“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. 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. United States House of Representatives: History, Art, & Archives, Origins & Development: From the Constitution to the Modern House, Joint Meetings, Joint Sessions, & Inaugurations, Presidents, Vice Presidents, & Coinciding Sessions of Congress, Foreign Leaders and Dignitaries Who Have Addressed the U.S. Congress, Individuals Who Have Lain in State or Honor, Calendars of the House of Representatives, Search Historical Highlights of the House, Chief Administrative Officers of the House, John W. 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Rainey: 150 Years of Black Americans Elected to Congress, Campaign Collectibles: Running for Congress, Electronic Technology in the House of Representatives, The People’s House: A Guide to Its History, Spaces, and Traditions, An Annual Outing: The Congressional Baseball Game, Florence Kahn: Congressional Widow to Trailblazing Lawmaker, Mace of the U.S. House of Represen- tatives, The Long Struggle for Representation: Oral Histories of African Americans in Congress, National History Day 2021: Communication in History, Time for a Tour: Visiting the People’s House, Researching the House: Other Primary Sources, Whereas: Stories from the People’s House, Breaking the Code: Duncan Lee, HUAC, and the Venona Files, “I Told Everything I Know”: Patty Duke’s Secret Testimony to Congress, https://history.house.gov/Blog/2020/August/8_17_20_Pete_Seeger/. Oh tell me how you can? /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Seeger-DCLabor-LoC.xml. 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. To enjoy Prime Music, go to Your Music Library and transfer your account to Amazon.com (US). Some in Congress, meanwhile, took additional action and looked inward to identify security threats at home. 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?“ is a classic organising and working class song which is telling the working classes that they have to unionise and stick together. 52, no. (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. Art must be used in service of the people—and is always subject to the vicissitudes of the party line. Support us for unlimited access. The Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics: 3. “I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.”. Office of the Historian Office of Art and Archives Attic, Thomas Jefferson Building Washington, D.C. 20515 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. American folk singer Pete Seeger's songs became anthems of the civil rights movement and the antiwar protests in the 1960s. Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 7. [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? 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. Lyrics. Which side are you on? He was chased by McCarthy. You’re either with … 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. Liza Jane Lyrics: 9. 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 establishment hated him. 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. 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. E7 Am Which side are you on? Like other committees, HUAC had the ability to subpoena witnesses for both closed and public hearings and, if need be, hold them in contempt. Check out Which Side Are You On by Pete Seeger on Amazon Music. 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. o… is the 17th studio album by singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco, released on January 17, 2012. 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’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. It was important for lawmakers to conduct oversight into issues like corruption or wastefulness, Taylor wrote. 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. /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Walter39-LoC.xml. Which Side Are You On Pete Seeger, Almanac Singers Buy This Song. 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 In 1931, the miners and the mine owners in southeastern Kentucky were locked in a bitter and violent struggle called the Harlan County War. 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. 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. 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 town had been founded in the early eighteenth century and later grew into a bustling commercial port. 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? 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. Tavenner then asked about his music career, before finally moving to an advertisement for a performance Seeger gave in New York in 1947. which was popularized by Pete Seeger. Which Side Are You On? 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). Pete Seeger – 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. Pete Seeger - Which Side Are You On? – Lyrics boiling with political fury. “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. 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. My dady was a miner, And I'm a miner's son, He'll be with you fellow workers Until this battle's won. “If you were acting for the Communist Party at these functions, we want to know it. Dear Mr. President Lyrics: 2. Seeger had served as an Army entertainer during World War II and Tavenner probed his military service. 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. Pete Seeger’s love of Stalinist ideals endured through the nightmare of pogroms and purge trials in the Soviet Union. 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. 1964 button. 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. Many were blacklisted and lost their jobs as a result, the mere whisper of communism marking them as untrustworthy and unemployable. Her husband Sam was an organiser in that "bloody" strike in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1932. “I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this.”. Which side are you on boys? At the time, the United States was increasingly concerned with the spread of communism around the world. 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 Communist Revolution in China further exacerbated these fears. songs. Oh workers can you stand it? Pete Seeger. Which side are you on? Since 1857 a witness’s refusal to answer “pertinent” questions during a congressional investigation had been a criminal offense. “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.”. 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. 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 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/ After the war, the two countries emerged as global industrial powers and international rivals. “Are you Pete Seeger?” Pickett asked after pulling onto the musician’s property. 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. The Sinking of the Reuben James Lyrics: 4. Tavenner started by inquiring into Seeger’s occupation. 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. Which Side Are You On?, an album by Pete Seeger on Spotify. He was an activist. Stream ad-free or purchase CD's and MP3s now on Amazon.com. Which Side Are You On Lyrics: 8. Your Amazon Music account is currently associated with a different marketplace. Peter "Pete" Seeger (born May 3, 1919) is an iconic American folk singer. /tiles/non-collection/8/8-13-Abolish-HUAC-Button-2014_104_000.xml. Seeger knew where this was headed and refused to go along. / Which side are you on? 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. He stood with Woody Guthrie and he sang his songs. 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. 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. It was a devastating accusation. 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. 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 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. Seeger had a knack for popularization. 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.”. He handed Seeger an envelope with a legal notice. Liza Jane Lyrics: 10. That night, after the men had gone, Florence wrote the lyrics to "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. which side are you on? Well Pete was blacklisted. He tried… Pete Seeger version of this song is not yet listed. Which side are you on? 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? He was going to say Seeger on Amazon Music lost their jobs as a result, the United was! 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