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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  January 28, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST

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dealing with sub zero temperatures. this arctic blast is now moving south to tradition nally warmer states like texas, louisiana, and florida, all of which could see snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. the severe weather may cause widespread travel delay those resident the headlines. >> pollution, racism, the struggles for an union. the lives of poor people. pete seger sang about all that and more and believed deeply in the pow of art to change the world. seger's work and whether that spirit survived today is the "inside story." hello, i'm ray suarez.
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pete seger had been at it for so long plunging himself into the political passions with so many decades it felt like he had been around forever, and would stay around forever. he died monday night at 94. he kept abreast of movements and struggles worldwide, and spread the love of music of the world to the world. he deplored the exaltation of the rich over the poor, exclusion and snobbery. he was a man of many thoughts. he went to harvard although he did not stay long enough
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>> seger put musical notes to a call of change, labor rights and the environment. he used elementarie elements ofl songs and his hit "where have all the flowers gone" is a standard of antiwar days in vietnam.
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>> i think the world is going to be saved >> folks stars showed up to salute him. bruce springsteen showe spring g
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archive. seger charged up the occupy wall streeters in did yo zuccotti pa. he believed in the power of song, but more importantly he believed in the power of community to stand up for what is right and against what is wrong and make america the america he knew it could be. according to a new nbc news wall street journal poll. six in ten americans say the country is heading in the wrong direction.
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>> it's notable at 2011 at the age of 92 he didn't just show up at occupy wall street event. he led a march through the city streets. i think he went the better part of 30 blocks with thousands of people gathering around him. so this is a guy who is very electric, and his moment did not
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pass during his life. >> you started your own record label in part as a critique of how the business works in the united states. are artists willing to be as political as other eras in our history? >> well, i imagine it comes in and out of fashion, like anything, being political. but oh well, you know, i don't think that ever mattered much to pete, you know, nor i, or anybody who has really dedicated from their soul in that work. i think probably pete over the course of his days saw that ebb and flow a lot, the
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>> he believed in the healing of that damn banjo. if you ever saw him, he was 94 years old and people would
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>> when we come back, we'll look at the way things have changed in the culture and we'll find out if it's easier or harder to be a pete seger. this is "inside story." what's in our food and monsanto do not have the right to hide it from us. >> so join the conversation and make it your own. >> watch the stream. >> and join the conversation online @ajamstream. the congress to hopefully shed line on immigration reform as a
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path to citizenship. for the center of american progress, he's in washington d.c. this morning. and good morning, mr. fietz. >> good morning, del. >> are you confident that this year immigration reform passes and are you sure why it pass it's. >> i'm confident that the president will be talking about the importance of find of bipartisan agreement with this congress, and this is obviously the issue that seems more teed up to have the senate has passed a bill by a bipartisan super majority and now it's up to the house to pass it. and we know that the pass republican conference is meeting in a retreat this week, and one of the things they will be discussing is how to move forward on immigration reform. the state of the union on al jazeera america. join us for complete coverage of
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the issues facing all of us from health care and immigration to the economy an national security. we're talking with those affected most. understanding where we are, taking a critical look where we're going. >> there is much progress to report. >> immediately after stay with us as we get your reactions live from around the country and across the globe. don't miss special state of the union coverage as only al jazeera america can deliver. right here on al jazeera america. [ protesting ] >> welcome back to inside story. that's pete seger at the occupy wall street protests. a clip shot by one of our guests today. we're talking about pete seger,
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who passed away monday, and also about the way music has inter sected with political movements in this country. i want to talk about how and whether that is possible today. if peter, paul, and mary were on ed sullivan, they could talk to a quarter of all the people in the country. if dick gregory was on a late night show he could talk to millions at one time about the vietnam war. when the smothers brothers sang, they had a much wider audience. i wonder if we can do that in a current world where we're broken up in tiny bits before we had mass media? >> i imagine you could say it's even easier these days. you don't even need to be on
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television. you can go right from your bedroom to the world through the internet. my sincere guess is that it's not getting harder or easier to do the work of political justice, social justice. i think its just it springs eternal. pete taught me you don't do it to win. you do it because the doing of it is so joyful and gives your life purpose. in doing so you'll meet all kinds of people you'll be lucky to know. you do so, so that maybe you give your children a head start on that very same fight. if you don't achieve the goal yourself . i think pete would have carried
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out more. >> i think she's right. there are a lot of different ways that we get our music out there. many of the people doing political music today aren't signed to big labels. they are not playing big concert halls. they are playing environmental rallies and union halls and coffee shops and smaller concert halls, and spreading that word through twitter and facebook and using the internet, i think it's a huge advancement. >> well, john nichols, through your journalism you're talking to some of those communities of interest today, what is going on now and when you would have seen
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pete seger rally to a cleaner river or end of a vietnam war or the human rights acts in the 60's. >> remember, he was born before radio was in popular usage, and came of age before television was in popular usage, and yet passed away in the digital era. this is an important thing to talk about. you're getting at something that is vital here ray. it is true what annie and bill say, we have different platforms that we can reach people that we might not have reached in the past. but that broad communication that you saw for a period in the 60's and 70's, it is harder to bring people together and get them on the same page. but i think music is vital here. i have to tell you i was at the
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wisconsin protest in 2011 when hundreds of thousands of people came out in bitter cold weather, and some of the most magic moments of that time when tom barillo strapped on a guitar and stood out in the cold and sang a pete seger song. even though we talk about how divided we are, the communication vehicles, there are moments when the mass of people come together, and the one thing that touches everyone's heart is a song. pete seger taught us that. he taught us a generation of younger people like answery an d bruce springsteen who has the ability to jump to television from the radio. uniting and getting everyone on the same page, it's sometimes
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harder. >> sandy baker, you've been trying to jump in. >> yes, most of the artists that came together, occupy wall street is a #revolution in my humble opinion. you can connect to the arab spring with the hashtag. i was tweeting from tahrir square. i was in zuccotti park once. joan baez, one of the high points of my career next to meeting pete, joan paez, she tailored her lyrics "salt of the earth" to occupy. and the musicians were drawn to us, but it was a generational thing. i grew up in the 60's.
