Howard Zinn…PRESENTE!!!

A year ago, we lost one of America’s most precious jewels in Howard Zinn. He passed away from a heart attack in Santa Monica, CA. Howard Zinn, was a historian, professor, social critic, anarchist, “democratic socialist,”social activist, playwriter, and a world renown author for several books including his international best selling book, A People’s History of the United States. Howard Zinn was simply a Revolutionary.

Howard inspired millions of people not only with his books, speeches, classes, but with the way he lived his life. He was a man of his words. A man who embarked on a journey to search for the Truth and speaking nothing but the Truth. We are forever grateful for the knowledge that he instilled in us.

I was fortunate to see him speak at an event that was sponsored by KPFK  in Los Angeles, CA on May 12, 2006. He talked about Just Wars. It was an amazing experience to see him talk. Just being in that space was truly a blessing. Below is the speech that he gave on May 12th. Enjoy it.

Here is a link where Howard Zinn talks about how he would like to be remembered and touches on various other topics. Check it out.

These are my top 10 Howard Zinn Quotes (in no particular order):

1. “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
2. “How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”
3. “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.”
4. “The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.” 
5. “Some of the New York Radical Women shortly afterward formed WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell) and its members, dressed as witches, appeared suddenly on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. A leaflet put out by WITCH in New York said:

WITCH lives and smiles in every woman. She is the free part of each of us, beneath the shy smiles, the acquiescence to absurd male domination, the make-up or flesh-suffocating clothes our sick society demands. There is no “joining” WITCH. If you are a woman and dare to look within yourself, you are a WITCH. You make your own rules.”

6. “The prisons in the United States had long been an extreme reflection of the American system itself: the stark life differences between rich and poor, the racism, the use of victims against one another, the lack of resources of the underclass to speak out, the endless “reforms” that changed little. Dostoevski once said: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
7. “But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… To tell the truth.”
8. “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.”
9. “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.”
10. “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. 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. “

It is our task to maintain his legacy alive. We do it by being grounded on the values that he believed in. We all have a Howard Zinn inside of us; let it be at the center of our hearts. Let that zeal guide us as we continue to be constant gardeners in this troubled world.

Howard Zinn….PRESENTE!!!

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