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Howard Zinn

Date de naissance: 24. août 1922
Date de décès: 27. janvier 2010
Autres noms: ஓவர்ட் சின்

Howard Zinn est un historien et politologue américain, professeur au département de science politique de l'université de Boston durant 24 ans.

Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il s'engage dans l'armée de l'air et est nommé lieutenant bombardier naviguant. Son expérience dans l'armée a été le déclencheur de son positionnement politique pacifiste qui élève au rang de devoir la désobéissance civile.

Il a été un acteur de premier plan du mouvement des droits civiques et du courant pacifiste aux États-Unis et est considéré comme l'une des figures intellectuelles majeures de la gauche américaine.

Auteur de vingt livres dont les thèmes sont à la croisée de ses travaux de chercheur et de son engagement politique, il est particulièrement connu pour son best-seller publié en 1980 Une histoire populaire des États-Unis, qui « l'a consacré comme l'un des historiens américains les plus lus, bien au-delà des campus américains ». Wikipedia

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„There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable.“

—  Howard Zinn

"Terror Over Tripoli" http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/Tripoli_ZR.html (1993), from The Zinn Reader (1997)

„I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something that they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people, or a hundred people.“

—  Howard Zinn

Rawstory.com Interview (9 September 2005) http://rawstory.com/news/2005/Zinn_interview_part_two_Same_arguments_made_in_Vietnam_made_0909.html, which compares U.S. wars in Iraq and Vietnam
Contexte: I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something that they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people, or a hundred people. And to look at history and understand that when change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to one another. And that history is very important for people to not get discouraged. Because if you look at history you see the way the labor movement was able to achieve things when it stuck to its guns, when it organized, when it resisted. Black people were able to change their condition when they fought back and when they organized. Same thing with the movement against the war in Vietnam, and the women's movement. History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.

„American society, although it has more freedom of expression than most societies in the world, thus sets limits beyond which respectable people are not supposed to think or speak. So far, too much of the debate on Vietnam has observed these limits.“

—  Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn on War (2000), Ch. 14: Vietnam: A Matter of Perspective http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Zinn/Vietnam_Perspective_HZOW.html
Contexte: Scholars, who pride themselves on speaking their minds, often engage in a form of self-censorship which is called "realism." To be "realistic" in dealing with a problem is to work only among the alternatives which the most powerful in society put forth. It is as if we are all confined to a, b, c, or d in the multiple choice test, when we know there is another possible answer. American society, although it has more freedom of expression than most societies in the world, thus sets limits beyond which respectable people are not supposed to think or speak. So far, too much of the debate on Vietnam has observed these limits.

„Why should we accept that the "talent" of someone who writes jingles for an advertising agency advertising dog food and gets $100,000 a year is superior to the talent of an auto mechanic who makes $40,000 a year?“

—  Howard Zinn

ZNet commentary (35 November 1999) http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/1999-11/25zinn.htm
Contexte: Why should we accept that the "talent" of someone who writes jingles for an advertising agency advertising dog food and gets $100,000 a year is superior to the talent of an auto mechanic who makes $40,000 a year? Who is to say that Bill Gates works harder than the dishwasher in the restaurant he frequents, or that the CEO of a hospital who makes $400,000 a year works harder than the nurse or the orderly in that hospital who makes $30,000 a year? The president of Boston University makes $300,000 a year. Does he work harder than the man who cleans the offices of the university? Talent and hard work are qualitative factors which cannot be measured quantitatively.

„I am not an absolute pacifist, because I can't rule out the possibility that under some, carefully defined circumstances, some degree of violence may be justified, if it is focused directly at a great evil.“

—  Howard Zinn

ZNet forum reply (26 May 1999) http://forum.zmag.org/~ZNetCmt/read?224,7
Contexte: I am not an absolute pacifist, because I can't rule out the possibility that under some, carefully defined circumstances, some degree of violence may be justified, if it is focused directly at a great evil. Slave revolts are justified, and if John Brown had really succeeded in arousing such revolts throughout the South, it would have been much preferable to losing 600,000 lives in the Civil War, where the makers of the war — unlike slave rebels — would not have as their first priority the plight of the black slaves, as shown by the betrayal of black interests after the war. Again, the Zapatista uprising seems justified to me, but some armed struggles that start for a good cause get out of hand and the ensuing violence becomes indiscriminate. Each situation has to be evaluated separately, for all are different. In general, I believe in non-violent direct action, which involve organizing large numbers of people, whereas too often violent uprisings are the product of a small group. If enough people are organized, violence can be minimized in bringing about social change.

„The white population could not possibly be unaffected by those events — some whites more stubborn in their defense of segregation, but others beginning to think in different ways.“

—  Howard Zinn

You Can't Be Neutral on A Moving Train (1994) Ch. 4: "My Name is Freedom": Albany, Georgia
Contexte: The white population could not possibly be unaffected by those events — some whites more stubborn in their defense of segregation, but others beginning to think in different ways. And the black population was transformed, having risen up in mass action for the first time, feeling its power, knowing now that if the old order could be shaken it could be toppled.

„While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not.“

—  Howard Zinn, livre Une histoire populaire des États-Unis

Ch. 11 http://historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnbaron11.html
A People's History of the United States (1980)
Contexte: While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of "rags to riches" were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control.

„To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.“

—  Howard Zinn

A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, p. 270.
Contexte: To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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