Sutherland: Ideas Have Consequences, Even for Pete Seeger

Steve Paul Do as I say, not as you think

Steve Paul, KC Star
Do as I say, not as you think

My friend Stephen was in Italy when he was a child…

 He was visiting Venice when his grandfather, who was showing him the sites, introduced him to a very old man.  The old man glared at Stephen without speaking and then walked on.  When he asked his grandpa who the man was, and why he didn’t speak, and why his grandpa introduced him, his grandfather said; “His name is Ezra Pound.  Even though he didn’t speak, I wanted you to be able to tell people someday that you met the greatest poet of the 20th century.”

Stephen’s grandfather was correct.

Ezra Pound was arguably the greatest poet of our time, if not for his own work alone for the guidance and inspiration he provided to a host of others including T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, William Carlos Williams, D.H. Lawrence, Marianne Moore, etc.  I have read numerous biographies and works of literary criticism which confirm his central role in the modernist movement.

I also know that he was a man whose political sentiments were viciously racist, anti-semitic, and could only result in war and genocide if taken to their logical conclusion. 

Lest anyone protest that the private opinions of a writer or an artist are their own business, Pound openly and publicly broadcast these beliefs to a shocked world at the height of the Second World War.  (I mean “broadcast” literally since his nightly rantings were heard on Benito Mussolini’s Radio Roma.)  No one was more appalled than his erstwhile literary comrades, particularly when Pound’s mention of their names on the air could get them a drop-in from the F.B.I., as happened to Dr. W.C. Williams, a physician in New Jersey, who happened to also be a poet friend from Pound’s days in the American expatriate community in Paris.

My point in mentioning this is that Pound knew what he was doing, knew the risks that he ran taunting the U.S. Government in wartime from an enemy capital, and accepted the consequences.

Pete Seeger at the House Un-American Activites committee in 1952

Pete Seeger at the House Un-American Activites committee in 1952

He was arrested by the U.S. Military at the war’s end at his home in Rapallo, Italy; thrown into a barbed-wire military stockade at Pisa, Italy (within sight of the leaning Tower!); and ultimately charged with treason.  The only reason he escaped trial and probable hanging was through commitment to an insane asylum for many years.  (The authorities had decided he was incompetent to stand trial by reason of insanity, which was certainly true at the end of his six month stay in an outdoor steel cage in all weather at Pisa, if it wasn’t before!)

I mention all this not because I felt it was unwarranted or undeserved.  I do it to make a rather pointed contrast with the lame excuses Kansas City Star writer Steve Paul made for the late Communist folk singer Pete Seeger in his article of January 28th, “Pete Seeger Raised his Voice for People, Peace and Justice.”

Mr. Paul tells us of Seeger’s numerous musical accomplishment’s over many decades as a public performer.He popularized an old hymn,”We Shall Overcome”,rewriting the lyrics and making it into the anthem of the civil rights movement.He wrote”Where Have All The Flowers Gone?”,which served the same function for the anti-war movement.However,the question inevitably arises with Seeger(as it did with Pound):Does world class intellectual or artistic genius give you a pass to enlist that genius in aid of our nation’s enemies? Steve brushes aside concerns about the singer’s political affiliations by quoting Seeger when testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee to the effect that he wouldn’t answer questions about his political beliefs or allegiances and that to even ask them was “Un-American.”  (This from the people who ridicule the very idea of an “Un-American Activities” Committee in Congress!)

Paul says once “the Red-baiting nastiness” of the 50’s was behind him, Pete Seeger had a long and happy career.  The problem is that the 50 million people who died at the hands of Communism couldn’t put “the nastiness”they had to endure behind them. Seeger slavishly followed the twists and turns of the CPUSA party line for over seventy years in all his public statements and pronouncements. For example,he was against the U.S. entry into WWII until Hitler invaded Russia(and turned against his ally Stalin) and then Seeger suppressed all his anti-war songs and whole-heartedly embraced the war effort.It was only in 2007(fifty-four years after Stalin’s death)that Seeger dared to criticize Stalin and then only in private to close personal friends.

