Robyn Benson, PSAC

Pete Seeger, RIP

As legendary labour organizer and songwriter Joe Hill was awaiting execution, he told his friends to carry on doing what needed to be done—“Don’t waste time mourning, organize!” American folksinger Pete Seeger, born four years after Hill died in 1915, keeps his memory alive in the clip above. Now Seeger is a memory as well: after living a rich, full life, he passed away this week at the age of 94.

Seeger was active in many causes, including disarmament and civil rights, but many remember him for his unwavering support for unions and the labour movement. “Talking Union” is a classic, from 1941:

He was a man of his time, but he grew with the times as well. Here’s a more recent rendition of “Union Maid,” with Arlo Guthrie: the last verse of the original 1940s version, telling the “girls” to “join the Women’s Auxiliary” and marry a good union man, had long since been dropped!

It’s only human to mourn. But moving on to organize? That’s a message that’s more timely now than ever. How better to honour Pete Seeger than to do just that.

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This page contains a single entry by Robyn Benson, PSAC published on January 28, 2014 5:25 PM.

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