[Fwd: MArch 7 Howard Zinn Commentary plus this week's Web Reviews]

Judy Olsen (wholedamnpie@uswest.net)
Sun, 07 Mar 1999 11:45:19 -0800


>From Znet Commentary is excellent advise by Professor Zinn who wrote A People's History of the U.S.
Judy O


On Getting Along
By Howard Zinn

        You ask how I manage "to stay involved and remain seemingly happy
and adjusted to this awful world where the efforts of caring people pale in
comparison to those who have power?"
        It's easy.  First, don't let "those who have power" intimidate you.
No matter how much power they have they cannot prevent you from living your
life, speaking your mind, thinking independently, having relationships with
people as you like. (Read Emma Goldman's autobiography LIVING MY LIFE.
Harassed, even imprisoned by authority, she insisted on living her life,
speaking out, however she felt like.
        Second, find people to be with who have your values, your
commitments, but who also have a sense of humor. That combination is a
necessity!
        Third (notice how precise is my advice that I can confidently number
it, the way scientists number things), understand that the major media will
not tell you of all the acts of resistance taking place every day in the
society, the strikes, the protests, the individual acts of courage in the
face of authority. Look around (and you will certainly find it) for the
evidence of these unreported acts. And for the little you find, extrapolate
from that and assume there must be a thousand times as much as what you've
found.
        Fourth. Note that throughout history people have felt powerless
before authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by
organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change
the world around them, even if a little. That is the history of the labor
movement, of the women's movement, of the anti-Vietnam war movement, the
disabled persons movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement of
black people in the South.
        Fifth:  Remember, that those who have power, and who seem
invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable, that their power depends on the
obedience of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience,
begin defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile.
Generals become powerless when their soldiers refuse to fight,
industrialists become powerless when their workers leave the jobs or occupy
the factories.
        Sixth: When we forget the fragility of that power in top we become
astounded when it crumbles in the face of rebellion. We have had many such
surprises in our time, both in the United States and in other countries.
        Seventh: Don't look for a moment of total triumph. See it as an
ongoing struggle, with victories and defeats, but in the long run the
consciousness of people growing. So you need patience, persistence, and need
to understand that even when you don't "win",  there is fun and fulfillment
in the fact that you have been involved, with other good people, in
something worthwhile.

Okay, seven pieces of profound advice should be enough.