people and tortured e

ven more

es, IMHO, Pete Seeger was not patriot. He sang like he was for the poor and downtrodden, but in reality, he was a lover of big government. He most likely loved Obama, our beloved Dictator-in-chief. Pete Seeger loved seeing people on the government dole, living on the Democrat plantation of liberalism. He was totally clueless about the entrepreneurial spirit and freedom and liberty.
The sweetness of the candy coated bitter truth has carried on, and on....

Some snippets gathered from across the web:

Seegar
..was just another Dennis Rodman type political whore, the only difference is he carried a banjo rather than a B-ball.

Pete Seeger was the champion of left-wing socialism which does nothing but keep the poor downtrodden and on the government dole. It probably would have been a good thing if Peter Seeger really had to work at a 40-hr a week job and learn something about capitalism


Just another rich elite Communist that could sing a neat little ditty. He celebrated the form of government that executed tens of millions of people and tortured just as many.



Personally, I think he knew he had been duped and is why he kept such a low profile.


. 50 million people wiped out in Stalin's purges


Yes, Seeger was a useful idiot. He parroted the Stalin line for decades and excused the Soviet Union atrocities. He was against our entrance into WWll until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union and Stalin ordered an about face from all the US commies.

The lefties posting above haven't a clue about the communist infiltration of our government and other institutions during the 30s, 40s and 50s. Most of them have never heard of Whittaker Chambers or Elizabeth Bentley. Perhaps they believe that Alger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were innocent. I am sure they never read any of the contents of the Venona files, the KGB files or the Mitrokhin Archives. They surely never listened to the interviews of ex-KGB or FBI agents who were active at that time. I am sure that they are unaware that New Dealers like John Patton Davies, Harold Glasser, Lauchlin Currie, Laurence Duggan, Alger Hiss, Duncan Lee, Irving Goff, Owen Lattimore, Henry Wallace, Harry Dexter White, Victor Perlo, Lee Pressman, John Stewart Service, and about 400 other FDR and Truman hands were indeed working for ole Uncle Joe.

Pete Seegar is a sad product of the leftist media which for 60 years have pounded the American public with one simple message: Joe McCarthy bad -- Commie "patriots" good.


Recall that it was ...
Seeger who was the most distraught and tried to halt the proceedings, when Dylan decided to go electric


Stalin's Songbird"


Seeger joined the Communist Party in 1934 and worked for Stalin until the early 50s when he claimed he left the CPUSA. Stalin died in 1953.


http://variety.com/2014/music/news/pete-seeger-dead-folk-legend-1201073804/


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Big Mick
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 10:12 AM

GUEST Gerry, I can tell you this. Pete told me the story himself while he, Toshi, Tinya and I were having a bite to eat at his kitchen table. He was reminiscing on visiting Franco's Spain and some of the things he had to do to outsmart the censors. This was a year and a half ago or so. He was animated and quite specific about the details.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 11:02 AM

It's amazing to me that we have John Birchers in our midst on Mudcat.

Gargoyle, you are completely clueless about the Left. This latest isn't about balance,
it's just blatant smearing.

Enough already indeed!

"Pete Seegar is a sad product of the leftist media "

You can't even spell his name correctly so why should anyone listen to you?

The media Leftist? That's a joke. No, the media is reactionary Republican.

We can take back our media by:
1. supporting alternative factual media
2.   We can debunk the garbage spilled by Fox News and CNN
3.   We can support reliable sources for our information
4.   We can articulate our vision for a better world by:
      A. Supporting peace groups that are actually doing something useful
      B. Support Occupy Wall Street in it's latest incarnation (yes, it's still here)
      C. We can report history accurately concerning the Left Wing
      D. We can list Pete's numerous accomplishments such as:
            1. Cleaning the Hudson River
            2. Spawning the folk music revival without Pete....no Mudcat
            3. Celebrating his appeal to humanity by stopping Vietnam war,
            4. Remembering his courageous fight against Jim Crow
            5. Giving permission to anyone to learn to play and sing regardless of
                what they believe their musical ability is.
            6. Reaching children through his stories and songs
            7. Being positive about humanity in spite of Republican negativity.
I think we can all add to this list.

