I’m Not Whining Alone… Oh, Shit! Pete’s gone!

Just to prove that I’m not alone here whining (and singing) in the forest…

Oh shit! Pete’s gone!

On February 2 Michael Enright played the following quote from his 2000 A.D. interview with Pete Seeger – while interviewing Alec Wilkinson about his short (at Pete’s insistence) biography of Pete called The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger. 

The average person is now gradually  coming to realize that settling problems with guns, bombs and other forms of violence will have to be phased out – quickly or slowly. The bombs have gotten too powerful and war is no longer something that is engaged in by a few professional soldiers. It’s something that wipes out whole countries and civilian populations Continue reading “I’m Not Whining Alone… Oh, Shit! Pete’s gone!”

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Pete Seeger, May We Be Worthy

Pete Seeger was a huge influence on the 20th century struggle for justice and peace. He epitomized the values of the left and fought for trade unions and against racism at a time when people got killed for taking a stand. He mobilized a successful movement to clean up his beloved Hudson River. Our middle class owes its present numbers to people like Pete who risked much to fight for a living wage for workers. He was a young man during the Great Depression and rode the rails with the hoboes. He sang with and shared the values of the iconic artists who opposed the excesses of “Daddy Warbucks” type capitalists, wars like the Vietnam War, and the racist Jim Crow laws.

He was a beacon of ongoing hope even while, in recent decades, he watched the middle class shrink and inequality grow as the corporations, given more and more power, have destroyed what he and his contemporaries had fought and even died to gain.

History, I fear, may have to record Pete Seeger’s time as the highest period in human evolution. The apex. It was a time of material and moral progress from the thirties to the seventies, as the period during which humanity, given the leisure to reflect and confronted by committed young people, began to become aware of, and to seek, a higher ethical way. We still hold some of these values, but our democracies have been reduced to shams by corporate interests running amok.

Our young people no longer even remember how their standard of living was earned with the blood and guts of those in Seeger’s tradition. Those who hold the last of the secure jobs are now isolated and portrayed as outliers, lazy and unjustly privileged. Good jobs stand out and those who hold them are objects of jealousy and ridicule.

Small wonder, when the media are overwhelmingly part of the established right and owned by the fewer and fewer, richer and richer, rich.

It saddens me to think that the world for which Pete Seeger lived and fought is now surrounded and besieged by interests whose sinister control is, all too quickly, becoming insurmountable. One of my favorite Seeger songs:

If I Had A Hammer

Pete Seeger, R.I.P. Here’s hoping you can find a hammer where you are now. Anyway, it’s now the fight of us who are left behind. May we find leaders like you to guide us through the 21st century. May we not break faith with you. May we be worthy.

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What Do Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Pete Seeger Share?

They, along with Amnesty International and many other eminent individuals and organizations, share the knowledge that Leonard Peltier was convicted of murder by fraudulent evidence manufactured by the FBI and have appealed for his release from his almost four decade incarceration. He was extradited in 1976 from Canada – also on trumped-up FBI evidence.

Warren Allmand, Canadian Attorney General at the time, realized after the fact that Peltier should not have been extradited:

When Indian activist Leonard Peltier was arrested in Canada in 1976 and extradited to the U.S. for the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents during a range war on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reserve (near Wounded Knee), Allmand was first Canada’s solicitor-general and then minister of Indian affairs.

He later realized the extradition was fraudulent, based on false affidavits acquired by the FBI from an Indian woman (Myrtle Poor Bear) who had never met Peltier, was not in Pine Ridge at the time, but who claimed to be his girlfriend and had watched him kill the agents.

From a 1999 article by Peter Worthington in the Toronto Sun.

Please write a letter to President Obama. Leonard’s only chance 0f release from two consecutive life sentences is to be granted clemency.

Here’s a link to several ways of contacting Barrack Obama.

Woody Guthrie: a Liverpool celebration

Woody Guthrie: a Liverpool celebration.

The above blog is a wonderful “essay” on Woody Guthrie’s life and music. For all of us who love our countries and are saddened by the direction in which events are taking us, Gerry’s reflection is touching and timely.

In it are photos, videos of some of the great songs that Woody wrote,  and comments from some of the greats that he influenced, like Steinbeck and Dylan. This blog has been crafted by a skillful, talented master.