|Progressive Calendar 01.30.10||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)|
|Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2010 03:02:01 -0800 (PST)|
P R O G R E S S I V E C A L E N D A R 01.30.10 1. Peace walk 1.30 9am Cambridge MN 2. Janitors/justice 1.30 10:30am 3. CUAPB 1.30 1:30pm 4. Northtown vigil 1.30 2pm 5. Obama change? 1.30 4pm 6. Full mooning 1.30 7pm 7. Immigration 1.30 7pm 8. Haiti benefit 1.30 7pm 9. Stillwater vigil 1.31 1pm 10. Anti-war plan 1.31 3pm 11. Laura Flanders - The state of the corporate union 12. Dave Lindorff - Obama's fog machine/ SOTU whoppers 13. Shamus Cooke - Taxing the rich wins in Oregon 14. Susu Jeffrey - Depleted uranium resolution for MN caucuses 2.02 15. Paul Street - Howard Zinn: The people's historian 16. ed - Glorp (haiku) --------1 of 16-------- From: Ken Reine <reine008 [at] umn.edu> Subject: Peace walk 1.30 9am Cambridge MN every Saturday 9AM to 9:35AM Peace walk in Cambridge - start at Hwy 95 and Fern Street --------2 of 16-------- From: MN Socialist Alternative <mn [at] socialistalternative.org> Subject: Janitors/justice 1.30 10:30am Justice for Janitors! SEIU Local 26 Strike Authorization Vote Saturday, January 30th 10:30am - 12:00pm United Labor Center, 312 Central Ave. SE, Minneapolis http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=438532865561 Come support Twin Cities janitors (members of Service Employees International Union Local 26) next Saturday, January 30 as they vote on whether to authorize a strike over unfair labor practices if necessary. The big Twin Cities cleaning companies have failed to meet a deadline to discuss real solutions proposed by janitors on green cleaning and affordable health insurance, have repeatedly rejected green cleaning innovations that could save building owners millions, and continue to demand drastic health care cuts and the elimination of full-time jobs for Twin Cities janitors and their families. They are offering NO raises for the next two years for janitors, and NO paid sick days. Come show your support for their struggle for decent, living wage jobs! --------3 of 16-------- From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at] visi.com> Subject: CUAPB 1.30 1:30pm Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South http://www.CUAPB.org Communities United Against Police Brutality 3100 16th Avenue S Minneapolis, MN 55407 Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867) --------4 of 16-------- From: Vanka485 [at] aol.com Subject: Northtown vigil 1.30 2pm Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday 2-3pm --------5 of 16-------- From: MN Socialist Alternative <mn [at] socialistalternative.org> Subject: Obama change? 1.30 4pm More war, unemployment, budget cuts... WHERE IS THE CHANGE OBAMA PROMISED? A Left Reply to the President's State of the Union Speech SATURDAY, January 30th, 4:00pm Mayday Books, 301 Cedar Ave, Speaker: Ty Moore, editor of SocialistAlternative.org On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=283490834327&ref=mf After a year of the Democrats in power, what has changed? Obama is spending more money and committing more troops to war than Bush ever did. More families have been foreclosed out of their homes while the bailed-out bank executives receive record bonuses. Broad public support for single-payer health care has been ignored while the profit-hungry medical industry gets their way in Washington. Is this what the enthusiastic, youthful movement behind Obama's election campaign thought they were fighting for? Following the President's State of the Union speech, progressive workers and young people must independently come together to map out the way forward over the next year. Join Socialist Alternative for a discussion on how theleft can re-group and build a new movement from below to achieve genuine change in this country. Read more online: "One Year of Obama - What Has Changed? http://socialistalternative.org/news/article10.php?id=1229 *Sponsored by Socialist Alternative* For more info or to get active, contact us at mn [at] socialistalternative.org or 612.760.1980 www.SocialistMinnesota.org <http://www.socialistminnesota.org/> | www.SocialistAlternative.org <http://www.socialistalternative.org/> | www.SocialistWorld.net <http://www.socialistworld.net/> --------6 of 16-------- From: Sue Ann <seasnun [at] gmail.com> Subject: Full mooning 1.30 7pm Full Moon Walk at Coldwater Spring Saturday, January 30, 2010, at 7 PM Story Time Moon This is the Deep Snow Moon, Cold Moon, the Dakota Moon of the Terrible, the time for telling stories. Bring a 2-minute story to share. Traditional group howl! Directions: Coldwater is south of Minnehaha Park, in Minneapolis. From Hwy 55/Hiawatha, turn East (toward the Mississippi) at 54th Street, take an immediate right, & drive South on the frontage road for ½-mile past the parking meters, through the cul-de-sac and the gates, and past the abandoned buildings. Follow the curvy road left and then right down to the pond, next to the great willow tree. Sunset 5:18 PM-Moonrise 6:19 PM Free. Open to all. Info: www.friendsofcoldwater.org --------7 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Immigration 1.30 7pm Conference: "No Human Being is Illegal: Mobilizing for Humane and Just Immigration Reform" Saturday, January 30, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Holy