Month: January 2014

Pete-Seeger-NYC

Pete Seeger: UnAmerican, Communist, and a People’s Songster

By Saswat Pattanayak  Pete Seeger was not the “American conscience”, as he is being now crowned by the corporate media after his demise. In reality, he was the UnAmerican conscience. And to understand this, it is important to underscore the extent of his internationalism, his commitment towards humanity, his selfless unpatriotic journey as a fervent communist, his lifelong quest against American militarism, adventurism and exceptionalism. Most importantly, to use history as a weapon in the class struggle, as Pete used music as his tool, it is pivotal to not let go of the “unAmerican” label that was imposed upon him by the American power, because he was perceived to be a communist, when in August 1955, he was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and he refused to testify against his comrades or to pass on any information regarding the Communist Party that could help implicate any office-bearer of the party. Saswat Pattanayak with Pete Seeger (Photo: Amrita Misra) Unlike many entertainers and intellectuals who gave in to the peer pressures or social benefits, …

2014: Let Ourselves Prevail

“Where the mind is without fear” and whistleblowers roam free Prisons abolished; die with them, values all reactionary Where the world exults in differences, amidst sheer diversity Supremacism ends; cease with it, any collective adversity Where ideas spring from challenged truths, broken promises Perfection wound up; sought after no more are divine images Where faith is exposed as a hopeless quest, of oppressed states Reason, power and strength too seen as elite privileged quests      Where rape no longer a metaphor, nor millionaires act commoners Celebrities awaken the conscience, not profiteers, accumulators  Where the admired do not endorse wars, nor dwell in charities  Corporate czars get caught faking empathies, moralist vanities Where the homeless are not recruited to clean nuclear mess Working class emphatically organize, not rescued under duress Where marginalized empowered, seeking no solace in a pope Into such a year of radical possibilities, immense in its scope To undo, to unlearn, to find right here – both heaven and the hell To end holy patriarchies and capitalism, let ourselves prevail.   – …