Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
There are things that happen in the world that are bad, and you want to do something about them. You have a just cause. But our culture is so war prone that we immediately jump from, “This is a good cause” to “This deserves a war.”
You need to be very, very comfortable in making that jump.
The American Revolution—independence from England—was a just cause. Why should the colonists here be occupied by and oppressed by England? But therefore, did we have to go to the Revolutionary War?
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:Read More
Howard ‘n Roslyn Zinn at BU (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Documentary in which professor Howard Zinn recounts his life as a writer, educator, and leader in nonviolent social protest. His story is one of being in “the right place at the right time,” from poor beginnings, working in shipyard unions, fighting in WWII as a bomber pilot, and then launching his academic career as one of the first white professors to teach at the historically black Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Continue reading →
Howard Zinn is one of this country’s most celebrated historians. His classic work A People’s History of the United States changed the way we look at history in America. First published a quarter of a century ago, the book has sold over a million copies and is a phenomenon in the world of publishing—selling more copies each successive year. After serving as a bombardier in World War II, Howard Zinn went on to become a lifelong dissident and peace activist. He was active in the civil rights movement and many of the struggles for social justice over the past forty years. He taught at Spelman College, the historically black college for women, and was fired for insubordination for standing up for the students. He was recently invited back to give the commencement address. Howard Zinn has written numerous books and is professor emeritus at Boston University. He recently spoke at Binghamton University a few days after the 2008 presidential election. His speech was called “War and Social Justice.” [includes rush transcript]
Let’s go back to the beginning of Veterans Day. It used to be Armistice Day, because at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I came to an end.
We must not forget that conflict. It revealed the essence of war, of all wars, because however “just” or “humanitarian” may be the claims, at the irreducible core of all war is the slaughter of the innocent, organized by national leaders, accompanied by lies. Continue reading →
It’s that time of the year again. In case you missed reading this, here it is again.
Image by Whiskeygonebad via Flickr
by Howard Zinn Featured Writer Dandelion Salad October 12, 2009 An excerpt from A People’s History of the United States. Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island’s beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. …Read More
A neighbor illustrated the problem with the Fourth of July. He broke out a new bumper sticker for his car just in time for the annual celebration. The sticker promoted the US Navy with the slogan, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of all those who oppose us.” This twisted take on the spirit of the day is a perfect illustration of the worst American chauvinism that often pushes leftists and other progressives away from the holiday. However, as historians such as Howard Zinn have demonstrated, there are alternatives – there is a counter-narrative to American history that represents ordinary people. The Fourth of July is the perfect opportunity to discover it.
A black American writer, J. Saunders Redding, describes the arrival of a ship in North America in the year 1619:
Sails furled, flag drooping at her rounded stern, she rode the tide in from the sea. She was a strange ship, indeed, by all accounts, a frightening ship, a ship of mystery. Whether she was trader, privateer, or man-of-war no one knows. Through her bulwarks black-mouthed cannon yawned. The flag she flew was Dutch; her crew a motley. Her port of call, an English settlement, Jamestown, in the colony of Virginia. She came, she traded, and shortly afterwards was gone. Probably no ship in modern history has carried a more portentous freight. Her cargo? Twenty slaves.
In Part 1 of this series, “The Century of Social Engineering,” I briefly document the economic, political and social background to the 20th century in America, by taking a brief look at the major social upheavals of the 19th century. For an excellent and detailed examination of this history, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (which provided much of the research for this article) is perhaps the most expansive and detailed examination. I am not attempting to serve it justice here, as there is much left out of this historically examination than there is included. Continue reading →