Movies: Good Night, And Good Luck (2005)

We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment, unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Sen. McCarthy’s methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the Junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his, he didn’t create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck.

(Edward R. Murrow)

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from the New York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.

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. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”

- Pete Seeger in rely to a HUAC (House Committee on Un-American Activities) subpoena

Testimony of Pete Seeger before the House Un-American Activities Committee, August 18, 1955


… Mr. TAVENNER: The Committee has information obtained in part from the Daily Worker indicating that, over a period of time, especially since December of 1945, you took part in numerous entertainment features. I have before me a photostatic copy of the June 20, 1947, issue of the Daily Worker. In a column entitled “What’s On” appears this advertisement: “Tonight—Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming.” May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from the New York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.

Mr. TAVENNER: I don’t believe there is any more authoritative document in regard to the Communist Party than its official organ, the Daily Worker.

Mr. SCHERER: He hasn’t answered the question, and he merely said he wouldn’t answer whether the article appeared in the New York Times or some other magazine. I ask you to direct the witness to answer the question.

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer.

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, the whole line of questioning—

Chairman WALTER: You have only been asked one question, so far.

Mr. SEEGER: 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. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.

Mr. TAVENNER: Has the witness declined to answer this specific question?

Chairman WALTER: He said that he is not going to answer any questions, any names or things.

Mr. SCHERER: He was directed to answer the question.

Mr. TAVENNER: I have before me a photostatic copy of the April 30, 1948, issue of the Daily Worker which carries under the same title of “What’s On,” an advertisement of a “May Day Rally: For Peace, Security and Democracy.” The advertisement states: “Are you in a fighting mood? Then attend the May Day rally.” Expert speakers are stated to be slated for the program, and then follows a statement, “Entertainment by Pete Seeger.” At the bottom appears this: “Auspices Essex County Communist Party,” and at the top, “Tonight, Newark, N.J.” Did you lend your talent to the Essex County Communist Party on the occasion indicated by this article from the Daily Worker?

Mr. SEEGER: Mr. Walter, I believe I have already answered this question, and the same answer.

Chairman WALTER: The same answer. In other words, you mean that you decline to answer because of the reasons stated before?

Mr. SEEGER: I gave my answer, sir.

Chairman WALTER: What is your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: You see, sir, I feel—

Chairman WALTER: What is your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: I will tell you what my answer is.

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. I love my country very deeply, sir.

Chairman WALTER: Why don’t you make a little contribution toward preserving its institutions?

Mr. SEEGER: I feel that my whole life is a contribution. That is why I would like to tell you about it.

Chairman WALTER: I don’t want to hear about it.

Mr. SCHERER: I think that there must be a direction to answer.

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer that question.

Mr. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer, sir.

Mr. SCHERER: Let me understand. You are not relying on the Fifth Amendment, are you?

Mr. SEEGER: No, sir, although I do not want to in any way discredit or depreciate or depredate the witnesses that have used the Fifth Amendment, and I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.

Mr. SCHERER: And then in answering the rest of the questions, or in refusing to answer the rest of the questions, I understand that you are not relying on the Fifth Amendment as a basis for your refusal to answer?

Mr. SEEGER: No, I am not, sir… .

Mr. TAVENNER: You said that you would tell us about the songs. Did you participate in a program at Wingdale Lodge in the State of New York, which is a summer camp for adults and children, on the weekend of July Fourth of this year?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

Mr. SEEGER: Again, I say I will be glad to tell what songs I have ever sung, because singing is my business.

Mr. TAVENNER: I am going to ask you.

Mr. SEEGER: But I decline to say who has ever listened to them, who has written them, or other people who have sung them.

Mr. TAVENNER: Did you sing this song, to which we have referred, “Now Is the Time,” at Wingdale Lodge on the weekend of July Fourth?

Mr. SEEGER: I don’t know any song by that name, and I know a song with a similar name. It is called “Wasn’t That a Time.” Is that the song?

