Articles and Essays

‘Inspire Please…’

By Howard Zinn. ZCommunications. July 16, 1999. The Progressive, September 1999,  as "Words in Encouragement."
"For those not in the know, let me explain that we who write for the progressive-radical movement have our specialties. Some specialize in writing depressing stuff. Others write humorous pieces. Some concentrate on trashing other Left writers. It seems that there was an opening this month for someone to inspire, and I was chosen. Not an easy job, when the United States government has just finished dropping thousands of cluster bombs on Yugoslavia…"

‘Je Ne Suis Pas Un Marxiste’

By Howard Zinn. Article. ZCommunications, June 1988; Failure to Quit, and excerpted from The Zinn Reader.
Howard Zinn writes: For a long time I thought that there were important and useful ideas in Marxist philosophy and political economy that should be protected from the self-righteous cries on the right that "Marxism is dead,” as well as from the arrogant assumptions of the commissars of various dictatorships that their monstrous regimes represented “Marxism.”

A Big Government Bailout

Article by Howard Zinn. The Nation. October 27, 2008.
"It is sad to see both major parties agree to spend $700 billion of taxpayer money to bail out huge financial institutions that are notable for two characteristics: incompetence and greed."

A Break-in for Peace

Article by Howard Zinn. The Progressive. July 2002.
"In the film Ocean's 11, eleven skillful crooks embark on an ingenious plan, meticulously worked out, to break into an impossibly secure vault and make off with more than $100 million in Las Vegas casino loot. Hardly a crime of passion.... No, money was the motive, with as little moral fervor attending the crime as went into the making of the movie, which had the same motive. I was reminded of this recently when I sat in a courtroom in Camden, New Jersey, and participated in the recollection of another break-in, carried out by the Camden 28, where the motive was to protest the war in Vietnam."

A Campaign Without Class

Article by Howard Zinn. ZCommunications, September 29, 2000 and The Progressive, November 2000.
"There came a rare amusing moment in this election campaign when George Bush (who has $220 million dollars for his campaign) accused Al Gore (who has only $170 million dollars) of appealing to 'class warfare'.… I noticed that neither of the accused responded with a defiant 'Yes, we have classes in this country.' Only Ralph Nader has dared to suggest that this country is divided among the rich, the poor, and the nervous in between. This kind of talk is unpardonably rude, and would be enough to bar him from the televised debates."

A Chorus Against the War

Article by Howard Zinn. The Progressive. March 2003.
"Men who have no respect for human life or for freedom or justice have taken over this beautiful country of ours. It will be up to the American people to take it back."

A Diplomatic Solution

Article by Howard Zinn. The Progressive. May 1999.
"A friend wrote to ask my opinion on Kosovo. He said many people were turning to him for answers, and he didn't know what to say, so he was turning to me (knowing, I guess, that I always have something to say, right or wrong). Several things seem clear to me, and they don't fit easily together in a way that points to a clean solution."

A Flash of the Possible

By Howard Zinn. Article. The Progressive. January 2000.
"What happened in Seattle recently was not as large an event as the general strike of 1919. But it showed how apparently powerless people—if they unite in large numbers—can stop the machinery of government and commerce. In an era when the power of government, and of multinational corporations, is overwhelming, it is instructive to get even a hint of how fragile that power is when confronted by organized, determined citizens."

A Fourth of July Commentary

By Howard Zinn. Article. ZCommunications. July 4, 2000.
In this year 2000, I cannot comment more meaningfully on the Fourth of July than Frederick Douglass did when he was invited in 1852 to give an Independence Day address [on July 5]. He could not help thinking about the irony of the promise of the Declaration of Independence, of equality, life, liberty made by slaveowners, and how slavery was made legitimate in the writing of the Constitution after a victory for "freedom" over England. And his invitation to speak came just two years after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. . . . So it is fitting, at a time when police are exonerated in the killing of unarmed Black men, when the electric chair and the gas chamber are used most often against people of color, that we refrain from celebration and instead listen to Douglass' sobering words…

A Holy Outlaw

Article by Howard Zinn. The Progressive. February 2003.
"The long funeral procession for Phil Berrigan moved slowly through the streets of the poor Black parish in Baltimore where he had begun his priesthood. ...It was a bitterly cold December day in the kind of neighborhood where the city doesn't bother to clear the snow. People looked on silently from the windows of decaying buildings, and you could see the conditions that first provoked Phil's anger against the injustice of poverty in a nation of enormous wealth."
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