In a 2006 interview, Pete Seeger talks with John W. Whitehead about his life’s work, his political and environmental endeavors and his concerns for America’s future.
My father first got me marching in a May Day parade in 1933, and I found him up to his ears in the Communist movement. He was writing articles for the Daily Worker. When I was 14, I remember asking him, “What are the bad things about Communism? Aren’t there good and bad things about everything in the world? He took all of 10 to15 seconds away from his work and said, “No, it’s all good.” Then he went back to his desk. About 1937, I was in college and people were wondering what to do about Hitler. I was impressed by the fact that Litvinov, the Soviet Representative to the League of Nations, said that “any aggressor should be quarantined”—that is, boycotted. He was talking about Japan, Manchuria, Italy, Ethiopia and Hitler helping Franco take over Spain. So when I was 18, I became a member of the Young Communist League. After the war, I was actually a card-carrying member for about four years. However, I drifted out when I moved up to the country, although I still have friends who are Communists and I still read the Communist newspaper from time to time. Occasionally, there are some very good articles in it. But I also read Fortunemagazine and the New York Times. I am a magazineaholic.