Chairman WALTER: Did you sing that song?

Mr. SEEGER: I can sing it. I don’t know how well I can do it without my banjo.

Chairman WALTER: I said, Did you sing it on that occasion?

Mr. SEEGER: I have sung that song. I am not going to go into where I have sung it. I have sung it many places.

Chairman WALTER: Did you sing it on this particular occasion? That is what you are being asked.

Mr. SEEGER: Again my answer is the same.

Chairman WALTER: You said that you would tell us about it.

Mr. SEEGER: I will tell you about the songs, but I am not going to tell you or try to explain—

Chairman WALTER: I direct you to answer the question. Did you sing this particular song on the Fourth of July at Wingdale Lodge in New York?

Mr. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer to that question, and all questions such as that. I feel that is improper: to ask about my associations and opinions. I have said that I would be voluntarily glad to tell you any song, or what I have done in my life.

Chairman WALTER: I think it is my duty to inform you that we don’t accept this answer and the others, and I give you an opportunity now to answer these questions, particularly the last one.

Mr. SEEGER: Sir, my answer is always the same.

Chairman WALTER: All right, go ahead, Mr. Tavenner.

Mr. TAVENNER: Were you chosen by Mr. Elliott Sullivan to take part in the program on the weekend of July Fourth at Wingdale Lodge?

Mr. SEEGER: The answer is the same, sir.

Mr. WILLIS: Was that the occasion of the satire on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

Mr. TAVENNER: The same occasion, yes, sir. I have before me a photostatic copy of a page from the June 1, 1949, issue of the Daily Worker, and in a column entitled “Town Talk” there is found this statement:

The first performance of a new song, “If I Had a Hammer,” on the theme of the Foley Square trial of the Communist leaders, will be given at a testimonial dinner for the 12 on Friday night at St. Nicholas Arena… .Among those on hand for the singing will be … Pete Seeger, and Lee Hays—

and others whose names are mentioned. Did you take part in that performance?

Mr. SEEGER: I shall be glad to answer about the song, sir, and I am not interested in carrying on the line of questioning about where I have sung any songs.

Mr. TAVENNER: I ask a direction.

Chairman WALTER: You may not be interested, but we are, however. I direct you to answer. You can answer that question.

Mr. SEEGER: I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question.

Mr. TAVENNER: Have you finished your answer?

Mr. SEEGER: Yes, sir… .

Mr. TAVENNER: Did you hear Mr. George Hall’s testimony yesterday in which he stated that, as an actor, the special contribution that he was expected to make to the Communist Party was to use his talents by entertaining at Communist Party functions? Did you hear that testimony?

Mr. SEEGER: I didn’t hear it, no.

Mr. TAVENNER: It is a fact that he so testified. I want to know whether or not you were engaged in a similar type of service to the Communist Party in entertaining at these features.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

Mr. SEEGER: I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. 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. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

Chairman WALTER: Mr. Tavenner, are you getting around to that letter? There was a letter introduced yesterday that I think was of greater importance than any bit of evidence adduced at these hearings, concerning the attempt made to influence people in this professional performers’ guild and union to assist a purely Communist cause which had no relation whatsoever to the arts and the theater. Is that what you are leading up to?

Mr. TAVENNER: Yes, it is. That was the letter of Peter Lawrence, which I questioned him about yesterday. That related to the trial of the Smith Act defendants here at Foley Square. I am trying to inquire now whether this witness was party to the same type of propaganda effort by the Communist Party.

Mr. SCHERER: There has been no answer to your last question.

Mr. TAVENNER: That is right; may I have a direction?

Mr. SEEGER: Would you repeat the question? I don’t even know what the last question was, and I thought I have answered all of them up to now.

Mr. TAVENNER: What you stated was not in response to the question.

Chairman WALTER: Proceed with the questioning, Mr. Tavenner.

Mr. TAVENNER: I believe, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I will have the question read to him. I think it should be put in exactly the same form.

