Remembering Howard Zinn and Appreciating Him — from The Progressive Magazine On Line

Many obituaries and remembrances have paid tribute to the life of Howard Zinn.  Sadness is not for the dead but for the living, who would like (as Elizabeth di Novella says) to have read Zinn’s writings on such stuff as the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign funding.  Matthew Rothschild and Elizabeth di Novella have written a celebration of Howard Zinn’s life and contributions, words that will help us recognize that Zinn’s presence will be felt as long as we remember, as long as his writings survive to teach other generations about our history — Lew Rosenbaum]

Thank You, Howard Zinn

By Matthew Rothschild, January 28, 2010

Thank You, Howard Zinn, for being there during the civil rights movement, for teaching at Spelman, for walking the picket lines, and for inspiring such students as Alice Walker and Marian Wright Edelman.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being there during the Vietnam War, for writing “The Logic of Withdrawal,” and for going to Hanoi.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for always being there.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being a man who supported the women’s liberation movement, early on.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being a straight who supported the gay and lesbian rights movement, early on.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being a Jew who dared to criticize Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, early on.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for being a great man who didn’t believe in the “Great Man Theory of History.”

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for taking the time to write your landmark work, “A People’s History of the United States,” and for educating two generations now in the radical history of this country, a history, as you stressed, of class conflict.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for grasping the importance of transforming this book into “The People Speak,” the History Channel special that ran in December and that should be used by secondary, high school and college classes for as long as U.S. history is taught.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for opposing war, all wars, including our own “good wars,” our own “holy wars,” as you called them—and for pointing out that a “just cause” does not lead to a “just war.”

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for pointing out that soldiers don’t die for their country, but that they die for their political leaders who dupe them or conscript them into wars. And that they die for the corporations that profit from war.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for urging us to “renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed. We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.”

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for stressing that change comes from below, and that it comes at surprising times, even when things seem bleakest, if we organize to make it happen.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for stressing the value of engaging in action to make this world a better place, even if we don’t get there.

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for this amazing, inspiring paragraph, which I’ve had on my wall for years now:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Thank you, Howard Zinn, for recognizing the beauty and power of culture, and for exalting the poet, the singer, the actor, the artist.

Thank you, Howard, for being kind enough to write your columns this last decade for a relatively obscure magazine called The Progressive, and for doing so with the utmost intelligence and grace.

Thank you, Howard, for calling me your editor.

Thank you, Howard, for your wry and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Thank you, Howard, for your kindness.

Thank you, Howard, for your friendship.

Thank you, Howard.

Thank you.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

Remembering Howard Zinn

By Elizabeth DiNovella, January 27, 2010

I am deeply saddened by the news of the death of Howard Zinn. He was a longtime columnist for The Progressive, and his most recent piece, “The Nobel’s Feeble Gesture,” expressed his dismay about President Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Here’s an excerpt:

“I think some progressives have forgotten the history of the Democratic Party, to which people have turned again and again in desperate search for saviors, later to be disappointed. Our political history shows us that only great popular movements, carrying out bold actions that awakened the nation and threatened the Establishment, as in the Thirties and the Sixties, have been able to shake that pyramid of corporate and military power and at least temporarily changed course.”

It was a “classic” Zinn piece—piercing but playful, saying in no uncertain terms what needed to be said. It’s not surprising he was a favorite columnist for many of our subscribers. He was my favorite, too.

On matters of war and peace, he was absolute. In our July 2009 issue, he wrote, “We’ve got to rethink this question of war and come to the conclusion that war cannot be accepted, no matter what. No matter what the reasons given, or the excuse: liberty, democracy; this, that. War is by definition the indiscriminate killing of huge numbers of people for ends that are uncertain. Think about means and ends, and apply it to war. The means are horrible, certainly. The ends, uncertain. That alone should make you hesitate. . . . We are smart in so many ways. Surely, we should be able to understand that in between war and passivity, there are a thousand possibilities.”

What I loved most about Zinn was his sense of humor, which didn’t always translate onto the page. I didn’t know how funny he was until I heard him speak at our 95th anniversary party six years ago. He was gracious enough to attend our recent 100th birthday bash, too.

When I was a just becoming politicized, I read A People’s History of the United States and it blew my mind away. Reading Zinn’s book was a rite of passage in my activist circles, and I hope it still is.

It’s been nearly twenty years since I’ve read A People’s History, and it is no small thrill to be at a magazine that regularly publishes the work of a peace mongering historian, a World War II soldier who flew bombing missions over Europe but later staunchly advocated for peace. That was thing about Zinn—when he spoke of war, he knew what he was talking about.

