The “Bad History” of Howard Zinn and the Brainwashing of America By Mary Grabar
America’s Survival, Inc.
I. II. III. IV. V. VI.
A History That No Self-Respecting Marxist Historian Would Consider Reinventing the Wheel The History of the Scottsboro Case as Prelude Reshaping Humanity for Utopia For Kids: The Radical Historian as Super-Hero Zinn’s Real Scholarship
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Although Howard Zinn denied membership in the Communist Party when he was questioned by FBI agents in 1953 and 1954, he continued to work on behalf of the Communists through his teaching and writing. In both activities he played the role of subversive. As a history professor, he targeted young and vulnerable populations. As a scholar, he wrote revisionist histories that should appall anyone with a respect for the truth. But Zinn cleverly distanced himself from the truth, proclaiming, in a fashion that has become common for academics, “Objectivity is impossible, and it is undesirable.” In his teaching duties at both Spelman College in Atlanta and at Boston University, Zinn was better known for implementing his activist view of education, of bringing his classes to the protests of his choosing that involved not only civil rights but anti-American causes. In this way, he attempted to pass himself off as a hero to the downtrodden proletariat of America. Howard Zinn does not directly reveal the Marxism that informs his version of “history” in his bestselling A People’s History of the United States and its many spin-off products. Throughout his life he claimed to be a spokesman for the overlooked “people” of the United States who had not been given voice in other accounts of U.S. history. He claimed to merely correct the bias of traditional histories. But his corrections contain distortions, gaps, and outright lies about events in American history. Further, he is especially careful to convince his reader that only he has the correct version. He conspiratorially refers to “the Establishment” and “the System” as he condemns every aspect of the United States. Most appalling is that such a message is given in explicit terms to middle-school children in the “Young People’s” version. A look at Zinn’s writing for his peers in the New Left reveals a more candid admission about his goals. The 1969 essay originally titled “Marxism and the New Left” but reprinted with the new title, “The New Radicalism,” in the 2009 collection, The Zinn Reader, draws on a deep well of familiarity with the works of Karl Marx. He proposes that the New Left, the “loose amalgam of civil rights activists, Black Power advocates, ghetto organizers, student rebels, Vietnam protestors” institute “a revolution” in pockets in “traditional cities, universities, corporations.” It would be a nonviolent revolution, though, employing “political guerilla tactics” that would demonstrate “what people should do, how people should live.” Zinn’s History offers a perfect “guerilla tactic” for the classroom. Zinn even admits that teachers should slip in photocopies of pages in order to bypass “the establishment”—parents and school administrators. Zinn in this 1969 article also reveals a goal similar to the one handed down from the Sixth World Congress of the Communist International in 1928: to target the most widely oppressed group in the United States, black Americans. The Communists famously exploited the case of the Scottsboro boys in 1930s Depression America. Black intellectuals, like Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, saw through the exploitation of blacks by Communists and wrote about their experiences. But Zinn—six years after he was fired from a black women’s college in 1963 for insubordination to a black president—writes, “Marx envisioned the industrial proletariat as the revolutionary agent because it was in need, exploited and brought together in the factory. The Negro is in need, exploited and brought together in the ghetto.”...
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