For dedicating his life to this murderous lie, Pete Seeger and his kind cannot be excused, whatever the glib evasions of Steve Paul and his fellow “progressives.”

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57 Responses to Sutherland: Ideas Have Consequences, Even for Pete Seeger

  1. hot harley says:

    nice.

  2. Mysterious J says:

    Happy Teabagger Saturday y’all!

  3. chuck says:

    By the way, nice article Mr. Sutherland. My accolades will have to do, the 50 million dead couldn’t be reached for comment.

  4. balbonis moleskine says:

    Actually, ideas do not have consequences. Actions have consequences. Demonizing people for having ideas is a bizarre anti-intellectual ability that should be above someone with an advanced degree- even someone who is right wing and will do anything to trash their enemies.

    I notice you go out of your way to accuse Seeger of one of the prongs of High Treason but you haven’t bothered to mention any overt acts which would support the hanging you so desired.

    Weak.

    • Dwight Sutherland says:

      The proposition that only actions have consequences,not ideas,overlooks the possibility that ideas or works of the imagination embodying them inspire actions. At the end of his life the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats wondered if his writings might have led people to acts of violence like the Easter Rebellion:

      Did that play of mine send out
      Certain men the English shot?
      Did words of mine put too great strain
      On that woman’s reeling brain?
      Could my spoken words have checked
      That whereby a house lay wrecked?

      Propagandizing on behalf of a government that commits mass murder raises the same issue of moral culpability, no matter how great the talent or genius employed in that questionable cause.

      • the dude says:

        Kettle, meet pot.

      • the dude says:

        Yep, a few million dead Iraqis and Afghanis is just par for the course in the messy business of war capitalism.
        Why did we go there again?

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          To get rid of Saddam Hussein and The Taliban,just as the Allies killed quite a few Germans and Japanese getting rid of Hitler and Tojo. Why don’t you ask why we went to war with Hitler when he had nothing to do with Pearl Harbor since your next question will no doubt be why did we remove Saddam when he had nothing to do with 9-11. Answer: Because his government was the only one in the world that endorsed the 9-11 attacks and had given refuge to all manner of radical Islamacist terrorists including the hijackers of the Achille-Lauro,the 1991 WTC bombers,the attackers of the Rome and Vienna airports,etc.. The Iraqi government was an ally of those who attacked us on 9-11,just like the Taliban in Afghanistan. Why do you give the benefit of the doubt always to the enemies of the West and the United States?

          • the dude says:

            And who was it that put Hussein in power and gave him chemical weapons to use freely on the Iranians?

            Look, militaristic capitalism has plenty of blood on it’s collective hands too. Free market capitalism is not the end-all-be-all answer to the world’s ills. Neither is Soviet Communism with Stalin and gulags. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

          • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

            Saddam put himself in power in 1979 by a coup in which he deposed a Baath Party rival. The U.S. had nothing to do with it. We let the University of Maryland export a strain of anthrax to an Iraqi university because they convinced us they were working on a vaccine. We were fools to believe them but as all our dealings with the North Koreans show,this wasn’t the first(or last) time the U.S. has been duped. The U.S. also shared satellite intelligence with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war because we didn’t want the Ayatollah Khomeni to win. We gave the Soviets a lot more aid than that in order for them to defeat the Nazis in WWII. Did we lose any right to oppose Stalin’s later aggression because we thus compromised ourselves morally?
            The last part of your argument is a classic straw man technique. I’m not an unabashed apologist for free market capitalism,claiming that anything done in it’s name is automatically morally justified. But I’m also not a fascist because I’m skeptical of the other extreme.i.e. anything that advances the dictatorship of the proletariat is exempt from moral scrutiny,which I think is a pretty good statement of Seeger’s world view,his marvelous talent as a musician notwithstanding.

