[Howard Zinn raw #6]

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Two students from Sonoma State University drive to San Francisco to pick up Howard Zinn from his hotel. Howard Zinn takes questions at the end of his talk at Sonoma State centering around the conflict in Kosovo and the actions of NATO and the Clinton administration.

0:04 Two Sonoma State students are driving to the San Francisco to pick up Howard Zinn. They discuss the effect of tuition increases on college accessibility for low-income students.

1:28 Shot from the car driving over the Golden Gate Bridge.

3:01 Exterior shots of Hotel Triton in San Francisco.

5:12 In the backseat of the car, the student tells Howard Zinn about a tug-of-war tournament and her time as a student at SSU.

8:28 The driver tells Zinn that A People’s History was required reading in her undergraduate program. Zinn asks about the history faculty at

10:34 The driver tells Zinn about the SSU student strike and ongoing contract negotiations in the California State University system.

18:23 The driver tells Zinn about the lack of expressed support from students for the CSU unions embroiled in contract negotiations. She says that this lack of political engagement extends beyond Sonoma State to society at large.

20:20 The students in the car explain how the strike was made possible through the actions of just a handful of students.

21:36 Zinn asks the student in the backseat how she got involved so quickly with student life at Sonoma State. She talks about being very involved in high school and meeting the chair of Associated Students through freshman seminar. She talks about relaunching a film series at Sonoma State.

26:53 The driver criticizes the moralizing comments made by the host of a radio advice show.

27:57 The driver asks Zinn if he’s ever wondered how he always seems to end up in places where exciting, profound, historically-significant events are transpiring. He says its mostly just an accident.

29:06 The driver asks Zinn what Marcuse was like. Zinn talks about being friends with Marcuse when he lived in the Boston area. He says Marcuse was “a very juicy, funny person.” He says that when they were both teaching at the University of Paris, Marcuse’s classes would be attended by three hundred students from all over France. “He was really a folk hero of the left in Europe.” The driver talks about an essay she wrote on Marcuse and elitism. Zinn says Marcuse had trouble writing in simple English.

34:59 Exterior shot of Ives Hall at Sonoma State with a sign reading “Howard Zinn: Sold Out.” A few people walk into the building.

37:56 Shot of an empty stage with a podium before Zinn’s talk at Sonoma State.

38:07 Zinn asks an audience member how he thinks systems theory can help us deal with problems. The audience member tells Zinn how he thinks systems theory can help us understand capitalism and imperialism.

39:06 An audience member asks Zinn what kind of resolutions could be adopted to address situations like Kosovo. Zinn says that when alternatives to war are brought up, they are framed in a binary – either war or appeasement – but there are obviously other alternatives. “Very often people say, ‘well you gotta do something,’ and they immediately leap from ‘you gotta do something’ to ‘you gotta make war.’ Zinn decries NATO’s interventionist bombing campaign for bringing more harm to the Kosovan people and weakening domestic opposition movements.

43:48 Zinn raises the point that in America we’re only getting a small part of the news about the bombings and civilian casualities. He discusses the human devestation caused by cluster bombs in Kosovo.

45:41 Zinn explains why he thinks it’s important to understand history in order to understand what the United States is doing and why it is doing it. “If you don’t know any history, then it’s as if you were born yesterday. And if you were born yesterday, then you’ll believe whatever your leaders tell you, you have no way of checking up on it.” He says that if you know your history, you’ll become dubious of the stated motives and reasons coming from the leaders of the Untied States. He discusses the complicity of the United States government in the violence wrought against the people of East Timor by the Indonesian government and the Kurds by the Turkish government. Regarding Kosovo, Zinn says he thinks the only solution is a diplomatic solution based around compromise rather the ultimatum being issued by the NATO and the Clinton administration.

50:04 An audience member asks Zinn when war is justified. “I cannot think anymore of war being justified. Because war, just the nature of war in our time, makes it unjustifiable. And by that I mean, the nature of war in our time, with the technology that war involves, means the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people.”

50:42 Two students sell Zinn’s books at a table in the lobby outside the talk. A Vietnam veteran buys A People’s History of the United States. A student buys Marx in Soho.

55:10 Zinn gets some photographs taken with members of the student group who organized and his talk at Sonoma State.

 

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