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Original Zinn: The Tapes

Program #ZINH027-ZINH028-ZINH029-ZINH032-ZINH033-ZINH034-ZINH035.

This powerful collection of AR programs and never-aired exclusives makes up the complete source material for the Howard Zinn & David Barsamian book Original Zinn, available in paperback from AR. Whether you choose 8 CDs or MP3s, this discounted set features all the audio in one place.

Zinn's conversations with Barsamian touch on such diverse topics as the American war machine, civil disobedience, the importance of memory and remembering history and the role of artists - from Langston Hughes to Dalton Trumbo to Bob Dylan - in relation to social change. It's Zinn at his irrepressible best, the acute perception of a scholar whose impressive knowledge and probing intellect make history immediate and relevant for us all.


Can the System Be Fixed?

The scale of corporate scandals is unprecedented in American history. Many workers have lost not only their jobs but also their savings, pensions and investments. Upper management, the so-called captains of industry, cashed in their stocks long before they tanked. Wall Street brokers, dependent on commissions, were selling investors stocks they were describing in internal memos as "crap" and "junk." WorldCom, the telecom giant, might take the cake for sheer perfidy. It originally acknowledged it had cooked their books to the tune of four billion dollars. Now it says that there's another three. Responding to public outcry, Congress passed a corporate reform bill that consumer advocate Ralph Nader calls "modest." Rogue capitalism has many people asking the question, Can the system be fixed?

The Back Seat Interviews - 2 CDs

Get a front seat and join David Barsamian as he talks with Howard Zinn in the back seat of a car on a drive in New Mexico. These interviews are a must for Zinn fans. For those of you who don't know him, they are an excellent introduction to the wit and wisdom of one of our foremost elders. In these wide-ranging and informative interviews, he shows his mastery of disparate topics. Zinn is no boring academic. His inspiring optimism is present throughout. Among the subjects are: How history is constructed, the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, remembering Albany, GA., the FBI, RFK, Gandhi, Malcolm X, the value of books, "The Sopranos," movies, "A People's History" on HBO, Orwell's "1984" and its relevance to today.

War on Iraq: A Dissenting View

Respected historian Howard Zinn joins AR's David Barsamian in conversation for this live feed. Zinn's extensive historical and current perspectives combine to provide critical insight on the situation in Iraq and the world. His breadth of knowledge and engaging style make this a program not to be missed.

Resistance & the Role of Artists

Artists have always been on the cutting edge of society. They are the innovators as well as the seers. Go back to Aeschylus, the great 5th century BC Greek playwright who wrote "The Persians." This classic drama was a warning to the Greeks to not be consumed by the same arrogance that was undoing of the Persians. Power thinks it's infallible and eternal. Artists puncture holes in these illusions. Today, writers, musicians, poets, filmmakers, and actors like Michael Franti, Alice Walker, Danny Glover, Radiohead, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Bonnie Raitt and many others challenge the political orthodoxy. For daring to speak out they incur the wrath and scorn of the superpatriots that dominate the airwaves.

Critical Thinking

The US is now bogged down in a guerilla war in Iraq. The political leadership misled the people in a pattern of deception that Machiavelli would have admired. The media, with few exceptions, never challenged the official stories. Only a handful in Congress asked questions. In a remarkable propaganda triumph, the Bush Administration managed to conflate the country and the government as one and the same. Mark Twain, a fierce opponent of an earlier outburst of American imperialism, declared that he supported the country all of the time and the government when it deserved it. Citizens can cut through the spin if they are armed with independent information, knowledge of history and critical thinking. Without those tools then people are easy prey for Swift Boat and wolf pack ads.

Airbrushing History

Studs Terkel, the great historian, says the U.S. suffers from a kind of national Alzheimer's disease. Aided and abetted by the media and the education system there are aspects of history that are simply forgotten. Take say the Nuremberg trials after World War II where the top Nazis faced justice. What were they accused of? Attacking other countries without cause. The judges spoke as one when they declared: "To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime that contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Many legal scholars say the judgment at Nuremberg could apply to the U.S. attack on Iraq. However Nuremberg and its significance is air-brushed out of history.

A World Without Borders 

Frontiers divide people into nation states leading to an us and them dichotomy. A political elite dominates power and the lexical discourse. Flags become potent symbols of nationalism. Patriotism is used to create the illusion of a common interest that everyone shares. Political leaders exempt themselves from law and basic morality while all the time loudly proclaiming their adherence to them. They declare that god is on their side. They call on their people to make sacrifices. Vast military power is deployed to defend what is called the national interest. Other countries are attacked. This is called self-defense. This pattern is a formula for endless conflict. What if barriers dividing people disappeared? Can we imagine a world without borders?


Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn, professor emeritus at Boston University, was perhaps this country's premier radical historian. He was born in Brooklyn in 1922. His parents, poor immigrants, were constantly moving to stay, as he once told me, "one step ahead of the landlord." After high school, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. During World War II, he saw combat duty as an air force bombardier. After the war, he went to Columbia University on the GI Bill. He taught at Spelman, the all black women's college in Atlanta. He was an active figure in the civil rights movement and served on the board of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was fired by Spelman for his activism. He was among the first to oppose U.S. aggression in Indochina. His book Vietnam: The Logic of Withdrawal was an instant classic. A principled opponent of imperialism and militarism, he was an advocate of non-violent civil disobedience. He spoke and marched against the U.S. wars on Afghanistan and Iraq. His masterwork, A People's History of the United States, continues to sell in huge numbers. Among his many books are A Power Governments Cannot Suppress and Original Zinn with David Barsamian. Just before his death he completed his last great project, the documentary The People Speak. Always ready to lend a hand, he believed in and practiced solidarity. Witty, erudite, generous and loved, Howard Zinn, friend and teacher, passed away on January 27, 2010. His words inspire many the world over, "We don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. To live now, as human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

David Barsamian

One of America's most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio show Alternative Radio—now in its 29th year—and his books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Richard Wolff, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His latest book of interviews with Noam Chomsky is Power Systems. His best-selling books with Chomsky have been translated into many languages. He lectures on world affairs, imperialism, capitalism, propaganda, the media, the economic crisis and global rebellions. Click for a list of recent speaking topics.

He is a winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center. He has collaborated with the world-renowned Kronos Quartet  in events in New York, London, Vienna and elsewhere.

The Boulder Weekly published this feature about him. As Arundhati Roy wrote for The Guardian, Barsamian was deported from India due to his work on Kashmir and other revolts. He is still barred from traveling to "the world's largest democracy."

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