Howard Zinn 1922-2010

Considering the subject of the last post I wrote, today seems an appropriate if rather sad occasion to start blogging again. I’m very sad to learn that Howard Zinn has died of a heart attack at the age of 87. I was only listening to a talk by him a few days ago and his mind was still so lucid, its hard to believe he has died so suddenly.

Zinn will be sorely missed as one of the few American historians who told history from the perspective of the people and not the powerful and always encouraged listeners that the lessons of history are that they can confront power and change things for the better. Zinn started his life killing thousands in World War 2 bombing raids and spent the rest of it trying to raise awareness about the realities of American abuse of power throughout the ages.

It’s a funny world he leaves behind. As I highlighted in the last post, try and tell history from the perspective of working people nowadays and you’re labeled a “Marxist”.

Send thousands of young people to their deaths, and you’re awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

In-depth tribute on Democracy Now and commentary piece in The Guardian.

Hollywood is full of Marxists

It’s not difficult to get accused of being a Marxist nowadays – especially if you’re in Hollywood. Just try to suggest that the perspective of the poor and oppressed is important and watch how they chase you down Hollywood Boulevard with burning copies of the Communist Manifesto.

Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the USA is one of the best selling history books in America. It attempts to do something that most history books don’t – report history from the point of view of common people involved in the fight for civil and working rights. Recently, it has been turned into a star-studded documentary that yesterday got its first showing on the History Channel.

I haven’t seen it yet and I’m not sure when it will be aired in Europe where there are even more Marxists sitting around enjoying their free health care, public transport, worker’s rights etc. What’s impressive however is the conservative backlash in the USA against the documentary. The History Channel’s official forum and right-wing entertainment websites are outraged that this work of Satan has been turned into a documentary. Some examples include:

Have you people lost your freaking minds – or just your objectivity. Enter Howard Zin: Zinn has spent a lifetime teaching college students about the evils of capitalism, the promise of Marxism, and his version of American history – a history that has, in his view, been kept from students.

Howard Zinn?? Howard Zinn?? The History Channel expects us to believe Howard Zinn and his hand-picked crew of Hollywood leftist are about to give us an accurate and unbiased account of American history..,. Shame on the History Channel… Shame, shame, shame……

This two hour special full of the spewings of a twisted Marxist like Howard Zinn is the last straw.

Shame, shame, indeed!! This is a vitriolically anti-American editorial and does not deserve to be shown on a channel whose business it is to present facts, not opinions. Leave it to a bunch of Hollywood types to spit in the face of a country that has given them everything!

This is an act of war, the clear intention here is to plant the seeds of revolutionary hatred into a whole generation of youth. Such brainwashed youth will regard the generations before them as vermin who are pure evil and in need of punishment. This is the beginning of training for future revolutionary soldiers who will happily make the streets run red while thinking of themselves as white nights.

(There was ONE happy viewer incidentally):

I guess it’s just a relief to see some “History” on a channel that still calls itself HISTORY, and not some fat guy doing some scripted ‘dangerous’ job.

And the bile just goes on and on. So basically, according to these guys, be very careful if you go to Hollywood because nowadays it’s full of liberals and communists that are trying to suggest that the plight of the poor and working population in history is worth hearing (even if it is from the mouths of a bunch of rich film stars). I mean, they might as well rename Hollywood Boulevard Karl Marx Strasse and give Fidel Castro the green light to invade from the Hollywood Hills!

Where have the good old days of Hollywood gone such as Showgirls and Basic Instinct 2?