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Folk against fascism

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It's a bl@@dy disgrace to see the far right using folk music like this!


In fact, it's just as distasteful as it is to see all those far left singer/songwriters using folk music to ram their bl@@dy politics down our throats, at concerts & festivals!




I agree, although it's not so much the songs themselves I dislike as the arrogant assumption by some singers that the whole audience must necessarily share their views.


The difference is that these are individual singers expressing their own views. What the BNP is trying to do is get actively involved in traditional music and customs, not through any particular interest in them but because they represent an aspect of Englishness which the BNP wishes to use to its own ends. The danger is that anyone else who wishes to celebrate our music and culture will be assumed to be a right-wing bigot, in the same way as anyone showing a St Georges or Union flag was, until these were successfully reclaimed in the last few years.


Even though many of the stars of the early folk revival were communists, I have never felt that my being interested in folk music has meant that people I meet assume I hold left-wing views.

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Ptarmigan said:

In fact, it's just as distasteful as it is to see all those far left singer/songwriters using folk music to ram their bl@@dy politics down our throats


Do you think that Pete Seeger did this? Rammed his views down people's throats? Who in your opinion does this? Having strong views, and expressing them, does not make one a bigot. A lot of straw men have been offered as examples on this thread. I think we all have much, much more to fear from right-wing and neo-fascist groups in America and England than we do from progressive groups on the left.


The connection between left-wing politics and folk music is undeniable, whether you agree with lefties or not. Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Alan Lomax, Martin Carthy, The Weavers, Ewan McCall. There are some fine books on the subject. An article titled American Folk Music and Left-Wing Politics, 1927-1957 (http://tinyurl.com/nyjzqg) "addresses relations between the American Communist Party of the 1930s and 1940s and the central figures of the folk revival movement, a wide range of Anglo- and African-American artists that included (among others) Alan Lomax, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Aunt Molly Jackson, and Lead Belly."


You don't have to like what they say. But few people were arguing as loudly and compassionately for workers' rights (pensions, medical care, unions), women's rights (including the right to vote, reproductive choice, equal pay), civil rights for people of color, universal medical care, equal opportunities for education for poor people and minority groups, as were Communists in the 1920's and 1930's. We take these civil rights for granted today, and many of us are benefiting from their labor on our behalf. Many Communists were sectarian, belligerent, secretive and paranoid. But their message of social equality was spot on, at a time when media and government were denying their right to carry their message. Did they ram it down our throats? Perhaps, at times. But I think it's a good thing that they raised our collective social awareness - and a lot of their message was carried by traditional musicians and folk singers.


Rant over. Back to playing my concertina.

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This thread has brought out interesting views and discussion, but it is not (in my view) going to get back to concertinas. I encourage those interested to continue it privately by email or in another venue devoted to such topics. We'll take a break from it here now and go back to concertinas. Thanks.



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