trinity Lutheran Church, 2730 East 31st Street, Minneapolis. Sunday, January 31, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Road, Minnetonka. Explore the faith foundations of immigration reform. Mobilize in support of humane and just immigration reform. Endorsed by: the WAMM Immigration Committee. FFI on Saturday: Call 612-729-8358. FFI on Sunday: 952-437-7378. -- From: Jason Stone <jason.stone [at] yahoo.com> No Human Being is Illegal Forum - Jan. 30/31 No Human Being is Illegal: Mobilizing for Humane and Just Immigration Reform With Noted Liberation Theologian Dr.Miguel De La Torre, author of Trails of Hope and Terror: Testimonies on Immigration and the Director of the Peace and Justice Institute at Illiff Seminary in Colorado Explore the faith foundations of immigration reform Mobilize in support of humane and just immigration reform Day 1 - January 30 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church 2730 East 31st St Minneapolis, MN 55406 Keynote: Dr. Miguel De La Torre 7:00pm-9:00pm Day 2 - January 31 St. Luke Presbyterian Church 3121 Groveland School Road Minnetonka, MN 55391-2877 (952) 473-7378 9:15a-10:15a Adult forum on NAFTA/CATA and structural adjustments - Luis Alvarenga 10:30a-11:30a Service Lunch 1:00p-2:30p Keynote: Dr. Miguel De La Torre 2:45p-4:00p Resource Center of the Americas Latino Voices presentation Sponsors Resource Center of the Americas; St. Luke Presbyterian Church Interfaith Coalition on Immigration; Jewish Community Action Macalester-Plymouth Peacemakers; Minnesota Da'wah Institute Task Force on Immigration MN UCC Conference. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church --------8 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Haiti benefit 1.30 7pm Poets and Performers - Benefit for Haiti Saturday, January 30, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Pangea World Theater Studios, 711 West Lake Street, Minneapolis. Please join poets, spoken word artists and performers to raise money for Haitians affected by the earthquake. Great thanks to Pangea World Theater for donating their space for this event. Performers include: Khary Jackson, Ayanna Muata, Gabrielle Civil, Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe, and more. Hosted by: Juma B. Essie. Suggested donation: $10.00 to $15.00. All money raised will go directly to Paul Farmer's organization, Partners In Health www.standwithhaiti.org . Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Call 612-822-0015. --------9 of 16-------- From: scot b <earthmannow [at] comcast.net> Subject: Stillwater vigil 1.31 1pm A weekly Vigil for Peace Every Sunday, at the Stillwater bridge from 1- 2 p.m. Come after Church or after brunch ! All are invited to join in song and witness to the human desire for peace in our world. Signs need to be positive. Sponsored by the St. Croix Valley Peacemakers. If you have a United Nations flag or a United States flag please bring it. Be sure to dress for the weather . For more information go to <http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/>http://www.stcroixvalleypeacemakers.com/ For more information you could call 651 275 0247 or 651 999 - 9560 --------10 of 16-------- From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at] mtn.org> Subject: Anti-war plan 1.31 3pm Student Planning Meeting for March 20th Protest Sunday, January 31, 3:00 p.m. University of Minnesota, Blegen Hall, Room 110, 269 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis. Join other students at an organizing meeting for student action around the March 20th anti- war protest. Hosted by: Student Coalitions. --------11 of 16-------- The State of the Corporate Union by Laura Flanders Tuesday, January 26, 2010 The Nation The State of the Union will be a little different this year. Thanks to a last-minute switch the annual address will be presented by Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and Chairman of Goldman Sachs, known henceforth as CEO of America. While a final text is not yet released, insiders suggest that CEO Blankfein will declare the state of the union excellent, and announce significant bonuses for five of nine Supreme Court Justices. In a departure from tradition, senators and representatives will be charged for seating in the hall this year but several prominent seats will be put aside for lobbyists for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the industry trade group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and drug companies Eli Lilly, Pfizer and Amgen. According to insider accounts, those individuals will be recognized for the $144 million dollar investment they made in the democratic system in 2009. Other honored guests likely to be recognized for their participation in the process are said to include Exxon Mobil, Xe (formerly known as Blackwater) and Chevron. CEO Blankfein is expected to declare his presence at the dais historic. "The Framers of Our Constitution were always very clear that the right to free speech belonged only to those who could pay for it. 2010 marks the culmination of the process by which corporations are recognized as full and equal citizens. "Forty years on, the dream of Dr. King has finally been recognized. Corporations can finally be seen for what they are, endowed with full personhood, along with