Audio & Video

Howard Zinn on Obama

TV Without Borders (TVXS) • May 30, 2009
Recorded in Greece, Zinn talks about Obama and the presidency.

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‘I Wish Obama Would Listen to MLK’

Legendary historian Howard Zinn joins us to talk about war, torture and the teaching of history. Zinn says had Obama heeded the lessons of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., he wouldn’t be escalating U.S. attacks abroad and increasing… Read More

‘You have to go beyond capitalism’: Dave Zirin Interviews Howard Zinn

On May 2, 2009, sportswriter Dave Zirin, author of A People’s History of Sports (New Press) and What’s My Name Fool? (Haymarket Books), interviewed Howard Zinn. Some 250 people attended the event at the University of Wisconsin, Madison…. Read More

Three Holy Wars: The Progressive’s 100th Anniversary Conference

Speech give by Howard Zinn in Madison, Wisconsin, May 2, 2009 Transcript Matt Rothschild: For all his fame he’s more humble, or as I told him once, he fakes it better than anyone I know. So, let’s hear… Read More

Howard Zinn Describes Work in the Navy Yards

In memory of Howard Zinn and in appreciation of his life’s work, the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation shared excerpts from an interview they conducted with Howard Zinn. In this interview, Zinn shares… Read More

Zinn at the 2008 NCSS | Photo by Steve Puppe/NCSS.

Howard Zinn at the 2008 NCSS Conference

In 2008, Howard Zinn have a keynote address at the National Conference for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference. He offers clear examples of how history teachers can help students think outside of the box. This is an excellent film… Read More

Howard Zinn on Democracy in America

Interview by BigThink • 7/5/08
What is the state of democracy in America?
HOWARD ZINN: We don’t have a lot of democracy in America today. We have these formal institutions. We have representative government and we have a Bill of Rights… Sure, we are more democratic than an absolutist and totalitarian state, but we in the United States are still quite a long way from democracy and certainly a long way from economic democracy.

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The Legacy of Howard Zinn

Interview by BigThink • July 5, 2008
What do you want to be remembered for?

HOWARD ZINN: If I want to be remembered for anything, it’s for introducing a different way of thinking about the world, about war, about human rights, about equality, for getting more and more people to think that way. Also, for getting more people to realize that the power which rests so far in the hands of people with wealth and guns, that the power ultimately rests in people themselves and that they can use it. At certain points in history, they have used it.

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Howard Zinn’s Personal Philosophy

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
How do you blend anarchism, socialism and communism?
HOWARD ZINN: I think there are elements in all three that are useful.

Is that a practical way of thinking?
HOWARD ZINN: It’s certainly not practical in the sense of something that’s immediately achievable. But I think it’s very important to hold as a goal.

Watch video at BigThink: Howard Zinn’s Personal Philosophy

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Howard Zinn on U.S. Presidential Candidates

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
Who do you endorse for President [in the 2008 U.S. election]?
HOWARD ZINN: Between Clinton and Obama, well both of them have promised to end the [Iraq] war, but I must say their proposals for bringing the troops out of Iraq are rather halfhearted and they talk about keeping troops there, or Barack Obama says, “Let’s take troops out of Iraq, send troops to Afghanistan.” Neither of them has shaken what Barack Obama rightly called the mindset that led to the Iraq war. The mindset is a mindset which sees war and military intervention as a solution. Neither of them has shaken that.

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Howard Zinn on Race in America

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
Topic: Race in America

HOWARD ZINN: There are more openings in media and business and the professions for a certain number of Black people. But I speak about 10 or 20 percent. For the vast majority of Black people, their lives are still constricted by poverty and racism. The civil rights movement accomplished a good deal by beginning to remove some of the important social barriers. What it did not remove was the barrier of class, the barrier of economic injustice.

Martin Luther King recognized this. That’s why toward the end of his life he began working for economic rights for Black people.

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Learning From World War II

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
What did you learn from your experience in WW II?

HOWARD ZINN: I didn’t learn much about myself during that time, that is, while I was at war. You don’t learn much while you’re in the military except doing your job. By that, I mean you don’t think outside of your job. I didn’t really learn very much until after the war and when I began to think about the war, and this was the best of wars. I began to think about what war accomplishes and, as I say, this was the best of wars. When I examined the best of wars, I found it so ridden through with immorality and atrocity, not just on the Nazi side, but on our side. I began to question the whole idea of war itself, war for any reason, war against evil. I decided that even if you’re fighting a great evil, by going to war, you match that evil and you perpetuate the evil in a different form.

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Howard Zinn on Iraq: Advice for the Next U.S. President

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
What should the next U.S. President do to get the military out of Iraq?

HOWARD ZINN: I think the next president should begin, announce the immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. I think this will be a very healthy thing for Iraq.

The American occupation has not helped a thing. It has not stopped civil war; it has provoked civil war. It has not given the Iraqi people security or democracy; it has given them the opposite. It has ruined their country. And, of course, it has ruined our country, too.

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Howard Zinn on the Limitations of American History Books

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
“A more realistic and more truthful history would take a look at American foreign policy over the last several hundred years, really. It will take a look at American foreign policy and see it for what it has been–expansionist, violent and militaristic. In other words, it would be a history that would be honest in the way that we expect individuals to be honest about themselves and their past and to rectify their mistakes.”

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Howard Zinn on the World Today

Interview by BigThink • 5/8/08
What is the state of the world today?

HOWARD ZINN: The world today, 2008, it’s trying to overcome American dominance in the world, trying to overcome the American military bullying that’s taking place here and there in the world, in Iraq and Afghanistan and military bases in a hundred countries.

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A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Howard Zinn discussed his latest collection of essays at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress” critiques America’s response to 9/11, examines the current state of democracy and government responsibility in America and cites examples… Read More

The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism

Zinn recently spoke in Madison, Wisconsin where he was receiving the Haven Center’s Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship. We bring you his lecture, “The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism.” ZINN: Do you get… Read More

Bringing Democracy Alive

BU Today • November 2, 2002
Howard Zinn calls for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. Zinn accuses the Bush administration of starting a “war of aggression” against Iraq and the American public. He argues that the government and its “warmongering” organs – the mass media and the congress – are not to be relied on for information and exhorts Americans to stop believing that government has the interest of the people in mind.

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The Wartime Failings of American Democracy

BU Today • November 22, 2010
Howard Zinn discusses the wartime failings of American democracy in the first annual Howard Zinn Lecture in 2006.

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“To Be Neutral, To Be Passive In A Situation Is To Collaborate With Whatever Is Going On”

AMY GOODMAN: Well, you just came from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility? HOWARD ZINN: Well, actually, yesterday afternoon I spoke at the Bedford Hills, euphemistically called, Correctional Facility. They hardly correct anything, but… I spoke to prisoners there, women… Read More