If it weren't for Pete I doubt many of us would be here on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 02:51 PM

Pete always called himself a communist with a small c. Stalin was not a real communist but a dictator. The image of Jesus would probably be more in line with a true definition of communist. That's why Woody Guthrie wrote his song about Jesus.

The Left Wing movement in the early days of the century was responsible for:
1. Civil Rights for black people
2. Women's rights and women's suffrage
3. Decent pay for a day's work......labor unions
4. Freedom of speech
5. Protesting wars of imperialism
6. Moving FDR to implement social benefits
7. Social Security


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Apr 14 - 11:40 PM

Since Gargoyle's remarks were responded to they'll stay put, but with Frank's responses it helps to show future readers the scope of the story - what Pete was up against at times.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 03:01 AM

Gargoyle makes a valid point, and it would be a shame if his remarks were to be deleted. It's absolutely true that Pete Seeger was a communist, and that he supported Stalin. So did MacColl. It's wrong to whitewash this - both Seeger and MacColl supported Stalin without reservation.

We in the West have been brought up to demonize Stalin as a hateful dictator - but when we demonize people, we shut ourselves off from understanding what they were all about. Stalin was the leader of the Soviet Union from the 1920s until he died in 1953. If he was such a demon, why did he hold power for so long? Could it be that he actually accomplished many things that were a benefit to the citizens of the Soviet Union? Could it be that Seeger and MacColl had good reason to support Stalin?

The older I get, the more I begin to suspect that there really are no "bad guys." We all have our own truths and our own interests, and those truths and interests are often in conflict with those of other people. And most of the time, neither side is completely right or completely wrong. In fact, many times there is no right or wrong - only "different."

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 03:52 AM

"both Seeger and MacColl supported Stalin without reservation."
Not just them - their generation of social improvers and those of the left were brought up to idolise Stalin - members of my family included.
I know of people who wept when they learned of his death.
The Russian Revolution was seen as a workers revolution and the new Soviet State was regarded as the first Workers State.
Intellectuals like economists like Sidney and Beatrice Webb wrote huge tomes in praise of Stalinist Russia, with books like 'Soviet Communism, A New Civilization'.
The Dean of Canterbury, Hewlett Johnson wrote 'The Socialist Sixth of the World', an extremely popular work praising what was happening in Stalinist Russia.
Reports of what was happening in Russia were either regarded as "breaking eggs to make an omelette" or simply as propaganda.
It wasn't until Khrushchev's speech to Congress in 1956 that the cracks in Stalinist adoration began to appear, and even then it took time to sink in.
There is no doubt that the 1917 revolution brought about massive improvements in feudalist Russia - it's often forgotten that writers such as Tolstoy were writing about "Stalin's Gulags" in the 19th century, only in those days they were Tsarist.
It's always easy to be smug in hindsight.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:00 AM

Any moderator that would delete Gargoyle's comments would be doing so,without cause, and IMHO, in breach of their duties as mods. He attacked no one personally and simply expressed his point of view on Pete's activities. Like Joe, I find merit in some of it, disagree with most of it. Like Frank and Jim, I think it demonstrates a lack of understanding of the times. But it is nothing more than his opinion, and he expressed it well and without attacking anyone personally. So respond well as Frank and Jim did, but don't even consider deletion.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:28 AM

I've certainly seen it discussed elsewhere, and can't find any valid reason for deleting it. Although I never met the man, I'm absolutely positive Pete would agree, having been a target of censors for stating inconvenient opinions... although he'd probably appreciate his name being spelled correctly consistently.

The Stalin thing is as far as some folks get when they don't want to look further.

From the NPR link posted way above:
"As early as 1941, they found themselves blacklisted. Seeger was a member of the Communist Party in those early days, though he later said he quit after coming to understand the evils of Stalin."
Most people are capable of recognizing their mistakes and learning from them. Some people, however, like basing their philosophies on obvious mistakes because they're comfortable, and so can't easily admit they were wrong. You either embrace and live with mistakes or embrace and live with stupid.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:32 AM

Russia has always supported an authoritarian government traditionally and Stalin just replaced the Tsar.