accompanying rights to life liberty and pursuit of profit," Blankfein's comments as currently released make no mention of responsibilities. Barack Obama, asked for his response, said he was sure that he and Lloyd Blankfein would come to an agreement soon about the relocation of the Oval Office from the White House to Wall Street."This is no time to polarize and divide the American people," said the former president. Commented his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel: "It's time our democracy was handed over to corporations, who have the expertise to know how to use it." Said consumer advocate Ralph Nader, now hosting a late night comedy show: "Let 'em have our Consitution, we weren't using it." (C) 2010 The Nation Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on Free Speech TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415) on cable (8 pm ET on Channel 67 in Manhattan) and online daily at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. --------12 of 16-------- Obama's Fog Machine SOTU Whoppers By DAVE LINDORFF CounterPunch January 29 - 31, 2010 President Obama gives a good speech. He's smooth, unruffled by audience response, good at a timely ad-lib remark, and knows how to win over a tough crowd - all skills that were in evidence at last night's State of the Union address. But he's also good at telling whoppers. Here are a few. Talking about health care, and the stalled bills in House and Senate which have become so encrusted with pro-industry amendments that the whole process should be referred to as the Health Industry Enrichment Act, Obama said at one point, addressing the doubts many in Congress and among the broader public have about those bills, "If anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Let me know. Let me know. I'm eager to see it." Hm-m-m. Actually, he has not been eager to see other ideas at all. John Conyers has had another idea: extending Medicare to cover everyone. He had it in the form of a bill, HR 676, but at the urging of the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept that bill from even getting a hearing. Earlier, almost a year ago, Obama held a conference at the White House to hear ideas about health care reform, but he excluded from that conference any advocates of what is called "single-payer" - shorthand for a Canadian-style health system in which the government insures everyone, and sets the reimbursement amounts for doctors and hospitals, medical services of all kinds, and drugs. And yet, expanding Medicare to cover everyone, as I've written several times on this site, would probably end up costing less than the federal government and state and local governments (and of course ultimately taxpayers) already are spending on Medicaid, Veteran's health care, hospital charity care, and other public medical programs, and in any event would, even if raising taxes slightly, simultaneously eliminate the health care costs for insurance currently paid by employers, employees and the self-employed, while also giving the government enormous power to negotiate lower costs for drugs, doctors and hospitals. Because the program would be larger and more powerful with respect to the private health care delivery system, it would also be able to reduce the cost of providing health care to the elderly who are already on Medicare. That is to say, there is, already operating for 45 million elderly citizens, a health care program that, if expanded to all, would, as the president asked, "bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses." But the truth is, he doesn't want to talk about it and doesn't want to even hear about it. The second big whopper was Iraq. There the president, to loud applause, said he would have all combat troops out of Iraq by August of this year. At another point, though, he went further, saying that "all our troops" would be "coming home." The truth, though, is that they won't be. In fact, though, as many as 50,000 US troops will remain in Iraq after this August. Whether they will be "in combat" or not is really not up to them. If they are attacked, of course they will be in combat. They may well be sent into battle too, though who knows if we'll hear about it. There are unlikely to be too many members of the press with them, as the focus shifts to Afghanistan. But 50,000 is a lot of troops - much more than the US has in South Korea, for instance. It's hardly an end to the war in Iraq. Third, the president slipped by the new big war, Afghanistan, in an astonishingly abrupt single paragraph. Think about it. He has ordered an escalation of that conflict, where the US already has committed 70,000 troops, with another 30,000 on the way, not counting perhaps 50-60,000 more private mercenaries, and has called for a new aggressive strategy of capturing and holding territory - a strategy that is bound to increase both US and innocent Afghani casualties - and he only said a couple of sentences about it. And those sentences were full of lies. Obama said the US is "training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home," but he knows his own advisors are telling him that those Afghan military forces are incapable of being expanded to do that job. The whole country is basically illiterate and not capable of being trained to handle much of the equipment, the military