Revisionist History - the rehabilitation of Joseph McCarthy

Seems I’ve been hearing a lot of flap lately by people parroting Ann Coulter’s assertion that the late senator McCarthy was really a great American hero, slanderously mislabeled a scaremongering, career-wrecking bully by liberals unwilling to face up to the traitorous leanings of so many of their number.

It always struck me that not many of us discussing these things now were around for all that, and for people like Ann Coulter to start re-writing what comes back to us as common knowledge by people who not only were there but recorded much of it in print, audio or film would be rather presumptuous - were it not for the Verona Cables that so many on this forum have been hooting about, that supposedly now corroborate what McCarthy was saying.

Well, I came across this article the other day, and it basically manifests in print what most of us have known all along:

The Exhumation of Joe McCarthy

[quote]Is it possible that there was a vast Communist plot to subvert American democracy, and only McCarthy understood the depth of the problem? The new McCarthyites claim their reappraisal was triggered by new evidence: the declassification of a series of documents from the Soviet archives known as the Verona cables. These documents do indeed show that some of the individuals defended by the 1950s left and savaged by McCarthy were actually Soviet spies. The most prominent is the left’s old cause celebre, Alger Hiss.

This is a serious blow, and it should be honestly acknowledged. A minority of people on the left are still inclined to see 1950s Stalinists as misguided idealists, decent believers in equality and liberty who somehow went astray. This is unsustainable. By the time Hiss was offering his secrets to Stalin’s agents, the news about the gulags - vast concentration camps which slaughtered over 15 million innocent people - was out and beyond dispute. The US has many flaws, but it is lunatic to believe it is domestically equivalent to this; there are no mass graves in Kansas.

Too much of the left for too long implied there was moral equivalence between the two sides in the Cold War. They’re wrong: the defence of a basically free society is not the same as the defence of a totalitarian state. A society where minorities can organise and fight for recognition is not the same as a society where minorities are herded up and executed. Hiss was not swapping secrets between two equally bad tribes.

[b]But it’s a wild leap to say that these cables therefore vindicate McCarthy. A handful of his allegations have turned out to have been right. A handful of Mystic Meg’s predictions no doubt end up being accurate too. McCarthy made so many accusations - with virtually no evidence - that it would be extraordinary if he did not hit the target a few times.

More than this, it is a blatant distortion of the historical record to claim that only McCarthy was opposed to Communist spies. Most of the democratic left saw the menace of Stalinism and the crucial importance of defending America’s imperfect democracy. If anything, McCarthy damaged the cause of anti-Communism by associating it with paranoid madness.[/b][/quote]

By the way, my source for this is not one of my “wacko leftist sites” as described by certain posters, but the History News Network. And yes, I strongly agree that we ought not pretend the two sides of the Cold War were essentially equivalent – anyone who thinks or thought so is a fool. However, no one of consequence in the Democratic Party over how many administrations ever asserted such a thing. Would anyone (other than perhaps McCarthy) accuse Truman, Kennedy or Johnson of being a Communist-coddler??

And for good measure, Wikipedia tells us this:

[quote]These authors frequently cite new evidence, in the form of Venona decrypted Soviet messages, Soviet espionage data now opened to the West, and newly released transcripts of closed hearings before McCarthy’s subcommittee, asserting that these have vindicated McCarthy, showing that many of his identifications of Communists were correct. It has also been said that Venona and the Soviet archives have revealed that the scale of Soviet espionage activity in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s was larger than many scholars suspected,[78][79] and that this too stands as a vindication of McCarthy. These attempts to “rehabilitate” McCarthy have not received much attention from scholars, though there have been some responses from such authors as Kevin Drum[80] and Johann Hari.[81]

Of the many individuals that figured in McCarthy’s investigations or speeches, most were already suspected of being Communists or at least of having leftist politics. There are several cases where Venona or other recent data has confirmed or increased the weight of evidence that a person named by McCarthy was a Soviet agent. However, there are few, if any, cases where McCarthy was responsible for identifying a person, or removing a person from a sensitive government position, where later evidence has increased the likelihood that that person was a Communist or a Soviet agent.[82]

Below are listed the names that various authors have alleged were “correctly identified by McCarthy.” As the footnotes show, in almost all cases this assessment is questionable or demonstrably incorrect.

