Selected testimonies to living history—speeches, letters, poems, songs—offered by the people who make history happen, but are often left out of history books: women, workers, nonwhites. Featuring introductions to the original texts by Howard Zinn.
New voices featured in this 10th Anniversary Edition include Chelsea Manning, speaking after receiving her 35-year prison sentence; Naomi Klein, speaking from the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Liberty Square; a member of Dream Defenders, a youth organization that confronts systemic racial inequality; members of the Undocumented Youth movement, who occupied, marched, and demonstrated in support of the DREAM Act; a member of the Day Laborers movement; Chicago Teachers Union strikers; and several critics of the Obama administration, including Glenn Greenwald, on governmental secrecy.
“If there is no struggle there is no progress. . . . This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.”
Writing to you on the day after the election, the book I commend to you all is Howard Zinn's Voices of a People's History of the United States, edited by Howard and Anthony Arnove. Here's how the book came about: one summer morning in the summer of 1999, Howard and I were having breakfast at the coffee shop he liked to go to on Rte 6 in Wellfleet, and Howard said to me—I'm paraphrasing: "Here's the book you should do, that no other publisher has asked me to do, but that needs to be done. Take all the short quotes that appear in A People's History of the United States, and include them in full. Make a whole book out of the voices of ordinary people that have built every social movement in this nation's history." This was Howard's core belief, that movements are never truly created by leaders at the top, but always by people from the ground up. And so Anthony, Howard and I set to work, meeting weekly, often at the office they still let him have at Boston University, even though he was retired, and over the next year and a half the book came together, and we have released two updated editions since then, keeping up with new emerging social movements. We're offering it now on our site at a 50% discount for solace and inspiration. —Dan