          • the dude says:

            The fact that Hussein was a known CIA operative in a six man squad that assassinated Quassim to gain power? The US had NOTHING to do with that eh?

            Funny how a lot of the US’s altruistic world dalliances keeps on blowing up in our faces so often.

          • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

            The assassination attempt you’re referring to was unsuccessful and occurred in 1959. I’m sure the US would have been happy if Quassim had been bumped off but that’s not the same as saying they organized the plot or that Saddam was a”CIA operative”. Again,Saddam did not come to power until 1979,twenty years later,in an infamous incident where he had rivals for power hauled out of a Baath party meeting one by one and shot,all recorded on camera lest anyone not get the message. There’s a lot of bad stuff that goes on in the world that doesn’t originate in Langley,Virginia. As for our alliance/dalliances blowing up in our faces, that’s a fair enough comment. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of only dealing with Northern Hemisphere democracies like Denmark. As FDR said of a Latin-American despot; “Yes,he’s a S.O.B., but he’s OUR S.O.B.!”

  5. Orphan of the Road says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen a living, breathing Communist. Maybe the Iroquois Confederacy approached its tenets. Stalin? Just your run-of-the-mill dictator on the biggest stage.

    Seeger scared the bejeebers out of the wrap-yourself-in-the-flag-and-hide-behind-the-Bible clan. As did labor unions, women with any gumption (other than Betty Crocker and Aunt Jemima) and those uppity-people of color.

    One man’s hero is another man’s traitor.

    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

    T. E. Lawrence

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      Were Mussolini and Hitler just misunderstood dreamers who shook up a decadent Europe that needed it?(“An old bitch gone bad in the teeth”in the words of Uncle Ez) Why not Lenin,Trotsky and Uncle Joe”hisself”,as we say in Olathe? Seeger did indeed shakeup the reactionaries you describe or would have if they even knew of his existence.It’s my guess that very few Southern racists attended the Socialist Summer Camps in the Catskills where Seeger was a fixture(“Every time we got off the bus at those camps,there was Pete Seeger”,according to alums of what they themselves call “Commie Camps”.)Think of the left wing analogues to “Jesus Camp”,which was the subject of a hilarious documentary a few years back. The point is that indoctrinating children is repugnant,whether it’s in Marxist-Leninism or Right-Wing Fundamentalism,and you have to question the good faith of someone who would be be a party to it.

    • the dude says:

      Damn those pinko commie unionizers, women with ANY ambition besides barefoot and pressers and those damn, uppity coloreds for wanting better than fire hoses and jim crow.
      DAMN THEM!!

  6. Les Weatherford says:

    Just a bunch of rambling, mindless crap, Mr. Sutherland. Your post, that is. Not Steve Paul’s words or Pete Seeger’s.

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      On the question of whether you liked my post,should we put you down as “undecided but leaning against”?

      • admin says:

        Les – and I’m assuming it really is Les – was a copy editor at The Star for like 20-plus years before being laid off in 2008.

        I faintly recall him being something of a company man despite his unhappy demise. He seems to have a nice gig at present at the Army Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center.

        He does stick up for his pals though it would appear.

        Go Les!

        • John Altevogt says:

          While I have a soft spot in my heart for the copy editors at The Star I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the obvious fact that once again virtually everyone who has put behind them their days of being “objective” journalists at Der Sturmer has come out of the closet as a flaming leftist.

          That said, a copy editor, having had to make the words of others better for so long, deserves the ability to finally put into words his own thoughts.

          PS Just curious, Les, did we ever work together?

  7. Stomper says:

    I guess to each his own.

    Ted Cruz’s ideas scare me a helluva lot more than Pete Seeger’s ideas.

    • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

      This is ridiculous,Stomper. Does Ted Cruz take part in programs for young people that require them to salute the flag of a foreign dictatorship,like summer campers at Kinderland, the CP sponsored kids’ camp where Seeger performed for years,were required to do to the Soviet flag each morning? Does Cruz subscribe to an ideology sworn to the destruction of the United States and Israel? He may be a jerk personally but that’s a long way from being a spokesman and apologist for totalitarian views.

