January 28, 2010

Howard Zinn in Memorium

Historian Howard Zinn challenged the Establishment. He researched and documented history from the everyman perspective rather than from the standard historical perspective of the elite.

His work challenged the truism that to the victor of war goes the spoils and the writing of history. He challenged the ideology of American exceptionalism, believing that honest exposure of the darker aspects of US History is necessary for the maturing process of the nation.

He understood that the US Constitution was written to establish a government of the elite, by the elite, for the elite. People's struggles for recognition in the Constitution was a necessary evolutionary process... The Bill of Rights, abolition of slavery, women's rights were not included in the Constitution without a struggle.

Zinn was born into a poor family in a New York City slum. During the 1930s, he worked in the shipyards where he organized laborers in the fight for better conditions. He recalls - in one of his many interviews - the first beating he took at the hands of police, which prompted his understanding that police aren’t neutral in concerns of state. In the 1940s, he met his wife, enlisted in the Air Force, and was sent to Europe as a World War II bombardier. He was ordered, late in the war, to drop the U.S.’s first batch of napalm on a French village where the German occupiers had all but surrendered. This led to Zinn’s unwavering pacifism.

The preceding historic narrative is from movie-review of:


Directed & Produced by: Deb Ellis & Denis Mueller.
Director of Photography: Michael Burke, et al.
Edited by: Cyndi Moran.
Music by: Billy Bragg, Woody Guthrie & Eddie Vedder.
Released by: First Run Features.
Country of Origin: USA. 78 min. Not Rated.
Narrated by: Matt Damon.

Howard Zinn: 1922 - 2010




Mark Prime said...


There is no replacement.

libhom said...

I'm not convinced that American Exceptionalism is that exceptional. I've seen exceptionalism in plenty of other countries. Of course, it's more dangerous when our country engages in that kind of shoddy thinking because the US is so much more powerful than other countries.

I admire Zinn for being so exceptional, not just as a historian, but in his ability to challenge the kind of territorial groupthink that causes so many disasters.

GDAEman said...

DemocracyNow! 1/28/10 had an excellent reflection on Howard Zinn.