Before reading what Howard Zinn has written and this sites interpretation of the ideas, it is valuable to ask yourself these questions and truly have your own opinion on these basic concepts.


[ democracy ]

Within the life of Zinn he exercised democracy in his:

  1. Teaching
  2. Studied how laws functioned, sought for them to be enforced, and encouraged people to utilize them; especially with civil rights; an example would be his involvement with SNCC- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

The following quotes are taken from Zinn's book, Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology

"To make national decisions directly is not workable, but it is conceivable that a network of direct democracy groups could register their opinions in a way that would result in some national consensus. Lively participation and discussion of the issues by the citizenry would be a better, more democratic, more reliable way of representing the population than that present stiff, controlled system of electoral politics."

[ Bill of Rights ]

"No Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no voting procedures, no piece of legislation can assure us of peace or justice or equality. That requires a constant struggle, a continuous discussion among citizens, an endless series of organizations and movements, creating a pressure on whatever procedures there are."

"Those who have had the experience know that, unlike the puny act of voting, being with others in a great movement for social justice not only makes democracy come alive-it makes the people engaged in it come alive. It is satisfying, it is pleasurable. Change is difficult, but if it comes, that will most likely be the way."