      • Stomper says:

        Like I said, to each his own.

      • Stomper says:

        As a senator, Cruz is in a much better position to affect US policy than was Seeger. In my humble opinion, Cruz is wrong on women’s rights, wrong on social issues, wrong on immigration, wrong on guns, wrong on healthcare, just to name a few. He was happier to shut down the government than to try to reach across the aisle to compromise and actually do the business of the American people. I could care less if he is a jerk or not. Plenty of jerks in the government already, that’s not a reason to elect or vote out. If Cruz was a musician, maybe I’d agree with you.

      • Stephen says:

        “Kinderland, the CP sponsored kids’ camp where Seeger performed for years,were required to do to the Soviet flag…”

        Was it in fact the Soviet flag? Even most marginally-credible references I can find describe it as the Red Flag, which since far back into the 19th century was a sign of international workers’ solidarity, not of any one country or dictatorship.

        • Dwight Sutherland,jr. says:

          Try the article from the Jewish Daily Forward from February 4,2011 about an aide to Congressman Gabrielle Giffords (who was killed when she was critically wounded) who was an alum of the camp. It was a favorable,even nostalgic article about the tradition of Socialist Summer Camps.Try also Ron Radosh’s column from Front Line. Radosh attended such a camp and studied banjo under Pete Seeger. A lot of people looked to the Soviet Union in the darkest days of the Depression . It was an understandable response to the crisis of capitalism. There is no need to pretend it didn’t happen. Fred Koch ,the father of the Koch brothers ,went to work in Russia
          when he couldn’t get work here. He was bitterly disillusioned when his friends disappeared in Stalin’s purges. It might explain his decision to join the John Birch Society .Everything is context.

    • admin says:

      Yeah but Stomps…

      Of course they scare you more. Seeger is in the ground and did what Dwight describes as his misdeeds took place long before your world view had settled in.

      Cruz remains something of an unknown in the hear and now

      • Stomper says:

        Unknown???? You need to get out more.

        Your argumment of time perspective and world view apply equally to Dwight and me. I don’t get your point.

      • John Altevogt says:

        *here* and now Where’s Les when you really need him?

  8. paulwilsonkc says:

    The Pete Seegers of the world are the only place I have a soft spot for political rhetoric in music, and, most all of the old folk gods are too long in to tooth to write lyrics about the coming failed health care crisis. As for the rest of them who want to use the entertainment platform to espouse their low information points of view, I say; shut up and sing! Thats why I bought your overpriced ticket, I want to hear you sing my 5 favorite tunes youre known for, not give me a State of the World lecture.

  9. Paracelsus says:

    I get why some would want to take the moment of Seeger’s demise as an occasion to make political hay. Why not? He was a very political guy.

    It makes even more sense if you’re part of a crippled right-wing movement badly in need of finding its own identity and demonstrably on the wrong side of demographics and history. The old, scary enemies are an old-time favorite, reassuring as a song by Bad Company. And every bit as worn-out and tiresome.

    I can see why the due and proper celebration of a true American hero would grate, especially if he was a difficult one to like from certain perspectives. Know a man by his enemies, it is said; with the hindsight of decades, the House Un-American Activities Committee seems a good one to have. Like other individuals who stood up for what they believed in regardless of personal cost, Seeger didn’t need hindsight to be on the right side of free speech and the liberty of opinion.

    But let him pass away in a Winter long after the inevitable demise of the crazed, ramshackle Soviet bogeyman and we will exhume its old bones as evidence against him. We’ll have a little drumhead trial, bring back the spirit of the Un-American Activities Committee and declare for the benefit of history (or that tiny sliver of it that reads this blog) that dammit, Pete Seeger was a tool of the damn Reds. He wasn’t 100% Pure Cowboy American as we’ve been told to expect. Cognitive dissonance! How dare we revere the memory of this man!

