Howard Zinn: Three Holy Wars

By | January 13, 2010


On the 100th anniversary of Progressive Magazine, Howard Zinn, author of The People’s History of the United States, gave a talk about three holy wars. Not religious wars, he explained, but rather America’s “sacred” wars that are considered to be just and beyond criticism. They are the American Revolution, the Civil War and World War II.

He said:

“Why do we assume that we had to fight a bloody revolutionary war to get rid of England? . . .  In the first year before the first shots were fired, those famous shots. You know, the shot that was heard around the world. You know, Lexington, Concord, April of 1775, the beginning of the Revolutionary War. The year before that farmers in western Massachusetts had driven the British government out of most of western Massachusetts without firing a shot. They had assembled thousands upon thousands around court houses, around official offices and they had taken over and they said good bye to the British officials. It was a nonviolent revolution that took place.”

One of the questions that Colman McCarthy poses in Lesson 6 of The Class of Nonviolence is “Many believe that Britain could have been removed from America nonviolently. Explain.” If, because of time constraints, you want to focus in on just the part on the Revolution, watch from minute 9:50 through 22:24. There is a complete transcript of the talk on the Truthout Web site: thanks to them for drawing this to my attention.

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