(Whereupon the reporter read the pending question as above recorded.)

Mr. SEEGER: “These features”: what do you mean? Except for the answer I have already given you, I have no answer. The answer I gave you you have, don’t you? That is, that I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity, and that is why I would love to be able to tell you about these songs, because I feel that you would agree with me more, sir. I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners.

Mr. TAVENNER: My question was whether or not you sang at these functions of the Communist Party. You have answered it inferentially, and if I understand your answer, you are saying you did.

Mr. SEEGER: Except for that answer, I decline to answer further… .

Mr. SCHERER: Do you understand it is the feeling of the Committee that you are in contempt as a result of the position you take?

Mr. SEEGER: I can’t say.

Mr. SCHERER: I am telling you that that is the position of the Committee… .

Mr. SEEGER: I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them… .

Source: Congress, House, Committee on Un-American Activities, Investigation of Communist Activities, New York Area (Entertainment): Hearings, 84th Congress, August 18, 1955

If a tree falls in the forest and doesn’t land on an American, did that tree really fall?
—  John Oliver on the Daily Show referring to Peter King’s hypocrisy of endorsing IRA - recognized by the US & Britain as a terrorist organization - while he heads the Congressional hearings on American Muslims

The very saddest part of them just throwing away the Equalists was- 

We never got to see any of the Mooks take off their gas masks and talk about why they’re with the Equalists.
We never got to know if there were peaceful protests at first that didn’t work.
We don’t know if there was institutionalized violence against nonbenders in addition to the triads, or if nonbenders who are attacked by the triads are sometimes ignored by the police. 
Or if there were any crooked cops helping out the gangs. 
Or if there were crooked politicians with ties to the gangs like the Kennedys.
We don’t know if nonbenders were silenced or ignored in politics because they were nonbenders.
We don’t know if they were discriminated against in the workplace. 
We don’t know if nonbenders were “acceptable targets” of offensive jokes.
We never got to see if anybody (except Tarrlok) actually even had any prejudice against nonbenders 
Or if prejudice against nonbenders was accepted like racism in the 60s.
Maybe some peaceful protests and other groups, like a Martin Luther King, Jr to Amon’s Malcolm X? 

Korra begging Equalists to find a way to give their grievances without blowing stuff up? Begging the council to hear nonbenders’ voices?

We don’t even know if they were actually oppressed or just babies like those “won’t someone think of the white people?!” teabaggers.

And I really really wanted to see a parallel to the Red Scare!! 
Tarrlok turning into Joe McCarthy and putting prominent people on trial for Equalist sympathies. Everyone going hysterical and accusations going everywhere! It would have been AWESOME!!

I just… 

SO MUCH WASTED POTENTIAL!!!! WHY BRYKE WHY??? You put oppression and inequality in your plot and you don’t even show kids what it looks like?? You could have taught kids so much and you were just the people to do it too!! Ugh. Is it too much to hope for neo-Equalists in book 3 or 4? Ugh.

Now, anytime you hear someone even whisper or imply that anyone else is Un/Anti-American or in any way less patriotic than anyone else, remember that slimy shitfucker’s face. Remember one of the darkest periods in modern American history and how many people were persecuted and blacklisted because of this douchebag’s witchhunt.

This country cannot return to McCarthyism, and it would help if everyone knew what McCarthyism is.

-Joe (the blogger, not… yeah)


June 19, 1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed.

The Rosenberg trial began in March of 1951, and it ended in a guilty verdict and the following accusation by Judge Irving Kaufman, as he delivered the death sentence:

 I believe your conduct in putting into the hands of the Russians the A-Bomb years before our best scientists predicted Russia would perfect the bomb has already caused, in my opinion, the Communist aggression in Korea, with the resultant casualties exceeding 50,000 and who knows but that millions more of innocent people may pay the price of your treason. Indeed, by your betrayal you undoubtedly have altered the course of history to the disadvantage of our country.

