Pete Seeger, Commie, gone to his reward

Old commies die, but late in life

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By Jim Bowman


More wisdom from With Both Hands:

Famous Dead Reds and Past Pinks
Leon Despres (dec,) -99
Pete Seeger(dec,) - 94
Studs Terkel (dec.)- 95
Dawn Clark Netsch(dec.) -86
Frank Marshall Davis (dec.)-82
Clarence Darrow (dec.)- 80

Trend here: they live a long time.

Still around:

Living the Over Throw of Capitalism
Dr. Quentin Young - 91 and still plotting

Personal recollection re: Dr. Young: During my stint at Chi Daily News, 1968-78, a story about him had his free admission to being a Marxist. Next day, the writer, opening the paper, saw that this had been edited out by a sub-editor. He, the late Bob Tamarkin, was surprised at this and left his chair to go and ask the sub-editor, who had clearly deemed the admission not to be news fit to print.

I don't know what happened. I had other things to do that day, and never pursued the matter. But it was Bob and I for the first part. We happened to be sitting next to each other. The incident stayed with me as evidence of the leftist tilt of some at the paper, shown in this case to protect Quentin Young from his own candor.

Email: Twitter: @BlitheSp

Reader Comments

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Jim Bowman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 31st, 2014 5:05 PM

Wait, what? -- if it helps any, she was considered pink, not red. That said, I am not liking this blog, which I am thinking is (a) scattershot, lacking focus, (b) does not contribute to the health and vigor of the body politic, and (c) does Seeger a disservice by dwelling on an unfortunate and I now feel secondary aspect of his life -- the guy was an artist apparently sloppy with his allegiances but with great instincts in addition to talent and skills, not least of which was his ability to connect with people while addressing their better instincts. And yes, I did watch the Channel 11 documentary last night. So, if you don't mind, in a day or so, I will probably take this item down. Fire away some more. ("Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag," she said -- Whittier's Barbara Frietchie to Confederate troops in Frederick MD) It all helps. Taking the item down is no reflection on you. It's a matter of my own, ah, taste in the matter. It's like the newspaper guild grievance chairman who after many grievances began to sympathize with management and decided it was time to quit. Which he did and I'm not. Just taking down a piece of bloggery.

alt.progress from oak park  

Posted: January 31st, 2014 2:12 PM

"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." - Pete Seeger

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 31st, 2014 12:25 PM

Bill D., Obama did not close gitmo and he said he would, and he still says he will.

Bill D  

Posted: January 31st, 2014 10:20 AM

Who's blaming Bush "for everything," Fluffy? I'm blaming him for an unjustified, unnecessary war that will, before it's over, have wasted more than $2 trillion and allowed Al Queda to escape from Afghanistan after we had them trapped in Tora Bora. And Obama inherited the worst economy in 75 years from that mumbling idiot. So, like it or not, I'm going to keep blaming Bush for some things.

Wait, what?  

Posted: January 31st, 2014 8:43 AM

Dawn Clark Netsch was a commie? Is there a link for that? Learn something new every day, I guess.


Posted: January 31st, 2014 8:40 AM

Hey Bill D, your boy was the one who tripled the troops in Afghanistan. It's time to stop blaming W for everything, your guy's been in office long enough to take credit for things now.

Jim Bowman from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 8:20 PM

Jim of S. OP: Well, he was a fool for all that, all heart until the day that he died. But deluded as to communism. As for going to one's reward, it's a fairly common expression into which the reader may read what he or she wants. As a Catholic, I'll be damned if I mean to say he's lost -- and that is "damned" in more than its fairly common usage.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 4:25 PM

Bill D, you know what happens when you assume. I'm not a member of the GOP, & agree W spent way too much in his attempts to be "bipartisan". No, wisdom is indeed a rare commodity in today's political class. For the record, I also feel Seeger was wise, though misguided as he later stated. I love his music & it's perspectives.My comments were more about current media/political culture than Seeger himself. I stand by the idea that it far was safer to be a US Commie than a Soviet (real) one.

Jim from South Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 2:55 PM

Not sure of the headline's intent. Seeger admitted he was in the Communist Party USA. and said it was a mistake. He did serve in the US Army in WWII, and then went on to support the mainstream civil rights movement. He was "green" before it was popular; his Clearwater effort helped clean up the Hudson River. IMHO Seeger's music added more to patriotism and improving the human condition then your column ever has. If your headline aims to deprecate Seeger, it is moronic.

Bill D  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 2:08 PM

Yeah, Res. The GOP so values wisdom. That's why it foisted W on us and his $1.5 trillion and counting war against a country that had nothing to do with 911. Or are you referring to John McCain and Sarah Palin?

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 1:56 PM

Mimi, it is you who is an "amiable dunce", clearly unable to discern intelligence from wisdom. For example, Obama is book smart, but clearly not wise. Bill D, the left is indeed predominantly "Godless", yes, but it is not without religion. It's just that they worship different gods, i.e the planet, progressive-ism, the state, etc. Leftists are as fundamentalist in their beliefs as any Christian, just focused in a different (I'd say wrong) direction.

Mimi Jordan from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 12:49 PM

Hee hee! Nice to know the best last the longest, and with their sharp minds intact, unlike that long-lived but addle-brained Ronald Reagan!

Bill D  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 12:40 PM

I thought you people on the right viewed people on the left as Godless, OP Res. So how can the left have patron saints? At least be consistent.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2014 12:17 PM

Uh, oh've done it now. Slandered one of the left's patron saints. In the media fawning over Mr Seeger this week, a few pieces about his communist past came up, mostly akin to it being quaint. The main reason, IMHO, that these US commies lived long & prospered was because they didn't have to live under the communist regimes they so idolized. If they had, they likely would've died young of starvation, or worse, from torture or the gulag. Prepare for an onslaught of insults from OP reds.

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