Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Realism from Howard Zinn

The historian of U.S. society, author of A People's History of the United States, offers these thoughts in the May issue of the Progessive Magazine. (Text not online.)

When a social movement adopts the compromises of legislators, it has forgotten its role, which is to push and challenge the politicians, not to fall in meekly behind them.

We who protest the war are not politicians. We are citizens. Whatever politicians do, let them first feel the full force of citizens who speak for what is right, not for what is winnable, in a shamefully timorous Congress....

We have no office to hold on to, only our consciences, which insist on telling the truth.

That, history suggests, is the most realistic thing a citizen can do.

With Congress passing a toothless supplemental funding bill for the Iraq war with some "suggested" goals, the peace movement has some yelling to do. That's realism for a peace movement. Our protest is our best way to implant spines in Congresscritters among whom they are lacking -- and to encourage the considerable number of Congress types who know perfectly well the war is "lost," but fear pointing out the empire has no clothes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you're wondering what to give as a gift to someone who has gotten U.S. citizenship... My partner gifted a colleague with Zinn's "A People's History of the United States."