Politics

An Interview with Howard Zinn

Interview by Shelly R. Fredman • Published by ZCommunications • May 22, 2006
“For those who find a special inspiration in Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism or whatever, fine. If that inspiration leads them to work for justice, that is what matters.”

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America’s Blinders

Published in The Progressive • April 10, 2006
Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?

The question is important because it might help us understand why Americans—members of the media as well as the ordinary citizen—rushed to declare their support as the President was sending troops halfway around the world to Iraq.

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Chief Justice John Roberts signing document • Photo by Eric Draper • WikiCommons

Don’t Despair About the Supreme Court

Published in The Progressive • November 8, 2005
John Roberts sailed through his confirmation hearings as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with enthusiastic Republican support, and a few weak mutterings of opposition by the Democrats. Then, after the far right deemed Harriet Miers insufficiently doctrinaire, Bush nominated arch conservative Samuel Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor. This has caused a certain consternation among people we affectionately term “the left.”

I can understand that sinking feeling. Even listening to pieces of Roberts’s confirmation hearings was enough to induce despair: the joking with the candidate, the obvious signs that, whether Democrats or Republicans, these are all members of the same exclusive club.

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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

‘An Amazing David and Goliath Story’

Interview by Catherine Murphy • Published at Cubanow.net • March 2005
CM: Why do you think the US Government, the Bush administration in particular, does not want US citizens to visit Cuba?

HZ: I wish I could probe the minds of the people who run the United States government.… One of them undoubtedly is that they know that Americans and people from other countries that haven’t come to Cuba are intrigued by the kind of things that Cuba has, which other countries don’t have; intrigued by Cuba’s progress in literacy, in medicine, in culture and so on.

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Critical Thinking

Interview by David Barsamian conducted on July 21, 2004, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This interview was published in the February 2005 issue of International Socialist Review and included in the book, Original Zinn: Conversations on History… Read More

“Bush Represents Everything That Martin Luther King Opposed”

HOWARD ZINN: It’s interesting that the inauguration should come a few days after the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, because here we have Bush being inaugurated as President after the — all of the hypocritical statements made… Read More

Harness That Anger

Published in The Progressive • January 1, 2005
In the days after the election, it seemed that all my friends were either depressed or angry, frustrated or indignant, or simply disgusted. Neighbors who had never said more than hi to me stopped me on the street and delivered passionate little speeches that made me think they had just listened to a re-broadcast of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, in which powerful creatures arrive on Earth to take it over.

But then I reconsidered: They had not been listening to H. G. Wells. There really were strange and powerful creatures that had just occupied the United States and now wanted to take over the rest of the world. Yes, Bush was reelected President, and whether there was fraud in the voting process or not, John Kerry quickly threw in the towel. The minnow called for reconciliation with the crocodile.

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Candidates Not Addressing “Fundamental Issues of American Policy in the World”

AMY GOODMAN: It’s great to have you with us. If you could comment overall about this presidential contest right now. We are just weeks away from the election. HOWARD ZINN: Well, the contest, unfortunately, is not giving us… Read More

‘Marx Is Not Dead’

Interview by M.H. Lagarde • Published at La Habana • May 8, 2004
“I’ll remind people what Marx’s criticism of capitalism was. I would demonstrate that these ideas have much to with the United States today. In other words, that Marxist criticism today is exact and current.”

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American Amnesia Interviews Howard Zinn

Published at American Amnesia • February 8, 2004
aA:Do you see historical amnesia – that is, forgetting both recent and distant history – as an ailment of the younger generation, or as a continuation of the “way we’ve always been”?

hZ: It’s not an ailment of the younger generation but of that part of the older generation that controls the media and the educational system. I find that young people are hungry for information, but their sources are too often the major television channels, which are controlled by a tiny group of wealthy corporations, with ties and interests close to the government.

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Howard Zinn – You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train

Interview by Lawrence R. Velvel • Books of Our Time • November 11, 2003
This discussion ranges from Mr. Zinn’s optimism for the future and what true Patriotism is, to what Americans don’t want to hear.

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War is the Health of the State

Interview by Paul Glavin and Chuck Morse • Published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory • Spring 2003
Howard Zinn has been a pivotal figure in the American Left for decades. As an activist and writer, he has influenced generations of leftists and helped encourage a strong commitment to direct democracy, anti-racism, and grassroots action.

We asked Zinn about the current changes in the political environment, his theoretical commitments, and some of the challenges faced by radical intellectuals

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Zinn on Iraq and Other Pressing Matters

Interview by Bill Moyers • Published at PBS’ NOW With Bill Moyers • January 10, 2003
“Oh, sure. We were attacked, but then the question is, who attacked us? If we could locate the people who attacked us and get them, grab them, find them. Okay, that’s self-defense. But if we are attacked and we don’t know who attacked us, and we just select a country from which we think the attackers may have sprung, and then just bomb that country, that is not defense. That is indiscriminate violence.”

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Zinn on Growing Up, Objectivity, Bombing, Media, Genocide, and Propaganda

Interview by David Barsamian • Published by ZCommunications • November 1, 2002
I want to know something about your roots, growing up in the projects on the lower east side.

I grew up in the slums of Brooklyn, a working class family. My parents were European immigrants, factory workers in New York. They met as factory workers. They were Jewish immigrants. My father came from Austria, my mother from Asiatic Russia, Siberia. I remember moving all the time. We were always one step ahead of the landlord. And changing schools all the time. My father struggled, went from job to job, he was unemployed and under WPA. I wanted to get out of the house all the time. Where we lived was never a nice place to be. So I was in the streets a lot. I understand what it’s like for kids to live in and prefer the streets. That’s how I grew up.

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Arundhati Roy in Conversation with Howard Zinn

Recorded at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 18, 2002 This video is from the event awarding the Prize for Cultural Freedom to Arundhati Roy. Zinn interviews Roy about growing up, her writing, class,… Read More

Dissent In Pursuit Of Equality, Life, Liberty And Happiness

Interview by Sharon Basco • Published at Tompaine.com • July 3, 2002
“When you say the country was founded by people who believed in dissent, well, they believed in their own right to dissent in the relationship with England. But it happens very often that people who believe in their own right to dissent, when they gain power they don’t really accept the idea that other people have the right to dissent. And so, for instance, when the Founding Fathers, who very powerfully defended their right to dissent against the British when they expelled the British, and then they were faced with dissenters, like the former rebels of Shay’s Rebellion in 1786, they sent an army to put them down.”

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Tennis on the Titanic

Published by ZCommunications • December 16, 2000
As the prize of the presidency lurched wildly back and forth in the last days of the year, with the entire nation hypnotized by the spectacle, I had a vision. I saw the Titanic churning through the waters of the North Atlantic toward an iceberg looming in the distance, while passengers and crew were totally concentrated on a tennis game taking place on deck.

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A Campaign Without Class

Published by ZCommunications • September 29, 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.

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Notes for a Gathering

Published by ZCommunications • December 16, 2000
I have been asked to imagine this situation: “The progressive third party movement has captured the White House, 60% of Congress and 30 Governorships. What do we do now?”

First, we have a party, maybe three, with the third party being special. Then, we have Congress pass, and the President sign, the following legislation…

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