Back in 2003 when George W. Bush was gunning for Saddam Hussein, Zinn wrote a cover story for The Progressive called “A Chorus Against War.”

This is how it ends:

“If Bush starts a war, he will be responsible for the lives lost, the children crippled, the terrorizing of millions of ordinary people, the American GIs not returning to their families. And all of use will be responsible for bringing that to a halt.

Men who have no respect for human life or for freedom or justice have taken over this beautiful country of ours. It will be up to the American people to take it back.”

I would have loved to read what Zinn thought about the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing even more money into our political system. Or what he would have written after hearing Obama’s first State of the Union Address. The President’s speech hasn’t even started yet tonight, but this much I do know: Zinn would have reminded us, as he did over and over, that we need to organize our neighborhoods and workplaces and schools in order to create change, and not leave it up to the politicians.

“Historically, government, whether in the hands of Republicans or democrats, conservatives or liberals, has failed its responsibilities until forced to by direct action: sit-ins and Freedom Rides for the rights of black people, strikes and boycotts for the rights of workers, mutinies and desertions of soldiers in order to stop a war,” Zinn wrote in a piece called, “Election Madness” back in March 2008. “Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”

Elizabeth DiNovella is Culture Editor of The Progressive.

The Road To Detroit

[The American “rust belt” is devastated.  No news there.  What is news is that Detroit, epicenter of the rust belt, both the symbol and the practical effect of corporate rule, will host the second U.S. Social Forum June 22-26.  Please check the web site at the right (under U.S. Social Forum – Chicago) for the Chicago progress toward organizing for this very important confluence of active people.  It is an opportunity to meet and strategize with others who envision a cooperative world.  The national web site for the forum is <>. This post contains an overview article on the USSF and its implications; an invitation to the Feb. 2 meeting in Chicago to find out more about Chicago plans for participating in the USSF; the announcement of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign march from New Orleans, LA to culminate in Detroit for the USSF; Information on the film The Water Front, along with a poetry video on the water devastation; and links to articles in the Peoples Tribune on the economic devastation in Detroit. — Lew Rosenbaum]

The U.S. Social Forum on the Road to Detroit
Twenty thousand movement organizers and activists from diverse organizations and fronts of struggle across the United States, Canada, and the world are expected to converge at the second United States Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit, Michigan, from June 22 to June 26, 2010.
A virtual “ground zero” for the global economic meltdown and social destruction wreaking havoc throughout our communities, Detroit and Michigan are today a battleground around concrete political questions about whom the U.S. government is going to serve. The questions of whether people are going to have housing, water, and schools, and of nationalization of auto and health care, are immediate and real there.
Just like the people of Detroit, Michigan, and the whole United States, participants in the U.S. Social Forum are going to be grappling with the question, “which way forward?” Read more . . .

2.  Chicago USSF Info Session


Mon, 2010-01-25 22:11


Date:  Wed, 2010-02-03 02:00 – 04:00

US Social Forum Info Session
Tuesday, February 2nd
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Access Living
115 W. Chicago Ave.
Organizers and activists across the country are building for the U.S. Social Forum in Detroit June 22-26, 2010.

This is the follow-up to the USSF in Atlanta in 2007, which drew some 15,000 people to hundreds of workshops and meetings on how to organize for progressive social change.

In Chicago, activists and organizations are networking not only to attend the forum, but also to strengthen our own organizing in and around our city. With a deep economic crisis, government budget cuts, and rising unemployment and poverty, we need to come together to support each other?s efforts. We?ll strategize together about how to work for a Chicago that puts peoples needs first?now and beyond the USSF.

This meeting will provide an orientation to the World Social Forum movement for those learning about it for the first time. We?ll work together to fundraise, coordinate travel, and plan events to support the participation of youth, low-income, people of color, workers and neighborhood folk from affected communities. Come to the session to see how we can link up and build a Chicago that works for everyone.

For information about Chicago?s road to Detroit visit:

3. Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
“The dispossessed of this nation — the poor, both white and Negro live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which the society is refusing to take means which have been called for, and which are at hand, to lift the load of poverty.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1967
The March to Fulfill the Dream launches on April 4, 2010. This significant date is Easter Sunday, as well as the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. We begin in New Orleans, Louisiana and finish our march in Detroit, Michigan on June 20, 2010 for the U.S. Social Forum.

We demand guaranteed healthcare and housing for everyone in the United States.

Rising from the ruins of economic storms, we unite – poor people, homeless people, social workers, activists, artists, musicians, people of faith, students, healthcare workers, lawyers, and more – we rebuild!

Join us. Build the movement to end poverty! click here to go to the march site.