* Solomon Adler[83]
* Cedric Belfrage[84]
* T.A. Bisson[85]
* Lauchlin Currie[86]
* Gustavo Duran[87]
* Theodore Geiger[88]
* Haldore Hanson[89]
* Mary Jane Keeney[90]
* Owen Lattimore[91]
* Leonard Mins[92]
* Annie Lee Moss[93]
* Franz Leopold Neumann[94]
* Edward Posniak[95]
* William Remington[96]
* John Carter Vincent[97]


To check the actual footnotes, the links are here:

Also read more of the Wikipedia entry describing McCarthy’s verbal and even physical assaults on his enemies, labeling political opponents as traitors in much the way that a lot of Republicans have been doing again since 9/11, come to think of it.

Two words that will stop that:

Roy Cohn

Great movie, but what a arsed bastard!


The movie doesn’t do the reality justice.

What movie? Good Bye and Good Luck was mindlessly stupid but then with George Clooney directing… what do you expect?




I am liking you today. haha

Hate to pop that run, but I was referring to Elegua’s comments.

Nah, wasn’t the Clooney movie, there was another with James Woods playing Roy Cohn. Quite good, The movie was a series of memories by Cohn as he lies dying of Aids.

[quote]Citizen Cohn
Citizen Cohn is a 1992 cable movie covering the life of Joseph McCarthy’s controversial chief counsel Roy Cohn. James Woods, who starred as Cohn, was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his performance.

The film spans Cohn’s life from childhood through his initial rise to power as McCarthy’s right-hand man in the HUAC hearings and his eventual public discrediting a month before his death in 1986 from AIDS. It is told mostly in flashback as Cohn lays dying in a Virginia hospital, hallucinating that his many enemies (from Robert Kennedy to Ethel Rosenberg, an alleged Communist spy he sent to the electric chair) are haunting him. It concerns aspects of Cohn’s life such as his closeted homosexuality and the measure of his culpability in the “Red Scare” of the 1950s. While the movie portrays Cohn in a decidedly unsympathetic light, it also depicts episodes in his life, such as the death of his beloved mother, in which he showed a more tender, compassionate side, and suggests that he was not immune to guilt.

Citizen Cohn also stars Joe Don Baker (as McCarthy), Ed Flanders (as Cohn’s courtroom nemesis Joseph Welch), Frederic Forrest (as writer Dashiell Hammett, and Pat Hingle (as Cohn’s onetime mentor J. Edgar Hoover.) It was directed by Frank Pierson.[/quote]


Don’t take my word for - read the books written by his own hand to see what a slimebag he was. Then read his biography.

I believe that McCarthey was a slimebag but was he really so wrong about the level of infiltration within our various high-security organizations. A number of prominent Americans was involved in communist organizations. I think that it was quite right that they be investigated. The real issue was not that and McCarthey was right to highlight this but due to the fact that they were in some cases not allowed to make answer to the charges that were made against them. No?

Something about a group of files released by the KGB…I think they were named after a woman…Ramona?…Desdemona?, thats not quite right…VERONA…that is their name for the files showing lists of active agents in the USA during that time frame…The Verona Files. Oh, but that just pisses on the fire…doesn’t it?

Even after all the absurd and nonsensical positions Fred has taken in the past, I still find it amazing that he’s apparently a fan of crazy Joe McCarthy. But, then again, that’s only because he’s apparently so ignorant of the facts.

First, it was none of the government’s damn business what political party they were members of (last time I checked the US was supposed to be a democracy), and the vast majority of McCarthy’s victims posed no threat whatsoever to anyone except their fascist tormenters. Contrary to your absurd suggestion that they willing confessed and bowed down to accept their rightful punishment, I suspect banjo picker Pete Seeger’s case was typical:

[quote]“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.”

Seeger’s refusal to testify led to a March 26, 1957 indictment for contempt of Congress; for some years, he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York.

He was convicted in a jury trial in March 1961, and sentenced to a year in jail, but in May 1962 an appeals court ruled the indictment to be flawed and overturned his conviction." [/quote]

Just a few of those serving in high-ranking govt positions of great sensitivity who were persecuted by McCarthyism:

Charlie Chaplin, Peter Seeger, Orson Welles, Leonard Bernstein

Aaron Copland, composer
Bartley Crum, attorney
Jules Dassin, director
W.E.B. DuBois, civil rights activist and author
Howard Fast, author
Lee Grant, actress
Dashiell Hammett, author
Lillian Hellman, playwright
John Hubley, animator
Langston Hughes, author
Sam Jaffe, actor
Gypsy Rose Lee, actress
Philip Loeb, actor
Joseph Losey, director
Burgess Meredith, actor
Arthur Miller, playwright and essayist
Zero Mostel, actor
Clifford Odets, author
J. Robert Oppenheimer, physicist, “father of the atomic bomb”
Paul Robeson, actor, athlete, singer, author, political and civil rights activist
Edward G. Robinson, actor
Waldo Salt, author
Artie Shaw, jazz musician
Howard Da Silva, actor
Paul Sweezy, economist and founder-editor of Monthly Review
Tsien Hsue-shen, physicist

Most of McCarthy’s victims were not high ranking government employees in positions of sensitity, but were entertainers, educators or union activists, who spoke out in favor of fairness, equality and justice.


