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Howard Zinn
American historian and political activist
(1922- )



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We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness - embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television.
-- "Changing Minds, One at a Time", in: The Progressive magazine, March 2005

No form of government, once in power, can be trusted to limit its own ambition, to extend freedom and to wither away. This means that it is up to the citizenry, those outside of power, to engage in permanent combat with the state, short of violent, escalatory revolution, but beyond the gentility of the ballot-box, to insure justice, freedom and well being.
-- "Non-Violent Direct Action", in: Howard Zinn on History (2000)

We have thrown away the most valuable asset we had -- the individual's right to oppose both flag and country when he believed them to be in the wrong. We have thrown it away; and with it, all that was really respectable about that grotesque and laughable word, Patriotism.
-- "Patriotism & The Fourth of July"

It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country. The explorers were men, the landholders and merchants men, the political leaders men, the military figures men. The very invisibility of women, the overlooking of women, is a sign of their submerged status.
-- A People's History of the United States (1980)

With the indiscriminate nature of modern military technology (no such thing as a 'smart bomb,' it turns out) all wars are wars against civilians, and are therefore inherently immoral. This is true even when a war is considered 'just,' because it is fought against a tyrant, against an aggressor, to correct a stolen boundary.
-- Howard Zinn on War (2000)

If more people knew something about the history of government deception, of the lies that were told getting us into the Mexican War, the lies that were told getting us into the Spanish-American War, the lies that were told getting us into the war in the Philippines, the lies that were told getting us into World War I, the lies that were told again and again in Vietnam, the lies on the eve of the Gulf War, they would have questions about what they are hearing from the government and the media to justify this war.
-- Terrorism And War (2002)

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.
-- You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train (2002)





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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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