Category Archives: Activist

Howard Zinn dies.

Howard Zinn died yesterday at the age of 87 of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. Mr. Zinn was a wonderful voice, and activist, for the left and he will be missed. From The Nation:

Howard Zinn, the Boston University historian and political activist who was an early opponent of US involvement in Vietnam and the author of the seminal A People’s History of the United States, died today at the age of 87 of a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He was in a swimming pool doing laps and was spotted immediately by lifeguards but died instantly.
Zinn’s brand of history put common citizens at the center of the story and inspired generations of young activists and academics to remember that change is possible. As he wrote in his autobiography, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train (1994), “From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than ‘objectivity’; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble.”

I heard him speak on several occasions during the Vietnam War. He was a moving orator and a damn fine human being.

 

Utah Phillips has died…

From Democracy Now!:

The “Golden Voice of the Great Southwest”: Legendary Folk Musician, Activist Utah Phillips, 1935-2008

Utah Phillips, the legendary folk musician and peace and labor activist, has died at the age of seventy-three. Over the span of nearly four decades, Utah Phillips worked in what he referred to as “the Trade,” performing tirelessly throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. The son of labor organizers, Phillips was a lifelong member of the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies. As a teenager, he ran away from home and started living as a hobo who rode the rails and wrote songs about his experiences. In 1956, he joined the Army and served in the Korean War, an experience he would later refer to as the turning point of his life. In 1968, he ran for the US Senate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket. For the past twenty-one years he lived in Nevada City, where he started a nationally syndicated folk music radio show. He also helped found the Hospitality House homeless shelter and the Peace and Justice Center.