Seeger was born in New York City on May 3, , into an artistic family whose roots traced to religious dissenters of colonial America. His mother, Constance, played violin and taught; his father, Charles, a musicologist, was a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression. Pete Seeger said he fell in love with folk music when he was 16, at a music festival in North Carolina in His half-brother, Mike Seeger, and half-sister, Peggy Seeger, also became noted performers.
He learned the five-string banjo, an instrument he rescued from obscurity and played the rest of his life in a long-necked version of his own design. On the skin of Seeger's banjo was the phrase, "This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender" -- a nod to his old pal Guthrie, who emblazoned his guitar with "This machine kills fascists. Dropping out of Harvard in after two years as a disillusioned sociology major, he hit the road, picking up folk tunes as he hitchhiked or hopped freights. The only thing you can do is study it,'" Seeger said in October In , with Guthrie and others, he was part of the Almanac Singers and performed benefits for disaster relief and other causes.
He and Guthrie also toured migrant camps and union halls.
He married Toshi Seeger on July 20, The couple built their cabin in Beacon after World War II and stayed on the high spot of land by the Hudson River for the rest of their lives together. The couple raised three children. Toshi Seeger died in July at age The Hudson River was a particular concern of Seeger's. He took the sloop Clearwater, built by volunteers in , up and down the Hudson, singing to raise money to clean the water and fight polluters. He also offered his voice in opposition to racism and the death penalty. He got himself jailed for five days for blocking traffic in Albany in in support of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager whose claim of having been raped by white men was later discredited.
He was also just fine with colonial rule and imperialism. In short, he presented a fairy tale about capitalism in much the same way as our history books once talked about slavery in romantic terms. A Communist system in Vietnam, for example, was no skin off their teeth — unless they saw it as a way to close off markets to American capitalists, or actually, heaven forbid, control national Vietnamese resources. And American communists or Communists were so few in number, no one with any sense could logically view them as an internal, existential threat to the state — unless by the state one meant GE or GM, or Jim Crow, etc.
There is a huge difference between rank and file righties and the people pulling the strings. I can see those rank and file people honestly viewing progressive policies as a slippery slope toward communism or Communism. Passionate liberal anti-Communism was a real thing. My favorite body of evidence would be Silver-Age Marvel Comics.
Just dropping in to quote a line from Nancy Fraser in a chapter on Foucault, nothing really new, just Regulation School stuff been around a long time, but another perspective on the dissemination and purpose of ideological and political repression. Marshall Plan, Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, military Keynesianism, International Organizations as hegemonic economic and political direction and control, etc blah blah. They have entries in Wiki for a start. The idea is that anti-communism is to Fordism as Imperialism was to 2nd wave Industrialization late s and just as say racism was important to imperialism, anti-racism and a politics of feminism, anti-racism, anti-colonialism and inclusion in the name of anti-fascism and anti-communism was important to the Fordist era of the short 20th century Among many other facets.
Well darn, here ya go. I keep finding the individual chapters online, but Scales of Justice is still worth buying. That was the environment in which Obama grew up. And, while you can and perhaps will accuse Obama of a great many wrongs, involvement in blacklisting is not among them. And, in the statement Corey links above, Obama praises Seeger effusively for his courageous political stands. There is simply not the slightest basis in the world to link Obama with blacklisting that occurred before he was born, and which there is not the slightest reason to believe he would in any way support.
Initially he said that he would refuse to testify, but he changed his mind and testified on 30 Oct. In his testimony, Brecht equivocated, he deflected questions with jokes, he feigned confusion over matters of translation, and he used subtleties of translation to downplay or disguise the revolutionary character of some of his poems and plays. The day after his testimony, Brecht left for Europe, and I believe he never returned to the US he died in To my knowledge, Brecht did not name names or anything of that sort.
But he was the only one of the 11 witnesses at the time who did agree to testify — the other witnesses subsequently constituting the Hollywood Ten. So, Pasha, you authoritarian coward. Ya know, for a website created as a kind of clearing house for academics, who should be all about free expression and the exchange of ideas, there sure are a lot of readers here or sockpuppets calling for the suppression of speech.
