Green Party Watch acknowledges passing of historian and activist Howard Zinn

from Green Party Watch
Historian, activist, professor Howard Zinn dead at 87
by Gregg Jocoy / January 27th, 2010

Here is a story at The Boston Globe.

According to the story Zinn’s family reports that he was traveling in Santa Monica and suffered a heart attack.

The story includes this quote by linguist and activist contemporaries Noam Chomsky:

“His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives,”“When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide.”

The article, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Feeney calls Zinn’s historic academic works “revisionist”, and says of A People’s History of the United States,

“A People’s History of the United States” (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.With books written over decades, Zinn was a prolific writer of both scholarly and popular works.

Zinn showed support for the Green Party and Ralph Nader, having as recently as February of 2008 worked with Nader to “Hold the Democratic presidential candidates feet to the fire”.

Here is a link to a story at On The Wilder Side.

14 thoughts on “Green Party Watch acknowledges passing of historian and activist Howard Zinn

  1. Erik Geib

    “Governments – including the government of the United States – are not neutral… they represent the dominant economic interests, and… their constitutions are intended to serve these interests.” – Howard Zinn

    Though I may have disagreed with some of his political viewpoints, there is no doubt his writings and intelligence were of service to those resisting the status quo.

    Howard, you will be missed.

  2. Darcy G Richardson

    I’m very sorry to hear this. That’s the saddest news I’ve heard in a long time. I had an opportunity to hear Mr. Zinn speak at the Miami Book Fair several years ago and spoke with him briefly afterwards. He was a wonderful historian and committed activist for America’s better self.

  3. Timothy Yung

    His book People’s History of the United States really influenced my political views. His book really got me interested in politics and history. Over the last 3 years I have however drifted away from liberalism but his book taught me to be suspicious of the power elite and the government. This mistrust of the power elite and the government ultimately led me into the paleo-libertarian/conservative movement. So while I rejected his socialist ideas he helped me to think critically of those in power. Thanks.

  4. Don Lake .......... More

    Met him briefly in Arid Zona, and thot he had died, a la Studs Turkle and Arthur Miller. I liked him and his writing, but, like Turkle and Miller and Micheal Moore, is he an historian or a propagandist ?????

  5. Kimberly Wilder

    Don Lake asks if he is “an historian or a proagandist”…

    Well, if the boy with the parrot was killed, and you never heard the story before you read Zinn, then he is a historian.


  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    “is he an historian or a propagandist ?”

    You ask that like there’s a difference.

    Any chronicle of history which includes more than a list of dates with non-informative event names next to them implies a worldview.

  7. Eric Sundwall

    They key was that he wasn’t afraid to look at history differently. As a neighbor to Shay’s Rebellion and the Rent Riots of Rensselaer, I’ll always be grateful to Zinn’s version.

    South Troy against the world !

  8. Don Lake .......... More

    Eric Sundwall // Jan 28, 2010:
    “key was that he wasn’t afraid to look at history differently. ”

    Yes, and as boring as the vast majority of History text books are, it was a gale force breath of fresh air. But was it an Op Ed piece or hard news ?????? Was it documented or just one person’s opinion ?????

    I also will be grateful to Zinn, but not with out a personal critical review. History is more than reprinting official public relations puff pieces. Even if the President’s last name is Bush!

  9. Erik Geib


    He wrote of documented things. The ‘propaganda’ potential lies in the balance with which he did/didn’t give other views of history. A leading criticism of A People’s History was that it was too one-sided, not that it was untrue.

    You can be both a historian and a propagandist… all it takes is a presentation of one side (in this case, a side rarely covered).

    Had he not used his presentation of history to leap to left-leaning conclusions, he undoubtedly would have been far less criticized, but the historical contributions of his work are considerable nonetheless.

    “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.” – Howard Zinn

  10. Richard Cooper

    TK 7
    There is a considerable difference.
    Holding a worldview does not make you a propagandist, only a human being. Full disclosure: I majored in European intellectual history at Columbia and my advisor was Robert Nisbet.

  11. Green Party fan

    Zinn was brave, and hard headed. The perfect description of a large number of Green Party members.

    Zinn did great work with and for the Green Party.

    A true Green Party conservative, conservative in the traditional optimistic and fundamental belief we can change the system. Truth will when the day…

    Thank you Mr. Zinn.

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