Pete has apologized many times for his naiveté regarding Stalin, and it should be remembered that the United States supported Hitler at his inception and that the Graf Zepplin flew over our country with swastikas on display.

You ask how could people support Stalin and yet here in the US, we supported Stalin without reservation during the Yalta talks and "Uncle Joe" was considered an ally. It's amazing how soon we forget history.

I'm glad that Gargoyle expressed his viewpoint because I think it can be answered rationally.

The US has a history of supporting dictators, as FDR called them "our bastards".

I see the American people as essentially naive when it comes to this issue and it's so easy
to accuse someone of not being consistent in their lifetime.

Remember that Pete and Ewan were reacting to the invasion of the USSR by the Nazis
and this may have clouded their judgement about Stalin.

What this brings into focus for me is the futility of military actions as we see contemporary Hitlers and Stalins in our recent history in Asia and the Mid-East.

Not only did the 1917 revolution bring about improvements in feudalist Russia but the Communist Party of the US brought about significant improved changes in Civil Rights, Unions, Women's suffrage and equality. Many of the CPUSA members and "fellow travelers" were completely naive about Stalin but this doesn't preclude the good work that they did.

I was never a member but I recall the Marxist rule, in this case, Groucho who said,
"I would never join any club that would have me as a member."


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 11:47 AM

Those of us who have listened to Pete Seeger's words about his participation in those days may be accepting the story as he wants to tell it, but I haven't come across any information about his actual support of Stalin, or anything that discusses how long such support did extend once he was aware of Stalin's activities as far as murdering his own people. I respect Frank's opinion and was responding to that when I made my remarks. Gargoyle is routinely deleted, usually in the BS threads, but lets not pretend that his tendency for bombast and overt crudeness has never been removed from music threads as well.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 05:20 PM

Pete was one of many - including arguably, on of America's finest writers, John Steinbeck, who visited Russia at the height of Stalin's power and came back with glowing reports of what was happening there.
It needs to be remembered that Senator Joe McCarthy was putting anybody left of centre on trial for being 'Un- American' - including Seeger
This also included imprisoning those who refused to grass up their friends.
I met Pete once in Ewan and Peggy's home, and was proud to have shaken his hand - not a sign of blood anywhere that I could see.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 05:21 PM

Gargoyles remarks show that he does not understand the economics of the consumer capitalist society.
"Pete Seeger was the champion of left-wing socialism which does nothing but keep the poor downtrodden and on the government dole. It probably would have been a good thing if Peter Seeger really had to work at a 40-hr a week job and learn something about capitalism"
the government dole, is an indirect way of subsidising local capitalism[small businesses such as local shops and pubs] Gargoyle have you ever heard of Keynsian economics? Keynsian econmics has nothing to do with communism.
Gargoyl your post has displayed your ignorance of the consumer society and how capitalism works efficiently.
to paraphrase Martin Carthy" who is this berk.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 05:31 PM

"Enough already!

This thread needs a little balance:
He also celebrated a form of government that was responsible for the execution of tens of millions of innocent people and tortured e" so Mr Gargoyle, how about the millions of innocent people murdered by different capitalists, Gargoyle, your remarks are not balanced at all, millions of people have been murdered by both capitalists and communists.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 06:52 PM

"If he was such a demon, why did he hold power for so long?"

Oh my, Joe... it's a matter of record how he obtained and held power. I find it hard to believe that you really wonder about that.

Pete Seeger did espouse 'communism' early on in the sense it is accurately explained . He did not and would not agree with Marxism/Leninism as practiced in its perverted form by Stalin.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Big Mick
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 07:13 PM

SRS, the fact that Gargoyle has been deleted is not relevant to my comment. The rules we use are spare and simple to understand. Applied evenly they will work well. You may not use personal attacks. You may attack viewpoints with all the vigor and bombast within you. If,garg, or anyone else crosses the line, they are deleted. His post attacked no one. The fact that he has in the past crossed the line is not relevant.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 08:11 PM

To add to my comment, and make a wider point: pointing to "communism" as a defining issue of what a person is or has promoted is not enough. It is important to be aware of HOW that person sees & uses the term.

