Jan 29, 2014

Vale Pete Seeger, who had a song to sing all over this land

The death of the iconic American singer/activist at the age of 94 recalls a century of struggle, both long gone and still living, says Crikey's writer-at-large.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Pete Seeger

There are people who die at a great age, and it seems impossible they were still alive. When the writer Edward Upward, a quintessentially 1930s writer, Berlin and cabbage soup and railways, died in 2009, amid Facebook and convenience stores, it seemed like a sort of trick of the century. That is not the case with Pete Seeger (pictured), the musician and activist, whose passing at the age of 94 marks the end of a long continuity.


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20 thoughts on “Vale Pete Seeger, who had a song to sing all over this land

  1. Andybob

    What to say when called before the House Un-American Activities Committee:

    “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

    He also offered to sing them any of his songs.

    Jailed for a year and blacklisted. A very tall man.

  2. Bo Gainsbourg

    Nice article. There is something in this about being wary of the world weary, the overly streetwise, the cynical. Viewed through one frame Seeger becomes a cliche. But actually its the thinking that makes us think him somehow uncool that is the cliche. Optimism, idealism, determination and solidarity might be out of fashion but they are as potent as ever. Pete new that and we need to re-learn it.

  3. Kevin Herbert

    Nice overview of Seeger’s times….yes..I’m cornball enough to believe that we shall overcome…someday (soon? later? who knows?).

    But I must take issue with the injection yet again of the late 19th century Zionist construct that “anti-semitism’ is somehow intrinsically at the forefront of global social struggle…first, in my view there’s no such thing as ‘anti-semitism’’s ALL racism…to put one small, well connected ethnic group at the forefront of every discussion on millenia of racism against ALL minorities, is yet another example of the cancer of Zionism.
    As Dr Norman Finkelstein says, to say that the suffering of a Jew in Auschwitz is worse or different to the suffering of a a Vietnamese child burned by napalm, or a Gazan child blown to bits by Israeli armed forces shelling, beggars belief.

  4. Mazarin

    Indeed, Kevin, Indeed. Shall we then also take exception to his sentence about the “burning and bombing of mosques “when we all know that Christian churches and Buddhist temples are also burned and bombed?

  5. paddy

    Thank for this Guy.
    A bloody good piece about a bloody good man.

  6. AR

    “When will we ever see their like again?”. The golden chains of wage slavery seem to have affected our genes.

  7. colin skene

    Guy Rundle, you just simply write magnificently. Another brilliant piece.

  8. Kfix

    Thanks Guy. I’m pretty sure I would disagree with you on many things to do with tactics and priorities, but I am absolutely in step with you on the direction and the goal. And this is in a way one of the most optimistic pieces of writing I have read in a long while. Even the nitpicking in the comments above is not enough to depress me. Wonderful writing.

  9. jmendelssohn

    Thanks Guy. Well said. When I was a child I first heard Little Boxes and was hooked. His songs keep on echoing in my mind. It was a great life, the world is richer for the way he lived.

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