Cutting-Edge Leadership

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Pete Seeger and Leadership

The world has lost an important voice and an important leader of social causes. Here are some thoughts on the leadership of Pete Seeger and some of his quotes. Read More

Pete Was Always a Follower, Never a Leader

I should know- I gave Pete his marching orders as long as I lived, and as Gilbert & Sullivan put it, Pete "Never thought of thinking for himself at all." Pete's Dad was a lifelong commie pinko, and Pete followed slavishly in his Daddy's footsteps.

You wanna know hjow blindly Pete Seeger followed me? Get this- in 1938, when I wanted England, France and the U.S. to be my allies in an aggressive war against Hitler, I told American Communists to beat the drums of war. And he did! He urged the U.S. to support Russia.

Of course, just a year later, I formed an alliance with Hitler, and told all the American commies to push for peace, and to stop demonizing Hitler. And wouldja believe it, Pete Seeger did exactly what I told him to, without a moment's hesitation. From 1939 until 1941, Pete wrote anti-war songs that painted Franklin Roosevelt as a bloodthirsty maniac!

Was this guy obedient or what? Oh, but ti gets even better!

Turns out that making friends with Adolf was a mistake. In 1941, the Wehrmacht attacked Russia Boy, do I feel silly! I never saw that coming! I mean, if you can't trust a homicidal Nazi, who CAN you trust?

But back to the main point. AFter the invasion, I changed my orders, and told American commies to SUPPORT war and to call for America to rally around the valiant RUssians! And Pete did exactly as he was told, AGAIN! He started singing pro-war songs the second I told him to!

That's how Pete was. Not an original bone in his body. Whatever Moscow said was law to him. What a putz!


Dear poster invoking Stalin:

Are you suggesting his work to have Americans recognize that skin color isn't what determines a person's value was a communist plot?

Had you endeavored to quote his actual statements and ask us to reflect on them rather than build your own cartoon and slap Pete Seeger's name on it, that might have been a worthwhile reflection.

As it is, your response reads like someone so angry with their situation in life that they can't make a rational presentation even when it comes to cultural figures they are somehow certain are partially responsible for the present conditions.

I hope your life improves. If it helps, know that your anger has been heard - perhaps now you can direct such energy toward bettering your world.

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Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.


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