Howard Zinn On Creating A Movement To Pressure Obama

(noon – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

I originally posted this video interview with Zinn back on April 10, 2009 following the then recent revelations of President Obama’s DOJ under Eric Holder betraying Obama’s campaign promises to instead embrace the Bush administrations claims for immunity and “states secrets” in the case of clear FISA violations and illegal wiretapping.

So much more has gone down since then, and Obama has turned his back on so many of his campaign pledges to make his administrations policy decisions so far essentially a direct extension of the policies of the past eight years, with most of the bigger points outlined in Paul Street’s recent article The Dawning Age of Obama as a Potentially Teach-able Moment for The Left that I wonder if it is time for revisiting what Zinn had to say in this interview now…

In part three of what was a series of interviews, historian, political scientist, social critic, activist, author and playwright Professor Howard Zinn talks here with Real News CEO Paul Jay about why so many people seem to be convinced that Obama is anything more than what he appears to be given his actions and policies implemented since inauguration, and about how to create a mass popular movement to pressure Obama for progressive results in a supportive way, and concludes that social turmoil is not only not bad but necessary if it leads to something good in the sense of creating real change.

Real News – April 10, 2009

Send a message to Obama

Howard Zinn: Social turmoil is not bad if it leads to something good


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    • Edger on July 7, 2009 at 4:56 am

    Can we create a large enough movement of people to start credibly threatening him now with political oblivion in 2012, not to throw him out, but to make it so loud and clear and unequivocal to him that he will have all the support and all the votes he will need for a landslide in 2012 only by producing results, or face being turfed out if he doesn’t?

  1. since I remember this from April. heh.

    Definitely worth re-viewing. manana probably (for me).

    thanks, edger.

    • pico on July 7, 2009 at 5:43 am

    Politicians exist at the behest of their constituencies, and if their constituencies aren’t raising hell, there’s no incentive for them to (in fact, there’s a disincentive).  That’s why real political change takes either enormous political courage, which is rare, or widespread social turmoil manifesting itself in action.

    Say what one will about the teabaggers (and yeah, there’s a lot to mock there, not to mention the artificiality of a media-created ‘movement’), but at least they’re getting out and yelling for the cameras.  Even if it’s only a dozen of them.  When Congress refused to shut down Guantanamo, where were the marches against them?  Or the protests, even?

    And I’m just as guilty as the next.  I went to Washington with a few other users here to march against the war, but heck, that’s small change and not nearly enough.  I could have done more, and I should have done more.  

    So that’s the state of our movement, I suppose.

  2. The movement which Zinn describes is an absolute necessity if we are not to continue languishing in the downward slide of our democracy.  

    As Pico points out, the movement is so small.  I remember the halcyon days of Civil Rights, Vietnam, and Sane/Freeze when we found hundreds of thousands to millions of people in the streets.  

    All I can think to do is to continue to mail out information like this.  And so, I will send this to my lists and ask them to be sure to read the linked Paul Street essay.  I’ve been waiting for someone to make a list, an inventory of all the promises broken.  

    We must keep trying!  Thank you, Edger.

  3. 1. Overturning the SCOTUS decision which declared that money is free speech (sorry, can’t think of the case name).

    2. Overturning Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (which didn’t really state that corporations are people, anyway…read Thom Hartmann’s Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights if you haven’t already).

    More practically:

    3. Universal health care.  Now.

    4. Replace Harry Reid as Majority Leader by any legal means necessary.  Now.

    5. Quit handing money to banks carte-blanche and try giving the auto companies a fairer shake.  Now.

    6. Fire Geithner.

    7. Fire Rahm.

    8. Disband Goldman-Sachs.  Yesterday.

    9. Quit adhering to the previous administration’s policies and start investigating and prosecuting.  Six months ago.


    10. Return the Hope Diamond to India.  Things started going to hell in a handbasket around here when Harry Winston donated it to the Smithsonian as a gift to the American people in 1958.  (this one is not entirely serious.)

    I’m not sure that people-in-the-streets demonstrations are still effective in the US.  The left doesn’t have the organization that the right does, IMNSHO because the left doesn’t attend church as much so we don’t really have anywhere to hold our version of Justice Sundays or whatever.  This brings me to the next one:

    11. Every single time you hear of a church participating in politcal action of any kind, send documentation of the political action and a filled-out Form 13909 (tax-exemt organization complaint form) to the IRS.  The procedure for making such a complaint is described at the IRS page here:

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