“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. He tried… Office of the Historian Office of Art and Archives Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Pete Seeger version of this song is not yet listed. The Ballad of Pete Seeger (1981; repr., New York: Vallard Books, 2008); Allan M. Winkler, ‘To Everything There Is A Season’: Pete Seeger and the Power of Song (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Robert B. McKay, “Congressional Investigations and the Supreme Court,” California Law Review vol. 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. Check out Which Side Are You On by Pete Seeger on Amazon Music. Peter "Pete" Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an iconic American folk singer. After the war, the two countries emerged as global industrial powers and international rivals. [Verse 4] Am Oh workers can you stand it? Reece had been warned in advance and escaped but his wife, Florence, and their children were terrorized. Oh workers can you stand it? 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. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody.” Seeger reminded Walter that the chairman’s own constituents in the eastern Pennsylvania hills would likely take his side against the committee. Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On? 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. 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. “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. “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. You’re either with … HUAC had gone to New York in 1955 on more than just a hunch. /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-HUAC-2008_011_007.xml, Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives. Liza Jane Lyrics: 10. 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. The town had been founded in the early eighteenth century and later grew into a bustling commercial port. Album Lyrics; 1. (New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004); David King Dunaway, How Can I Keep From Singing? [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? 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. It was soon replaced by a series of pro-war, pro-F.D.R. Listen to Which Side Are You On? He handed Seeger an envelope with a legal notice. Some in Congress, meanwhile, took additional action and looked inward to identify security threats at home. 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. “If you were acting for the Communist Party at these functions, we want to know it. Talking Union Lyrics: 6. Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On? Pete Seeger – Which Side are You On? Civil servants, movie stars, playwrights, musicians, and teachers were called before the committee in the years after World War II. After more questions which Seeger declined to answer, the committee dismissed him at 12:40 that afternoon. lyrics performed by Pete Seeger: Come all of you good workers, Good news to you I'll … To enjoy Prime Music, go to Your Music Library and transfer your account to Amazon.com (US). 52, no. Frank Walter of Pennsylvania served for 30 years in the House and ruled over the HUAC Committee from the 84th Congress until his death in 1963. Lyrics. Which Side Are You On?, an album by Pete Seeger on Spotify. Her husband Sam was an organiser in that "bloody" strike in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1932. His totalitarian sympathies should not be whitewashed. Peter "Pete" Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an iconic American folk singer. He was a communist. 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. (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. Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 7. He was chased by McCarthy. The establishment hated him. 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 … The Communist Revolution in China further exacerbated these fears. “Are you Pete Seeger?” Pickett asked after pulling onto the musician’s property. 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? 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. 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. 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. 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. We want to determine just what the Communist Party plan was.”. Which side are you on? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Walter39-LoC.xml. American folk singer Pete Seeger's songs became anthems of the civil rights movement and the antiwar protests in the 1960s. 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. Talking Union Lyrics: 5. 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 Walter was nevertheless ambivalent about HUAC’s status as a standing committee, admitting in 1954 that he preferred to disband the committee and transfer its jurisdiction to Judiciary. The title track is a revised version of the 1931 Florence Reece song "Which Side Are You On?" He was an activist. Which Side Are You On? At the time, the United States was increasingly concerned with the spread of communism around the world. In college, he had joined the Young Communist League at Harvard and backed the party for a little while as a professional musician. Many were blacklisted and lost their jobs as a result, the mere whisper of communism marking them as untrustworthy and unemployable. And we all remember good-but-overpraised songs like If I Had a Hammer and the treacly classic Where Have All the Flowers Gone? “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. is the 17th studio album by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, released on January 17, 2012. HUAC’s chief counsel, Frank Tavenner Jr., “a large, slow-talking man” known as a methodical and “vigorous prosecutor,” led the committee’s questioning. “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. 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. Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 8. ‘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. Which side are you on boys? Pete Seeger’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. Along with countless other sensible people, I have often bristled at the mindless deification of Pete Seeger, the nonagenarian folk singer who died yesterday at age 94. 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. It was a devastating accusation. – Lyrics boiling with political fury. 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 Pete Seeger, Almanac Singers Buy This Song. 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. Unmoved, Tavenner asked again if Seeger had performed at Communist Party functions. Pete Seeger Which Side Are You On? 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.”. Since 1857 a witness’s refusal to answer “pertinent” questions during a congressional investigation had been a criminal offense. In the years after Seeger’s testimony public opinion turned against the committee’s tactics, as captured by this ca. Your Amazon Music account is currently associated with a different marketplace. 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? We and our partners use cookies to personalize your experience, to show you ads based on your interests, and for measurement and analytics purposes. E7 Am Which side are you on? 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? by Pete Seeger, 45,282 Shazams, featuring on Folk Essentials, and Pete Seeger Essentials Apple Music playlists. 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. The House Un-American Activities Committee had been in New York for a few days by the time Seeger testified. Which Side Are You On? 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. 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). 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. “Many of them were Communists.” And on one point HUAC had good information: Seeger had, in fact, supported the Communist Party. The Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics: 4. songs. (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. 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. Tavenner started by inquiring into Seeger’s occupation. Lyrics. 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. In 1931, the miners and the mine owners in southeastern Kentucky were locked in a bitter and violent struggle called the Harlan County War. Oh tell me how you can? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Abolish-HUAC-Button-2014_104_000.xml. Seeger had served as an Army entertainer during World War II and Tavenner probed his military service. He was a Trade Unionist. 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 Sources: Congressional Record, House, 84th Cong., 2nd sess. Pete Seeger in an introduction to "Which Side Are You On?" Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.com. Well Pete was blacklisted. 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 On July 14, 1955, John F. Pickett, a deputy U.S. “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. 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. Like other committees, HUAC had the ability to subpoena witnesses for both closed and public hearings and, if need be, hold them in contempt. Seeger also provides accompanying vocals and banjo on … 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. ¿Which Side Are You On? Art must be used in service of the people—and is always subject to the vicissitudes of the party line. 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. Which side are you on? 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. 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. His totalitarian sympathies should not … 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/ which side are you on? Following what he called “many months of exploratory” research, Walter announced hearings into the performing arts industry in New York in August 1955. Pete Seeger. E7 Am Which side are you on? Seeger knew where this was headed and refused to go along. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "Which Side Are You On?" “I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”. 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. 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? o… (see the justly forgotten Ballad of October 16th), featured on a record presciently released on the very day the Nazi-Soviet Pact collapsed. Pete Seeger. Support us for unlimited access. / Which side are you on? Which side are you on? 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. The scope of HUAC’s jurisdiction gave the committee astonishing reach, but its legislative powers were no different than any other House committee. The committee had asked about old gigs when it questioned other musicians, as well. 2 (May 1963): 270–; Telford Taylor, Grand Inquest: The Story of Congressional Investigations (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1955); Automobile Blue Book, 1921, New York and Adjacent Canada, vol. 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. 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. Marshal for the Southern District of New York, traveled to Beacon, New York, along the Hudson River, 60 miles north of Manhattan. (December 12, 2020), Office of the HistorianOffice of Art and Archives Pete Seeger’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. Which side He stood with Woody Guthrie and he sang his songs. I love my country very deeply, sir.”, Seeger had complied with the subpoena and appeared before the committee, but he made it clear that he would not cooperate. Dear Mr. President Lyrics: 2. 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