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April 10, 2002

Sarah took notes. So did I. It was like dueling banjos.
Howard Zinn is best known as the author of
A People's History of the United States
, a book
to which many credit their political awakening.

In the course of his talk, he recommended the
   Anna Louise Strong, I Change Worlds

   Emma Goldman, Living My Life
   Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun

To which I add this article from The Nation.
How can people change their actions so long
as they accept without question mass media

We saw Howard Zinn speak at Shoreline Community College Gymnasium tonight. It was sold out but we got in using Matte press redentials--basically a letter Sarah forged Anne's signature to (with her telephone approval). I expected to be knocked out, but it was just OK. Which is good, because it fits with his message: small changes, starting today. His speech was loosely titled "Bringing Democracy Alive," but he admitted that he was just going to speak off the top of his head (which is what Buckminster Fuller used to do). Some highlights:

Why study history?
"To learn from the past something useful in the present."
On patriotism
A patriot is loyal to his country, not his government.
On democracy
The three-part government of checks and balances is a myth. "You can't put democracy on a blackboard. Democracy comes alive when people take things into their own hands."
On governments
Quoting I.F. Stone: "Governments lie."
On war
"War doesn't solve anything fundamental....In times of war, Congress is always a flock of sheep. President wants war, Congress goes along."
On "the cowardly American press"
"Dan Rather is an anchor man. What is he anchored to? The establishment."
Why is the U.S. bombing Afghanistan?
What can we do to make it stop?
Nonviolent direct action. Just show up at demonstrations.
Last words
"Things do change so long as you start."