A People’s History of the United States

November 17, 2012


If you are confused, angry and frustrated about the current state of the American political and economic system, you need to orient yourself. Who are we and how did we get here?
In “A People’s History of the United States”, the late Howard Zinn has compiled the most thorough and complete picture of U.S. history that is never really taught in our schools.
Zinn begins by detailing the atrocities committed by early Spanish explorers seeking to exploit the people and resources of the new world. It is as horrible as you can imagine.
This is a pattern that is continually repeated throughout American history, and not only against indigenous native people or slaves. Every type of immigrant nationality suffered inhuman and degrading treatment by the established ruling class of the day.
It’s disapointing when friends, family or political foes hold strong opinions that are often baseless talking points. Most people these days take basic liberties for granted; the eight-hour work day for instance:

“A three-month strike of 100,00 workers in New York won the eight-hour day, and at a victory celebration in June 1872, 150,000 workers paraded through the city. The New York Times wondered what proportion of the strikers were “thoroughly American.”

That is the voice of elitism.
Much blood has been spilled to insure people have such simple things as lunchbreaks and workplace safety.
Zinn relays to us the voices of slaves, soldiers, farmers, factory workers and the ruling elite that is rarely echoed in school textbooks.
One thing that is made clear is this: Nothing has changed.
Sure, we outlawed slavery.
But now middle-class debt has created an entire nation of wage slaves, and not by accident.
Sure, women won the right to vote.
But they still make two-thirds of the wages that men make.
Sure, we gained environmental awareness, birth control, and a strong economy.
And with that we got climate change denial, theocratic control over women’s issues, and endless imperial wars over foreign resources.

Let’s take a look at how financial Giant J.P Morgan made his first fortune:
He bought 5,000 rifles for $3.50 each and sold them to a General for $22.00 each. The rifles were defective and blew the hands off the soldiers that used them.
Not so different than the scam financial institutions used to crash the economy in 2008; sell defective (financial) products and make a huge profit.
Crash the economy and get a taxpayer bail-out. And the same corporate moneyfucks are still in charge.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I can’t believe the number of people I have talked to after the 2012 election that said they didn’t vote because they did not understand the issues. Aside from pure laziness, it demonstrates that people have no fucking idea of the history of the United States and how elites of all stripes manage our affairs.
Let’s hope that in this age of super-communication that people will wake up and look out for their class interests. Obviously the Uber-rich have been calling the shots, but with effective government oversight they may possibly be held in check.

Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” should be recommended reading for all high-school students, especially in this era when schools have stopped teaching civic’s classes because “conservatives” believe that is a form of “indoctrination”.
Orient yourself, find out what has gone wrong, and decide how to make things right.

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One Response to A People’s History of the United States

  1. Mary White on September 2, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    NONE OF THE ABOVE is always my vote, but I never see it on ballots.

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