and police are hopelessly corrupt, and the tribal system makes a unified national army a pipe-dream. He said the US will "reward good governance," but in fact has allied itself with a corrupt narco-regime led by Hamid Karzai, whose own brother is a leading drug kingpin. There were more lies and misleading statements through the speech, for example his lie that his administration has "prohibited torture," but these three alone make it amply clear that the president was not doing his constitutional duty of giving Congress an accurate report on the "state of the union." --------13 of 16-------- Beating the Corporations Taxing the Rich Wins in Oregon By SHAMUS COOKE January 28, 2010 CounterPumnch Victory! Thousands of Oregon workers fought valiantly over the past weeks to ensure that corporations and the rich will see their taxes raised, so that social services, health care, and education could be saved. Massive phone banking operations, door-to-door canvassing, and rallies were used by union and community members to educate the public about a progressive tax measure used to offset the state's dire budget situation. The campaign was indisputably class war, and the corporations came out firing - virtually every newspaper in Oregon shed their alleged "objectivity" and exposed their subservience to the corporations. Oregon's largest newspaper, The Oregonian, displayed giant front page ads - daily - in order to defeat the measures (part of the ad showcased an article by Phil Knight - founder of Oregon company Nike - who spoke of corporate apocalypse if the tax measures passed). This, along with the countless false advertisements on TV and radio, shows the high level of understanding that workers in Oregon displayed in voting to pass the measures by a landslide. The new taxes are hardly radical; if anything they are insufficient compared to Oregon's budget problems. Oregon's corporate minimum tax was raised from $10 a year - no typo here - to $150. Corporations with profits over $250,000 a year will pay an additional 1.3 percent on profits over that amount. Wealthy individuals - those making over $125,000 or couples making $250,000 will pay an additional 1.8 percent above those numbers. Most Oregonians - 97.5 percent - will see no tax increase. These minuscule tax increases caused Oregon's corporate elite to feverishly organize to defeat the bill. Their stranglehold over the media was no match for well-organized working-class Oregonians. Originally, the tax increase was passed by Oregon's legislature, where the Democrats enjoy a supermajority. The Democrats were under immense pressure from Oregon's unions, who, commendably, advanced the "tax the rich" measure to the point where the Democrats had to act. Though the tax increases were small, they were nevertheless progressive, saving Oregon's budget $733 million in cuts. The corporations mobilized, and paid signature gatherers to collect enough signatures to put the tax increase to a voter referendum. The ensuing campaign caught the attention of the nation, where precedent is now set in favor of all working people. Corporations and unions from out of state contributed funds to help sway Oregon's campaign, knowing that their fates were linked. Now, Oregon will hopefully serve as an example to other states experiencing budget crises and consequent cuts to education and social services. Oregon's vote coincides with President Obama's national budget, where social services are being "frozen" - in reality reduced. Thus, Oregon gives inspiration for solutions to state and federal budget crises, where in both cases the working class has been carrying the brunt of the recession's effects. Union and community groups everywhere must follow Oregon's example. Tax the rich and the corporations! No to cuts in education, health care, and social services! Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action. He can be reached at shamuscook [at] yahoo.com --------14 of 16-------- From: Susu Jeffrey <susujeffrey [at] msn.com> Subject: Depleted Uranium Resolution for MN Political Caucuses on Tuesday, Feb. 2 Depleted Uranium Resolution for MN Political Caucuses Tuesday, February 2, 2010 This depleted uranium resolution was developed by AlliantACTION, the peace group that has vigiled in front of the corporate headquarters of Alliant Techsystems (Honeywell spinoff) each Wednesday since 1996. Alliant Techsystems, Minnesota's largest weapons manufacturer, has supplied over 19-million depleted uranium munitions to the Department of Defense. The resolution is aimed at Congress members who vote on the federal budget, more than half of which goes for military spending. Whereas depleted uranium bullets and shells persist in the environment beyond the duration of a battle, and Whereas uranium-core munitions, considered today's Agent Orange, indiscriminately expose civilians and combatants to toxic dust that can become lodged in the body irradiating surrounding tissue and can cause genetic defects and cancers, and Whereas US military personnel and contract employees in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposed to depleted uranium dust, Therefore be it resolved that the U.S. Congress ceases funding for depleted uranium munitions and curtails sales of uranium-core bullets and shells abroad. --------15 of 16-------- Howard Zinn: The