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Howard Zinn Quotes Captions For Instagram
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There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.

Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.

Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.

History is important. If you don’t know history it is as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, anybody up there in a position of power can tell you anything, and you have no way of checking up on it.

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

But I suppose the most revolutionary act one can engage in is… to tell the truth.

I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own.

The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.

The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.

Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

The supposedly contending groups who run American society, Democrats and Republicans and Whigs and Democrats and Federalists and anti-Federalists, they really are part of the same elite group.

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Human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.

When the Democrats are attacked for [inciting class warfare] they shrink back. They don’t say what obviously should be said, Yes, there is class warfare. There has always been class warfare in this country. The reason the Democrats shrink back is because the Democrats and the Republicans are on the same side of the class war. They have slightly different takes. The Democrats are part of the upper class that is more willing to make concessions to the lower class in order to maintain their power.

Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes.

It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it’s not going to help. Then you might say, Yes, it’s terrorizing people, but it’s worth doing because it will end terrorism. But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

If the gods had intended for people to vote, they would have given us candidates.

Americans have been taught that their nation is civilized and humane. But, too often, U.S. actions have been uncivilized and inhumane.

If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.

War itself is the enemy of the human race.

In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.

We need to decide that we will not go to war, whatever reason is conjured up by the politicians or the media, because war in our time is always indiscriminate, a war against innocents, a war against children.

Most wars, after all, present themselves as humanitarian endeavors to help people.

When people don’t understand that the government doesn’t have their interests in mind, they’re more susceptible to go to war.

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One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression.

David Ray Griffin has done admirable and painstaking research in reviewing the mysteries surrounding the 9/11 attacks. It is the most persuasive argument I have seen for further investigation [into] that historic and troubling event.

Sometimes the difference between two candidates is an important one in the immediate sense, and then I believe trying to get somebody into office, who is a little better, who is less dangerous, is understandable. But never forgetting that no matter who gets into office, the crucial question is not who is in office, but what kind of social movement do you have. Because if you have a powerful social movement, it doesn’t matter who is in office.

The problem in this world is not civil disobedience…th e problem in this world is civil obedience.

No doubt that anarchist ideas are frightening to those in power. People in power can tolerate liberal ideas. They can tolerate ideas that call for reforms, but they cannot tolerate the idea that there will be no state, no central authority. So it is very important for them to ridicule the idea of anarchism to create this impression of anarchism as violent and chaotic. It is useful for them.

That’s generally true of people who drop bombs from high altitudes. You don’t know what’s going on below. You don’t see the human consequences of what you’re doing.

Because of the control of the media by corporate wealth, the discovery of truth depends on an alternative media, such as small radio stations, networks, programs. Also, alternative newspapers, which exist all over the country. Also, cable TV programs, which are not dependent on commercial advertising. Also, the internet, which can reach millions of people by-passing the conventional media.

Our problem in foreign policy is not a particular mad adventure: the Spanish American War or the Vietnam War, but a continuous set of suppositions about our role in the world, involving missionary imperialism, and a belief in America’s ability to solve complex social problems.

I will try not to overlook the cruelties that victims inflict on one another as they are jammed together in the boxcars of the system. I don’t want to romanticize them. But I do remember (in rough paraphrase) a statement I once read: The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.

I’ve always resented the smug statements of politicians, media commentators, corporate executives who talked of how, in America, if you worked hard you would become rich. The meaning of that was if you were poor it was because you hadn’t worked hard enough. I knew this was a lie, about my father and millions of others, men and women who worked harder than anyone, harder than financiers and politicians, harder than anybody if you accept that when you work at an unpleasant job that makes it very hard work indeed.

To be hopeful in bad times is based on the fact that human history is not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.

But remember, this power of the people on top depends on the obedience of the people below. When people stop obeying, they have no power.

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If patriotism were defined, not as blind obedience to government, not as submissive worship to flags and anthems, but rather as love of one’s country, one’s fellow citizens (all over the world), as loyalty to the principles of justice and democracy, then patriotism would require us to disobey our government, when it violated those principles.

I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions–poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed–which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.

How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?

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