Although few disputed the guilty verdict, the subsequent death sentence was met with much controversy. Jean-Paul Sartre called it a “legal lynching”, while Pablo Picasso referred to it as a “crime against humanity”; others, including Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo, Bertolt Brecht, Fritz Lang, and even the Pope, voiced their opposition to the Rosenbergs’ fate as well, but after two years, President Eisenhower still refused to grant the couple clemency. 

On June 19, 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg became the first ever American civilians to be executed for espionage. 

Obama’s abuse of the Espionage Act is modern-day McCarthyism 
by John Kiriakou
August 9, 2013

The conviction of Pfc. B. Manning under the 1917 Espionage Act, and the US Justice Department’s decision to file espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden under the same act, are yet further examples of the Obama administration's policy of using an iron fist against human rights and civil liberties activists.

President Obama has been unprecedented in his use of the Espionage Act to prosecute those whose whistleblowing he wants to curtail. The purpose of an Espionage Act prosecution, however, is not to punish a person for spying for the enemy, selling secrets for personal gain, or trying to undermine our way of life. It is to ruin the whistleblower personally, professionally and financially. It is meant to send a message to anybody else considering speaking truth to power: challenge us and we will destroy you.

Only ten people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama. The effect of the charge on a person’s life – being viewed as a traitor, being shunned by family and friends, incurring massive legal bills – is all a part of the plan to force the whistleblower into personal ruin, to weaken him to the point where he will plead guilty to just about anything to make the case go away. I know. The three espionage charges against me made me one of “the Obama Seven”.

In early 2012, I was arrested and charged with three counts of espionage and one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA). (I was only the second person in US history to be charged with violating the IIPA, a law that was written to be used against rogues like Philip Agee.)

Two of my espionage charges were the result of a conversation I had with a New York Times reporter about torture. I gave him no classified information – only the business card of a former CIA colleague who had never been undercover. The other espionage charge was for giving the same unclassified business card to a reporter for ABC News. All three espionage charges were eventually dropped.

So, why charge me in the first place?

It was my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program and for confirming to the press, despite government protestations to the contrary, that the US government was, indeed, in the business of torture.

At the CIA, employees are trained to believe that nearly every moral issue is a shade of grey. But this is simply not true. Some issues are black-and-white – and torture is one of them. Many of us believed that the torture policy was solely a Bush-era perversion. But many of these perversions, or at least efforts to cover them up or justify them, have continued under President Obama.

Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, declared a war on whistleblowers virtually as soon as they assumed office. Some of the investigations began during the Bush administration, as was the case with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, but Espionage Act cases have been prosecuted only under Obama. The president has chosen to ignore the legal definition of whistleblower – any person who brings to light evidence of waste, fraud, abuse or illegality – and has prosecuted truthtellers.

This policy decision smacks of modern-day McCarthyism. Washington has always needed an “ism” to fight against, an idea against which it could rally its citizens like lemmings. First, it was anarchism, then socialism, then communism. Now, it’s terrorism. Any whistleblower who goes public in the name of protecting human rights or civil liberties is accused of helping the terrorists.

That the whistleblower has the support of groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the American Civil Liberties Union matters not a whit. The administration simply presses forward with wild accusations against the whistleblower: “He’s aiding the enemy!” “He put our soldiers lives in danger!” “He has blood on his hands!” Then, when it comes time for trial, the espionage charges invariably are either dropped or thrown out.

The administration and its national security sycophants in both parties in Congress argue that governmental actions exposed by the whistleblower are legal. The Justice Department approved the torture, after all, and the US supreme court said that the NSA’s eavesdropping program was constitutional. But this is the same Justice Department that harassed, surveilled, wiretapped and threatened Martin Luther King Jr, and that recently allowed weapons to be sold to Mexican drug gangs in the Fast and Furious scandal. Just because they’re in power doesn’t mean they’re right.