People's Historian Paul Street ZNet January, 29 2010 The news of Howard Zinn's death hit me like a ton of bricks. I did not expect to cry and then about 10 minutes after getting the e-mail...it hit me - three times. The last time I looked down and saw that I was standing in my den about one foot away from one of my old "instructors' copies" of Zinn's masterpiece, A People's History of the United States, 1492-Present. "I Don't Take Him Very Seriously" This morning tears gave way to a bit of disgust, thanks to the New York Times and the Associated Press (AP). Even in death the great critics of the rich and powerful have to be put in their place. The Times pulled its initial obituary of Zinn off the Associated Press (AP) wire. "Even liberal historians were uneasy with Professor Zinn," the AP reported, quoting the former Kennedy administration court historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. "I know he regards me as a dangerous reactionary," Schlesinger once said, according to the AP." And I don't take him very seriously. He's a polemicist, not a historian." It was quite an insult to include that condescending dismissal from an academic power-elite aristocrat like Schlesinger. Yes, Arthur M. Schlesinger, who wrote the following in his history A Thousand Days: "1962 had not been a bad year...aggression [was] checked in Vietnam." Nineteen sixty-two was, as Zinn's friend and ally Noam Chomsky noted in 1984, "the year in which the U.S. undertook direct aggression against South Vietnam....Orwell would have been impressed" by Schlesinger's comment, Chomsky added. Arthur M. Schlesinger, who, in an early memo to his idol the arch-militarist president John Fitzgerald Kennedy said that the problem with Cuba was "the spread [throughout Latin America] of the Castro idea of taking things into your own hands and demanding the opportunity for a decent living, all of this stimulated by the Soviet Union, which is presenting itself as a model for modernization in one generation." (The Cuban peoples' revolution threatened to inspire fellow Latin Americans to follow the dreaded "Soviet" example by modernizing on their own behalf, without structuring their societies in ways calculated to complement the industrial economies of the leading Western states - what horrors!) Howard Zinn was an American giant. He made vapid servants of power like Schlesinger and the New York Times' managers look like moral and intellectual ants by comparison "Exactly the Same Limited Vision" "Even" liberal historians were "uneasy" - goodness! Try "especially" liberal historians! Zinn brilliantly skewered Schlesinger and others liberal historians' narrow world view and their claims to enlightened progressiveness. The liberals claimed thought they discovered deep democratic and progressive content in the actions and values of such blood-soaked ruling class operatives as Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy. Zinn saw through the liberal illusion and showed how all of them (along with their Republican counterparts) were morally crippled by "exactly the same limited vision [Richard] Hofstader talked about [in his 1949 book The American Political Tradition] - a capitalist encouragement of enormous fortunes alongside desperate poverty, a nationalistic acceptance of war and preparation for war. Government power swung from Republicans to Democrats and back again," Zinn wrote, "but neither party showed itself capable of going beyond that vision." And Zinn updated the story to include Lyndon Baines Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. We can be sure he would have applied to Barack Obama as well in a future edition of A People's History. "Before and After Those Two Minutes" I did not spend last night listening to the vapid, power-serving, and centrist oratory of corprate war president Barack Obama's "State of the Union Address." I reflected instead on the radical lessons and vision of Zinn, who noted the following as (what he called) "the election madness" that captivated so many progressives during the last great "quadrennial electoral extravaganza" (Chomsky's excellent phrase): "The election frenzy seizes the country every four years because we have all been brought up to believe that voting is crucial in determining our destiny, that the most important act a citizen can engage in is to go to the polls and choose one of the two mediocrities who have already been chosen for us." "...Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes-the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth." "But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools....." "Let's remember that even when there is a 'better' candidate...that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.....Today, we can be sure that the Democratic Party, unless it faces a popular upsurge, will not move off center. The two leading Presidential candidates have made it clear that if elected, they will not bring an immediate end to the Iraq War, or institute a system of free health care for all." "They offer no radical change from the status quo. They do not propose what the present desperation of people cries out for: a government guarantee of jobs to everyone who needs one, a minimum income for every household, housing relief to everyone who faces eviction or foreclosure. They do not