Yea, if you call Paul Robeson’s opposition to segregation and lynching Islamofascist, or his support for safer working conditions for Welsh miners.

Sure, if you call Pete Seeger’s participation in a “Grapes of Wrath” migrant workers concert in March 1940 Islamofascist.

Absolutely, if you call Orson Welles’ peace activism Islamofascist.

No offense Fred, but you don’t know what the Hell you’re talking about. Joe McCarthy was no hero. He was a paranoid nutcase who stirred up a massive witchhunt with his mostly false, groundless, and exaggerated accusations that caused thousands of innocent people to lose their jobs, reputations, health and freedom, and most of the governmental actions were later declared to be unconstitional, illegal and improper. I suggest you stop getting your history lessons from Ann Coulter.

Name correction…The Verona Project.
I think they were finally made public in 1995 or so.

A quick overview:

[quote]"The VERONA project was the American interception and decoding of cables sent by the Soviets to their communist operatives in the U.S. Senator McCarthy couldn’t come out and reveal the VERONA project, as the Soviets would realize the breach and cut off the incriminating communications. History has vindicated Senator McCarthy.

Government employees who admitted their communist connections or pled the Fifth when approached by the committee were given a preordained period of time to pack up and either retire to the private sector or leave old jobs, which had often required security clearance. A good number of them left their old jobs to lecture at Harvard.

McCarthy was a trusted confidant to the Kennedy family. Once, at a Harvard dinner, a speaker compared McCarthy with convicted Soviet spy Alger Hiss, prompting JFK to rise above the Crimson crowd and scream, “How dare you couple the name of a great American patriot with that of a traitor!” before storming out of the building." … 744AAQteuC[/quote]

Hey TC, did you miss this bit?

So what if the KGB had a list of names, according to something you posted the other day they were likely a list of would be executions in any case, no?


[quote=“TainanCowboy”]Yes…that was their name…The Verona Files.

I think they were finally made public in 1995 or so.[/quote]

That doesn’t mean shit, TC.

Show me that Pete Seeger or Charlie Chaplin or Orson Welles or Paul Robeson were member of the KGB. They were not. They spoke out against discrimination, segretation, unfair labor treatment and the like, and for that the government spied on them illegally, made up lies about them, arrested them illegally, imprisoned them illegally, and did massive damage to their careers, their health and their lives. And their cases were typical.

There’s a reason why everyone recognizes the red scare of the 50’s as a low point in US history, with massive, unconscionable government abuse of citizens’ most basic rights; because that’s what it was. No amount of neo-con, conservative, revisionist PR propaganda will change that.

I did not say that I was a fan. Also, given your past positions on Che and Castro and Chavez, are you really the person to be leading the charge here? What if McCarthy had killed someone it would have been all right with you but he didn’t look good enough in tight jeans or ride a motorcycle or smoke a cigar in a sufficiently virile manner for you?

Someone does not know the first thing about security clearances does he? How is a security clearance undemocratic pray tell?

Who was arrested or imprisoned? How many died? How many committed suicide? Can you supply the exact details on these? Also, can you also supply information on how many had contact with Communist party organizations at some time during their past or who had close family members who had had such contact? That would be very helpful.

[quote]Contrary to your absurd suggestion that they willing confessed and bowed down to accept their rightful punishment, I suspect banjo picker Pete Seeger’s case was typical:

“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.” [/quote]

That’s all fine and good but IF he had applied for a high-security position, he would have in fact had to answer that. That is still the case today for many high-level positions in a number of organizations.

[quote]Seeger’s refusal to testify led to a March 26, 1957 indictment for contempt of Congress; for some years, he had to keep the federal government apprised of where he was going any time he left the Southern District of New York.

He was convicted in a jury trial in March 1961, and sentenced to a year in jail, but in May 1962 an appeals court ruled the indictment to be flawed and overturned his conviction." [/quote]

So he never went to jail? and why are we talking about 1957? 1961 and 1962? I thought this was about Joe McCarthy who was surely well out of office by that time and with his efforts to undermine Commies everywhere thoroughly undermined?