Today, Republicans still 'claim' Abraham Lincoln as a proof that their party 'did the right thing' and is one right side of history, when the fact is that the parties have almost entirely changed positions since the Civil War. When the Dixiecrats rebelled against LBJ in 1965-68, the words changed basic reference.

   You might as well judge people by whether they claim to favor 'freedom'.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 08:27 PM

I wonder what was widely known about the gulags and pogroms during the lifetime of Stalin. Until Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was published in 1962, the atrocities of the Stalin Regime were not known in detail, and much of the condemnation of Stalin and the Soviets sounded a whole lot like anti-Communist propaganda.

If the loudest voice condemning Joe Stalin was Joe McCarthy, wouldn't you take all such condemnations with a grain of salt?

And there were no voices within the Soviet Union to condemn Stalin - they were all suppressed.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jeri
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 09:00 PM

When I refer to the culture of Mudcat now being about trollery, this thread has become an example of that. Give up all the good to follow the troll...


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 29 Apr 14 - 09:34 PM

Joe Offer, for what was widely known about Stalin long before 1962, see Andre Gide's 1936 book, Retour de l'U. R. S. S., also the 1949 book The God That Failed, edited by Richard Crossman. Also, Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon, 1940.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 01:25 AM

Another side-trip for this Obituary thread - trying to keep obit threads relatively respectful and letting the controversy be hashed out in another location. I know Joe doesn't always agree with me on that, or thinks I put too fine a point on it. But that is what I had in mind when I read Gargoyle's remarks, and this is all I have to say about it.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 02:22 AM

I think SRS is right.
It would be wrong to allow Stalin's crimes to act as a diversion in honouring those who were take in by what he did - it would mean our ignoring the contribution of millions upon millions of people who have enriched our lives in one way or another.
What - don't read the writings of John Steinbeck, Howard Fast, Upton Sinclair; don't visit The Globe Theatre because it was set up by Sam Wannamaker; or watch plays by Brecht, or never go to see a Charlie Chaplin film, and so ad ifinitum..... give us a break?
This nonsense has to end somewhere.
I have been trying for years to promote discussion on the work we did in MacColl's Critics Group - each time, up pops a 'Gargoyle' with a diversion.
Maybe those of us whose lives were touched by the withering hand of Thatcher, should boycott anybody who voted for her - don't think so really!
People who adopt this attitude invariably bring along another agenda, more often than not to do with the music rather than the politics.
Please don't let this happen to fine artist like Pete Seeger; whatever our feelings on his music, he was a great 'human' human being in every sense of the word.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 03:24 AM

Still, the fact that Seeger, MacColl, and others supported Stalin, is certainly a matter worthy of discussion. To my way of thinking, the facts are the facts, and shouldn't be withheld from an obituary.

I think no less of Seeger and MacColl because they were Communists, at least for part of their lives. I think it's proof of their idealism - and their ability to think "outside the box," if you will.

I spent my three years of military service studying East German Communists; and I developed a real respect for them, despite their Wall and other security procedures. Communism may be a failed ideal, but we have much to learn from this often-noble experiment.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 03:47 AM

I agree Joe
MacColl never hid his politics - in fact he 'wore it on his sleeve' - it was evident in the songs he wrote and it made him many enemies.
His politics, as with Pete's and all those of the left, was humanitarian based, and we spent many hours in the Critics Group discussing the political/social nature of traditional song.
The problem wasn't, with him, or anybody who worked with him, not in discussing politics, but in those who would prevent such discussion.
I've seen singers who have been booked to perform at clubs, specifically told, "We don't like political songs here" - sometimes extending the restriction to "contemporary" - or even "accompanied" songs.
I know the problems Ewan and Peggy had in putting together the album of political songs, 'The Angry Muse' for Argo (Decca) - those problems disappeared when they set up their own 'Blackthorn' label, and they could choose what they wanted, without restrictions.
Charles Parker always claimed that the BBC's decision not to make any more radio ballads following 'The Travelling People' was not, as they claimed, financial, but was due to the socio-political nature of their contents.
I simply can't understand why Pete's gentle humanitarianism should be a feature in any of this nonsense.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 04:29 AM

in my opinion, PETE SEEGER was a great ambassador for home made music, He was also a good entertainer and performer, personally I feel the uk revival has lacked someone of Seegers calibre. There have been some very good singers and performers,Seeger was a diplomat as well as a charismatic performer.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 10:23 AM

