Al Gore, the Anti-Pete Seeger

PIC: Kjetil Bjørnsrud (CC)

PIC: Kjetil Bjørnsrud (CC)

Dave Marsh writes at CounterPunch:

As a life member of the Folk Alliance International and until recently a member of its board, I’d like to be able to congratulate the organization on its move from Memphis to a much better situation in Kansas City.

But the first annual FAI Conference in KC will feature Al Gore in a special presentation, for conference attendees only, of his quasi-prophetic fantasy, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. It makes me feel like FAI is dancing on Pete Seeger’s grave. Does it really matter much whether they’re doing it out of ignorance or making a deliberate effort to steer folk music far to the right of where its political and social allegiances have traditionally belonged?

Am I over-reacting, refusing to come to grips with contemporary political reality and with Al Gore, the wronged should-have-been President, moral beacon, intellectual paragon, and his role as a leader of the ecological movement?

Gore’s approach to solving the world’s problems centers on venture capital firms, such as his own Generation Investment Manager and the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, in  which he is a partner. Exactly how he rationalizes such projects of these firms as AOL, Amazon, Electronic Arts and Google as good for the environment and harbingers of a better future isn’t all that interesting. It’s just the usual neoliberal blather, the liberal version of the conservative lie that a rising tide lifts all boats. Neither ever asks whether everybody has a boat, or whether the boats we do have will carry all the people now living, let alone coming generations, or how there can be life-sustaining air, water, soil and minerals if the depredations of high-tech capitalism, which are at least as devastating as those of earlier versions, are allowed to continue.

Folk music is supposed to side with the people whose lives are ruined, from West Virginia to Japan, not the exploiters who mask and attempt to explain away the all-but-irreversible damage that has already been done in the name of “growth.” The question that no Gore speech or PowerPoint  has ever answered is “Sustainable for whom?”

It’s a question to which previous generations of folk musicians and activists associated with it have never failed to demand answers.

Gore’s six drivers include nothing remotely related to the kind of human-scale empowerment projects (for instance, the civil rights and anti-war movements, Operation Wall Street, and labor rights) that folk music has traditionally been involved with.

From this point of view, Al Gore is the anti-Pete Seeger: Deceitful where Pete was honest, cowardly where Pete was brave, an apologist for continuing to destroy the environment where Seeger was an ecological champion, a censor where Pete stood on the rock of the First Amendment even when Congress and his own lawyers told him it was a loser. (Pete won his case.)

Above all, Pete Seeger was a champion of music, all kinds of music, in America and the world, whereas Al Gore spent much of the ‘80s berating and belittling popular music, even helping convene a Senate hearing on the “threat” of  lyrics to the nation’s children. Ten years later, in typical fashion, he denied he’d even attended most of the conference, although he was the only Senator who was present for all of that travesty (take a look at www.youtube.com/watch?v=d65BxvSNa2o if you must, but I was there and my own eyes swear to it).  He and his wife Tipper wanted to raise my kids while at least one of theirs turned out to be a drunk (or was that a druggie?) with a penchant for driving while intoxicated. (Is this unfair to Al Gore’s kids? Much less unfair than the Gores were to the kids—current and former–who loved and found emotional refuge in heavy metal and hip-hop. )  Finally, the moral exemplars’ marriage dissolved as Al was found creeping out of a massage brothel in the middle of the Oregon night.

Read more here.

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  • Thurlow Weed

    Marsh nailed it. I don’t know much about the FAI and their income investments but I’ve seen what happens when a family head dies: the kids raid the bank accounts of all funds not specifically named in the will. And, fuck Gore, with a hot pitch fork.

  • Simon Valentine

    didn’t actually read this, just thought “what, he figured out they’re robbing pete to pay paula and inexplicably decided to run against pete, misspelling siege in the process?” smoke dat green, Gore … >.<

  • Reasor

    This is a good example of what honest criticism of what are commonly depicted as “liberal” politicians should look like. When someone accuses a neoliberal of being a leftist, a communist, soft on terrorism, et cetera, that someone is playing the Bad Cop role in order to make the neoliberal look like the Good Cop.

    That’s why the two brothers doing the most to finance the Tea Party, and the two brothers who own the oil sands pipeline that President Obama is trying to build despite bipartisan opposition at the local, state, and federal level, are the same two brothers.

    • Simon Valentine

      tehy can not haz do binary search to fynd integral parts

      tehy is criminalificating all ofer teh scenes
      like urmuhgurhd *pic included below*

      when i think alone
      i think by myself

  • BuzzCoastin

    Al Bore

  • emperorreagan

    “His inherited wealth stems from favors done for his father, Senator Albert Gore Sr., by Armand Hammer, the owner of Occidental Petroleum.”

    Kind way to say his family wealth comes from his father accepting bribery from someone purported to be a KGB asset – both while in office and the cushy job Gore Sr. retired to after leaving office.

    And of course Gore’s personal wealth reeks of the same sorts of arrangements. Getting $500 million (and pocketing $100 million) for a failing television network from Qatar? Come on.

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