Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Howard Zinn

The modern discipline of history too often is a form of forgetting just to the extent that a false objectivity is used to occlude whose story is being told and to what purpose. If we are tell our stories truthfully and, more importantly, live acknowledging the violence that comes with the gifts of our past, we can do so only if we have the skill to be forgiven. 'Penance' names the search for the skills through which we avoid the false stories that would justify the violence of the past, which cannot help but ensure an even more violent present and future... For a wonderful counterhistory of America [read] Howard Zinn. - Stanley Hauerwas, Performing the Faith, pgs. 20-21.


Howard Zinn Online

Wikipedia (lots of great links!)

TCR Musings
DN: Readings from Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States (Over a Million Copies Sold)

Hard readings From Howard Zinn's "Voices of a People's History of the United States". The hard indictments contained here are, I believe, necessary for spiritual growth and justice toward the future. While it does not tell the whole story, what it tells is true enough. And it breaks our hearts. For no human beings are chattel to be pushed, killed and dominated. Some things that have been done in Christ's name are, as Christians we must admit to ourselves, and as John Paul II taught, shameful in the extreme, and we, like others, must acknowledge our mistakes so that all of us can become more, not less, like the biblical revelation of Jesus, the meek Peacemaker and revelation of the One God, who so loves especially the poor. We cannot allow what rulers, generals and soldiers, and even some religious, have made of Jesus through a partial, prejudiced, history, but, with the Church, seek out His Face afresh in every generation.

Whether it is the Christian Spaniards and others, the American Founding Fathers, who each committed enormous crimes and slavery in ages past in the New World, or the Aztecs who indulged human sacrifice, Jews who imposed usury on the poor and who participated in the "success" of the slave trade, American native peoples who often warred with one another ruthlessly, or modern terrorists who violate the Koran in waging Jihad against innocent civilians in the name of Allah, it is time to admit the past with a view to changing and transcending it. It is a redemptive pain involved in remembering, in aiming for what John Paul II called the "purification of memory"...Now, the readings....


Fred said...

I tried to read a People's History years ago. I doubt that Marxism is the clearest route to a purification of memory.

Fr. D.L. Jones said...

I have it now. I'll let you know what I think. Obviously he must be read with a grain of salt, as any historian should be.

Is he is full-blown "Marxist" though? A civil rights/social justice activist yes, a well-known progressive yes of course, but a "Marxist"? Even if he is, there is a lot truth (hidden wounds as Wendell Berry would say) which he clearly documents. In this way what Stanley Hauerwas and Stephen Hand say is very relevant.

Fred said...

I'll certainly be interested to hear your take on it.

Eric Lee said...

I think that Zinn's alternate history is very, very helpful and should make us repent for what we have done. Any of his Marxism, real or not, should indeed be taken with a grain of salt. Marxism, as John Milbank points out in his Theology & Social Theory, is only really good for criticizing capitalism. After that, it's actually based upon the same false assumptions as capitalism, which is why we need the Church and it's proclamation of the Divine Economy as the alternative.

David, you should add this post to my BookGarden.org site as an entry for Stanley's book! :)



ps. shameless self-plug, I know, sorry! :P