If gargoyle had not posted his comments we would likely have not had the very insightful and informative comments by Frank Hamilton and Jim Carroll. It was their defense of our friend, Pete that made some very important distinctions. My opinion is that it is not our job to control debate, rather it is our job to maintain the very spare rules Max has given us. Now, back to Pete.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 11:56 AM

BIG MICK,I always understood the purpose of moderators was to stop personal abuse trolling and flaming.
"Yes, Seeger was a useful idiot". is that not trolling and insulting the dead?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 12:51 PM

it is not respectful to call Pete Seeger an idiot.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Jeri
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 02:10 PM

Personal abuse is personal, and is directed at someone who's expected to read it. I've heard Max say nothing about trolling/flaming. The problem is we've got a bunch of very easily led, inconsiderate people who'd rather have a knee-jerk reaction to what they object to than to stick to a particular subject.
Case #1: Pete Seeger and Stalin.
Case #2: what should/should not be deleted.

Enough people lack the ability to see the negative purpose their indignant posts will serve and just not respond.

One problem here is that we have a number of people who form a ready-made group of troll followers/feeders. You remove a trolling message, the trollerazzi just wait for the next one to poke them with the indignant stick. Just learn how to stop or at least start a different thread.

Nobody wants to be sentenced to making the world safe for easily provoked people with poor impulse control.

Last from me on this thread.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 02:21 PM

The problem isn't trolls, Dick Miles, it's the people who indignantly respond to trolls. What Gargoyle said, be it disrespectful or not, generated an interesting discussion on Pete Seeger and Stalinism. Outraged comments like yours add nothing to the discussion.
Once this discussion of Seeger and Stalinism has run its course, I may move the Stalinism messages into a new thread if it seems good to do so, but for now I think it's best to let the discussion go on without the outrage.

It is duly noted that the comments from Gargoyle were crude and insensitive and disrespectful. But an interesting discussion came out of his comments, so gargoyle's message will stand as it is.

In a discussion forum like this, the discussion is far more important than being beholden to taboos about not speaking ill of the dead.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 04:57 PM

"useful idiot" see WIKIPEDIA:
Cheers, Thomas.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 05:24 PM

Joe, my comments were not outraged, I pointed out the lack of balance in Gargoyles comment. speaking ill of the dead a taboo?, no, to call Seeger an idiot is an insult, JOE,Answer this question is it n insult to call PeteSeeger an Idiot, it is irrelevant whether he is dead or alive. answer the question


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 05:39 PM

Dick Miles, as Thomas Stern aptly pointed out, the term "useful idiot" has a history behind it, and it is EXACTLY the correct term to describe Seeger, MacColl, and Americans and Europeans who were used by the Stalinists.

Yes, it is insulting - but it is the proper term....and I already stipulated that the comments from Gargoyle were "crude and insensitive and disrespectful."

So get over it.

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 06:23 PM

JOE, What is all this" GET OVER IT",
am I not allowed to disagree with you?, neither have I indigantly responded to anything,I pointed out that both capitalists and so called "communists have murdered millions, for example Adolf Hitler a fascist who was virulently anti communist, likewise the dear old USA a non communist country.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Pete Seeger (1919-2014)
From: Stringsinger
Date: 30 Apr 14 - 06:42 PM

I don't think that it's as simple as that, Joe. I've known Pete for over forty years and he was not used by anyone, but was a clear thinker who might have gotten the Stalin thing wrong but was his own person, not subject to the Kremlin or any other monolithic country or group.
Pete left the Party and never returned.

Be very careful about whom you brand as being a "useful idiot". A pointed finger has three pointing back at you.

Would perhaps the term "useful idiot" be applied to Pope Pius XII? Just sayin'..........


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