Yet another problem with the Espionage Act is that it has never been applied uniformly. Immediately after its passage in 1917, American socialist leader Eugene V Debs was arrested and imprisoned under the Espionage Act – simply for criticizing the US decision to enter the first world war. He ran for president from his prison cell.

Nearly a century later, when the deputy director for national intelligence revealed the amount of the highly-classified intelligence budget in an ill-conceived speech, she was not even sent a letter of reprimand – despite the fact the Russians, Chinese, and others had sought the figure for decades. When former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta boastfully revealed the identity of the Seal Team member who killed Osama bin Laden in a speech to an audience that included uncleared individuals, the Pentagon and the CIA simply called the disclosure “inadvertent”.

There was no espionage charge for Panetta. But there was a $3m book deal.

The Obama administration’s espionage prosecutions are political actions for political reasons, and are carried out by political appointees. The only way to end this or any administration’s abuse of the Espionage Act is to rewrite the law. It is so antiquated that it doesn’t even mention classified information; the classification system hadn’t yet been invented. The law was written a century ago to prosecute German saboteurs. Its only update came in 1950, at the height of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg case. The law is still so broad and vague that many legal scholars argue that it is unconstitutional.

The only hope of ending this travesty of justice is to scrap the Espionage Act and to enact new legislation that would protect whistleblowers while allowing the government to prosecute traitors and spies. This would require congressional leadership, however, and that is something that is very difficult to come by. Giants like the late Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Frank Church, and the late Representative Otis Pike, who boldly took on and reformed the intelligence community in the 1970s, are long-gone. Until someone on Capitol Hill begins to understand the concept of justice for national security whistleblowers, very little is likely to change.

The press also has a role to play, one that, so far, it has largely ignored. That role is to report on and investigate the whistleblower’s revelations of illegality, not on the kind of car he drives, the brand of eyeglasses he wears, where he went to college, or what his nextdoor neighbor has to say about their childhood.

The attacks on our civil liberties that the whistleblower reports are far too important to move off-message into trivialities. After all, the government is spying on all of us. That should be the story.


Captain America, McCarthyite

In a scene from Marvel’s latest film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) reveals a radical new defense plan that will allow agents to neutralize “a lot of threats before they even happen.”

Captain America’s alter ego Steve Rogers retorts, “I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.”

Now that the Captain America character displays these kinds of anti-“thought police” attitudes on the big screen, it’s probably difficult to imagine that Cap was once a witch-hunting, anti-communist crusader in the tradition of Joseph McCarthy. But for a brief time in the 1950s, that’s exactly what he was.

Read more. [Image: Wikimedia’/Atlas]

Today in history: June 19, 1953 – At the peak of McCarthyist anti-communist hysteria, the U.S. government executes Ethel and Julius Rosenberg for supposedly spying for the Soviet Union.

The trial took place as the U.S. government was launching its Cold War against the USSR. This campaign sought to demonize the Soviet Union and communists, to cancel out the great prestige of the Soviet Union during the Second World War, and to turn back the worldwide surge toward national liberation and socialism. On the domestic front, anti-communism reached a fever pitch in the Rosenberg trial and Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts.

A concerted effort was made by McCarthy, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and others to paint U.S. communists as Soviet spies seeking to overturn the “American way of life.” The real goal was to wipe out the gains made under the New Deal in social legislation and to weaken the labor movement.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were victims of this anti-communist hysteria, a hysteria that made it impossible for them to get a fair trial. Affirming their innocence to the end, the Rosenbergs were cruelly executed on June 19, 1953.