And all too many who seem not to realize they have full control over what they decide to read or ignore — online or otherwise. I was going to add something else but decided not to. Restraint is my new watchword. Sometime in junior high school I forget now exactly which grade , I wrote a paper comparing McCarthyism and the Salem witch trials. A recent toy model in which it takes very little for stylized people to form groups. But as other have suggested, that all misses the point.
Corey writes people like Obama. So the fact that Obama can now talk just how awful blacklisting was is perhaps a bit besides the point. The Hollywood Ten took a principled first amendment line and were ruined for it as was anyone who supported them. Many left the country. Brecht left before he could be deported, as he certainly would have been. Lawyers thereafter advised those who were subpoenaed to take the fifth. Seeger was the first person take the first amendment in seven years. His conviction was overturned in May, during the Kennedy administration when the national mood had already changed.
The next month, in June, John Henry Faulk won 3. Are you talking about his moral character. Add in his blithe disregard for the economic damage, the complicity in economic degradation, of a good strong core of his advisers and cabinet sec. Which was marketed to the country when it occurred, not as a rogue coup from the militant right, but as a necessary purge, from the center of the American enterprise, a cleaning up of the subversive, for security. Nothing in his performance so far for Obama to be automatically assumed to be opposed to blacklisting.
Obama also used the surveillance state to go after the OWS movement. I have heard countless righties claim he invented that movement to shore up his popularity, or to go after the tea party, or some such nonsense.
Buy Thank You Skin Couldn't Live Without You: with music by Pete Seeger: Read 3 Kindle Store Reviews - linawycatuzy.gq of 38 results for Books: "Pete Wright" . Thank You Skin Couldn't Live Without You: with music by Pete Seeger. Dec 29, by Cy A Adler and Pete.
They seem to really not get how center-right our president actually is. The author of the above article, Michael Hastings, died in a car accident in June of last year. Given the nature of his reporting, some thought the accident rather suspicious. The FBI was also tracking him, and released their files in September.
Hastings confided in others before he died that he feared for his safety, due to that tracking. With the massive increase in wealth and income inequality in America, and our relative slide on so many quality of life metrics, the powers that be appear more preemptive than they were in the 50s and 60s.
But our need for dissidents just might be at an all time high. Part of what drove the some of the McCarthy hysteria was the Popular Front tactic of organizing or influencing political supposedly independent political groups and unions in a way that many leftists then and now consider highly problematic. So the influence of the CP was even larger than is indicated by the size of its membership and there was Soviet money channeled by the party.
So there was enough of a germ of reality to feed right wing paranoia. Finnland turned out alright. So for KP scare we do have a good case study. Democracy does not colapse and the economy is doing much better when you leave the Sowjet financed communist party alone. In contrast, right wing atempts to save the country from a communist revolution that is just in their heads, well that does ruin a country with long term effects fealt after decades and abolish democracy. At the very least — despite what they might think personally of the policy — its politically irrelevant most of the time I also agree with js that the security services targeting Muslim communities across western countries is a big problem.
But still, any change is going to come from within the system, and a lot of people are going to have to make compromises within the system while doing anything. I wonder how future generations will look at that. I went on to say in the same comment: Off topic to Corey Robin: Excellent post and interesting conversation. Thanks especially, Corey, for your comment 40, which say a lot of important things about complicated issues very succinctly. The President is, like most mainstream politicians from major parties throughout US history, pretty bad on issues of civil liberties, and, like all presidents since WWII, quick to use national security as an excuse for denigrating those liberties.
Somehow I skipped over that. Yeah we do agree. It seems deeply weird that you would write so strongly against the blacklist, when you were so recently advocating the BDS blacklist against Israeli scholars and institutions. The defenses of that blacklist that is ok to go after weaker cases that you can win while ignoring Tibet et al look really strange in reference to this one.
By the end of the 30s, it had reached 75,, but fell again when the Soviets made their pact with Germany. As mentioned, they were too few to pose any existential threat. I think you exaggerate their numbers a great deal. The CPUSA did have influence beyond their numbers when it came to organizing labor and civil rights protests, however. They were excellent when it came to those things, and Americans owe them a debt of gratitude. Ironically, instead of receiving thanks, communists were purged out of the labor unions and movements they helped form.