    We should absolutely take realistic views of those we lionize. Fair and Balanced, you might almost say. But it takes a special kind of logic to put the insanity, murder, and stupidity of the Soviets on this dead man’s bill. And that logic, if you can call it that, has a whole propaganda network to call home.

  10. Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

    Why can’t you just say that Seeger was naive in his politics like a lot of artists and musicians? What is it about people on the Left that makes them incapable of ever being wrong politically? I’m not putting the “insanity,murder,and stupidity of the Soviets”(maybe we are getting somewhere!) on Seeger’s shoulders any more than I’m putting the Holocaust on Pound’s. I’m just saying that in an age when intellectuals feel they have to be “engaged”politically you run the risk of people making some bad choices indeed.Knowing what we know now, I’m not sure being an apologist for Stalinism is what you want to be remembered as.
    Steve Paul brought this issue up by trying to sweep it under the rug in his disingenuous article,by the way. The fact that we’re even still debating this point shows why it needs to be rehashed,however tiresome to the participants or onlookers.

    • Stomper says:

      “What is it about people on the Left that makes them incapable of ever being wrong?”

      That seems to be a pretty unfair generalization, Dwight. I think you are being just a tab sensitive here as you are getting called out. If you had just said that Seeger was naive in his politics like a lot of artists and musicians to start with, you wouldn’t be catching heat.

      I’ll admit that as one on the left, I’m wrong a lot. Just ask my wife and kids.

      • the dude says:

        Agreed. If you would have gone with the naïve political bent I would have been more understanding. People like Guthrie and Seeger like Paul said hold special places in people’s hearts regardless of political ideology.

        • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

          Guys- I really think we’re on the same page. I can accept the naiveté argument(Anyone who has ever tried talking practical politics to intellectuals-right or left- knows all too well how naive they can be! ‘Book smart,street dumb’ doesn’t begin to cover it!) Where I get annoyed is when someone as smart as obviously ‘Paracelsus’ is talks about how a defender of Joseph Stalin can at the same time be a heroic champion of free speech and freedom of opinion. There’s a disconnect here!

          • Paracelsus says:

            Thank you, by the way.

            I would definitely buy the naivete argument more than I would believe that Seeger was in full-throated approval of gulag and totalitarianism. Did anyone ask him, ever? That would be interesting to know.

          • Paracelsus says:

            So heroes can’t be burdened with contradictions? Many of my heroes are, do we share the same ones? Jefferson, Washington, Ghandi, Mandela….

  11. Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

    Dear Paracelsus- You’re absolutely right. Read Gary Wills book a few years back(2007)where he talks about Henry Adams’s History of the Jefferson and Madison Administrations. The stuff that The Sage of Monticello pulled to try to wire the conviction of Aaron Burr in the bogus trial for sedition he put the latter through-bribing witnesses,judges,etc! It’s chilling to read,especially as a lawyer. I guess many of our idols have feet of clay,including blind spots when it comes to double-standards.

    • Paracelsus says:

      And, well, owning slaves, there is that small matter too. But yes, thank you for the recommendation.

      However, the information immediately below this seems to invalidate the point of your post. You’ve been wildly incorrect on the critical point of Seeger’s support for one hundred percent of everything Communist ever. Would have taken a bit of research, I suppose.

      Blogging seems difficult.

      • Dwight Sutherland,Jr. says:

        I’ m amazed at how many times ex-communists claim to have left the Party. It’s a convenient excuse to explain away some embarrassment(the Moscow Show Trials,the Hitler-Stalin Pact) with: “Of course I’d left the party by then!”Unless you’re Arthur Koestler,Whittaker Chambers,or some such mensch who breaks publicly,no one can call you on it.Thus the same people can claim various different dates for leaving the party to different people. Amazingly,they almost never give any outward sign of such a break and continue to support the Party line,which makes me think a lot of these claims are bogus.It’s not like it was a matter of public record like registering as a Democrat or Republican that can be verified.

