Writing a column to appear in the July 4, 1975, issue of the Boston Globe, I wanted to break away from the traditional celebrations of Independence Day, in which the spirit of that document, with its call for rebellion and revolution, was most often missing. The column appeared with the title “The Brooklyn Bridge and the Spirit of the Fourth.”
Recorded in Greece, Zinn talks about Obama and the presidency.
"Significant changes occur when social movements reach a critical point of power capable of moving cautious politicians beyond their tendency to keep things as they are — or when these movements, by direct action, bypass the political system and bring about change by acting directly on the obstacles to change."
Q: Is there any hope the US will change its approach to the rest of the world?
"If there is any hope, the hope lies in the American people. [It] lies in American people becoming resentful enough and indignant enough over what has happened to their country, over the loss of dignity in the world, over the starving of human resources in the United States, the starving of education and health, the takeover of the political mechanism by corporate power and the result this has on the everyday lives of the American people."
"There is one central characteristic of anarchism on the matter of means, and that central principle is a principle of direct action. ... In the South, they did not wait for the government to give them a signal, or to go through the courts, to file lawsuits, wait for Congress to pass the legislation. They took direct action; they went into restaurants, were sitting down there and wouldn’t move. They got on those busses and acted out the situation that they wanted to exist."
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 of when government has overstepped throughout American history.…
Historically, how do you think schools have served as a catalyst for social change and furthering the human rights movement?
Zinn: I think it works both ways. Students who learn in school about what is going on in the world are motivated to do something about it, to act on what they have learned. When I say it goes both ways, when you have students become active in human rights and feel that human rights has touched them personally, then they are likely to come back into the classroom and have the curriculum reflect their own consciousness.
This discussion ranges from Mr. Zinn's optimism for the future and what true Patriotism is, to what Americans don't want to hear.
Recently, meeting with a group of high school students, I was asked by one of them: "I read in your book, A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, about the massacres of Indians, the long history of racism, the persistence of poverty in the richest country in the world, the senseless wars. How can I keep from being thoroughly alienated and depressed?" That same question has been put to me many times, in different forms, one of them being: "How come you are not depressed?" Who says I'm not? At least briefly.
In 1985, Dr. Howard Zinn testified for the defense in the criminal trial of seven citizens who hammered equipment and poured blood on blueprints for the Cruise Missile and Missile X factory in Wilmington, MA. The video shows Dr. Zinn’s compelling testimony in which he makes the case for non-violent civil disobedience as instrumental in changing American history and advancing democracy.