Barsamian: You have called attention to the role of artists in a time of war. What attracts you to artists?
Zinn: Artists play a special role in social change. I first noticed this when I was a teenager and becoming politically aware for the first time. It was people in the arts who had the greatest emotional effect on me.Read More...
Published in The Progressive • June 8, 2004
It seems very hard for some people–especially those in high places, but also those striving for high places–to grasp a simple truth: The United States does not belong in Iraq. It is not our country. Our presence is causing death, suffering, destruction, and so large sections of the population are rising against us. Our military is then reacting with indiscriminate force, bombing and shooting and rounding up people simply on “suspicion.”
…any discussion of “What do we do now?” must start with the understanding that the present U.S. military occupation is morally unacceptable.
Published in The Progressive • June 1, 2004
Our government has declared a military victory in Iraq. As a patriot, I will not celebrate. I will mourn the dead–the American GIs, and also the Iraqi dead, of whom there have been many, many more.
I will mourn the Iraqi children, not just those who are dead, but those who have been blinded, crippled, disfigured, or traumatized. We have not been given in the American media (we would need to read the foreign press) a full picture of the human suffering caused by our bombing.…
As a patriot, contemplating the dead GIs, I could comfort myself (as, understandably, their families do) with the thought: “They died for their country.” But I would be lying to myself.Read More...
Interview by M.H. Lagarde • Published at La Habana • May 8, 2004
“I’ll remind people what Marx’s criticism of capitalism was. I would demonstrate that these ideas have much to with the United States today. In other words, that Marxist criticism today is exact and current.”
Interview by Pedro de la Hoz • Published at La Habana • May 7, 2004
“Those who call themselves objective lie because they pick events and cover up their taking of sides. I do not hide to say: this is my point of view, it is not the only one, face it and make your own conclusions.”
Published in The Progressive • May 2, 2004
The Progressive has been a thorn in the side of the establishment for almost a hundred years. Its life span covers two world wars and six smaller wars. It saw the fake prosperity of the Twenties and the tumult of the Thirties. Its voice remained alive through the Cold War and the hysteria over communism.
Through all that, down to the present day, and the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, this intrepid magazine has been part of the long struggle for peace, for a boundary-less world. It may be useful to recall some of the heroes–some famous, some obscure–of that historic resistance to war.Read More...
Published by News Day • April 13, 2004
After a year of fighting in Iraq and an occupation fraught with violence, surely it is not rash to suggest, given the debacle over missing “weapons of mass destruction,” that it is a good general rule to treat any official rationale for war with skepticism. This conduct would be a healthy departure from the tendency of both Congress and the major media to assume, as was clearly done on the eve of this war in Iraq, that the government is telling the truth. And such skepticism would certainly be a prudent approach to any supposed candor coming from presidential press conferences, such as last night’s, during an election campaign.
I cannot get out of my mind the photo that appeared on the front page of The New York Times on December 30, alongside a story by Jeffrey Gettleman. It showed a young man sitting on a chair… Read More
ZCommunications • February 9, 2004
I suppose it is part of the corruption of contemporary language that an analysis of American foreign policy by a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace should argue for the right of the United States to use military force, regardless of international law, and international opinion, whenever it unilaterally decides its “national interest” requires it. Robert Kagan’s book Of Paradise and Power is important, not because it’s logic is unassailable, or his values admirable, but because it serves as intellectual justification for the foreign policy of the United States, and therefore (as the New York Times reviewer put it) demands “serious attention”. That attention it has received, with the major media rushing to review it, mostly with admiration.
Published at American Amnesia • February 8, 2004
aA:Do you see historical amnesia – that is, forgetting both recent and distant history – as an ailment of the younger generation, or as a continuation of the “way we’ve always been”?
hZ: It’s not an ailment of the younger generation but of that part of the older generation that controls the media and the educational system. I find that young people are hungry for information, but their sources are too often the major television channels, which are controlled by a tiny group of wealthy corporations, with ties and interests close to the government.Read More...
