Howard Zinn wrote a column for The Progressive during the last twelve years of his life. In the March 2010 issue, the editors collected his wisdom from those columns. Here are a few bits:
In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, this is the biggest secret: that there are classes with different interests in this country. To ignore that—not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor—is to render us helpless before all the lesser lies told to us by people in power.
Are We Politicians or Citizens?
When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them. The mantra “the best we can get” is a recipe for corruption. We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences.
Changing Obama’s Mindset
Yes, we’re dreamers. We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don’t want war. We don’t want capitalism. We want a decent society. We better hold on to that dream—because if we don’t, we’ll sink closer and closer to this reality that we have, and that we don’t want. . . . Obama has not gotten out of the militaristic missionary mindset. So he has to be pulled by the people who elected him, by the people who are enthusiastic about him, to renounce that mindset.
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