His totalitarian sympathies should not … The committee subpoenaed nearly 30 entertainers—“actors, actresses, writers and producers”—as well as Seeger, and Seeger’s good friend and former bandmate Lee Hayes. Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On? Tavenner started by inquiring into Seeger’s occupation. o… Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On? American folk singer Pete Seeger's songs became anthems of the civil rights movement and the antiwar protests in the 1960s. “I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion,” he said, “and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation of life. He was a communist. After more questions which Seeger declined to answer, the committee dismissed him at 12:40 that afternoon. And her chorus posed a stark question: “Which side are you on?/ which side are you on?” Florence used the tune of an old English ballad, variously called “Lay the Lily Low” or “Jack Monro”, and the song spread throughout the union movement at rallies, eventually catching the attention of Pete Seeger, the folk singer and activist. ‘Which side are you on?“ is a classic organising and working class song which is telling the working classes that they have to unionise and stick together. “I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis; or yours, Mr. Scherer; that I am any less of an American than anybody else. But it was also the case that by the 1950s, investigatory committees on Capitol Hill had accrued “nearly unlimited power,” according to one legal scholar writing a decade later, “so long as the committees showed at least nominal deference to the principle of legislative purpose.”. Historian Ron Radosh, a former banjo student of Seeger's, reminds us that as Stalin cranked up his brutal post-war anti-Semitic pogroms, he was singing of a collective farm (“paradise”) where Soviet Jews lived like kings: Want more? “There’s a reason that the New York folk scene was viewed with suspicion by anti-Communists in the 1950s and 1960s,” the journalist David A. Graham wrote. Since 1857 a witness’s refusal to answer “pertinent” questions during a congressional investigation had been a criminal offense. Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 7. Show 'em which side are you on now Which side are you on [Repeat: x4] Which side are you on now Which side are you on Thirty years of diggin' Got us in this hole The curse of reaganomics Has finally taken it's toll Lord knows the free market And we all remember good-but-overpraised songs like If I Had a Hammer and the treacly classic Where Have All the Flowers Gone? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Abolish-HUAC-Button-2014_104_000.xml. Back in Washington, Walter and the committee prepared to use a rare but powerful tool against witnesses like Seeger they deemed uncooperative, and which came with serious consequences. He handed Seeger an envelope with a legal notice. Since the First Federal Congress (1789–1791), the House has used its investigatory prerogatives to look into issues that in some way affected, or could affect, the legislative process: tariff rates, railroad stock sales, poisoned food and drugs, environmental degradation. During the summer of 1955, however, a related struggle—one that was more David and Goliath—unfolded amid questions of personal loyalty and government overreach: Seeger and HUAC, a citizen and his legislature. We and our partners use cookies to personalize your experience, to show you ads based on your interests, and for measurement and analytics purposes. But as the encomiums threaten to overwhelm, it’s important to remember that Seeger, once an avowed Stalinist, was a political singer devoted to a sinister political system--a position he held long after the Soviet experiment drenched itself in blood and collapsed in ignominy. Liza Jane Lyrics: 9. It was “warm and humid” on August 18, as the fourth and final round of hearings opened downtown—perfect weather if the committee wanted to make Seeger sweat. 1964 button. He was chased by McCarthy. Which Side Are You On?, an album by Pete Seeger on Spotify. by Pete Seeger, 45,282 Shazams, featuring on Folk Essentials, and Pete Seeger Essentials Apple Music playlists. Partly because of HUAC’s mission—but also on the heels of Senate investigations led by Wisconsin Republican Joseph McCarthy into Communist influence in the military and the federal government—Congress responded with legislation.In August 1954, a year before Seeger testified, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the Communist Control Act which, among other things, outlawed membership in the Communist Party. Album Lyrics; 1. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004); David King Dunaway, How Can I Keep From Singing? He penned some new lyrics in support of the National Maritime Union in 1947: The men who hate our union, they say we dodged the draft “Are you Pete Seeger?” Pickett asked after pulling onto the musician’s property. (25 July 1956): 14512; Hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of Communist Activities, New York Area—Part VII (Entertainment), 84th Cong., 1st sess. The Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics: 3. “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,” Seeger said, his yellow tie cinched tight to the top button of his plaid shirt. As Moscow instantly shifted its position from fascist accommodationism to fighting what it had previously denounced as a war for big business, Seeger and his fellow folkies in the Almanac Singers recalled the record and retooled their allegiances. (see the justly forgotten Ballad of October 16th), featured on a record presciently released on the very day the Nazi-Soviet Pact collapsed. After first questioning Seeger about his 1947 show in the Bronx, Tavenner mentioned an advertisement for an event a year later sponsored by the Essex County Communist Party in New Jersey where Seeger was listed as the “entertainment.” When Tavenner asked if Seeger performed at the gathering in Newark, Seeger demurred. Unmoved, Tavenner asked again if Seeger had performed at Communist Party functions. Office of the Historian Office of Art and Archives Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Civil servants, movie stars, playwrights, musicians, and teachers were called before the committee in the years after World War II. Which Side Are You On? The Communist Revolution in China further exacerbated these fears. He was an Environmentalist. Her husband Sam was an organiser in that "bloody" strike in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1932. The ad was only 12 words long, but it had appeared in the Daily Worker, what Tavenner called the “official organ” of the Communist Party: “Tonight—Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming.” Tavenner continued: “May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?”, This was a familiar line of questioning. “I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners,” Seeger said. songs. “But with the increasing participation of investigating committees in matters of loyalty and subversion,” he continued, “their activities have raised new and much more searching issues.” Did these investigations contribute to the legislative process, Taylor wondered, or did they signal the rise of aggressive and questionable quasi-judicial powers? Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 8. Attic, Thomas Jefferson BuildingWashington, D.C. 20515(202) 226-1300, /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Seeger-1955-LoC.xml, Image courtesy of the Library of Congress. You’re either with … Seeger knew where this was headed and refused to go along. April 26, 2005 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 rating Listen Now Go Unlimited Try now Not Available More options. “If you were acting for the Communist Party at these functions, we want to know it. Which side Pete Seeger’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. Pete Seeger. Pete Seeger led a crowd in “When We March into Berlin” at the opening of the Washington labor canteen, sponsored by the United Federal Workers of American, in 1944. Marshal for the Southern District of New York, traveled to Beacon, New York, along the Hudson River, 60 miles north of Manhattan. /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Seeger-DCLabor-LoC.xml. During the American Revolution, lookouts lit bonfires atop the surrounding hills to signal the approach of British troops—beacons, for which the town was later named. E7 Am Which side are you on? 1 (New York: The Automobile Blue Book Co., 1921); “Beacon History,” Beacon Historical Society, access 13 August 2020, https://beaconhistorical.org/bhs---beacon-history.html, History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, ““Which Side Are You On?”,” https://history.house.gov/Blog/2020/August/8_17_20_Pete_Seeger/ Dear Mr. President Lyrics: 2. “Well, I have worked at many things, and my main profession is a student of American folklore, and I make my living as a banjo picker, sort of damning in some people’s opinion,” Seeger replied. Which side are you on? Oh workers can you stand it? Pete Seeger’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. And few, if any, obituarists have mentioned the forgotten classic Hey Zhankoye, a bizarre bit of Stalinist agitprop Seeger translated from Yiddish, recorded with the Berry Sisters, and frequently revisited during subsequent live performances. At the time, the United States was increasingly concerned with the spread of communism around the world. The scope of HUAC’s jurisdiction gave the committee astonishing reach, but its legislative powers were no different than any other House committee. Of the nearly two dozen witnesses the committee interviewed in New York, only one confirmed that he had what the Associated Press called “a Communist past.” But for Chairman Walter, the hearings had served their intended purpose. The capitalist system of America and the communist society of Soviet Union stood opposed to one another, and for many in the United States this schism created a pervasive existential threat. ¿Which Side Are You On? / Which side are you on? Come all you good workers Good news to you, I'll tell Of how the good old union Has come in here to dwell Which side are you on? During the Cold War, opposing Goliaths—America and the Soviet Union, capitalism and communism, and, for many, good and evil—engaged in a world historical battle to set the terms for the future. Listen to Which Side Are You On? Three members of HUAC sat across from Seeger and his lawyer Paul Ross: Francis Walter, the committee’s chairman, and Edwin Willis of Louisiana, both Democrats, and Republican Gordon Scherer of Ohio. Oh tell me how you can? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Walter39-LoC.xml. [Verse 3] Am They say in Harlan County G Am There are no neutrals there Em Am You'll either be a union man E7 Am Or a thug for J. H. Blair [Chorus] Am Which side are you on? Tavenner tried to circle back to his original question, but Seeger had told the committee all he was going to say. Pete Seeger. Some in Congress, meanwhile, took additional action and looked inward to identify security threats at home. In the years after Seeger’s testimony public opinion turned against the committee’s tactics, as captured by this ca. Art must be used in service of the people—and is always subject to the vicissitudes of the party line. which was popularized by Pete Seeger. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly's "Goodnight, Irene", which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950. The establishment hated him. Like other committees, HUAC had the ability to subpoena witnesses for both closed and public hearings and, if need be, hold them in contempt. Many were blacklisted and lost their jobs as a result, the mere whisper of communism marking them as untrustworthy and unemployable. As the two largest Allied nations during World War II, America and the Soviet Union had led the fight against fascism and the Axis states. We want to determine just what the Communist Party plan was.”. Lyrics. Reece had been warned in advance and escaped but his wife, Florence, and their children were terrorized. Seeger—who demanded to know, “Which side are you on?”—was perhaps not the type to embrace political ecumenicism, but trying to wipe these chapters from … That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "Which Side Are You On?" Almost a year after receiving his summons to testify, Seeger received another notice from HUAC: the House had found him in contempt of Congress. It was a devastating accusation. Which Side Are You On? Which side are you on? Check out Which Side Are You On by Pete Seeger on Amazon Music. Tavenner then asked about his music career, before finally moving to an advertisement for a performance Seeger gave in New York in 1947. Lyrics: Come all of you good workers / Good news to you I'll tell / Of how the good ol' union / Has come in here to dwell / Which side are you on? (1955); Baltimore Sun, 19 August 1955; Chicago Daily Tribune, 31 March 1954; New York Times, 8 April 1954, 1 August 1955, 18 August 1955, 19 August 1955, 22 October 1964, 28 January 2014; Washington Post, 15 August 1955, 22 October 1964; David A. Graham, “Pete Seeger’s All-American Communism,” 29 January 2014, The Atlantic, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/pete-seegers-all-american-communism/283444/; Donald A. Ritchie, “McCarthyism in Congress: Investigating Communism,” in The American Congress: The Building of Democracy, Julian E. Zelizer, ed. Lyrics. Which Side Are You On? And in the late 1920s, the Supreme Court upheld Congress’s right to call private citizens to testify and reaffirmed Congress’s broad investigative powers. He stood with Woody Guthrie and he sang his songs. is the 17th studio album by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, released on January 17, 2012. Pete Seeger – Which Side are You On? “I am sure the people of this community now have a picture of how innocent people are enlisted into the Communist conspiracy,” he said after the proceedings. “Many of them were Communists.” And on one point HUAC had good information: Seeger had, in fact, supported the Communist Party. By 1950, however, Seeger had broken with the Communist Party and later admitted that the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had been “a supremely cruel misleader.”, When Seeger finally appeared under oath before HUAC in August 1955, Tavenner at one point reminded Seeger that if he performed under the auspices of the Communist Party he was required to tell the committee. In 1955, the same year Seeger appeared before HUAC, Telford Taylor, a lawyer who had prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg, published a study showing just how expansive Congress’s powers of investigation had grown. “I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.”. In an attempt to intimidate the family of union leader Sam Reece, Sheriff J. H. Blair and his men, hired by the mining company, illegally entered their home in search of Reece. Seeger had served as an Army entertainer during World War II and Tavenner probed his military service. Come all you good workersGood news to you I'll tellOf how the good old unionHas come in here to dwell Which side are you on boys? Pickett had brought with him a subpoena addressed to Seeger from Francis E. Walter of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Which side are you on? The town had been founded in the early eighteenth century and later grew into a bustling commercial port. He tried… My dady was a miner, And I'm a miner's son, He'll be with you fellow workers Until this battle's won. After years exploring claims of radicalism in federal New Deal programs with a special committee, the House established the House Un-American Activities Committee as a standing committee in 1945. Following what he called “many months of exploratory” research, Walter announced hearings into the performing arts industry in New York in August 1955. So while we wistfully recall the foot-stomping versions of This Land is Your Land, let us not forget Seeger’s musical assaults on the supposedly warmongering F.D.R. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.com. FAVORITE (3 fans) Pete Seeger. Liza Jane Lyrics: 10. By the 1950s, the zero-sum Cold War for global supremacy caused lawmakers on Capitol Hill to focus extensively on foreign policy and military preparedness. Peter "Pete" Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an iconic American folk singer. It was soon replaced by a series of pro-war, pro-F.D.R. on his record "Cant You See This System's Rotten Through And Through" says: "Maybe the most famous song it was ever my privilege to know was the one written by Mrs Florence Reece. Remember, it was he who changed “I Will Overcome” to “We Shall Overcome.” Seeger also identified “Which Side Are You On?” as being pliable to other applications. 52, no. Talking Union Lyrics: 5. Three years later, during a blockbuster HUAC hearing on Capitol Hill, Whittaker Chambers, a former Communist Party member, accused Alger Hiss, a senior State Department official, of spying for the Soviet Union as part of a larger espionage operation; Hiss was later convicted of perjury. He was a Trade Unionist. Pete Seeger version of this song is not yet listed. History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, ““Which Side Are You On?”,” https://history.house.gov/Blog/2020/August/8_17_20_Pete_Seeger/ (November 24, 2020) For Additional Information. The title track is a revised version of the 1931 Florence Reece song "Which Side Are You On?" HUAC had gone to New York in 1955 on more than just a hunch. Sources: Congressional Record, House, 84th Cong., 2nd sess. Peter "Pete" Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an iconic American folk singer. Show 'em which side are you on now Which side are you on [Repeat: x4] Which side are you on now Which side are you on Thirty years of diggin' Got us in this hole The curse of reaganomics Has finally taken it's toll Lord knows the free market “Pursuant to lawful authority, you are hereby commanded to be and appear before the Committee on Un-American Activities of the House of Representatives of the United States, or a duly appointed subcommittee thereof, on August 18, 1955, at 10 o’clock a.m., at their committee room, 1703 United States Courthouse, Foley Square, New York City, N.Y., then and there to testify touching matters of inquiry committed to said committee.”. In this photograph, an investigator for the House Un-American Activities Committee showed evidence to accused Soviet spy Duncan Lee during a hearing in the Cannon House Office Building's Caucus Room in 1948. Pete Seeger in an introduction to "Which Side Are You On?" The Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics: 4. “You see, sir,” Seeger replied, “I feel—.”, Chairman Walter cut him off. “What is your answer?”, “I will tell you what my answer is,” Seeger said, conferring with his lawyer. He was an activist. Which side are you on boys? Which Side Are You On Pete Seeger, Almanac Singers Buy This Song. For years, HUAC had used its subpoena powers—the ability to compel witnesses to testify—to investigate whether Communists worked in the federal government, organized labor, and the entertainment industry. Which side are you on? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-HUAC-2008_011_007.xml, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives. I have no doubt that Seeger was a lovely man (a mutual friend, who became a dedicated enemy of Seeger’s far-left politics, once assured me that he was), nor can one argue with his outsized influence on American music. Your Amazon Music account is currently associated with a different marketplace. – Lyrics boiling with political fury. To enjoy Prime Music, go to Your Music Library and transfer your account to Amazon.com (US). Well Pete was blacklisted. In college, he had joined the Young Communist League at Harvard and backed the party for a little while as a professional musician. WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON UKULELE by Pete Seeger @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com BACK TO SCHOOL OFFER: 80% OFF ON ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP OF ULTIMATE GUITAR PRO Try Now Pete Seeger (May 3, 1919 - January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer, political activist and author, and a key figure in the mid-20th century American folk music revival.He is particularly loved as the author (or co-author) of the songs Where Have All the Flowers Gone, If I Had a Hammer, and Turn, Turn, Turn.One of his brothers is Mike Seeger; Peggy Seeger is his half-sister. 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