(image: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, separated by heavy wire screen as they leave U.S. Court House after being found guilty by the jury)

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

arirang (아리랑).

we all know arirang.

well, according to the Ministry of Defence, “arirang” is now a dangerous and ‘seditious’ song (불온곡). it has been deleted from karaoke machines on post, purportedly because it evokes emotions of national unity between SK and NK. “그리운 금강산”, which if i recall correctly is a standard textbook song, has also been designated dangerous and seditious.

the last time in korean history when ‘arirang’ was forbidden was during the japanese occupation

Bob's Story
  • Bob's Story
  • Bob Dylan
  • 1963 10/26 Carnegie Hall, New York

Carnegie Hall. October, 26 1963

Uh… (sing With God On Your Side!) Well let me tell you a story here…

I went to see a movie called Hootenanny Hoot… don’t tell anybody. And uh, there’s uh, I saw it on 42nd street about a month ago, very hip street. Uh, I saw the movie there. I’d like to tell you about it… uh, I don’t want any of you to go see it!

There’s a line… the story is about a hootenanny, uh, television show, or something… a hootenanny television show, and uh, I wanna tell you about it. There’s a- it’s- the story line of the movie is uh, that uh, some big television producer gets fired out in New York City and he’s driving out to Hollywood, and uh, he’s crossing the middle of the country and all of a sudden he comes upon a hootenanny with 10,000 people! And uh, he says “Ah ha! Here’s my chance, I mean this thing really is selling!”. And uh, people are really hootenannying it up, at this uh, at this place, and uh, he calls right back to New York right away and he says “You gotta get out here, you gotta get out here because this is the newest, biggest thing… hootenanny!”. And the guy on the other end says “Ahhhhh…”. He says- he says “What’s this business, hootenanny? Will it sell soap?”, and he says “It will sell soap! It will sell soap! Come out here! You gotta see it!”. And he says “Well, okay I’ll come out.”.

And uh, he goes out there, and uh… some little town in Kansas, where they’re having a hootenanny, at uh, the college, and they have a hootenanny. They have a hootenanny tour, they have- they have dancers, they have a hootenanny dance, and they have hootenanny songs… hootenanny, everything is hootenanny! And uh, he goes out there and they both sit down and they listen to a hootenannier. And uh, and uh, the hootenannier sings and uh, she pantomimes to a song. And this- this certain hootenannier, I- I don’t remember her name- by- by name, but- but she was singing in a swimming suit, and uh, and she was uh, uh, singing about somebody who just died. And she was uh, singing it hootenanny style. And uh, and with the- all of a sudden drums came in from out of nowhere! And- and uh, and uh, the- the guy got together with the other guy and he says “My God, that is great! It is great enough to sell soap!”. He says “It will sell soap! It will sell soap! We’ll have to have a- we’ll have to really- it’s really great now, ‘cause it sells soap!”. And uh, this is what a hootenanny uh, uh, was trying to do, selling soap.

Now, I- I uh, have to admit I stayed to see the whole movie. I was so shocked that I stayed to see the other movie that was on with it! And uh, and this is uh, the whole thing. They came back, and they sold soap, and everybody was happy, and the songs were great, and the hootenanny was great, and it was all great because it was selling soap!

But we’re not selling soap. There’s some people that aren’t selling soap. And uh, some- and some of us sometimes, we don’t really get mad, we just have to shake our heads at that kind of stuff. Besides, if you know about it or don’t know about it, there’s- there is a thing that is called Black List. And Black List blacklists writers. For some reason, every writer that the Black List ever blacklisted has been a very very good writer, and has talked about things that have been going on. And uh, for some reason they’ve all been blacklisted. There’s about 10 of them out in Hollywood, and uh, there’s been some other people in New York that have been blacklisted.

Now, a friend of mine, and a friend of all of yours I’m sure, Pete Seeger has been blacklisted. He, and a- and another group called The Weavers who were around New York. Now- now I turned down that [Ed Sullivan] television show, but I got no right. But, but I- I feel bad turning it down, because The Weavers and Pete Seeger can’t be on it. They oughta turn it down, but they’re not even asked to be on it because they are blacklisted, uh, which is, which is a bad thing. I don’t know why it’s bad, but it’s just bad. It’s bad all around. The- The Weavers and uh Pete were along here, long time before me and Joan Baez, or anybody else were. And they got to be on that program… they don’t have to be on that program, they got the right to turn that program down. That’s what they got to do. And we’re selling something different besides soap. We don’t even buy soap!


