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Update on the Nobel Prize for Pete Movement

Update on the Nobel Prize for Pete Movement
Newsletter from Committee to Nominate Pete Seeger for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Vol. I, No. I, September 2008

Dear Friends:

Thanks for your help in the grassroots effort to get the Nobel Peace Prize for Pete Seeger.   This is our first newsletter.   As we promised, we have not bothered you with emails or given your name to other causes, no matter how worthy. So far news has spread by word of mouth and emails among friends and between organizations. Please check out our new web site and use the resources, pictures, sponsors and stories to help promote this campaign. You can also sign the petition by clicking on the "Sign the Petition" link. Who would have thought when I started this petition just about one year ago that it would have been so heartily supported?

By this time you probably want to hear news of the progress of this campaign. The bad news is that our petition was off line due to some sort of   "technical difficulties" for almost a month, and I'm sure we lost some signers and confused many people. The good news is that it is up again and has nearly twenty thousand (20,000) signatures!

Now we need your help. Our most urgent goal is to get Pete nominated before February 2009, the Nobel committee's deadline. Do you know anyone who works at an organization that might be officially able to nominate Pete? In order to do this, we urgently need help finding a person or agency that will pledge to nominate him. The American Friends Service Committee was interested but gave us no assurance that they would present his name. Qualified nominators include some elected representatives, university professors, and previous Nobel Peace Prizewinners. Please help us find a nominator! Spreading the word is critical.

BREAKING NEWS: Representative Barbara Lee's office has agreed to consider our recommendations to nominate Pete. Please call and write Maha, 1301 Clay St., Suite 1000-N, Oakland, CA 94612; 510763-0370 or 202-225-2661.

This campaign is not about making an icon of Pete Seeger, it is significant on a much larger scale: 1) Pete is a life-long activist for peace and social justice, someone we can strive to emulate; 2) As a cultural worker, he exemplifies the under-represented strata of the arts, showing that the arts can be more than a medium of entertainment but one of enlightenment, compassion, participation and joy; 3) This is the first time a candidate has been chosen and supported by a grassroots movement, we are taking charge of our own history, heroes and heroines. Those who tell their stories on the petition convey a feeling of family warmth. They are grateful they have a chance to say thank you to Pete during his lifetime, just as many of us wish we had had with our own fathers. They repeat Pete's one-liners just like uncle Joe's old jokes, such as his saying that "not everybody can talk at the same time but everybody can sing at the same time." He never did a concert or demonstration without teaching everybody to sing, and in harmony! "My voice is shot now," he says, "but I don't have to sing anymore; I just wave my banjo neck at the audience and they do the singing."

People have asked why I feel so passionately about proposing Pete for this international accolade. I refer to another aphorism of Pete's when he speaks about what he calls the "teaspoon brigade." Working for peace, he says, is like adding sand to a basket on one side of a giant scale, trying to tip it our way despite enormous weight on the opposite side; but if we get enough people adding sand with teaspoons, even if everybody else is laughing at us, we can tip the scales. This is my teaspoonful!

Now we need everybody's help to make this nomination a reality.
Eleanor Walden
Coordinator, Committee to Nominate Pete Seeger for Nobel Peace Prize

Hooray for Toshi!

Hooray for Toshi! If it hadn't been for Pete's wife, Toshi, Pete would not be here now. I remember when, after concerts, everybody wanted a piece of Pete. "There is a party at my house, come on over Pete!" "We're going home Peter," said Toshi. Because artists have always paid a price for popularity and often been used up by so many fans who seek to appropriate their fame, Toshi refused to let Pete be used up.

Toshi raised the children and kept a rural house going when Pete was on the road most of the time. The media blacklisted him because he refused to cooperate with the inquisition of the House Un-American Activities Committee. His performances were constrained to youngsters in schools, colleges, and summer camps. They had thrown B'rer Rabbit in the Briar Patch!
One story goes that when Toshi was congratulated for the work Pete did, she said, "That's Pete's work, I'm a potter." Toshi quips, "If Pete chased women like he chases causes I'd have an excuse to leave him."

Pete acknowledges the support that Toshi gave him. He is also more aware of the role women play in a just world: "I believe that women working with children will get men to wake up to what a foolish thing it is to seek power and glory and money in their lives."

Let's give credit where it's due, the NOBLE prize goes to Toshi.
(Eleanor Walden inserted all anecdotal statements and will take blame or credit for any or all of them.)


1993 - The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

1994 - National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts

1994 - Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Honor

1996 - Harvard Arts Medal

1996 - Induction into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame

1997 - Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album for his record "Pete".

1999 - The Felix Varela Medal, Cuba's highest honor for "his humanistic and artistic work in defense of the environment and against racism."

2007 - The Schneider Family Book Award for his children's picture book "The Deaf Musicians."

