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Howard Zinn Quotes

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Howard Zinn Quote: “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

You can’t be neutral on a moving train.

— Howard Zinn



Howard Zinn Quote: “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “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.”

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.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.”

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Historically, the most terrible things – war, genocide, and slavery – have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “If you join a fight for social justice you may win or lose, but just by being part of the struggle, you win, and your life will be better for it.”

If you join a fight for social justice you may win or lose, but just by being part of the struggle, you win, and your life will be better for it.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “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.”

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.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “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.”

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.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Democracy requires civil disobedience. Without civil disobedience democracy does not exist.”

Civil disobedience is not something outside the realm of democracy. Democracy requires civil disobedience. Without civil disobedience democracy does not exist.

— Howard Zinn



Howard Zinn Quote: “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.”

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Education can, and should be, dangerous.”

Education can, and should be, dangerous.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress.”

There is no act too small, no act too bold. The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at critical points to create a power that governments cannot suppress.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “If there is going to be change, real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That’s how change happens.”

If there is going to be change, real change, it will have to work its way from the bottom up, from the people themselves. That’s how change happens.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Use the Day of Atonement not to pray for the dead but to act for the living, to rescue those about to die.”

Use the Day of Atonement not to pray for the dead but to act for the living, to rescue those about to die.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.”

Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.”

And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

— Howard Zinn



Howard Zinn Quote: “The rule of law does not do away with the unequal distribution of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such calculated and indirect ways as to leave the victim bewildered.”

The rule of law does not do away with the unequal distribution of wealth and power, but reinforces that inequality with the authority of law. It allocates wealth and poverty in such calculated and indirect ways as to leave the victim bewildered.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Education becomes most rich and alive when it confronts the reality of moral conflict in the world.”

Education becomes most rich and alive when it confronts the reality of moral conflict in the world.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Yes, we’re dreamers. We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don’t want war. We don’t want capitalism. We want a decent society.”

Yes, we’re dreamers. We want it all. We want a peaceful world. We want an egalitarian world. We don’t want war. We don’t want capitalism. We want a decent society.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “We all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.”

We all have an enormous responsibility to bring to the attention of others information they do not have, which has the potential of causing them to rethink long-held ideas.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.”

War is terrorism, magnified a hundred times.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “The term ‘just war’ is an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.”

The term ‘just war’ is an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.

— Howard Zinn


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

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Music can be a distraction and an escape. Sometimes a welcome escape. You need it. But music can also serve a very important social function because music can do things that mere prose, mere ordinary political agitation can’t do.”

Music can be a distraction and an escape. Sometimes a welcome escape. You need it. But music can also serve a very important social function because music can do things that mere prose, mere ordinary political agitation can’t do.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “The only way things will happen is if people get over the notion that they must see immediate success. If they get over that notion and persist, then they will see things happen before they even realize it.”

The only way things will happen is if people get over the notion that they must see immediate success. If they get over that notion and persist, then they will see things happen before they even realize it.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured.”

The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.”

The power of a bold idea uttered publicly in defiance of dominant opinion cannot be easily measured. Those special people who speak out in such a way as to shake up not only the self-assurance of their enemies, but the complacency of their friends, are precious catalysts for change.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “What we have is a more sophisticated form of imperialism, which is economic. But lurking in the background, always ready to go, is an armed force.”

What we have is a more sophisticated form of imperialism, which is economic. But lurking in the background, always ready to go, is an armed force.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.”

The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “When you fight a war against a tyrant, who do you kill? You kill the victims of the tyrant.”

When you fight a war against a tyrant, who do you kill? You kill the victims of the tyrant.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Crosses and gallows – that deadly historic juxtaposition.”

Crosses and gallows – that deadly historic juxtaposition.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes.”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “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.”

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.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “George Orwell said, “Whoever controls the past controls the future,” by which he meant that history is incredibly important in shaping the world view of the next generation of people.”

George Orwell said, “Whoever controls the past controls the future,” by which he meant that history is incredibly important in shaping the world view of the next generation of people.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “They have the guns, we have the poets. Therefore, we will win.”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.”

Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “If you don’t know history, it is as if you were born yesterday.”

If you don’t know history, it is as if you were born yesterday.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.”

When we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.”

It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “I believe the American people have the capacity to create a new movement, which would change the direction of our nation from being a military power to being a peaceful nation, using our enormous wealth for human needs, here and abroad.”

I believe the American people have the capacity to create a new movement, which would change the direction of our nation from being a military power to being a peaceful nation, using our enormous wealth for human needs, here and abroad.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “People who have no respect for human life or for freedom or justice have taken over this beautiful country of ours. It will be up to the American people to take it back.”

People who have no respect for human life or for freedom or justice have taken over this beautiful country of ours. It will be up to the American people to take it back.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “In the United States today, the Declaration of Independence hangs on schoolroom walls, but foreign policy follows Machiavelli.”

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

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “Politics is pointless if it does nothing to enhance the beauty of our lives.”

Politics is pointless if it does nothing to enhance the beauty of our lives.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “I am not an absolute pacifist, because I can’t rule out the possibility that under some, carefully defined circumstances, some degree of violence may be justified, if it is focused directly at a great evil.”

I am not an absolute pacifist, because I can’t rule out the possibility that under some, carefully defined circumstances, some degree of violence may be justified, if it is focused directly at a great evil.

— Howard Zinn


Howard Zinn Quote: “If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, is dissent the highest form of patriotism?”

If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, is dissent the highest form of patriotism?

— Howard Zinn

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