Happy birthday, Katharine Hepburn! Born May 12, 1907, Hepburn was a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years.

On September 1, 1950, in the midst of the “Red Scare,” when the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigated allegations of Communist activity in the film industry, Hepburn wrote to the U.S. Board of Parole on behalf of screenwriter Ringgold Wilmer “Ring” Lardner, Jr.

Lardner was one of the “Hollywood 10,” a group that refused to answer the Committee’s questions when called to testify in 1947, and therefore found guilty of contempt of Congress. They were blacklisted from Hollywood, and Lardner was imprisoned. By signing this letter, Hepburn opened herself to the risk of having her career destroyed.

This letter is currently featured in the National Archives Museum’s “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit in Washington, DC.

Today in history: February 1, 1902 - Langston Hughes born.

Hughes was an African American poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was a major figure during the Harlem Renaissance and became one of the most prominent cultural figures associated with the U.S. communist movement. Much of his poetry and fiction portrayed the lives of the working class Black people in America. Hughes traveled to the USSR, and he became a strong supporter of the Soviet Union. Some of his lesser-known poetry includes odes to revolution, socialism and the USSR (see for example, Goodmorning Stalingrad: http://bit.ly/aBZNLu).

Hughes’s poetry was frequently published in the Communist Party newspaper and he was involved in initiatives supported by communist organizations such as the fight to free the Scottsboro Boys, and solidarity with the anti-fascist fighters in Spain, where he traveled during the Spanish Civil War. Hughes was also involved in organizations such as the John Reed Clubs and the League of Struggle for Negro Rights. During McCarthyism, Hughes was targeted by the anti-communist House Un-American Activities Committee. He answered the attacks leveled against him in a 1963 statement, “Concerning Red Baiting”: “The organizations which have attacked me are, for the most part, the most anti-Negro, anti-Jewish, anti-labor groups in our country.”

(image: portrait of Langston Hughes, c. 1925)

Via Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back!)

Satirical images of President Park lead to arrests for citizens who put them up around their cities

Before elections, satirists being treated with “fear politics”

By Song Ho-kyun, staff reporter

“Is there a specific brand of ‘fear politics’? Isn’t that what it is when your first reaction is to crack down on the people you don’t like or the people who disagree with you?”

Artist Lee Ha is known for his politically satirical pop art, which includes his “Pretty Dictator” series and posters of President Park Geun-hye dressed as Snow White. Now the 46-year-old, whose birth name is Lee Byeong-ha, finds himself once again at the center of a controversy.

Recently, Lee produced 10,000 stickers, roughly the size of a person’s palm, showing an image of Park dressed in hanbok, traditional Korean attire, in front of a sinking paper boat.

“I wanted to express the public’s frustration watching the Sewol tragedy unfold,” he explained about the work. The images soon spread over social media, and immediately around 70 people said they wanted to help in putting the stickers up.

One of them was Ham Su-won, 34, a freelance photographer in Gangneung, Gangwon Province. On May 21, Ham put up 23 of the stickers in places around downtown Gangneung. That evening, he said, he saw an unfamiliar vehicle parked in front of his home. The men inside were looking at the house, and quickly drove away when they made eye contact with Ham.

The next day, four plainclothes police officers arrived at Ham’s door and asked him to go with them.

read more: http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/639253.html

WHAT DID the United States accomplish by banning Gabriel Garcia Marquez from the country for so long? The beloved author, who died on Thursday at age 87, couldn’t get an American visa for three decades, purportedly because of his ties to the Colombian Communist Party in the 1950s. During those years, as Garcia Marquez’s novels like Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude won worldwide acclaim, his American fans couldn’t invite him to book festivals or universities.

Boston Globe Editorial, “Gabriel Garcia Marquez case shows need to let critics visit US,” 19 Apr 2014