Zinn on the interests of the powerful: On the recent publication of the companion to a People's History of the United States, In These Times associate publisher Aaron Sarver interviews historian Howard Zinn. I especially enjoy Sarver's suggestion that perhaps Zinn could get Bush to read and respond to specific passages of Voices of a People's History of the United States, which is comprised entirely of source material for Zinn's classic history. Zinn's response:
We have to find somebody to read it to Bush [Zinn laughs]. He is not going to read it. And the truth is, you know, Bush wouldn't care. Very often we delude ourselves into thinking that if these people in high places only knew the truth, they would change their policies. No, they wouldn't. Because the truth is, they don't care. If their interests were the same as ours, then we might find common ground. But their interests are not the same.

And so, Bush would not be moved by a mother appealing to him not to go to war--he believes in the war. Condoleezza Rice would not be moved by a poem by Langston Hughes even though as a fellow African American she should be listening to him and paying attention. But no, she has her own agenda. So our hope is not that this will be read by the people in power--our hope is that this will be read by the average American who does not know these things and will then organize and act and become part of the social movement that will then force the people in power to change their policies.
Download an mp3 or stream this interview (and others) at In These Times' radio venture, Fire on the Prairie.

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