4. The Water Front and Water Warriors are two cinematic approaches to document the severe fresh water crisis that has been facing the Detroit area. This is from the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization web site, which also has links to the the documentary film The Water Front and the poetry video, Water Warriors:

The Detroit area, was a natural venue for the opening of the 6-month tour of The Water Front throughout the Great Lakes region. “With the recent passage of the Great Lakes Compact and the approaching elections, this couldn’t be timelier” said Sam Finkelstein, the tour organizer, as he introduced the film. Residents from the area gathered in Marygrove College, a leader in urban social justice education. “This film shouldn’t just touch you,” said Marian Kramer, who is featured in the film and was at the screening, “it should grab you” – and she gestured as if she was choking. And it did just that, the viewers were grabbed by this film and the subsequent discussions. “How can our water be defined as a product?” asked Lynna Kaucheck of Clean Water Action, as she highlighted the underlying economic and political issues that result in situations such as those we experienced in Highland Park. This screening was a great way to launch this historic tour to over 30 cities!
Sam Finkelstein, Food & Water Watch
September 26, 2008

5.  Links to articles on the Detroit US Social Forum   A Call to Participate  Detroit Fights Utility Shut Offs (Voices from the Rust Belt); and Detroot We Do Mind Dying.   Crisis in Funding Michigan Education  Voices from Benton Harbor, MI

When Are Copyrights Wrong? — music writer Bill Glahn explains

photo by Bill Glahn

[Bill Glahn writes on copyrights and wrongs. . . published on the Big O website … he reflets on digitization, downloads, and who the real criminals are, while stepping on the clay feet of some artists like Billy Bragg  —  Lew Rosenbaum]

Note: After Live! Music Review closed up shop, I wrote a series of articles for Counterpunch called RIAA Watch. For purposes of relevance, I’ll defer to one of those articles for this edition of The Best of Live! Music Review. Many updates follow which should be of interest to any in the p2p community who value fair use and developing artists who value the freedom to establish their audience without industry interference.
The RIAA – Artist Friend or Artist Foe? (Part 2)
RIAA Watch [July 1, 2003]

No, No Bono
By Bill Glahn
When Hilary Rosen announced in January that she would be stepping down as head honcho of the RIAA at the end of the year, the spin was that she wanted to spend more time with her children. Since then she has announced a new career with CNBC in which she will appear on no less than three political talk shows and provide coverage of the 2004 elections. That’s a taxing schedule by any measure. So much for the kids.
Ah, but let’s be fair. Rosen’s recent profile has been low key by her normal standards, leaving a bevy of underlings to handle the press’ questions regarding the RIAA’s recent announcements that they intend to alienate music fans on a massive scale. Maybe she is easing into the role of proud papa, at least until she gets her TV gig going.
The speculation over Rosen’s replacement at the RIAA got a fresh injection recently when a spokeswoman for Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono told the Associated Press that the CEO job at the RIAA would be the “perfect job” for Bono. No doubt. A couple of years ago the Human Rights Campaign gave Bono a dismal nine percent positive vote rating. Nothing about her voting record has changed since. Rosen’s assessment of Bono? “I think she’s great.”
Judging by Rosen’s attempts to stifle culture, not only in the U.S. arena, but throughout the globe, that assessment is not surprising. On another level, however, it is. Part of Mary Bono’s voting record includes a vote against same sex partnerships and a vote against gay adoptions. Rosen’s family incorporates both. Rosen has earned a reputation as a team player, but apparently that doesn’t include the “home” team.
Bono has since denied any serious pursuit of the RIAA job. Not that they would hire her anyway. She’s too valuable to them right where she is. She’s already bought. The entertainment industry is her single largest campaign contributor. It’s already paying dividends.
Bono has a reputation as being a follower, not a leader. While she frequently votes as a staunch conservative, she rarely initiates legislation. That could be changing. She has recently formed a Congressional caucus on intellectual property rights which, considering her close ties to the industry (her personal income is largely dependent on royalties from late husband Sonny Bono’s compositions and recordings) will probably end up introducing legislation giving the death penalty for unauthorized downloads. Or maybe extending copyrights to 5 millenniums before they enter the public domain.

