Howard Zinn On Creating A Movement To Pressure Obama

On October 27, 2007 Barack Obama made a public campaign promise:

I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank.

Now if challenged on that he would probably say he was referring to Iraq, but I think that most people hearing his campaign pledges understood Iraq and Afghanistan to be an indivisible projection of military power, and took Obama at his word, expecting that he was an honest man making an honest pledge.

He has since tripled the number of US Troops that will be deployed to Afghanistan.

I originally posted the following video interview with Howard 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, and more recently Obama asking Congress for an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act in order to give Defense Secretary Gates the authority to refuse an ACLU FOIA request for public release of the torture photos, that I wonder if it is worth revisiting what Zinn had to say in this interview one more time.

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 December 6, 2009 at 02:27

    Can a large enough movement of people be created to start credibly threatening Obama 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?

    • Inky99 on December 6, 2009 at 03:23

    The guy’s a damn liar.

    • Wom Bat on December 6, 2009 at 15:30

    barely possible to tell them apart.

    • allenjo on December 6, 2009 at 18:13

    depending on the scenario……..

    Congressional Research Service: dated September 28, 2009

    If the Administration’s FY2010 war request is enacted, total war-related funding would reach $1.08 trillion, including $748 billion for Iraq, $300 billion for Afghanistan, $29 billion for enhanced security, and $5 billion that cannot be allocated.

    Of this cumulative total, 69% would be for Iraq, 28% for Afghanistan, and 3% for enhanced security.

    On August 30, 2009, General Stanley McChrystal, Commander in fghanistan, submitted a strategic assessment and a request for additional troops was reportedly given to Secretary of Defense Gates on September 26, 2009. That request is unlikely to be vetted either within DOD and the Administration until additional ongoing White House reviews of the strategy are completed.

    In a January 2009 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for FY2010-FY2019 could range from $388 billion, if troop levels fell to 30,000 by 2011, to $867 billion, if troop levels fell to 75,000 by about 2013.

    Under these CBO projections, funding for Iraq, Afghanistan and the GWOT could total about $1.3 trillion to about $1.8 trillion for FY2001-FY2019 depending on the scenario.

    Total Cost of Wars Since 2001 – $939,714,223,318 and counting up

    • Inky99 on December 7, 2009 at 04:50

    and nature abhors that.

    But so many people are in denial right now ……

    By the time they figure it out, it’s gonna be too late.

    We’re stuck with Bush-Lite for at least 7 more years.

    Unless people wake the HELL up.

    There’s a great one over at DK right now (believe it or not):

    The Five Stages of Grief for the Party of FDR…

    All too few are at the “acceptance” stage.   I know I am, and a lot of people here, but elsewhere ….?    I dunno.   People I know are, but the people I know tend to be ahead of the curve, like way ahead.

    • robodd on December 7, 2009 at 07:03

    as it always comes down, to whether the need for fairness and justice outweighs the current comfort level.

    Obama seems interested in keeping people comfortable.  Indeed, I would venture this is his defining feature–no matter how much discomfort this may occasion later.  

    When the disparities in particularly undeserved wealth  become such that people are put to pain by it, that will create movement and pop Obama’s bubble.

    • rossl on December 8, 2009 at 02:55

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