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GUEST,Songster Bob The Weavers and the McCarthy Era (151* d) RE: The Weavers and the McCarthy Era 22 Mar 04

What a thread! The song Seeger tried to sing to the committee was, "Wasn't that a time." The Weavers, because they happened to hit it "big" when other folkies were still marginalized, helped put "folk music" into the popular realm (yes, there had been popular folk music since the 20s -- else why would Columbia have set up the "Bristol Sessions"? -- but not in the same "pop" way that happened in the late 40s). No Weavers, no Kingston Trio, possibly no Beatles (think Weavers popularize Leadbelly --> Lonnie Donegon --> the Quarrymen --> the Silver Beatles --> the Beatles).

As for the Communism of the American lefties, I take some of the Eastern European "files" with a grain of salt. I suspect that anyone with a leftist leaning was glommed onto by the Soviet Communist Party and its apparatchiki, and glowing reports of success in 'subverting' Hollywood or popular music were written, however true or only partly true they might be. I don't doubt for a minute that the Soviets had real sympathizers here, and real agents, but how many of these were those that McCarthy (R - Wisconsin drunk) and the even more rabid wingnuts sought to pillory is open to question. For example, Woody often claimed to be a Communist, but the real CPUSA wouldn't have him -- he was too hard to control, a real loose cannon and not given to following the 'line.'

I always thought it odd that the US side took as Gospel the Communist line about being for peace, justice, anti-racism, etc., so that anyone who espooused these laudible ideals was a Red. All the real Party had to do was say 'racism bad,' and the right-wingers would jump all over themselves to prove that they (and our glorious US of A) were racist to the core, giving African popular opinion to the Communists without a fight. Easy pickings.

Gotta go let the dog out (be back later).

Bob Clayton

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