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.

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2 thoughts on “Howard Zinn 1922-2010

  1. I’m not sure that Zinn would have been very afraid of the ‘Marxist’ label. In academia, the Marxist critique is generally accepted as one of the most important critiques available. Zinn’s histories were on the whole unequivocally Marxist.

    To me, it’s a bigger problem that some people seem to consider ‘Marxist’ an insult.

    And yes, his is a sad loss.

  2. I probably should have said “twisted Marxist” as one reader labeled him because you’re right, being a Marxist should actually carry far more respect than being a Capitalist nowadays.

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