We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

— Howard Zinn

The most fascinating Howard Zinn quotes that are glad to read

But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power.

109

But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is... to tell the truth.

105

If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one's country, one's fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.

91

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

79

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

70

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.

69

They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.

69

Memorial Day will be celebrated ... by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments.

65

The problem in this world is not civil disobedience...th e problem in this world is civil obedience.

64

Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.

62

If those in charge of our society - politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television - can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.

54

We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism....

52

About Howard Zinn

Quotes 222 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Historian
Birthday October 16

The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.

42

George Orwell said, "Whoever controls the past controls the future," by which he meant that history is incredibly important in shaping the world view of the next generation of people.

42

In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.

39

What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" - and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.

39

Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane.

But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane.

36

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.

32

It's not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people.

And furthermore, it's not going to help. Then you might say, "Yes, it's terrorizing people, but it's worth doing because it will end terrorism." But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?

29

When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.

28

The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.

28

How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?

28

Richard Nixon was not the lesser evil, he was the greater evil, but in his administration the war was finally brought to an end, because he had to deal with the power of the anti-war movement as well as the power of the Vietnamese movement. I will vote, but always with a caution that voting is not crucial, and organizing is the important thing.

26

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.

25

We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.

25

Since war itself is the most extreme form of terrorism, a war on terrorism is profoundly self-contradictory.

24

There is a power that can be created out of pent-up indignation, courage, and the inspiration of a common cause, and that if enough people put their minds and bodies into that cause, they can win. It is a phenomenon recorded again and against in the history of popular movements against injustice all over the world.

23

Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.

21

Is not nationalism - that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder - one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred? These ways of thinking - cultivated, nurtured, indoctrinated from childhood on - have been useful to those in power, and deadly for those out of power.

21

War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.

20

What most of us must be involved in--whether we teach or write, make films, write films, direct films, play music, act, whatever we do--has to not only make people feel good and inspired and at one with other people around them, but also has to educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: change the world.

20

What we have is a more sophisticated form of imperialism, which is economic.

But lurking in the background, always ready to go, is an armed force.

19

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

18

War is terrorism ... Terrorism is the willingness to kill large numbers of people for some presumably good cause. That's what terrorists are about.

18

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.

18

When the United States fought in Vietnam, it was organized modern technology versus organized human beings, and the human beings won.

16

[Nationalism is] a set of beliefs taught to each generation in which the Motherland or the Fatherland is an object of veneration and becomes a burning cause for which one becomes willing to kill the children of other Motherlands or Fatherlands.

15

One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression.

Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors, to be silenced and imprisoned.

14

You can't be neutral on a moving train.

13

The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured.

13

I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

13

The Roman Empire came to an end, but the Roman people didn't come to an end, so I see the American Empire coming to an end just as other empires have come to an end.

12

Behind the deceptive words designed to entice people into supporting violence -- words like democracy, freedom, self-defense, national security -- there is the reality of enormous wealth in the hands of a few, while billions of people in the world are hungry, sick, homeless.

12

To ward off alienation and gloom, it is only necessary to remember the unremembered heroes of the past, and to look around us for the unnoticed heroes of the present.

12

But by this time I was acutely conscious of the gap between law and justice.

I knew that the letter of the law was not as important as who held the power in any real-life situation.

11

The strike, the boycott, the refusal to serve, the ability to paralyze the functioning of a complex social structure-these remain potent weapons against the most fearsome state or corporate power.

11

The term 'just war' is an internal contradiction.

War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.

10

I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own.

9

The pretense in disputed elections is that the great conflict is between the two major parties. The reality is that there is a much bigger conflict that the two parties jointly wage against large numbers of Americans who are represented by neither party and against powerless millions around the world." (p. 65)

9
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