        • Paracelsus says:

          I see. So, if you don’t like the evidence and proof, ignore it. Tell me, have you considered becoming a jfk assassination researcher?

          All in fun.

          • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

            What proof? Is there some archive that would bear this out? Did Gus Hall(Party Chair,CPUSA) respond to a FOIA request? Why did Seeger appear at CPUSA functions like Kinderland well into the ’60s and 70’s if he broke with the party in ’49 ? Why was he instrumental in a group(“The Committees of Correspondence”) within the CPUSA that rejected the Soviet model-in 1991!-if he’d left the party 42 years earlier? These claims to have recanted an embarrassing political affiliation tend to be self-serving. That’s why Koestler’s(‘ Darkness At Noon’) letter resigning from the Party was so extraordinary. He let it be known at the time and the actual letter surfaced in Soviet archives in the 90’s confirming his version of events.

  12. Stephen says:

    “Seeger slavishly followed the twists and turns of the CPUSA party line for over seventy years”

    That’s crazily incorrect:
    * Seeger joined YCL in 1936 and was a member of CPUSA only from 1942-1949: “Innocently 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. I got out in ’49, though…. I should have left much earlier.”
    * In 1991, he cofounded the Committees of Correspondence, a group which explicitly broke with CPUSA’s following of the Soviet model.

  13. Dwight Sutherland,Jr says:

    Ron Radosh,a life long friend of Seeger’s,said Seeger told him he only left the Party in the late 50’s,after the Hungarian revolt and Khruschev’s speech denouncing Stalin’s crimes. Radosh also said for most of the time they knew each other that Seeger would not criticize Stalin other than to say he was a “hard driver”. He said Seeger first condemned Stalin in 2007 and then only to close friends in private conversations.If Seeger joined the Party in 1936,that’s seventy years of orthodoxy. The 1991 date for the formation of The Committees of Correspondence is underwhelming in it’s import since that is the year that the Soviet Union collapsed.(That’s like saying a German broke with the Nazi Party in 1945!) The detail about the Soviet Flag at Kinderland is also from Radosh.There is actually a recent documentary called…….wait for it–“Commie Camp”,that defiantly and unapologetically tells of its radical heritage.

    • Paracelsus says:

      Not to further beat a dead folk singer, but at the very least we have conflicting accounts here. However, your thesis that Seeger was an unapologetic, unswerving, banner-waving herald of Stalin’s atrocities every moment of his life until the day he died seems weak.

      Why can’t you back off a little bit and admit that Seeger was a complicated artist who stood up in his own era to a much larger and nastier version of the pocket size Un-American Activities Committee you seem to want to put him through?

      Probably because if Seeger recants, or hesitates, or rethinks at all, your entire red-baiting (in 2014!) blog post is pointlessly simplistic.

      Let’s just be honest. You wanted to do your little all to tear down a liberal hero you didn’t like with a sloppy and incomplete analysis of his true beliefs. Hannity would be proud.

      • Paracelsus says:

        And, just to be clear, you need have looked no further than Wikipedia.

        “In 1982, Seeger performed at a benefit concert for Poland’s Solidarity resistance movement. His biographer David Dunaway considers this the first public manifestation of Seeger’s decades-long personal dislike of communism in its Soviet form.”

        “In the late 1980s Seeger also expressed disapproval of violent revolutions, remarking to an interviewer that he was really in favor of incremental change and that “the most lasting revolutions are those that take place over a period of time.”

