The official Barack Obama Twitter account released a quote personally attributed to the President Tuesday eulogizing communist folk singer Pete Seger.
In the tweet, the President says "we will always be grateful" to Seeger for "showing us where we need to go."
For Seeger, who died Monday at the age of 94, 'where we need to go' was to the worker's paradise of the communist utopia.
While Seeger is often praised in the mainstream media as a civil-rights activist, social justice activist or, as the LA times called him Monday, 'America's conscience,' Seeger was, by his own declaration, a communist. According to a 1995 interview with the folk singer in the New York Times, it was Seeger's father who introduced him to Communism, and while he "drifted out" of the Communist Party USA in the 1950's and later apologized for not seeing the cruelty of Stalin, he remained a self-declared communist throughout his life.
I still call myself a communist, because communism is no more what Russia made of it than Christianity is what the churches make of it.
Said Seeger in the same interview:
I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.
Seeger was brought before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1955 and found in contempt of congress. While Seeger claimed to have left the CPUSA by this time, he continued to be a voice for leftism, traveling to the Soviet Union in 1965 and North Vietnam in 1972. In a book about his life, "The Protest Singer" by Alec Wilkinson, Seeger admits that in the 1930s and 40s his music was a direct reflection of the CPUSA's party-line. From the 1950s on, his songs were devoted to a less-structured form of progressive leftism, which earned him the praise of the American left. In 1994, a year before he reported to the New York Times that he still considered himself a communist, just not of the Stalinist variety, he was recognized by then President Bill Clinton at a Kennedy Center Honors Ceremony.
Clinton called him an an "inconvenient artist who dared to sing things as he saw them." Indeed he did.