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Pete Seeger and Ernest Thomas Seton

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  • Pete Seeger and Ernest Thomas Seton

    At age 7, Pete Seeger started reading Ernest Thompson Seton. "I read every single book by nature writer Ernest Thompson Seton when I was a kid". More than 80 years after he was given that first book, he was still crediting Seton's influence

    "[Seton] boosted the idea of learning about the North American Indians. I learned that they shared everything that they had... There was no such thing as one person in the tribe going hungry and others having full bellies... That seemed to me to be a sensible way to live. Now today I know that anthropologists call that tribal communism. So I say that I was a Communist ever since I was age seven, when I first started reading about Seton."

    http://www.littleredumbrella.com/201...r-toronto.html

    In another interview, Seeger recalled reading Seton's Rolf in the Woods as a boy. It's available on Gutenberg and from Amazon
    http://www.amazon.com/Rolf-Woods-Adv...f+in+the+Woods
    Last edited by RememberSchiff; 01-28-2014, 08:06 PM.

  • #2
    Interesting! I've never heard that before, but it would be typical of a guy like Seeger. He was a lover of the outdoors and simple living. However, I don't think Seton was a Communist. There's a big difference between appreciating the American Indian way of communal living (which can be described as tribal communism) and the ideals of the Communist Party, which Seeger embraced at one time. And during that time, the Communist Party was represented by the Soviet Union under Stalin. I'm not dissing Seeger or standing up for Seton, just making an observation.

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    • #3
      News to me too. I attended a couple of Seeger's performances in the 70's and enjoyed them. He always seem to have a contagious optimism about him. I appreciated his concern for the environment and cheered his battles with General Electric and Dylan going electric

      Some other forums that I follow have dissed him as a "commie", so I did some research and surprise! I haven't been that surprised since I read Steve Jobs bio and learned Jobs dated Joan Baez. Strange world.

      My $0.01
      P.S. If I were to judge Seeger harshly on anything, it would be his (and the Weavers?) bringing back Kumbaya. Ugh!
      Last edited by RememberSchiff; 01-29-2014, 09:30 AM.

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      • #4
        Servant Leadership is not restricted to any Communist Manifesto. It falls into good Community Relations, Religious tenets and any other positive dynamics of good interaction between others. If taking care of the poor is a Communist dynamic, then every Christian, Jew or Muslim in America is a Commie. I don't think so.

        Stosh

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        • #5
          As a right winger once complained to me: "Carrying about people that are not your own is communism! Selfishness is what makes this country great!" (he was complaining about how schools were teaching kids to think about the impact of their actions on other people).

          I believe, like the words "Atheist" and "Agnostic", many people don't really know what the word "Communism" actually means. They just know it means something "bad".

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          • #6
            Rick, I blame the media and the political machine. The media exploits any word, term, or name that can provoke a reaction. The political machine, throughout the entirety of recorded history, twists the perceived meaning of words to achieve the means of those who are, or would be, in power.

            Hollywood ... well that may even be worse.

            Communism isn't necessarily bad, neither is socialism for that matter. Of course, the perception held by the average person doesn't remotely resemble the definitions of these words found in any dictionary. Ignorance is dangerous, engineering misconceptions should be punishable under the law.

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            • Rick_in_CA
              Rick_in_CA commented
              Editing a comment
              I agree with you in part, but I'm maybe not that cynical (entirety of recorded history?). I think it goes in cycles, we just happen to be at the bottom of one (or at least I hope we are - and doesn't get worse). I very much agree that ignorance is dangerous, especially in an electorate.

              Talking about political debate, if you have never read the Lincoln–Douglas Debates of 1858 (available on line in multiple places) you should. They are interesting to read for many reason. One of which is too see how much and in what ways political debate has changed in this country, and in how it hasn't.

            • Old_OX_Eagle83
              Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
              Editing a comment
              Rick,

              I'll look up the debates, I bet they'll be an interesting read.

          • #7
            Originally posted by Old_OX_Eagle83 View Post

            Communism isn't necessarily bad, neither is socialism for that matter. Of course, the perception held by the average person doesn't remotely resemble the definitions of these words found in any dictionary. Ignorance is dangerous, engineering misconceptions should be punishable under the law.
            I would take exception. You can argue socialism, but Communism is just plain BAD! It has never worked anywhere it has been tried and in the Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea, it has resulted in catastrophe after catastrophe. I confess to being a capitalist pig, but I've just not seen any case of good coming from Communism, whatever dictionary definitions you care to use.

            Comment


            • Old_OX_Eagle83
              Old_OX_Eagle83 commented
              Editing a comment
              The concept of Communism is a fantastic one, but you are correct, to my knowledge there has never been a good large scale application of it. If we all lived in isolated hunter/gatherer, or even small independent agrarian communities it could work. However, our reality is one of global community.

              Of course, just for debates sake, I'll point out that no true democracy has succeeded on a large scale either. For me the lesson is in the fact that no pure form of governance has succeeded, on a large scale, over an extended period of time.

              To prevent flames let me point out we in the US do not live in a democracy, and our nation is both young, and on shaky footing.

          • #8
            Originally posted by Kahuna View Post
            Interesting! I've never heard that before, but it would be typical of a guy like Seeger. He was a lover of the outdoors and simple living. However, I don't think Seton was a Communist. There's a big difference between appreciating the American Indian way of communal living (which can be described as tribal communism) and the ideals of the Communist Party, which Seeger embraced at one time. And during that time, the Communist Party was represented by the Soviet Union under Stalin. I'm not dissing Seeger or standing up for Seton, just making an observation.
            The thing that Seeger ignored is that in those hunter gatherer societies, the sharing went all ways. If Native 1 borrowed food from Native 2, in the future if Native 1 had more food, he would be expected to give it to Native 2. Communism/socialism works well if everybody involved feels they need to do their share--works great on small scale. But if in a situation where you don't know the donor of the food (and don't feel obligated to pay them back in the future), it doesn't work. Israeli kibbutzes work until they get to be too big.

            Comment


            • Kahuna
              Kahuna commented
              Editing a comment
              Having lived in Florida for many years, I've had the opportunity to see HOAs and Condo Associations in action. The leaders of those receive no remuneration in most cases and are doing it only for power. Some of the worst battles I've seen came at association meetings. It also helps to understand why, under Communism, the only reward you can earn is power and privilege. The extent to which people are motivated by those are indicative of how unlikely we are to see successful societies based on the assumption that power will ever be surrendered or used in the best interest of all.
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