America tends to demonize those groups, and then assume their good deeds later as their own. Liberals, today, often take credit for pretty much all labor and civil rights victories. And conservatives are starting to join in on that game, too. But the actual history shows that leftists, of all stripes, were typically the engine for change, with liberals coming on board later. With exceptions, of course. And I say this as a former liberal who once believed that liberals had done pretty much all the work and made just about all of that change happen.
Because when we say that there was a blacklist against members of the Communist Party, what we mean is that institutions — the New York Times mentioned above, all the culture industries, all of academia, and most employers in the US — refused as a matter of policy to hire members of the Communist Party and there were formal standards by which one had to prove that one was not a member of the CP.
Now if you can find me anything comparable in the US — i. The CP members, usually a minority, would prolong meetings until everybody else went home, then vote. And they were key to the very early civil rights, and organizing in the CIO. Also, there were permanent costs in the left and music movement to red baiting: And the real CP was a closed universe: Would you say this article is fair, unfair, needs a lot of work, etc.? Could you recommend others for further study? I think treating Israel along the lines of racial apartheid South Africa is valid, with divestment and boycotts, etc.
Complete withdrawal from all settlements. The US government should refuse all aid to Israel until this is done, which is the carrot and stick that would really make it happen. They were definitely not without fault. But the problem has never been that they were portrayed with too much love and an absence of critical distance.
Do you have any evidence that Brecht named names? Thanks, Corey, I should have been more precise. So Brecht was lumped into the cooperators, even without names, by those who refused or who believed they would have refused if they had been called.
Well, there were people who took what was called the diminished 5th — that is, they refused to talk about others but were willing to talk about themselves — but I believe that legal argument was also thrown out of court. Not only are prisons careers for individuals such as prison guards, indeed they are now, in many places, the industry that sustains an entire town or region. I can hardly think of a better illustration than the war on drugs for how social injustice can operate, for thousands of people, as simply a good career choice. Plume, I agree completely that we need to understand our dissident history to better understand the need for our own.
And not just the CP: We need more of his kind now. Socialists need to be included as well. Closer to the ecosocialist variety, and with anarchist leanings of the kind talked about by Chomsky in his recent C-Span interview — and the OWS variety. I will never tire of reminding right-wingers that they have been on the wrong side of pretty much every issue for about years. When McCarthy moved on to attack the Army, Eisenhower turned against him.
The mass psychology of politics and the machinery that both manipulates and makes use of that psychology to coordinate political action is always sinking beneath consciousness, and drawn down the memory hole. On the lee side of total war, every one had had the experience of being a soldier, even those who had never worn a military uniform, with all the psychological implications that come with it. The economic upheaval of the Great Depression and the titanic struggle of the Second World War had pushed a lot of people into an authoritarian psychology.
Homosexuality was a point of non-conformity, which attracted a great deal of attention in this period. In terms of the number of people, who lost their jobs, the effort dwarfed the harassment of ex-commies. It was a big deal. And, yes, some people noticed the weirdness of the roles played by J.
I bring this up, because it suggests the element of irrationality in play. There were certainly actors, deliberately and intentionally pursuing material political goals: But, there were other cross-currents, which were more irrational. The element of moral panic at work in the hysteria associated with the HUAC or McCarthy must have made that irrationality palpable.
The moral panic and irrationality at the core of nazi anti-semitism is on display in the Conspiracy , but I wonder if we can really appreciate the distorted and distorting force it must have had. One of the themes of that BBC portrayal of the Wannsee Conference is how secretive they were, and, yet, how routinely bureaucratic: There must have been conspiratorial moments, too, when the players conferred, but they would have focused on the public enactments. Of the dream world in which they were enacted? Wikipedia supplied the setup, deliberately calculated to set up the famous peroration:.
Until this moment, Senator, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Fred Fisher is a young man who went to the Harvard Law School and came into my firm and is starting what looks to be a brilliant career with us. Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to that lad.
It is true he is still with Hale and Dorr. It is true that he will continue to be with Hale and Dorr. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear he shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so.
I like to think I am a gentle man but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me. But this did not stop their former friends from turning against them. Josh White was blacklisted anyway.
