They thought he was a communist because he WAS a communist. He was a member of the YCL ( Young Communist League ) and the CPUSA ( Communist Party of the United States. So it’s hardly surprising that they thought he was a communist.
Even worse, they thought it a bad trait.
Exactly what I came here to say!
The USA is the land of the Free!
You are free to choose any religion so long as it is conservative Christianity.
You are free to choose any political system so long as it is psudo Democracy.
You are free to choose any economic system so long as you choose late stage Capitalism.
i kid…but not really!
the usa is making small strides, people can now choose a partner of the same sex, and if we keep our fingers crossed we may have a president who is a socialist democrat. The country as a whole still has a hard time wrapping their noodles around the fact that tolerance and acceptance isn’t just for those folks that are the same as you.
I have always been a big fan of his, but it never occurred to me that he might not be a Communist. After reading this, I looked it up. He was a member of the Young Communist League, and the Communist Party for a time, and various other Communist affiliated organizations. In 1995 he said in an interview “I still call myself a communist…” Then there is the quote from a 2011 interview- ." I became one at age seven and in a sense I still am one." I suppose he was less of a communist than Stalin, who he did not like at all. I think folk singers are supposed to be Communists, which is fine, as long as nobody actually puts them in charge.
Forgive me, but duh.
Pretty sure Seeger out-commied Stalin in his sleep. I think the concept of a purge (or an intentional famine, for that matter) is incompatible with actual communism. I don’t really think communism is viable, but I respect people who believe in it because they want a better world for humanity.
The day after Hitler invaded Russia, Seeger’s album was pulled from distribution. More apocryphal versions of the story have him going from store to store to get copies pulled.
This is what Orwell came to satirize with the line “we have always been at war with East Asia.” Seeger was a good man, but he did earn the FBI’s suspicion.
exactly. when i read the headline, i thought, “well… duh. because he was!”
The best Americans always are (thought to be a commie).
Duh. Not only was he a commie, he was an unabashed Stalin supporter. It wasn’t until 1997 when he uttered the following self-serving apology:
“Today I’ll apologize for a number of things, such as thinking that
Stalin was simply a ‘hard-driver’ and not a supremely cruel misleader. I
guess anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian should be
prepared to apologize for the Inquisition, the burning of heretics by
Protestants, the slaughter of Jews and Muslims by Crusaders. White
people in the U.S.A. could consider apologizing for stealing land from
Native Americans and for enslaving blacks … for putting
Japanese-Americans in concentration camps—let’s look ahead.”
See, Pete, the big difference between those comparisons is that the horrible moral crimes you were supporting were ongoing while you were supporting them.
Yes, he was a Communist in the 1930’s like a lot of concerned Americans, even Ronald Reagan went to some Communist Party meetings at that time (and supposedly tried to join the party but was turned down.) If you know Pete Seeger then you know he was not in favor of dictatorships or prison camps, he just wanted everyone to have a job and to share the fruits of their labor fairly. We forget that the Great Depression was brutal (and was a natural outcome of unbridled capitalism), so of course people were looking for alternatives. We also forget that everyone didn’t have instant access to multiple sources of media like today: optimistic communists in the west didn’t necessarily know Russia wasn’t a worker’s paradise like its propaganda claimed. Seeger left the party in 1949, later admitted he should have left earlier, but continued to refer to himself as “a small-c communist”, I guess meaning he supported the basic tenets of communism (which aren’t much different than some of Christ’s teachings.)
It should also be patently obvious that the FBI will keep a file on anyone of note-- they had extensive files on Jackie Robinson, Charlie Chaplin, and John Denver. I mean, c’mon, John Denver?
If you don’t have a purge or a deliberate famine, you cannot rid yourself of all of the class enemies or hated institutions. Comrade Lenin was very clear that no attempt must be made to reform them or allow them to wither away, they must be swept away through prolonged and violent revolution. Such people and institutions would always be a threat to the proletariat.
I completely understand the feeling that a classless society is a nice thing in theory. I just think that knowing the history of such movements, I am unwilling to let them try it on us again, just on the off chance that they will get it right this time.
And they were ongoing while the good ol’ USA was sending supplies to the USSR during WW2, and referring to Stalin as “Uncle Joe.” The US Government even turned a blind eye to the Katyn Forest massacre.
If Seeger was an “unabashed Stalin supporter” then logically he would have stayed in the party after 1949 when the reality of Stalin was finally undeniable in the west, and so saying he “[supported] horrible moral crimes” is not borne out by that simple fact-- nobody joined the Communist Party because they were in favor of prison camps and starvation, and most left the party when that became evident.
They still do. If you ever have to go through screening for security clearance [(SF-86)] it is the only question you get about political ideology.
Woops. I stand corrected. I must have been looking at an older form. They’ve dropped the Communism part in more recent ones. (Now I need to go back and figure out when they dropped that question.)
It was on the British ones, at least when I did them 10 years ago. Seems to have gone from there too.
Lenin’s “class enemies” and “hated institutions” included communists and socialists not like him.