Noam Chomsky is absolutely correct that Howard Zinn changed the consciousness of a generation... and beyond. He is certainly among those who has forever changed me. I still weep with missing him. And Howard Zinn lives on...
It's amazing the degree that we are propagandized in this country. It still blows me away - all this brainwashing in the "land of the free" which so powerfully acts to pull us away from our better, wise, and loving selves and instead into fear and distractions, lies and scapegoating, and colluding even in that which threatens our children and grandchildren and the entire planet.
In the midst of ever increasing assault on life and the poisonous propaganda which we are immersed in, I am moved to illuminate and go beyond all this darkness to help us all remember what integrity, consciousness, truth and courage look like. This is the beauty reflected in an awakened soul and open heart.
Blessed are the truth-tellers, the courageous and wise ones, the ones who are fierce about justice and the work of creating a just world. Bless Howard Zinn. If we all grew up reading Howard Zinn's books - https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1PQHS_enUS510US510&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=howard+zinn+books - we would be an awakened nation and world. May we be inspired by the heart and soul of this work. And may we inspire each other. It is time. We are all needed... Molly
The Voice of Howard Zinn Remembered...
Democracy depends on citizens being informed, and since our media, especially television (which is the most important source of news for most Americans) reports mostly what the people in power do, and repeats what the people in power say, the public is badly informed, and it means we cannot really say we have a functioning democracy.
History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.
I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is ... to tell the truth.
If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, nor as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.
When the Democrats are attacked for [inciting class warfare] they shrink back. They don't say what obviously should be said, "Yes, there is class warfare. There has always been class warfare in this country." The reason the Democrats shrink back is because the Democrats and the Republicans are on the same side of the class war. They have slightly different takes. The Democrats are part of the upper class that is more willing to make concessions to the lower class in order to maintain their power.
The supposedly contending groups who run American society, Democrats and Republicans and Whigs and Democrats and Federalists and anti-Federalists, they really are part of the same elite group.
It had long been true, and prisoners knew this better than anyone, that the poorer you were the more likely you were to end up in jail. This was not just because the poor committed more crimes. In fact, they did. The rich did not have to commit crimes to get what they wanted; the laws were on their side. But when the rich did commit crimes, they often were not prosecuted, and if they were they could get out on bail, hire clever lawyers, get better treatment from judges. Somehow, the jails ended up full of poor black people.
Behind the deceptive words designed to entice people into supporting violence -- words like democracy, freedom, self-defense, national security -- there is the reality of enormous wealth in the hands of a few, while billions of people in the world are hungry, sick, homeless.
Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country [America], for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria.
It's not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it's not going to help. Then you might say, "Yes, it's terrorizing people, but it's worth doing because it will end terrorism." But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?
War is a form of terrorism. I know there are people who don't like to equate-- what was done-- you know on September 11th, 2001, they don't like to equate that with a war that the United States engaged in. Sure, they're different. But they're not different in the-- in the fundamental principal that drives the terrorists and that is, they're saying, we're going to kill a lot of people but it will be worth it. We're trying to do something. We're trying to accomplish something. They-- the terrorists are not killing people just for the sake of killing people, they have some end in mind. To show that the American empire is vulnerable or to make some point about American policy in the Middle East. But they have an end in mind. We are doing the same thing. I mean, as I say, the details are different, but we are willing to kill a lot of people for some political end that we have declared.
Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane.
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now. It is a world of clashing interests -- war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism -- and it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts.
I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past's fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare.
To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
- Howard Zinn