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we sat around and held hands. when i met pete i was on the student non-violent coordinating committee, sncc. these kids in zuccotti park didn't know the lyrics to the songs that i grew up with, and they are reading the lyrics off their iphones. >> thanthank you for bringing u" phone. that's a tremendous reach. you could be reading off the iphone across the planet, which is enlivening and inspiring, and oddly isolating at the same time. yes, occupy wall street is on oe of those exceptional moments when people came together and stayed together. but activism can b be a solitary
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activity in the 21st century in a way that it wasn't before, instead of storming the pentagon in the moratorium days, you could sit back if des moines or boston and be watching it on your 2.5-inch screen in your pocket. >> one of kids asked me how did you get together in groups? how did you know in the 60's? there was nothing, there wasn't twitter, cellphones. i believe we listened to public radio, and there was the free press and certain liberal publications and there were the campuses. many of these protest movements started on the campuses,ed kids were my age. now just put a hashtag on it, and you're good to go. >> the future of ardent activism. we'll take a short break and when we come back we'll talk
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more about the legacy of pete seger and what it will mean for the country and the rest of the century. this is inside story. trenches, we want to go in the corners that are less looked at. everyone at al jazeera america is dedicated to tell the story the best way that it can be told. two years ago. it has momentum behind it, you
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>> welcome back to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. we're talking about the life and legacy of folk singer and social activist pete seger who died monday at the age of 94. still with us, john nichols. from new orleans, annie difranco. and joe uline a folk singer and labor organizer and sandy bakem. occupy wall street filmmaker and activist. were the protests around the republican convention in new york in 2004, and what struck me was that unlike other marchs that had an unifying
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idea, this is what we're here about. there were about 80 different causes on display in front of madison square garden that day. and i'm wondering if that is a motif of the age, that really--really there aren't two or three big causes the way there might have been in other times, but people's attention is going to a lot of different things. >> yes, i think that's right. i think in the introduction where we heard pete talk about big things and little things. he once sitting in a bar explained to me his pomegranate strategy, and it could be some of our other guests have heard him talk about this. when you open it up there are thousands of little seeds. he viewed art as being those seeds and going out into all the various communities that are working to build a better world. so it's not just labor rights or environmental rights.
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pete viewed it as those things together. and he identified the commonalities before many people did between a lot of these movements. he helped bridge them. >> so annie difranco, how does art inter sect with activism now? >> inextricably, as far as i'm concerned. and i hear what you're saying. there is so much diversity of purpose, and it's so much more complex these days to fight the good fight. but i'm hoping that that's a good thing. because there is certainly a diversity of need and perspective, and like pete was talking about, beware of the platform that is too big. there is so much powerful good change you can make in your community with people you know by reaching out to exactly what
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you can reach. so, you know, i plan to sort of try to carry pete's legacy in my own little way, and do that on a nightly basis at my shows or when i'm talking to people in interviews, and carry the work forward in incremental every day ways and not worry about changing everything all at once. >> john nichols, last year i was interviewing dolores vuerta, and i said isn't had a over when they were working with cesar chavez was working with the farm workers. she said, oh, absolutely not. it's every bit the same day, is it? >> sure it is.
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the president of the united states is going to give a state of the union speech tonight, and we revisit many of the fundamental questions again and again and again. that was something that pete seger understood very, very well. a long life and in life in which at times you are very prominent. remember, he topped the popular music charts in the early 19's, and then went from being pushed away from any prominent entertainment spot in the late 50's. when you have this experience you get a calmness about it. you recognize that it is a long, good fight. this is something that you bring up, dolores vuerta, one of the passions for pete seger is the struggle of farm workers. there is organizing going on today. one of pete's closest allies, or
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someone that he loved to sing with, the founder of the farm labor organize committee in ohio, pete would always find time to do an event for it. nobody was paying attention, or very few people, but that's how you built movement. you keep at it over long periods of time. keep at it where you can. annie has done that on so many levels, other artists are doing it. there are a lot of people who learned how to be a musician activist from pete seger. i don't think anything is going to die with him. he planted a lot of those pomegranate seeds. >> it seems that he was ready to do it all the way up to the rest of his life. >> oh my goodness.
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i helped him mr. his house, i wa, andup to the very end he was available. i want to say this machine avoid hates and brings peace. that's pete seeinger. >> and sandy, annie, john, and joe, thank you all for being with me. tonight is the state of the union speech, as john nichols mentioned. i'm on my way to be part of al jazeera's special coverage. we'll be in the studio joined by libby casey on capitol hill. ali velshi in new york, and al jazeera reporters around the country and around the world as we wait for the president's
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state of the union speech at 9:00 p.m. we'll have public response shortly after. thank you for joining us today. i'm ray suarez. >> had it not sparked fire, this story would be like that of many other low-intensity conflicts over resources waiting to erupt across this oil, gas and fresh-water rich country. back in 2010, the canadian province of new brunswick granted a texas-based company, southwestern energy, licenses to explore for shale gas - in exchange for investment worth 47 million dollars.

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