Pete Seeger: Gone To Rest With His Banjo On His Knee

Pete Seeger

“I should have asked to see the gulags…” — Pete Seeger

You won’t find eulogies for many old Reds among these postings; in fact, you won’t find any.  Until now.  As a theory, Marxism is flawed; as a philosophy, pernicious; as a government, murderous.  Its adherents, at least those who remain of good heart, are denigrated by real revolutionaries, as “useful idiots,” fools too idealistic to realize that the hangman’s noose fits many necks.

Pete Seeger was an idiot only in his politics. A card-carrying Stalinist in the ’30s and ’40s, he remained until the end a small “c” communist, a guy whose belief in social justice (a concept rivaled only by belief in Easter bunnies and Bigfeet) led him to embrace the Red Tempter.

Old Pete was an army veteran. When asked what he did in the war, he said, “I strummed my banjo.”

Pete’s banjo.  It was of the 5-stringed variety, and he wrote a book about how to play it.   The book was a simple tome.  The tunes were written in tablature, and finger positions Petes Bookwere diagrammed with rough line drawings.  I found a copy 40 years ago and learned how to play a few easy tunes in a week.  Despite its red cover, it was the best instruction manual I ever read.

So Rest In Peace, Pete.  Your politics may have been bad, but your heart was good.   


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About Bob Mack

Retired since 2003. Military Service: U.S. Army, 36th Artillery Group, Babenhausen, Germany 1966-67; 1st Signal Brigade, Republic of Vietnam, 1967-68 Attended University of Miami, 1969-73
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3 Responses to Pete Seeger: Gone To Rest With His Banjo On His Knee

  1. Pingback: Pete Seeger: Gone To Rest With His Banjo On His Knee | Grumpy Opinions

  2. So us kids who grew up in the sixties and enjoyed all the folk singers, not having a clue whether they were lefties or just plain kind-hearted strummers and warblers – we don’t have to feel too guilty about it? 🙂

  3. marine4evrrr says:

    Yeah, when I get to thinking about it, there’s no telling how many of those folk singers we used to listen to were commies… or, thought they were. Big ‘C’ or little ‘c,’ pretty much the same. They just hadn’t gotten to experience the gulags yet.

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