Monday, February 1, 2010

You Have to Get a Little Detached,
and Then Come Back and Look At The World

In Saturday's New York Times, Bob Herbert had a nice remembrance of historian Howard Zinn, who died last week at the age of 87:
I always wondered why Howard Zinn was considered a radical. (He called himself a radical.) He was an unbelievably decent man who felt obliged to challenge injustice and unfairness wherever he found it. What was so radical about believing that workers should get a fair shake on the job, that corporations have too much power over our lives and much too much influence with the government, that wars are so murderously destructive that alternatives to warfare should be found, that blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities should have the same rights as whites, that the interests of powerful political leaders and corporate elites are not the same as those of ordinary people who are struggling from week to week to make ends meet?
That he was considered radical says way more about this society than it does about him.
Read the rest here (the Times' original obit is here).

Here, Wallace Shawn reads an endlessly relevant November 1970 speech by Zinn on the topic of civil disobedience:

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