Sowing discord was a planned feature not a bug of the witch hunt. The FBI knew the names of all the Communist Party members anyway, so it was all an exercise in the theater of public humiliation.
Perhaps it was the other way around then. The question was raised whether the government ever went after the right similarly. After the war was over, the government dropped charges from the trial of , but before then George W. Christians had been sentenced to five years. It does seem the act was used more against communists particularly Trotskyists, early on. A question for Corey: We can ask about blacklisting a hypothetical pro-Hitler bundist.
On a related note, many of the so-called West Coast Straussians hated Bloom and Closing , seeing the former as a hedonist and the latter as an only-slightly-veiled argument for hedonism. I see from B. In support of his sentiments:. They argued with me but, I realize in retrospect, were incredibly patient with my callow confidence in the terms of my analysis. That was her way of dismissing their views. At the same time, she loved the story of my older sister, who learned the Internationale through the walls aged 4 or so!
My sister would sing it for everyone, to great mirth. These were nice people you chatted with in the hallway, and that was such a good song. That among my earliest very visual memories are people around a TV set one of those big pieces of furniture watching men at tables: And the household villain was MacCarthy. There are worlds to explore here.
Wonderful worlds, but difficult, too. One thing missing in discussion here: Just, as Corey says, different people independently following their own paths along to different conclusions — which happen to all meet at the same point in this and many cases. Hitler and Stalin get a lot of airplay, but Mao made them look like pikers. The history of China from seems like a gigantic ongoing Milgram experiment. According one scholar on the BBC program In Our Time I think they were talking about the Taiping Rebellion, , which caused an estimated million deaths , such massive casualties were pretty much par for the course when talking about the history of Chinese warfare — not to minimize it or anything.
There not even embarrassed enough to fake it. I think if it helps them score ideological points, or can be made to scourge the morality of an opponent, white people can present themselves as giving a fuck. At least a tiny, pretend fuck. Still, caring has to compete with ignorance of historical context. Cummings trying to warn people about the real nature of the Soviet Union as early as the s and 30s?
They are genetically distinct from other European populations. The food from Bengal was needed for the war effort, it being , a rather dark time, and so more food was requisitioned than could be spared without millions of people either outright starving to death or dying from preventable illnesses they were too weak and thin to survive. Singapore and then Burma had been lost, and the British needed to feed what troops they had in the region.
His scheduled return to commercial network television on the highly rated Smothers Brothers variety show in was hailed as a nail in the coffin of the blacklist. He finally got to sing it five months later in a stirring return appearance, although one station, in Detroit, cut the song's last stanza: Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions live. Pete Seeger plays his banjo in Beacon, New York in A reunion concert of the original Weavers in was filmed as a documentary titled "Wasn't That a Time. By the s, no longer a party member but still styling himself a communist with a small C, Seeger was heaped with national honours.
Official Washington sang along - the audience must sing, was the rule at a Seeger concert - when it lionised him at the Kennedy Center in President Clinton hailed him as "an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them. Seeger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in as an early influence. The Seeger Sessions," a rollicking reinterpretation of songs sung by Seeger. While pleased with the album, Seeger said he wished it was "more serious.
Seeger's sometimes ambivalent relationship with rock was most famously on display when Dylan "went electric" at the Newport Folk Festival. Witnesses say Seeger became furious backstage as the amped-up band played, though just how furious is debated. Seeger dismissed the legendary tale that he looked for an axe to cut Dylan's sound cable, and said his objection was not to the type of music but only that the guitar mix was so loud you couldn't hear Dylan's words.
Seeger maintained his reedy 6-foot-2 frame into old age, though he wore a hearing aid and conceded that his voice was pretty much shot. He relied on his audiences to make up for his diminished voice, feeding his listeners the lines and letting them sing out. Now I have a growl somewhere in between. American troubadour, folk singer and activist Pete Seeger in Seeger was born in New York City on May 3, , into an artistic family whose roots traced to religious dissenters of colonial America.
His mother, Constance, played violin and taught; his father, Charles, a musicologist, was a consultant to the Resettlement Administration, which gave artists work during the Depression. Pete Seeger said he fell in love with folk music when he was 16, at a music festival in North Carolina in His half brother, Mike Seeger, and half sister, Peggy Seeger, also became noted performers.