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“I wanted my writing of history and my teaching of history to be a part of social struggle. I wanted to be a part of history and not just a recorder and teacher of history.” - Howard Zinn, on his favorite topic

Excerpts from: A People’s History of Howard Zinn

by Howard Zinn

Page 113

I knew pretty early on that [my classmates] were just Western chauvinists, more concerned with their colonial power than the spirit of our games. Just because hegemonists usually play kickball with absurd social constructions like ‘scoring’ and ‘outs’ didn’t mean that we were beholden to such bourgeois fascism. It was obvious to me that I should oversee or otherwise destroy this bourgeois institution. When they ignored me, I left for the imperially-named “jungle gym.”

 

Page 455

Being a bombardier during WWII was a really eye-opening experience. Sure, it was one thing to be a part of the jingoist, corporatist, and pseudo-fascist organization that is the Amerikkkan military, but given the nature of the enemy we were fighting (and that we were on the same side as the People’s Army no less!), I knew it was the right thing to do.

 

Page 475

but still,” I said to my plutocratic commander, too overcome with his authoritarian personae to really understand, “we could liberate these camps with an army of the people. It would be such a marvelous symbol!” Naturally, given his corporatist tendencies, he ignored my pleas, but that wouldn’t deter me. Clutching my Antonio Gramsci for Dummies, I grabbed any peasants I could and began to march on the camps. Once there, they threw a parade in my honor and declared me King of May Day. What a liberating experience!

 

Page 965

I was never really comfortable at Columbia or Harvard. My scholarship always needed to be connected to the people, and being at such institutions always left me alienated and alone. So it was that reason, and nothing about “substandard research” or “sloppy historical methods,” that moved me to work at Boston University. My teaching needed real people and real problems, things like “prestige” and “high paying salaries” just got in the way of being authentic. Because if I was going to be anything, it would authentic, and authentically authentic, not pseudo authentic or bourgeois authentic but true, honest-to-Engles, authenticity. And what’s more authentic than that?

 

Page 1203

One of the things I was always really adamant about was always keeping in my heart and my mind the essence of the struggle. I would never let any imperialistic or megalomaniacal capitalist structures of oppression keep anyone down. I applied this standard to my classroom where my grading, a remnant of hegemony if there ever was one, was determined by choosing a slip of paper from a hat with a grade already on it. This became my primary way of subverting all of the capitalist infrastructure I could. One day my maid came to me and asked me for a pay raise. Now, being the empathetic man I was, I couldn’t let this woman go away empty handed. I had her, our butler, our gardener, and our cook all choose new salaries out of numbers I had put in my hat. It was as fair a system as I could come up with, and just because it violated bourgeois social norms like “contracts” and “labor laws” didn’t mean it wasn’t just. It’s just a shame the Boston DA didn’t see it the same way, although he probably enjoyed punishing me, the real advocate of the people, due to some unresolved fascist tendencies.

 

Page 1742

Of course I knew that A People’s History of the United States was going to be a huge hit. It was so glaringly obvious that this was possibly the greatest book ever written, that it could do nothing less than sell a million copies. You know, we were working on making the publishing of my book a movie at on point? I was going to be played by Matt Damon, a personal friend and protégé of mine, and it was going to end with a dramatic reading of the last 500 pages, done by Morgan Freeman, all showing me being paraded around the streets of Havana and declared the People’s Champion. If only corporate Hollywood wasn’t so scared of my liberating message. And it wasn’t going to be that cop out adaption they did make of it. Nope, nothing at all like that: it was going to be a grand monument to my achievements, not some silly movie about US history.

 

Page 2010

The play “Marx in Soho,” was a tremendous success in every way imaginable. I felt I truly understood what Marx was saying when he equated the Jew with the capitalist and decried Judaism as a plight on mankind: he must have worked on Broadway!

 

Page 2523
Honestly, death was the best thing to ever happen to me. I mean, I’ve already championed the cause of the poor and downtrodden so much in this life, it was natural that I move on and restore hope to the community of the damned. Besides, most accounts of Hell, particularly those of known theocratic sexist Dante, are inherently self-interested, exaggerating hell’s great terrors out of unsubtle deathnocentrism. I think this will be topic of my next book A People’s History of Hell. I wish to ask that when the histories of hell are written that they too consider the position of that victim of deathnocentrism, Lucifer. It’s the least we, as willing benefactors of hegemony, can do.