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PORTSIDE  September 2012, Week 3

PORTSIDE September 2012, Week 3

Subject:

Want a hero? Look to Pete Seeger

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

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Date:

Fri, 21 Sep 2012 21:45:21 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Parts/Attachments

text/plain (146 lines)

Want a hero? Look to Pete Seeger
	The singer, New York born and bred, has a legacy of
	optimism and activism

	"Why not at least name a city public school after
	the man?"


By Peter Dreier
Opinion Column

New York Daily News
September 14, 2012

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/a-hero-pete-seeger-article-1.1159210

To everything, there is a season, according to Pete Seeger's
song, "Turn, Turn, Turn," drawn from the Book of
Ecclesiastes.

This is the season for New Yorkers and all Americans to
honor Seeger.

Now 93, the Manhattan-born troubadour has devoted his life
to educating Americans and the world about peace, social
justice, the environment and our country's musical
tradition.

Why not at least name a city public school after the man?

His legacy begins, of course, with music. The hundreds of
songs Seeger has written or popularized as a member of The
Weavers and as a solo artist have sent powerful messages of
tolerance and hope.

Seeger turned "We Shall Overcome" into a civil rights
standard and a global anthem for human rights. He
popularized his friend Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your
Land," now our unofficial national anthem.

His anti-war tunes "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" and
"If I Had a Hammer," helped inspire the 1950s battle against
nuclear weapons and the 1960s movement against the Vietnam
War. He also introduced millions of Americans to songs from
other cultures, like "Wimoweh" and "Guantanamera."

But Seeger's activism extends far beyond the guitar and
concert hall. In addition to being a World War II veteran,
Seeger has been on the front lines of every major social
justice crusade during his lifetime: labor unions and
migrant workers in the 1930s and 1940s, the banning of
nuclear weapons and opposition to the Cold War in the 1950s,
civil rights and the anti-war movement in the 1960s,
opposition to South African apartheid in the 1970s and,
always, human rights throughout the world.

He's seen his share of controversy. In the 1950s and early
1960s, Seeger was blacklisted for his left-wing views.
Commercial television and radio networks banned Seeger and
his songs.

But in response to being blacklisted, Seeger parlayed his
talents into doing good. He taught guitar and banjo, played
for schools and at summer camps and recorded albums for
children.

During those years, Seeger planted many seeds. The
youngsters who heard him became political activists and
spread the gospel of folk and protest music. That's how,
more than anyone else, Seeger catalyzed the folk music
revival that inspired the careers of performers like Bob
Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Kingston Trio, Phil Ochs
and Joan Baez - and later Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello.

Seeger has always had a special relationship with New York.
Born in Manhattan in 1919, he lived in the city from the
late 1930s to the early 1950s. He then moved to Beacon, an
hour up the Hudson River, where he built his own log cabin
house, where he's lived ever since.

And that's where another major strand of his legacy has
taken root: environmental stewardship. In 1966, Seeger
launched the nonprofit Clearwater project, dedicated to
cleaning up the Hudson River. The effort, at first written
off as simplistic and naive, helped inspire the
environmental movement. The Hudson, once filled with oil
pollution, sewage and toxic chemicals is now swimmable.

Through unrelenting optimism, Seeger endured and overcame
the controversies triggered by his activism. Yes, he has
gotten honors - a Kennedy Center Award from former President
Bill Clinton - and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of
Fame.

But the city of his birth, the state that has been his home
for nearly a century, has yet to honor him in a manner
befitting his tremendous influence.

Before Pete Seeger's fingers can strum no longer, let's pay
respect to his life and legacy. Begin by naming a public
school after him. In fact, a committee of civic leaders
should nominate Seeger for the Nobel Peace Prize,
recognizing his role in bringing the world closer together.

[Dreier teaches politics at Occidental College and is author
of "The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social
Justice Hall of Fame."]

==========

Want a hero? Look to Pete Seeger
http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/a-hero-pete-seeger-article-1.1159210
	
	"Why not at least name a city public school after the man?"

Great op-ed column by Peter Dreier in today's New York Daily news (once a vicious red-baiting paper) The times they are a-changing - victory in Wisconsin today, teachers winning in Chicago...


To everything, there is a season, according to Pete Seeger's song, "Turn, Turn, Turn," drawn from the Book of Ecclesiastes.

This is the season for New Yorkers and all Americans to honor Seeger.

Now 93, the Manhattan-born troubadour has devoted his life to educating Americans and the world about peace, social justice, the environment and our country's musical
tradition.

Why not at least name a city public school after the man?
(read more)

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