This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 29, 2014:
There was a time, not all that long ago, when the activities of people like Pete Seeger were considered traitorous. Now they are celebrated. How far down the culture has descended into the world dreamed of and sung about by the likes of people like Seeger.
Seeger met his Maker late Monday night, at the age of 94, and the controlled media rolled out its big guns for the celebration of his life. To its discredit, the Washington Post applauded his lifetime as a folksinger, singing “songs of love, peace, brotherhood, work, and protest,” calling him a “20th-century troubadour” who was especially known for his popularizing “We Shall Overcome” which WaPo called the “anthem of the civil rights movement.”
The Associated Press fell in line as well, calling Seeger an “iconic figure in folk music,” lamenting that for nearly a decade his voice and image were kept off commercial television following his confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) back in the mid ‘50s. The AP defended Seeger’s intransigence in refusing to respond to the committee’s repeated questions about his involvement in various Communist front groups by quoting Seeger’s disgust with the committee:
I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions … make me any less of an American.
The Constitution defines treason in Article III, Section 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Seeger’s treason had thousands of witnesses, and following his failure to answer those questions from the HUAC, was convicted of ten counts of contempt of Congress and sentenced to a year in jail. He never went to jail as the result of a “technicality” of some kind, and the government refused to pursue the matter, the HUAC having been successfully emasculated by then.
Thanks to the internet, and those determined that his history not disappear down Orwell’s memory hole, most of Seeger’s anti-American activities are easily found with little effort. Wikipedia does a pretty good job of noting Seeger’s radical proclivities dating back to when he was 13 years old, when he subscribed to the Communist monthly publication The New Masses. In a separate Wiki entry, one is informed that the very first time Seeger performed “If I Had a Hammer,” it was in 1949 for a testimonial dinner for the leaders of the Communist Party of the United States. From Discover the Networks, one can track the timeline of his life without dissembling, filling in the blanks of his singing group The Almanac (infested with hard-left radicals to a man); his close relationship with another hard-core leftist, Woody Guthrie; his creation of The Weavers; his mentor Zilphia Horton, who first introduced Seeger to “We Shall Overcome”; her marriage to Myles Horton, who founded the Communist training camp the Highlander School, and so on and so forth.
Great work was performed by Father Francis X. Gannon, who compiled a monumental four-volume work called the Biographical Dictionary of the Left, in which he provided evidence that Seeger’s company, Peoples’ Songs, was “a vital Communist front,” quoting from the California [yes: that California!] Senate Fact-Finding Committee:
People’s Songs is a vital Communist front … one which has spawned a horde of lesser fronts in the fields of music, stage entertainment, choral singing, folk dancing, recording, radio transcription, and similar fields.
It especially is important to Communist proselytizing and propaganda work because of its emphasis on its appeal to youth, and because of its organization and technique to provide entertainment for organizations and groups as a smooth opening wedge for Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist propaganda.
But perhaps the best work of all was provided by a writer for the Wall Street Journal, Lauren Weiner, in an article published at First Things entitled “Pete Seeger: The Communist Consumers Loved.” In his closely written, carefully crafted, diligently researched 10-page exposé, Weiner uncovers page after page of incriminating evidence of the man’s nefarious background and his determination to undermine the country he “loved.”
One small segment from Cannon’s work ought to suffice for those skeptics who still think of Seeger as a singer of “songs of love, peace, and brotherhood.” The HUAC listed some of the organizations Seeger supported, along with its designations in parentheses:
Seeger, has been affiliated – as an entertainer, member, sponsor, instructor, or contributor – with the American Peace Mobilization (“subversive and Communist”); American Youth Congress (“subversive and Communist”); the Communist Party; American Youth for Democracy (“subversive and Communist”); the Council on African Affairs (“subversive and Communist”); the American Committee for Yugoslav Relief (“subversive and Communist”); the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship (“subversive and Communist” – “specializing in pro-Soviet propaganda”); the Civil Rights Congress (“subversive and Communist”); the American Committee for Protection of Foreign Born [Americans] “subversive and Communist” – “one of the oldest auxiliaries of the Communist Party in the United States” – under the “complete domination” of the Communist Party); the Committee for a Democratic Far Eastern Policy (“Communist”); the National Council of the Arts, Sciences, and Professions (“a Communist front used to appeal to special occupational groups”); the Nature Friends of America (“subversive and Communist”); the Jefferson School of Social Science (“adjunct of the Communist Party”); the Metropolitan Music School (“controlled by Communists”); Veterans Against Discrimination of Civil Rights Congress (“subversive and Communist”); New Masses (“Communist periodical”); Daily World (“Communist publication”); the Labor Youth League (“Communist organization”); California Labor School (“a subversive and Communist organization”); the National Lawyers Guild (“the foremost legal bulwark of the Communist Party, its front organizations, and controlled unions”); Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade (“subversive and Communist”); the Committee for the First Amendment (“Communist front”); the American Peace Crusade (“Communist front”); the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee (“Communist front” – “subversive”); and, the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee (“to lead and direct the Communist Party’s ‘Operation Abolition’ campaign”).
Recall that this is the same man who was honored in 1994 at the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony where then-President Bill Clinton called Seeger “an inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them,” who received the Harvard Arts Medal for his “contribution to the arts” and who also received Cuba’s highest honor for “his humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism.”
As we continue to descend into the world imagined by and worked for by Seeger, duped Americans reading only media accounts of his passing will celebrate the brave new world by singing songs to freedom written by him and his comrades.
The Washington Post: Pete Seeger, legendary folk singer, dies at 94
The Associated Press: Folk singer, activist Pete Seeger dies at 94
First Things: Pete Seeger: The Communist Consumers Loved