Mises Wire

Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
Twitter icon
Home | Blog | A Bit More on Pete Seeger

A Bit More on Pete Seeger

Lew Rockwell suggested that St. Peter may have had some problems determining which side Folk Singer Pete Seeger was on when he made it to the Pearly Gates on January 27th ('14) (or maybe the dating system is different in Heaven). A bit more on that.  Seeger was eulogized last month in the press as a kind of banjo-toting civil libertarian. And if you take a look at his Wikipedia entry, you find that he worked for "isolationism" during World War II. Well, Wikipedia, not quite. He worked for Moscow before, during, and after World War II.  And not to put too fine a point on it, for Stalin. It's just that during the nearly two years of the Dream Team of Totalitarians (otherwise called the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact), Communists worldwide dutifully followed the Great Leader in extolling the Führer and in trying to keep the US out of war on the side of Britain.  And Pete was among those dutiful Communists. The day the Pact ended (June 22nd, 1941) with the jump-off of Operation Barbarossa, Seeger ceased his "isolationism," as Wikipedia would call it. Within the blogosphere, many have pointed out that Seeger may have been one of the last supporters of Hitler AND Stalin AND Mao AND Ho Chi Minh. If he wrote any songs in support of Pol Pot, I don't know about it. His "recanting" of his Stalinism came a bit late, decades after even the Soviet Communist Party Line demanded that loyal Communists denounce Stalin (that would be from February 1956 on). Hence, in this instance, Seeger was well to the Totalitarian side of Khrushchev and, frankly, all the subsequent Soviet leaders. And then afterwards, there was Budapest, Prague, etc.  Well, and the fall of the Soviet Union and the flood of evidence of the killings, torture, and what not. Pete-Seeger3_2804068bBut in 2007 he got around to a vague kind of "recantation," when he said to an interviewer:  "I think you're right - I should have asked to see the gulags when I was in the USSR."  This is a recantation? I don't know about calling him a "civil libertarian."  But I do suggest to some future biographer a working subtitle:   "Stalinist with a Banjo."

Per Bylund is assistant professor of entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Website: PerBylund.com.

Image source:

Add Comment

Shield icon wire