        “In his autobiography Where Have All the Flowers Gone (1993, 1997, reissued in 2009), Seeger wrote, “Should I apologize for all this? I think so…. at any rate, today I’ll apologize for a number of things, such as thinking that Stalin was merely a “hard driver” and not a “supremely cruel misleader.” I guess anyone who calls himself 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. ought to apologize for stealing land from Native Americans and enslaving blacks. Europeans could apologize for worldwide conquests, Mongolians for Genghis Khan. And supporters of Roosevelt could apologize for his support of Somoza, of Southern White Democrats, of Franco Spain, for putting Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Who should my granddaughter Moraya apologize to? She’s part African, part European, part Chinese, part Japanese, part Native American. Let’s look ahead.”

        “In a 1995 interview, however, he insisted that “I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it.”

        “In 2007, in response to criticism from a former banjo student—historian Ron Radosh, a former Trotskyite who now writes for the conservative National Review—Seeger wrote a song condemning Stalin, “Big Joe Blues”: “I’m singing about old Joe, cruel Joe. / He ruled with an iron hand. /He put an end to the dreams / Of so many in every land. / He had a chance to make / A brand new start for the human race. / Instead he set it back / Right in the same nasty place. / I got the Big Joe Blues. / Keep your mouth shut or you will die fast. / I got the Big Joe Blues. / Do this job, no questions asked. / I got the Big Joe Blues.”

        Not exactly a Soviet Super-Soldier. But then, you have to be interested in the truth to do research.

      • Dwight D. Sutherland, Jr. says:

        No,I honestly backed into this because I’d been reading a book called “Ezra Pound: The Last Rower-A Political Profile”,by David Heymann,an author better known for celebrity tell-alls like “Jackie Oh!”. This is the dilemma of the 20th century artist,how do you reconcile intellectual honesty with political commitment. Pound also claimed to have recanted late in life,i.e. he told Allen Ginsberg that he does’t know how he could have been led astray
        by a “stupid suburban prejudice”,i.e. anti-semitism. A few months later he was marching in a Neo-Fascist parade in Rome! If I don’t give him a pass,despite being the greatest poet of the age,you as a man of The Left,in the best sense of the term,shouldn’t let Seeger off unchallenged either,despite his many admirable traits

    • Stephen says:

      “The 1991 date for the formation of The Committees of Correspondence is underwhelming in it’s import since that is the year that the Soviet Union collapsed.”

      The Committees of Correspondence was founded in November 1991, about 6 weeks before the collapse of the USSR. The precipitating event was the hardline coup a few months prior that briefly toppled Gorbachev: CPUSA sided with the hardliners, CCDS members splintered as they sided with the further reforms of Gorbachev & Yeltsin.

      It’s hard to imagine that in 1991, Seeger took a stand to further the reforms while at the same time defending Stalin.

      Also notably, the vast majority of CPUSA members did not splinter, despite the fall of the USSR.

  14. Stomper says:

    Now that there is a bit of a lull, I just want to offer that this has been a great exchange to follow. Lots of well stated and well substantiated comments on both sides and nobody got insulted. Thanks Dwight for a great piece and for jumping back in to respond. Balbonis, Dude, Stephen and Paracelsus; some high quality epistles.

  15. Al Sharpton says:

    Here is an interesting article comparing Tsarist Russia with Communism. I liked it anyway.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/02/russia_then_and_now.html

    • Stomper says:

      Is this you, Chuck ?

      It would be real scary to think there is more than one person here that actually reads and believes anything from American Thinker.

      • PB says:

        Yeah, is there a great misnomer around then the American Thinker?

        Jeezuz, Hearne, I don’t mind the occasional foray into politics, but are you that desperate to fill space in here that you resort to the ramblings of Joe McCarthy/Dick Cheney/Michael Savage hybrid? I thought I’ve pretty much heard every form of idiocy imaginable, but I must say, Dwight may have just raised, err lowered the bar with his rationalization that Pete Seeger has the blood of genocide on his guitar-strumming hands. Shameless and shameful.

  16. CHRIS DAVIS says:

    Nothing has changed: Hollywood is still the limousine liberal capital of the the States, where we are supposed to buy into the fantasy that people of the likes of Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber and Larry Flynt have a moral monopoly on “caring” about their fellow man.

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