Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pete Seeger, In Memoriam

"A 'Stalinist Songbird' bites the dust I see," said longtime friend of this blog, Mild Colonial Boy, Esq., in response to my musical post marking the man's death — Pete Seeger & Friends Perform "This Land is Your Land". "I use to have an Almanac Singers album - one half was anti-War songs, the other half pro-war/or anti-Hitler songs. I see most of the obituaries call him anti-war activist when he was only opposed to wars that would (potentially) fight communists."

The same objection, that once "the Nazis invaded Russia, the Party line changed and the Almanac Singers began beating the drums for war," was made on the "Hard Left" by CounterPunch's Noel Ignatiev, himself a problematic figure "best known for his work on race and social class and for his call to abolish the white race" — Pete Seeger: a Dissenting View.

In contrast, writing for The American Conservative, The Guardian's Neil Clark writes, "The late folk singer kept his attachment to peace and place as the New Left started culture wars" — Pete Seeger’s Conservative Socialism. Mr. Clask quotes Mr. Seeger from a 1995 interview:
    I like to say I’m more conservative than [Barry] Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
Pete Seeger, like Walt Whitman before him, was "large" and "contain[ed] multitudes."

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Blogger Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

Does "Songs of the Lincoln Battalion" ( sound like the songs of a peace activist to you? He seemed quite OK about fighting for the cause of Stalinism and anti-Catholic Republican Spain.

February 15, 2014 at 1:31 PM  

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