Considering the RIAA’s top priority, Internet “piracy”, a more logical candidate for the job of CEO might be Frank Creighton, the head of the organization’s anti-piracy division and a loyal policeman for that organization since 1985. But Creighton has shown little in the way of political savvy and mainly serves as the organization’s media face (a handsome and accomplished speaker when the cameras are on). My money is on lobbyist Mitch Glazier, who has experience at getting the RIAA’s agenda turned into law under cover of darkness. He comes from the same cesspool that launched Rosen’s career. He’s an accomplished bagman. But for now, the RIAA aren’t giving any clues.
[2010 update]
Mitch Glazier did, in fact, inherit Hilary Rosen’s seat at the RIAA where he remains to this day and oversaw the disastrous “sue ’em all” campaign. Mary Bono has headed the Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property for the last six-plus years and a supporter of far right conservative policies. Hilary Rosen is currently an editor at The Huffington Post and a CNN commentator and a supporter of status quo liberal politics. On issues like intellectual property, they march in lockstep.

When the Whip Comes Down
With CEO Glazier and RIAA president Cary “Sue” Sherman’s alienation of music fans proving to be something far less than a productive strategy, they came up with another one. If the whip isn’t working, get a bigger whip.
In 2007, under lobbying from the RIAA and the MPAA, Mary Bono announced negotiations for a new trade agreement called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). From a Bono press release; “·”I am encouraged by this agreement because it indicates the countries involved in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement acknowledge the importance of strong intellectual property rights protections. Hopefully the days of turning a blind eye to the criminal interests involved in piracy and counterfeiting are becoming less acceptable. If this agreement is able to strengthen property rights, it will be seen as an important turning point in the global struggle for stronger intellectual property rights protections.”
President Bush kept the negotiations secret under the cloak of “national security.” President Obama has chosen to follow Bush’s lead.
So now we have the head of the Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property, a person who refers to the Fair Use Doctrine as “unfair takings,” a person who also benefits economically from extended copyright, steering an international agreement that for all intents and purposes is self-serving.
Bono uses the same “protect the creator” strategies as the RIAA in her quest to protect her largest contributors and an important income source.
Says Bono, “Everyone who knows me understands that I am a strong supporter of technological innovation, but I believe that the only way an electronic marketplace can continue to sustain growth is if copyrights are protected. After all, the latest and greatest High-Definition television sets and endless amounts of bandwidth are useless if no one is creating content.”
This begs a couple of questions. “Were there no creators before copyright existed?” And “How many songs has Mary Bono been induced to write as a result of her IP holdings?”
But it’s not only Fair Use that Bono is willing to sacrifice in her quest to protect the money streams for her corporate clients. Next up? Due process.
The Whipping Post

Despite the secret nature of the ACTA negotiations, there have been leaks. On November 30, 2009, Dr. Michael Geist posted the following on his blog site. “The European Commission analysis of ACTA’s Internet chapter has leaked, indicating that the U.S. is seeking to push laws that extend beyond the WIPO* Internet treaties and beyond current European Union law. The document contains detailed comments on the U.S. proposal, confirming the U.S. desire to promote a three-strikes and you’re out policy, a Global DMCA**, harmonized contributory copyright infringement rules, and the establishment of an international notice-and-takedown policy.”

* the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization
** the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act which went a long way in stripping Fair Use Doctrine
Dr. Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. Speaking in this capacity, he goes on·
“ACTA would render current Canadian copyright law virtually unrecognizable as the required changes go far beyond our current rules (and even those contemplated in prior reform bills).”
It is not only in ACTA negotiations where the MAFIAA, in it’s various international configurations, is actively pursuing three-strikes legislation – the removal of Internet service to anyone deemed guilty of transporting, uploading, or downloading copyrighted content. Under Big Music pressure the governments of Great Britain and France (so far) have proposed three-strikes legislation. Say good-bye to You Tube as we now know it. Watch out for the disappearing blog. Don’t dare e-mail that song lyric to your sweetie that best exemplifies your affection for her/him. Say hello to mandated snooping by your ISP – the proposed policeman in this draconian scheme. Say good-bye to privacy. Say good-bye to due process. And don’t think for a minute that because you have already been handed down a punishment (loss of Internet service), that you cannot be sued in civil court or criminally charged. Say hello to double jeopardy.

