Politics

Howard Zinn Guest Editorial (1868): “Refuse to play the game of silence in the midst of murder”

In this editorial, Howard Zinn nominates Eartha Kitt for Women of the Year and Dr. Benjamin Spock for Man of the Year because “both refused to play the game” by speaking out against the Vietnam War. Excerpt: We’ve… Read More

Howard Zinn on Resistance (TV clip) | HowardZinn.org

Howard Zinn Lauds Eartha Kitt and Dr. Benjamin Spock for Their Resistance (1968)

Originally broadcast on “What’s Happening Mr. Silver?” on WGBH Boston, Howard Zinn lauds Eartha Kitt and Dr. Benjamin Spock for their public resistance and calls on everyone to actively resist and protest social injustice.   What’s Happening Mr…. Read More

Beyond Elections | HowardZinn.org

Beyond Voting

By Howard Zinn • Excerpted from The Zinn Reader  The political culture of the United States is dominated by voting. Every election year is accompanied by an enormous amount of attention, with the media and the politicians joining… Read More

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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Barack Obama • Photo by Chuck Kennedy • WikiCommons

Changing Obama’s Mindset

Published in The Progressive • May 13, 2009
We are citizens, and Obama is a politician. You might not like that word. But the fact is he’s a politician. He’s other things, too—he’s a very sensitive and intelligent and thoughtful and promising person. But he’s a politician.

If you’re a citizen, you have to know the difference between them and you—the difference between what they have to do and what you have to do. And there are things they don’t have to do, if you make it clear to them they don’t have to do it.

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‘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

Sacco and Vanzetti • Photographer unknown • WikiCommons

Sacco and Vanzetti

Published by ZCommunications • March 11, 2009
On that 50th year after the execution, the New York Times reported that: “Plans by Mayor Beame to proclaim next Tuesday “Sacco and Vanzetti Day’ have been canceled in an effort to avoid controversy, a City Hall spokesman said yesterday.”

There must be good reason why a case 50-years-old, now over 75-years-old, arouses such emotion. I suggest that it is because to talk about Sacco and Vanzetti inevitably brings up matters that trouble us today: our system of justice, the relationship between war fever and civil liberties, and most troubling of all, the ideas of anarchism: the obliteration of national boundaries and therefore of war, the elimination of poverty, and the creation of a full democracy.

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‘Election Day Will Not Be Enough’: An Interview with Howard Zinn

Interview by Jessica Lee and John Tarleton • Indypendent • Nov. 14, 2008
“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.”

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President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain • By Pete Souza • WikiCommons

The Obama Difference

Published in The Progressive • October 7, 2008
It seems that Barack Obama and John McCain are arguing over which war to fight. McCain says: Keep the troops in Iraq until we “win.” Obama says: Withdraw some (not all) troops from Iraq and send them to fight and “win” in Afghanistan.

As someone who has fought in a war (World War II) and since then has protested against war, I must ask: Have our political leaders gone mad? Have they learned nothing from recent history? Have they not learned that no one “wins” in a war, but that hundreds of thousands of human beings die, most of them civilians, many of them children?

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From Empire to Democracy

Published at The Guardian • Oct. 3, 2008
This current financial crisis is a major way-station on the way to the collapse of the American empire. The first important sign was 9/11, with the most heavily-armed nation in the world shown to be vulnerable to a handful of hijackers.

And now, another sign: both major parties rushing to get an agreement to spend $700bn of taxpayers’ money to pour down the drain of huge financial institutions which are notable for two characteristics: incompetence and greed.

There is a much better solution to the current financial crisis. But it requires discarding what has been conventional “wisdom” for too long: that government intervention in the economy (“big government”) must be avoided like the plague, because the “free market” will guide the economy towards growth and justice.

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Our Interview with the People’s Historian, Howard Zinn

The Boulder Weekly • Oct. 2, 2008
“We resemble other times in history before the movements were effective — when they were just growing, when they were just developing. The anti-slavery movement had to develop over 30 years. The anti-war movement against Vietnam had to develop over four or five years. The Civil Rights movement had to develop over decades and decades. So, we are in a stage of development. You can’t just look at where we are right now and say, ‘Well, we’re not doing it, we’re incapable, we’re hopeless.'”

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U.S. ‘In Need of Rebellion’

Interviewed by Al Jazeera • Sept. 13, 2008
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.”

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Howard Zinn’s Advice to Obama

Interview by Rob Kall • OpEd News • Aug. 28, 2008
Do you have any advice for Obama?

“Yes. Speak boldly to the American people, the American people want to get out of Iraq. Speak boldly and say, ‘I’m going to withdraw from Iraq as fast as ships and planes can carry them,’ and I think that Obama will have a much better chance of winning the election because he will be speaking to the hearts of the American people, who really are sick of the war.”

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Rebels Against Tyranny: An Interview with Howard Zinn on Anarchism

Interview by Žiga Vodovnik • Published at CounterPunch • May 12, 2008
“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.”

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Zinn Speaks: An Interview on the State of the Empire

By Wajajat Ali • Published at Counterpunch • April 19, 2008
Zinn reflects on his historic and memorable time at Spelman College in the ‘60s, his thoughts on the Democratic Party, his philosophy of dissent as democracy, and his hope for America’s future.

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Beyond the New Deal

Published in The Nation • April 7, 2008
We might wonder why no Democratic Party contender for the presidency has invoked the memory of the New Deal and its unprecedented series of laws aimed at helping people in need. The New Deal was tentative, cautious, bold enough to shake the pillars of the system but not to replace them.

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"Work Pays America! Prosperity." • Poster by Vera Bock • Library of Congress

Are Hillary and Obama Afraid of Talking About the New Deal?

Published by ZCommunications • April 2, 2008
We might wonder why no Democratic Party contender for the presidency has invoked the memory of the New Deal and its unprecedented series of laws aimed at helping people in need. The New Deal was tentative, cautious, bold enough to shake the pillars of the system but not to replace them. It created many jobs but left 9 million unemployed. It built public housing but not nearly enough. It helped large commercial farmers but not tenant farmers. Excluded from its programs were the poorest of the poor, especially blacks. As farm laborers, migrants or domestic workers, they didn’t qualify for unemployment insurance, a minimum wage, Social Security or farm subsidies.

Still, in today’s climate of endless war and uncontrolled greed, drawing upon the heritage of the 1930s would be a huge step forward.

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Voting in the United States | WikiCommons

Let’s Come to Our Senses About the Election

Published in The Progressive • March 5, 2008
Now that Ohio and Texas are over, can we take a deep breath and come to our senses?

Election fever has seized the country, as it does every four years.

We have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two candidates who have already been chosen for us.

Now I’m not saying elections are totally insignificant, and that we should refuse to vote to preserve our moral purity.

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"Impeach them both" • Citizens Movement to Impeach Bush/Cheney • Portland Newswire Archive

Impeachment by the People

Published in The Progressive • March 7, 2007
The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Courage is in short supply in Washington, D.C. The realities of the Iraq War cry out for the overthrow of a government that is criminally responsible for death, mutilation, torture, humiliation, chaos. But all we hear in the nation’s capital, which is the source of those catastrophes, is a whimper from the Democratic Party, muttering and nattering about “unity” and “bipartisanship,” in a situation that calls for bold action to immediately reverse the present course.

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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