492 Cafe


January 27, 2010 Howard Zinn dies at 87 in sunny Santa Monica




Yes, NPR actually can still at least feign shame, at least when 150,000 listeners shout their message at the rusty old establishment network's ears for pulling another unfair and imbalanced scam.

Hear weekly news analysis exposing current big media lies on Counterspin, broadcast in and around Boston on WZBC-FM (90.3 MHz) or listen at WZBC.Org


492 Cafe projects featuring Howard Zinn


April 2008: Freeman Records Howard at his home for The Tavis Smiley Show.

Howard signs and offers his new book after discussing the wiretap-related BU police officer Nuzzi misconduct problem. "...It's an outrage! ...call the ACLU..." he said.

December 2007: Howard and Freeman create "Zincenza!"

(English w/Italian subtitles) a video message from Howard in his humble Boston University office. this video was created at the request of Italians resisting a proposed US military base, to be shown at a major rally.


March 2007: Peace March Radio Promos

Howard phones the studio for the Anniversary March on the Pentagon with military-style cadences shouted by Veterans For Peace, lead by VFP National Director David Cline recorded in the streets of both New York and Washington, D.C.


November 2007: Sound Reinforement and Recordings

Zinn addresses to B.U. (SDS) Students for a Democratic Society - Iraq and Beyond


January 2007: Sound Reinforement and Recordings

Zinn Speaks at a Park Street Peace Rally Opposing the Surge, and 492 Cafe's Freeman Z provides free sound amplification for the event using the "SoniKart," a self-powered mobile sound workstation once seized by Dick Cheney's goon squad ...and returned in hundreds of pieces. Still, sometimes It's gratifying just to be noticed.


October 2005: Original Zinn

Freeman meets Howard under an oak tree near a staged, Democratic party "astroturf" rally in Roxbury.


Remembering Howard Zinn
by Freeman Z

(by Freeman Z) In less than a year, I had done about six different projects with Professor Zinn, most of them were chance meetings, and how Tavis' Producer found me, I still have no idea. But there we were. I was thinking "Howard must be convinced by now, that I'm either stalking him, or watching him, ...working for the Government."

As I set up the mic stands and recorders, I had the pleasure of meeting Roslyn "Roz" Zinn. a beautiful woman who had produced much of the art adorning the bright and humble Newton home. We chatted about the usual things. I mentioned that I had gone to high school in nearby Chestnut Hill, and the subject turned to health. I had been dealing with high blood pressure, and she was "battling cancer."

She'd chosen not to suffer the brutal therapies that my sister had taken, noting that she was eighty, and those treatments are for young people. I indicated that I understood, and told her I had a friend who'd made the same choice. I was relieved that she didn't ask what happened to Thomas after all his weird-self-administered therapies, from bathing in peroxide to breathing ozone and fiddling with his cockamaimee anti-cancer machines.

We all talked about art and life and how to pronounce Bacevich. I reminded Howard of meeting him years ago under an oak tree in Roxbury, telling him I was interested in his books, but was too busy making media of the people to have recorded him.

I reminded him of Martin Voelker, who used to record Zinn, and years ago had encouraged me at least to hear him speak. He was eager for news, and I told him that Martin's in Colorado working with his old partner David Barsamian of Alternative Radio. I mentioned anti-war workhorses Carlos and Mélida Arredondo, and Zinn remarked "They've been remarkably active, that couple."

Photos of Howard, friends, and family filled the wall above the desk where we would record our side of the phone interview. The studio in California would record the other half, and later, would stitch them together to complete the illusion of a face-to-face. A few weeks later, Democracy Now's Distributor Kevin Moynihan told me he'd sent that studio, and that it's quite impressive. Of course, I can and do that same sort of thing right here in my own control room.

Also above the desk, I noticed a black and white print of Chomsky in his thirties, with a pink, hand-tinted necktie. I mentioned how odd it seemed that these two are never seen together. Once a decade we get a Chomsky Dershowitz meeting that some call a "debate," I was to record the last one, but my ancient cat (and bestest friend ever) was clearly preparing to cross the rainbow bridge, and Harvard has a very bad attitude about letting anyone not of Harvard record "their" events. So I skipped it. I was right, Harvard's team of technicians with their wall of equipment provided our man with a crappy sounding feed.

The phone rang, and the studio asked Howard to count down from five, which he did, including a zero, and explaining that this is necessary, not surprising for a former bombardier. The interview ran about fifteen minutes.

I left the house with an autographed copy of the new book, an illustrated version of the Peoples History of American Empire, which kept me busy on the ride back from Riverside Station, learning about my country's violent past, filling in some gaping holes in my education.

Roz passed away only a few weeks later. I heard the news from an organizer not long after Howard cancelled his talk on the meaning of Sacco and Vanzetti.

So Roz had made it. Like my precious kitty, she lived a good long life and died at home with love and care. I guess that's as good as it gets.

But Zinn's book had turned my attention back to the victims of the American Empire, both Citizensl and foreigners, who are denied either of these things, a good life or a dignified death.

About Dr. Zinn

Perhaps best known as the Author of a People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn grew up in the immigrant slums of Brooklyn where he worked in shipyards in his late teens. He saw combat duty as an air force bombardier in World War II, and afterward received his doctorate in history from Columbia University and was a postdoctoral Fellow in East Asian Studies at Harvard University. Zinn is author of many books, including Original Zinn: Conversations on History and Politics with David Barsamian, and the million-selling classic, A People's History of the United States.

Zinn's Video Message to Vicenza, Italy:

Produced at 492 Cafe by Freeman Z



Having fought in World War II as a bombardier, Zinn brings a profoundly human, yet uniquely American perspective to each subject he writes about. Written in an accessible, personal tone, Howard approaches the telling of U.S. history from an active, engaged point of view.

Zinn opens the book with an essay titled "If History is to be Creative," a reflection on the role and responsibility of the engaged historian. "To think that history-writing must aim simply to recapitulate the failures that dominate the past," writes Zinn, "is to make historians collaborators in an endless cycle of defeat." "If history is to be creative, to anticipate a possible future without denying the past, it should, I believe, emphasize new possibilities by disclosing those hidden episodes of the past when, even if in brief flashes, people showed their ability to resist, to join together, and occasionally win. I am supposing, or perhaps only hoping, that our future may be found in the past's fugitive moments of compassion rather than in its solid centuries of warfare." -from the Publisher



Hi Freeman, here is the Howard Zinn story I related to you on the phone last night:

In my past work as a counselor in a Boston homeless shelter, I was talking with one of the guests who was interested in social change politics. I mentioned to him Howard Zinn's book "The People's History Of The United States", which the guest expressed an interest in reading.
By coincidence, about a week later, I saw Prof. Zinn crossing the street in Harvard Square. I said hello to him and mentioned the homeless person's interest in his book--he graciously asked me for the person's mailing address(a PO box cause he was homeless) and Prof. Zinn told me he would personally send him a signed copy of The People's History.
Sure enough, a week later my homeless client received Howard's book in the mail.
An anecdotal story of Howard Zinn' kindness and concern for the most disenfranchised people in our society.
When I was a student at Boston Univ. from 1972-74, I recall Prof. Zinn's great popularity with so many BU students--his political science courses always filled up fast at the start of each semester, and all his students talked of what a wonderful professor he was.
God bless Howard Zinn--he's in the next life with many a social change prophet
who has gone before him.His life was well-lived and he will live on as a high example of a person who really cared about peace and social justice.

Michael Borkson



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