[Howard Zinn raw #27]

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Filmmaker Denis Mueller interviews Noam Chomsky in his office at MIT. They discuss Howard Zinn's impact, the Vietnam War, and anti-war activism.

0:22 Noam Chomsky talks about working alongside Howard Zinn, traveling all over the United States during the anti-war movement.

2:15 Chomsky contrasts Howard Zinn with other academics and intellectuals, pointing out his working-class background and engagement with the problems and struggles of ordinary people.

5:04 Chomsky explains that history is owned by the wealthy and privileged. “For example, Howard’s book was so important because it was one of the rare occasions on which a view of history was given that broke sharply from the conventions of subordination to power, looked at what history meant to the mass of the population. It’s sometimes done, but he did it brilliantly and in an unusual way.”

6:13 Noam Chomsky says that Zinn, wherever he’s speaking, is able to strike the right tone to make people listen and engage with what he’s saying.

7:09 Chomsky explains how he and Zinn complement each other. He says they both share an understanding of the world, but approach it differently.

8:02 Filmmaker Denis Mueller asks Chomsky about Howard’s contributions to bringing radical history and dissent into academia. Chomsky highlights Zinn’s position at Spelman and his subsequent work in anti-war activism. “And his book alone just changed the thinking of a whole generation of people. I mean I can’t think of another book that has had that much of an impact.”

11:41 Chomsky discusses John Silber’s campaign against Zinn.

12:32 Chomsky praises Zinn’s thoughtfulness and his commitment to speaking out against American involvement in Vietnam.

14:13 Noam Chomsky talks about the difficulties of anti-war organizing in the early 1960s. He speaks about the violence directed towards anti-war and women’s rights demonstrators in the early 1960s.

18:44 Chomsky speaks about the widespread jingoism of the early 1960s. He talks about the bombing of South Vietnam that President Kennedy authorized and carried out in 1961. He says that President Reagan attempted to carry out a similar offensive in Central America, but faced an unanticipated public backlash.

22:12 Chomsky says that the majority of the population of the United States finds the War in Vietnam to be fundamentally wrong and immoral, but among educated people, almost nobody describes the war that way.

24:32 Noam Chomsky says that if we consider ourselves moral human beings, we have a responsibility to do what we can to improve the situation of the world.

 

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