suggest the deep cuts in the military budget or the radical changes in the tax system that would free billions, even trillions, for social programs to transform the way we live." "None of this should surprise us. The Democratic Party has broken with its historic conservatism, its pandering to the rich, its predilection for war, only when it has encountered rebellion from below, as in the Thirties and the Sixties" (Howard Zinn, "Election Madness," The Progressive, March 2008). Who can deny the wisdom of this classic Zinn passage as we move into the second year of the militantly corporate and imperial, Wall Street-captive Obama administration? Ruling Class Criminals and Popular Struggle Zinn's widely beloved People's History (which I used to assign in college level American History surveys) was among other things a masterful chronicle of American bipartisan ruling class criminality. From the brutal ethnic cleansing of native Americans and the rise of indentured servitude and mass black chattel slavery through the building of an industrial capitalist edifice for the exploitation of millions of immigrant and native workers to the terrible, mass-murderous transgressions of the U.S. military empire in the Philippines, Haiti, Mexico, Japan, Indochina, Serbia and Iraq and more, Zinn forthrightly detailed the sins and corruption of power. But Zinn (who was said to have offered undergraduate students course credit for seeking to engage the historical process, for acting to change history) was hardly content just to chronicle the monumental offenses of elites. His justly fabled volume was loaded with inspiring stories of lower and working class resistance and radical-democratic struggle from the bottom up. From indentured servants and slaves who joined in Bacon's Rebellion in colonial Virginia through the slaves who rose against the chattel system before and during the Civil War through the great labor union and socialist struggles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and later popular campaigns (including the 1930s industrial workers movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist and antiwar movements and more) to the present, Zinn's People's History was no tragic tale of simple top-down victimization. It told a story of rugged, often bloody conflict in which ordinary people repeatedly engaged their masters and shaped history from below. Zinn had little interest in the quasi-anthropological field of so-called "social history" that focused in fake-egalitarian ways on the minute life-ways, "ethno-cultures" and local communities of working and lower class people, seen in deceptive isolation from their struggle with the rich and powerful. Zinn has no time for such academic drivel. From a working-class background himself, he was concerned with the recurrent pattern of conflict pitting the ruling class and its many servants against the broad mass of "ordinary" working people and their allies among defectors from the middle and upper class. Zinn's "people's history" did not leave out the ruling class. It treated the working and lower classes as agents and actors, not subjects for clinical "new social history" dissection or "post-modern" derision. "The Students Are Not Permitted to Cite Zinn's Works" Last night on my Facebook page a young progressive activist I know made the following post: "Obama and the Democrats should ask themselves: W[hat] W[ould] H[oward] Z[inn] D[o]?" It was a friendly statement I sort of liked (even if it had nothing whatsoever to do with what the top Democrats are actually all about). A snotty commenter I'll call Jack wrote, "You mean write a book leftists will like, right?" I dashed off a quick response: "Jack, that book (People's History of U.S.) was admired and loved by many who were not leftists. I know, I assigned it for many years in mass U.S history surveys and it was extremely popular with people from all sorts of perspectives...still is, I'm told." This prompted the young progressive activist (the original poster) to add the following: "People's History changed academic history and historical scholarship, it was a major contribution to the field regardless of political ideology..." The activist was wrong. Zinn's People's History was and is a great and transcendent volume in many ways but it wasn't about that at all and it didn't do what the activist said. It was a beloved and inspiring book for the people and was often assigned by a minority of left/New Left professors in the U.S. history surveys (also by a lot of high school history teachers - more remarkable in my opinion). But no, it did not really "change academic history and historical scholarship." I know. I was a neo-New Left U.S. historian-to-be before finally fleeing academia with the words of a drunken liberal department chair ringing in my ears: "we don't need any more Howard Zinns." I say this with no sense of disrespect. Howard Zinn did not give a damn about most academic history/historians  and the professional historians were fairly disdainful in return on the whole. There's very little primary source research and no real methodological innovation in A People's History. I'm not sure how much time Zinn spent in archives after his early days in academia. He synthesized secondary sources in a way that made history come alive for general readers and for many