Truth to power: Pete Seeger vs HUAC

What a complete bummer. I’m gonna miss Pete forever. None of this should be about his politics. What he did, just in terms of collecting and performing music about the people themselves was enormous! We listened to him all of our lives. He probably did more to shape our perception of ourselves than a whole lot of other people who’ve tried to claim credit for that. He made some of us take up instruments ourselves, so we could sing those songs and make some more. He gave us songs our grandparents had loved, and we taught to our children in turn. He told us stories about how things looked to other people we wouldn’t get a chance to know. When things got tough, regardless of the problem at hand, he’d show up and sing songs of protest and hope , and sometimes, just funny songs, to keep peoples’ spirits up so they could get through it all.

There’s not a soul on this planet, let alone this board, qualified to judge him, and none of us who has done anything remotely comparable to what he did for the many he did it for. Pete was one of the good guys.


I never knew who this guy was.

But boy, did he stick it to those fucking House UnAmerican Activities Committers, like a proper human being.

I dig the resemblance to Jello.

A lot of that is due to the fact that we saw Auschwitz and Buchenwald being liberated. Vorkuta and Kengir? Not so much.


I don’t have any problem differentiating between “socialists” and “people who changed their position 180 degrees when the CP sent down the directive”.

In Seeger’s own words, “I became a member of the Communist Party, and when they said fight for peace, I did, and when they said fight Hitler, I did.”

Mind you, I agree with his telling HUAC to get stuffed. Our government’s proper mission in those day was to defend against the very real threats of the Soviet Army and KGB, not against gullible musicians.


Ironically our government loves communists now. There’s nothing the business lobby loves more then cheap communist labor, and what lobbyists love the government loves

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Interesting point. Imagine the hoo-ha back then if you were dealing with China to that level…

A whole lot of people never knew who he was, even though he influenced a whole lot of what we’ve seen or heard for decades on end - including a lot of very popular musicians. Everybody heard Belafonte, or Guthrie, or Burle Ives and later The Byrds, Springsteen, etc. - but all of them have said that Seeger was really driving and they were just riding.

And, if you like what Seeger did with the HUAC thing, just imagine his take on the present NSA scandal! Netflix Instant has the documentary, ‘Trumbo’. It’s not about Seeger at all - but it is about the Hollywood 10 - the group of screenwriters who also spit in HUAC’s eye, and the prices they paid for that. It forms a pretty good picture, I think, of the times Seeger was living in then, and what he as an artist was seeing in those years. And, the film has all these really wonderful cuts of various well-known actors reading what Trumbo wrote, as it leads into the next set of events. (And that, alone, is worth the time taken.) Trumbo commented, often indirectly, but really beautifully on the whole HUAC saga and what it meant, and Seeger sang about it in the same way.

p.s. - Bryan Cranston Is set to do a biopic of Trumbo as his next project - can’t wait! What a perfect project, and a perfect time to do it!

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Partisan Republicans and delusional revisionists like David Barton are keen to rehabilitate McCarthy and McCarthyism.

Reminders like this, of what the '50s communist witchhunts and blacklists were actually like, make that slightly more difficult.

Where do these fucking creepy-crawlies come from?

Who on Earth can raise their kids to think that shit is a good move, FFS?

Burn these fucking scum.

He remained pro-communist, but was pretty clearly anti-Stalin later in his life. See:

Don’t forget the true cost of McCarthyism included the Vietnam war and all the deaths caused by Kissinger and Nixon in the 70s and all the squalid coups that suppressed democracy round the world.

Right now Ukraine is on the brink of a revolution because a huge fraction of the population fears Putin so much that they would rather risk a civil war than suffer any sort of customs union with Russia. And Putin’s mode of leadership is exactly what the HUAC people were all about: rule by fear and intimidation.

Now imagine the situation in Ukraine if the US was still operating the torture camps and secret prisons set up by Bush and Cheney. Those protesters would probably still fear Putin but would they be quite so willing to join our side?

In the end it was Pete Seger’s people who won the cold war. Reagan didn’t have anything to do with it. According to Margaret Thatcher, his successor wanted to prop the communist system up and stop it falling in East Germany.

It was the people of East Germany and of Poland and of the rest of Eastern Europe who defeated the communist system, not a bunch of Western politicians. People risked crossing the wall for Elvis Presley and a pair of blue jeans, not to listen to the speeches of Ronald Reagan. There wasn’t enough food in the East but there was never a shortage of pompous politicians ready to tell you how magnificent they were.

I thought the same thing, i looked through the comments and Bamm their it was, I knew I wasn’t the only one. I cant stop looking at him thinking its NOT Jello. Heh

China didn’t become Communist until 1949.

And McCarthyism was well alive and kicking in the 50s.

I thought he was remaining silent to power.

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