Where did I say I supported McCarthy or liked him as a person. I merely am pointing to the very real threat of communist infiltration at the time. I believe that much of the excesses were as exaggerated by the left as McCarthy exaggerated the communist affiliations of those he went after. This did not last long before he was hounded out of power.

Yes, I get that but why after he was ousted from power, were not all these people rehabilitated? Surely, the US government could have gone back and done the right thing, right? So why then all the blame on McCarthy? And again, I am not defending him or his approach to the problem. But there was a problem with communist affiliation at the time. Hiss despite being protected by the left WAS guilty. You get that don’t you? McCarthy was right about Alger Hiss. He was a spy for the Soviets.

Again, your hyped up hysteria often gets in the way of your ability to reason. I categorically dispute that I have ever said McCarthy was a standup guy or that his methods were correct or admirable. I merely agree with him that there was a problem with communist infiltration. And again, for you to defend Che and others of that ilk to get on your moral highhorse about McCarthy is not just laughable but it is contemptible.

Perspective lads…add some perspective to your views.

McCarthy was a nut and he attacks famous sensitive people. Made life a bit tuff for them but its not like they “Never worked in this city again!”

Quite a few used his accusations and the publicity they gained from it to re-boot rather flagging careers.

With the public release of The Verona Project it was shown that Soviet penetration was indeed as high, in fact much higher and deeper, than nutty McCarthy dreamed.

You mentioned Charlie Chaplin… Here is what I found on the matter…

[quote]1952: US Immigration slams door on Chaplin
The United States is to prevent the film legend, Charlie Chaplin, from returning to his Hollywood home until he has been investigated by the Immigration Services. The Attorney-General, Thomas McGranery, has ordered the Immigration Service to hold Mr Chaplin “for hearings” if he returns to the United States, despite issuing him with a re-entry permit only a few months ago.

He gave no reason for his instructions. I do not want to create any revolution, all I want to do is create a few more films. Mr Chaplin is currently sailing to England on board the Queen Elizabeth with his wife and four children. His friend, the writer Harry Crocker, who is travelling with the family, said Mr Chaplin would probably talk to his lawyers before making any comment.

He added that Mr Chaplin intends to return to the US in about six months.

Mr Chaplin is still a British citizen, despite living in America for almost 40 years, and has no automatic right to re-enter the country. Under US law, grounds for denying a foreigner admission include “moral turpitude” and “political affiliations”. Charlie Chaplin has been under severe pressure in the US over accusations from Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee that he is associated with left-wing causes.

Mr Chaplin has been on the FBI’s Security Index since 1948, and he was one of over 300 people blacklisted by Hollywood film studios and unable to work after he refused to cooperate when he appeared before the Committee. When questioned about his membership of the Communist Party, Mr Chaplin answered, "I do not want to create any revolution, all I want to do is create a few more films. “I might amuse people. I hope so.” He has also been attacked over his colourful private life: he has married four times, twice to girls of 16, and in 1943 was the subject of a paternity suit which he fought and lost. Mr Chaplin’s lawyer in Hollywood, Lloyd Wright, said the re-entry permit was valid for a year. “The immigration was so nice about issuing Chaplin his permit and even told him to hurry back,” he said. “Now the minute he gets on the high seas this comes up.” [/quote] … 102179.stm

So there you have it. Chaplin was a member of the Communist Party, NOT an American citizen and he refused to cooperate with the investigation. Back to you Mother Theresa.

OOOooo MT!’s another one to chew on…the rumor was…
“McCarthy was a morphine junkie, and had it supplied to him illegally by the father of the drug war, Harry Anslinger. A double dose of hypocrisy!”


Here’s more on Pete Seeger. I see that Mother Theresa has left a bit off of this exchange in court. I wonder why…

So the US government “interrogated” more than 3,000 people? Interrogated? Not arrested? not shot? not tortured? Gosh, hardly in the same category as Che but hey, he was virile and manly right? and those that got into trouble were those that refused to renounce their membership in a communist organization? Okay.


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[/quote]

So while Seeger might have been principled, he did not in fact see fit to just simply answer the question. Why not? And if the communist party were using such people for propaganda persons, is that acceptable given the dangerous state of affairs during this time when we were at war in Korea (hot) and in Europe (cold) against the Soviets. Would it be also acceptable to Mother Theresa to organize cultural events to promote Islamofascism and terrorism now? And would such actors and actresses be “brave” for making such “principled” stances? Just curious.