2007 - to present - Nominated by email petition for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Elected Officials
The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.,
Michigan, Ph: 202-225-5126
The Honorable Barbara Lee,
California, Ph: 202-225-2661
or 510-763-0370
The Honorable John Lewis,
Georgia, Ph: 202-225-3801
The Honorable Jesse Jackson, Jr.,
Illinois, Ph: 202-225-0773
The Honorable Barack Obama,
Illinois, Ph: 202-224-2854
The Honorable Charles B. Rangel,
New York, Ph: 202-225-4365
The Honorable Maxine Waters,
California, Ph: 202-225-2201
The Honorable Harry Reid,
Nevada, Ph: 202-224-3542
The Honorable John Hall,
New York, (Pete's district),
Ph: (845) 291-4100,Fax: (845) 291-4164

The Honorable Bernie Sanders,
Vermont, 1-802-862-0697,

Ron Dellums - Oakland Mayor
510-238-3141, FAX 510-238-4731
Kriss Worthington - Berkeley City Council,
Steve Gold - Mayor of Beacon, NY (Pete's town):

Contact Organizations for Former Nobel Winners
American Friends Service committee,
Phone: (215) 241-7000 Fax: (215) 241-7275
Jimmy Carter/Carter Center:
Ph (404) 420-5100 or  (800) 550-3560
Al Gore:
2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to spread awareness of man-made climate changes and lay the foundation for counteracting it.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Foundation,
Nelson Mandela Foundation,
Jody Williams,
1997 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

(The time has come for us to raise some money. Let's drive the campaign home!)
Fundraiser for "Nobel Prize for Pete Campaign
Kendra Alexander Foundation
6422 Irwin Ct., Oakland, CA 94609-1123
      $2 each, $5 for 3, $30 for 20

DVD: Pete Seeger: The Power of Song
DVD of the film showing the life of Pete Seeger, is available from the Berkeley East Bay Gray Panthers for $20 plus $5 for mailing. Call to pick one up at the office, or send a check to:
Margot Smith    
Berkeley-East Bay Gray Panthers    
1403 Addison Street,
Berkeley, CA 94709
Phone 510-548-9696
FAX 510-548-9697
Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Songbook
Rise Up Singing , the 1200 songbook of more than 1200 songs with words, lead line music, chords, and credits to folk and topical songs that have come out of the folk song revival in the past 40 years are all in there. It has come to be known as the bible of the folk song movement.
Available from

Appleseed Recordings
Bay Area Paul Robeson Centennial Committee
Berkeley/East Bay Gray Panthers
Black Dome Press
Brave New Films
Bridges of Peace
Code Pink
Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism
Connie Hogarth Center for Social Action, Manhattanville College NY
Denver Folklore Center, Denver CO
Duchess Peace, Dutchess County, NY
The Flames of Discontent
Freedom Song Network, Bay Area CA
Fundación Victor Jara, Santiago Chile
Global Exchange
Highlander Research and Education Center
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater
Keri Rosebraugh Illustrations & Design
La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley CA
Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, Berkeley CA
Nyack Villager, Hudson River Villages NY
Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Paul Kaplan Music
Quakersong, creators of "Rise Up Singing"
Rebecca Riots, "radical folk" trio, Berkeley CA
River Pool at Beacon, Inc., Beacon NY
The San Francisco Folk Music Club, CA
The SEARCH Foundation, Australia
The Seattle Labor Chorus, WA
Sing Out!, Bethleham PA
The Smothers Brothers
Solidarity Notes Labour Choir, Vancouver BC
The Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver BC
Veterans for Peace
Voices For Peace
Vukani Mawethu Choir, Bay Area CA
Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation

Joan Baez
Faith Petric
Roy Bailey
Bonnie Raitt
Rabbi Dr. Marc Ben-Meir Bernice Johnson Reagon
Medea Benjamin
Linda Ronstadt
Gordon Bok Leon Rosselson
Len Chandler David Rovics
Alan Chartock Nancy Schimmel
Barbara Dane Mike Seeger
Michael Douchet Peggy Seeger
Billy Faier Cindy Sheehan
Cathy Fink Michelle Shocked
Ronnie Gilbert Irwin Silber
Joan Jara Dick Smothers
Charlie King Tom Smothers
Yuri Kochiyama Janet Stecher
Saul Landau Studs Terkel
Laurie Lewis Artie Traum
Jim Musselman Izzy Young
Holly Near Jesse Colin Young
Tom Paxton Howard Zinn

Nomination Process for the Nobel Peace Prize
American Friends Service Committee Nomination Criteria (2006)
List of Past Nobel Peace Prize Winners
"Do It for Peace" Flyer (Clearwater photo) - Word document
"Do It for Peace" Flyer (Close-up photo) - Word document 2009

Paper forms to gather signers off line:
1 per page - Word document
4 per page - Word document
           Caryl Esteves
           Nina Feldman
           Elliot Kenin
           Nancy Polin
          John Van Eyck
           Eleanor Walden
           Steve Willett
Fiscal sponsor:
                 The Kendra Alexander Foundation,
                 a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation,
                 administered by the Committees of Correspondence
                 for.Democracy and socialism        
                 tax exempt donations can be made out to the:
                 "Nobel Prize for Pete Campaign"
                 6422 Irwin Ct.,
                 Oakland, CA 94609-1123
                 (or PayPal)
                 Michael Mack

Contact Us:
Eleanor Walden
2951 Derby, #140
Berkeley, CA 94705

updated: 13 years ago