Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How Orwellian : Antiwar songs and prowar songs

Soviet propaganda poster with Josef Stalin doing a Hitler sieg heil salute. The text reads 'ВПЕРЕД, ЗА РАЗГРОМ НЕМЕЦКИХ ЗАХВАТОВ И ИЗГНАНИЕ ИЗ ИЗ ПРЕДЕЛОВ НОШЕЙ РОДИНЫ!' aka 'Forward to defeat the German invaders and expulsion from the limits of of the motherland.'
Josef Stalin practices his Nazi salute
(eventually, Seeger realized Stalin wasn't the bees knees, but that wasn't until 2007.)

from Pete Seeger's New York Times Obituary :

When he returned to New York later in 1940, Mr. Seeger made his first albums. He, Millard Lampell and Mr. Hays founded the Almanac Singers, who performed union songs and, until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, antiwar songs, following the Communist Party line. Mr. Guthrie soon joined the group.

During World War II the Almanac Singers’s repertory turned to patriotic, antifascist songs, bringing them a broad audience, including a prime-time national radio spot. 

"Antiwar songs" and "antifascist songs"?  Why didn't the writer use the available symmetry in terminology :  Seeger played antiwar songs and prowar songs.

Those weren't really anti-war songs. They were less against war in general and more against any opposition to the revanchist wars of the USSR and their Nazi partners in crime. Opposing any effort to prevent Poland from being invaded and carved up is somehow "antiwar" while the NY Times describes his songs after the invasion of the USSR as "patriotic, antifascist songs" instead of prowar songs.

Seeger was essentially saying "Leave poor Stalin & Hitler alone! Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Finland are faraway, foreign, irrelevant places" until his pet USSR was attacked that is.

To paraphrase Grouch Marx : These are my principles, if you don't like them … well, the party might tell me if I have others.

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