undergraduates. It was the story he told and the beauty of his words and his compellingly lyrical analysis from a very Left perspective that set his work apart, along with the sweep and reach. But the profession of history was not really changed much if at all by Zinn and one of the reasons I (who once spent a lot of time in archives) got out is that academic history lost interest in telling bigger and broader synthetic stories -- that and their pathetic reluctance to make relevant progressive and contemporary political connections between past, present, and future Speaking of academia's response to Zinn, here is another tidbit from my Facebook Page, courtesy of a very progressive schoolteacher named Terry D. in New Jersey: "Just yesterday I was speaking with colleague/friend about Howard Zinn. This colleague is a young middle-school history teacher currently enrolled in a master's program in history." "Before entering the master's program, he was a big fan of the work of both Zinn and Chomsky. In fact, it was he who loaned me his copy of Zinn's 'People's History just a few years ago. " "In his history master's program the students are not permitted to cite Zinn's work for their papers. They are taught that Zinn is a 'generalist' and not credible. He told me that Zinn's work is not viewed as 'pure' but with an angle --- that his work is slanted because he has written about selective aspects of history. He said it lacks balance." "He said the same thing about Chomsky." "This program is teaching him that for someone to be considered a valid and credible 'historian' one has to show all sides of an issue or segment of history (balanced) and sources must be well-cited. He said Zinn's work does not meet this criteria." "This young man was pro-Zinn/ pro-Chomsky before the program....and now he is moving away from their work." "I think it is the university's way to keep the ideas of Zinn and Chomsky OUT of the curriculum and to change thinking/minds." "Look what it did to him." What a pathetic little story from the front lines of the corporatization of higher education, where many of my former fellow leftists from graduate schools are marooned until retirement, never to be heard from again in any relevant political way! I'm quite sure that Terri D's tale is true-to-life. God save us from the tenured professors. At least 90 percent of them just spend their lives obeying the rich and powerful and modeling supine surrender. They don't do their jobs and so the late Howard Zinn and Noam (Chomsky) and a few others have had to do it for them. Academia needs a lot more Howard Zinns. "Ye Are Many; They Are Few!" As the fake-progressive, not-so "liberal" Obama's latest shining yet strangely mediocre speechifying blared across the nation's Telescreens last night, I was led to reflect on the wisdom of Howard Zinn's elementary but powerful observation that a "better" politician in the White House "will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore." So true! No honest and informed progressive can deny the wisdom of that remark as we move into the second year of the Obama administration - an epitome of Zinn's dark judgment on the "limited vision" of U.S. political culture past and present. It's up to us to write and act out the other great theme in A People's History - popular resistance on a large scale, informed by the wisdom of Shelley, who Zinn quoted at the end of the Afterword to the 2003 edition of A People's History: Rise like lions after slumber In unvanquished number! Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you - Ye are many; they are few! Paul Street Iowa City, IA Thursday, January 28, 2010 paulstreet99 [at] yahoo.com Note 1. Here is an entertaining anecdote from ex-academic historian Staughton Lynd: "Howard Zinn's trajectory was similar. Although he made his living as an academic, he seemed entirely indifferent to academia. I recall that when he first recruited me to join him at Spellman College, I, fresh out of graduate school, asked Howard what papers he was working on to present at which conferences of historians. He looked at me as if I were speaking a foreign language. He was one of two adult advisers to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and his head was into recording their experience and participating in their actions and strategy." Staughton Lynd and Andrej Grubacic, Wobblies and Zapatista: Conversations on Marxism, Anarchism, and Radical History (Oakland, CA: PM Press 2008), 65-66. [Arthur M Schlesinger Jr is a polemicist not a historian. -ed] --------16 of 16-------- And God said, I've got Alzheimers! No I don't! Yes I do! Huh? Glorp! Zplxgg? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- - David Shove shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu rhymes with clove Progressive Calendar over 2225 subscribers as of 12.19.02 please send all messages in plain text no attachments vote third party for president for congress now and forever Socialism YES Capitalism NO To GO DIRECTLY to an item, eg --------8 of x-------- do a find on --8 Research almost any topic raised here at: CounterPunch http://counterpunch.org Dissident Voice http://dissidentvoice.org Common Dreams http://commondreams.org Once you're there, do a search on your topic, eg obama drones
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