Published in The Progressive • January 1, 2004
In the spring of 1967, my book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was published by Beacon Press. It was the first book on the war to call for immediate withdrawal, no conditions. Many liberals were saying: “Yes, we should leave Vietnam, but President Johnson can’t just do it; it would be very hard to explain to the American people.”My response, in the last chapter of my book, was to write a speech for Lyndon Johnson, explaining to the American people why he was ordering the immediate evacuation of American armed forces from Vietnam. No, Johnson did not make that speech, and the war went on. But I am undaunted, and willing to make my second attempt at speech writing.
Interview by Steven Rosenfeld • Published at TomPaine.com • Dec. 2, 2003
TP.c: Everybody knows civil liberties take a beating in wartime. But historically, what is the most effective way to balance or challenge the excessive use”or abuse”of state power when those in government use the language of war?
Zinn: The recourse of citizens when civil liberties are attacked is first to expose those attacks as violations of basic freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights; and second to speak and write even more boldly than ever in order to encourage other people to do the same, so that the number of people speaking their minds becomes too great for the government to handle.Read More...
Interview by Sarah Burton • Published in Resonance Magazine • November 2003
Howard Zinn and Thom Yorke have never done lunch, waved to each other along a red carpet, or even met face to face. So we arranged the next best thing: a debate between these luminaries moderated via phone and email.… Each had plenty to say about art and politics, but not without also covering everything from Marx and Picasso to Donna Summer and Public Enemy.
Interview by Lawrence R. Velvel • Books of Our Time • November 11, 2003
This discussion ranges from Mr. Zinn’s optimism for the future and what true Patriotism is, to what Americans don’t want to hear.
Published in The Progressive • October 8, 2003
We became familiar with the term “occupied country” during World War II. We talked of German-occupied France, German-occupied Europe. And after the war we spoke of Soviet-occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Europe. It was the Nazis, the Soviets, who occupied other countries.
Now we are the occupiers.Read More...
Published in The Progressive • August 8, 2003
The “victory” over an already devastated and disarmed Iraq led Bush, Rumsfeld, and their teammates into a locker-room frenzy of exultation and self-congratulation. I half expected to see Bush joyfully pouring beer on Rumsfeld’s head and Ashcroft snapping a towel at Ari Fleischer’s derriére.
But it turns out that the war did not bring order to Iraq, but chaos, not crowds of cheering Iraqis, but widespread hostility. “No to Saddam! No to Bush!” were the signs, as Iraqis contemplated their ruined historic treasures, their destroyed homes, and the graves of their dead–thousands and thousands of civilians and soldiers, with many more men, women, children wounded. And it goes on as I write this in mid-June–an ugly occupation. I see a headline: “U.S. Troops Kill 70 in Iraqi Crackdown.”Read More...
By James Green • May 23, 2003 The Chronicle of Higher Education A sellout crowd filled the 92nd Street Y in New York recently to celebrate a publishing milestone: the sale of one million copies of Howard Zinn’s… Read More
Published in Newsday • April 13, 2003
At some point soon the United States will declare a military victory in Iraq. As a patriot, I will not celebrate. I will mourn the dead – the American GIs, and also the Iraqi dead, of which there will be many, many more. I will mourn the Iraqi children who may not die, but who will be blinded, crippled, disfigured, or traumatized, like the bombed children of Afghanistan who, as reported by American visitors, lost their power of speech.
Interview by Paul Glavin and Chuck Morse • Published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory • Spring 2003
Howard Zinn has been a pivotal figure in the American Left for decades. As an activist and writer, he has influenced generations of leftists and helped encourage a strong commitment to direct democracy, anti-racism, and grassroots action.
We asked Zinn about the current changes in the political environment, his theoretical commitments, and some of the challenges faced by radical intellectuals
Interviewed by Michael Pozo • Published in St. John’s University Humanities Review • March 2003
MP: How is your approach to History conducive for positive social change?
HZ: I hope it gives people the History of previous social movements to show how they can bring about change, to show that it is possible, to give people faith that if they participate, if they do even small actions, that might have an effect, if not today, tomorrow or next year.Read More...