Howard Zinn

<span class="floatleft"><img src="http://conference.progressive.org/sites/all/images/heads/zinn.gif" width="70" ></span>Howard Zinn is a historian, political scientist, social critic, activist and playwright, best known as author of the bestseller A People's History of the United States. The author of some 20 books, he is currently Professor Emeritus in the Political Science Department at Boston University.
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By Howard Zinn on January 27, 2015

Howard Zinn died five years ago today. This classic essay on nonviolence is adapted from his speech on May 2, 2009, at The Progressive’s 100th anniversary conference.

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By Contributor on November 11, 2014

In honor of Veterans Day 2014, we present from our archive a 2004 essay by Howard Zinn on just and unjust war. He writes, "I am finding that I am not the only veteran of World War II who refuses to be corralled into justifying the wars of today." One decade later, as we await the next perceived security threat––ISIS? Syria?––a former soldier's discomfort with the concept of "the good war" has never been more relevant.

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By Howard Zinn on May 26, 2014

"Let the dead of all our wars be honored. Let the living pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again."

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When Californians need more water, they take it from their neighbors. Image credit: Robert Goldstrom

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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