Sunday, September 19, 2010

*Songs To While Away The Class Struggle By-Pete Seeger's "Hold The Line"- The "Night of The Long Knives" At Peekskill-1949

Click on the title to link a Wikipedia entry for the Peekskill riots.

In this series, presented under the headline Songs To While Away
The Class Struggle By
, I will post some songs that I think will help us get through the “dog days” of the struggle for our communist future. I do not vouch for the political thrust of the songs; for the most part they are done by pacifists, social democrats, hell, even just plain old ordinary democrats. And, occasionally, a communist, although hard communist musicians have historically been scarce on the ground. Thus, here we have a regular "popular front" on the music scene. While this would not be acceptable for our political prospects, it will suffice for our purposes here. Markin.

Markin comment:

One does not have to be very politically sophisticated to notice that very large parts of the so-called Tea Party movement are driven, and driven to a rage, by the fact that a black man, a very gentile black man as it turns out, is president. And that those same elements are enraged by the very word immigrant although I always want to check THEIR green cards when they start ranting on the subject. I will not even speak of their attitudes toward the words Moslem and mosque, or abnormal fears for their guns, or separation of church and state and a million other things that stir their innards. Oh, I forgot the “reds under every bed” phobia. No, I guess they no longer have that on their agenda.

The point is that some of this rabble is making the same kind of noises and the same kind of physical threats that spearheaded the anti-communist riots at Peekskill, New York in the late 1940s during the dawn of the red scare “night of the long knives” here in America. Although this crowd is on the margins now, watch out. And as the point of Pete Seeger’s song indicates-hold the line.



Let me tell you the story of a line that was held,
And many brave men and women whose courage we know well,
How we held the line at Peekskill on that long September day!
We will hold the line forever till the people have their way.

Chorus (after each verse):
Hold the line!
Hold the line!
As we held the line at Peekskill
We will hold it everywhere.
Hold the line!
Hold the line!
We will hold the line forever
Till there's freedom ev'rywhere.

There was music, there was singing, people listened everywhere;
The people they were smiling, so happy to be there -
While on the road behind us, the fascists waited there,
Their curses could not drown out the music in the air.

The grounds were all surrounded by a band of gallant men,
Shoulder to shoulder, no fascist could get in,
The music of the people was heard for miles around,
Well guarded by the workers, their courage made us proud.

When the music was all over, we started to go home,
We did not know the trouble and the pain that was to come,
We go into our buses and drove out through the gate,
And saw the gangster police, their faces filled with hate.

Then without any warning the rocks began to come,
The cops and troopers laughed to see the damage that was done,
They ran us through a gauntlet, to their everlasting shame,
And the cowards there attacked us, damnation to their name.

All across the nation the people heard the tale,
And marveled at the concert, and knew we had not failed,
We shed our blood at Peekskill, and suffered many a pain,
But we beat back the fascists and we'll beat them back again!

Words by Lee Hays; Music by Pete Seeger (1949)
(c) 1959 (renewed) by Sanga Music Inc.

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