Folk singer, Pete Seeger, died at the age of 94. While the mainstream media will no doubt be filled with praise for this ground-breaking folk singer, I suspect the dark side of his bio will be ignored.
For instance, he wrote propaganda songs denouncing FDR’s efforts to stop Nazi Germany, right up until the moment Hitler invaded Russia:
“Seeger was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s through the 1950s. He left the party but never gave up the faith. He told the Washington Post in 1995 “I am still a communist.” Like his comrades and fellow travelers Seeger twisted and turned with every pronouncement from Moscow. Seeger supported the Nazi-Soviet Pact, a curious position for a noted “anti-fascist.” In 1941 Seeger along with Guthrie was a member of the Almanac Singers, a communist folk group. The group put out the anti-war album Songs from John Doe, containing songs that labeled Franklin Roosevelt a war monger. One of the songs had the following lyrics:
Franklin D, listen to me,
You ain't a-gonna send me 'cross the sea.
You may say it's for defense
That kinda talk ain't got no sense.
Of course when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Seeger and the Almanac Singer’s literally changed their tune to get in lockstep with Stalin’s new foreign policy. They pulled Songs from John Doe from the market and quickly replaced it with the pro-war, pro-Roosevelt album Dear Mr. President:
Now, Mr. President
You're commander-in-chief of our armed forces
The ships and the planes and the tanks and the horses
I guess you know best just where I can fight ...
So what I want is you to give me a gun
So we can hurry up and get the job done!”
Another take on this revealing episode:
The film [a bio of Seeger] does not tell us what happened in 1941, when — two months after "John Doe" was released — Hitler broke his pact with Stalin and invaded the Soviet Union. As good communists, Mr. Seeger and his Almanac comrades withdrew the album from circulation, and asked those who had bought copies to return them. A little later, the Almanacs released a new album, with Mr. Seeger singing "Dear Mr. President,"
The ‘Songs from John Doe’ album is now extremely rare. Its existence was only rediscovered a few years ago after it had been deliberately buried by its creators, and replaced by one with the polar opposite message. There is a word for somebody who behaves like this.
While it is true that he broke with the US Communist Party in the 1950’s, it was only because they denounced the Soviet invasion of Hungary, which he supported! Of course, he wasn’t all bad. He eventually denounced Stalin. In 1995! Talk about being behind the curve.
I think Da Tech Guy has the proper take on Seeger’s demise, in his article entitled “If Only Leni Riefenstahl was a Communist like Peter Seeger”:
On the show [MSNBC] they mentioned Seeger as a “Communist with a small ‘c’”. Perhaps Democrat National Committee member Bill Connor should have described himself as a “KKK member with a small ‘k’ ”, or Riefenstahl as a “Nazi with a small ‘n’’’?
I will acknowledge his skill as a singer & a songwriter and influence on American Music. Those are historical facts but I would no more celebrate his life than I would Riefenstahl.”
I only note that Leni Riefenstahl was a much better film-maker than Seeger was a songwriter.
Here is Ed Driscoll’s take:
In justifying his lifetime in support of Communism, Seeger once told the New York Times:
“I like to say I’m more conservative than 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.”
At least until the NKVD knocked upon their door.
Pete Seeger, good riddance.