Politics

Howard Zinn Guest Editorial (1968): “Refuse to play the game of silence in the midst of murder”

In this editorial, Howard Zinn nominates Eartha Kitt for Woman 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 become fanatic about the word communist and this is part of the game. It’s the game that …

Beyond Voting

Beyond Elections | HowardZinn.org

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 forces to try to persuade Americans that voting for one candidate or another is the most important …

Changing Obama’s Mindset

Barack Obama • Photo by Chuck Kennedy • WikiCommons

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.

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

Howard Zinn and David Zirin, 2009 | HowardZinn.org

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. It was sponsored by Haymarket Books. The discussion ranged from the U.S. elections, the New Deal in …

Sacco and Vanzetti

Sacco and Vanzetti • Photographer unknown • WikiCommons

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.

‘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.”

The Obama Difference

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

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?

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.