Tell It to the Judge on Sunday
“How could such a plan pass Constitutional muster?” an American basking in the notion of guaranteed liberties might ask. Well it could if there was a Supreme Court that is stacked with judges pre-disposed to protecting corporate interests rather than individual liberties. The 1985 version of the Supremes clearly stated that copyright infringement is not theft. The 2010 version, however, seems more sided with Mary Bono’s interpretation. And then here’s the Department of Justice.
As reported by p2pnet·
Thomas Perrelli
, nominated as Associate Attorney General on January 5, confirmed March 12. Perrelli’s position is second-in-command in the DoJ, behind Attorney General Eric Holder. He was one of the leading RIAA lawyers on file-sharing DMCA cases. In one case, he argued for the release of ISP customer information without a subpoena.
Donald Verrilli
, nominated as Associated Deputy Attorney General on Feburary 4. Verrilli’s position is third-in-command in the DoJ, behind Perrelli. He was the chief RIAA attorney in Jammie Thomas case of last year, which was won by the RIAA before being declared a mistrial.
Brian Hauck
, appointed as Counsel to the AAG in February 4. Hauck’s position is to serve as Perrelli’s lawyer. He represented the RIAA in the historic Supreme Court case MGM Studios v. Grokster in 2005, won by the industry. He also donated a combined $1500 to the Obama campaign in 2007 and 2008.
Ginger Anders
, appointed as Assistant to Solicitor General Elena Kagan in March. The Solicitor General represents the government in Supreme Court cases. Anders was one of the litigators in last year’s Cablevision case, which the content industry intended to block the cable company from allowing it to store customers’ recorded programs on its servers.
Ian Gershengorn
, appointed Deputy Assistant Attorney of the Civil Division of the DoJ on April 13. Gershengorn’s position entails overseeing the Federal Programs Branch, which recently announced support for $150,000 monetary damages for pirated files during a copyright case. He also represented the RIAA in the MGM Studios v. Grokster case.
The Public Knowledge website states “Either Jenner and Block lawyers are looking for something to do in this economic downturn, or the RIAA has a direct pipeline to the Justice Department” when reporting the Gershengorn hiring.
The New York Law Journal adds another Jenner and Block name to the mix, Samual Hirsh, “who joined as deputy associate attorney general.”
Don’t be looking for the Department of Justice to pursue price-fixing charges against the MAFIAA with any type of vigor. Do look for them to go after file-sharers and ISPs.

Joseph Goebbels, Step Forward
Any campaign designed to take away human rights and needs a clever minister of propaganda. Big Music has apparently found one in a Bono of a different gender. Paul O’Neil’s buddy, in a Jan. 2, 2010 guest editorial column for the New York Times, claims, “A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators.” Bono uses a false premise to criminalize vast segments of the population. And to give the green light for snooping· “it’s perfectly possible to track content.”
OK – so it’s possible. But is it moral? Perhaps Bono is looking to keep the music industry as “sexy” as he finds Africa – where intellectual property agreements continue to keep the price of AIDS medicine artificially high and the people dependent on the mercy of Bono and his IP cronies.
Apparently, the man who believes Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in the morning has as little grasp on Irish history as he does on American history. From wikipedia’s biography on Turlough Carolan – “the last great Irish harper-composer and is considered by many to be Ireland’s national composer”:

“At the age of twenty-one, being given a horse and a guide, he set out to travel Ireland and compose songs for patrons. For almost fifty years, Carolan journeyed from one end of the country to the other, composing and performing his tunes.” Imagine that – a fifty-year career  pre-copyright.
But Jesus Bono isn’t the only label-affiliated musician looking to preserve copyright privilege. In Great Britain, FAC (Featured Artists Coalition) was formed in March 2009 stating a desire to “give artists a collective voice to campaign for effective laws and regulations, as well as transparent and equitable business practices.” That is label-affiliated artists.
In this Billboard magazine article they also stated “concern about any legal body taking action against fans who were involved in file-sharing and preventing them getting broadband access to be informed about the activities of their favorite acts.” Then FAC did a turnaround and overwhelmingly supported measures in Britain’s proposed Digital Economy bill to include three-strikes measures and a 20 year copyright extension. P2p proponents felt betrayed. P2pnet’s Jon Newton summarizes the situation in an open letter to FAC board member Ed O’Brien (of Radiohead). States Newton, “Well, Ed, it’s not only the recording industry that’s dragging it’s feet. You and your fellow FAC board members are doing the same thing and while you prevaricate, the corporate music industry is driving its wedge ever more deeply between you and the fans you admit you can’t do without. You, (Billy) Bragg, (Blur drummer Dave) Rowntree, (Pink Floyd’s Nick) Mason, and anyone else on the FAC board (Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, Kate Nash, Marillion’s Mark Kelly and rapper Master Shortie) MUST convince it and other members to revert to the coalition’s original position.”
In October 2009, Billy Bragg, a member of FAC’s board of directors, and Newton initiated, a website intended to connect artists with fans. In his initial posting to artists Bragg stated “My participation in this initiative is based on my understanding of two principles that are central to the beliefs of the p2p community. Firstly, that there is no technological solution to the problems that artists face as a result of the digitisation of music and, secondly, that p2p users are willing to pay for music if they can be sure that the money is going to the artists whose work they enjoy.”
In Newton’s initial posting referring to fans: “On a2f2a, they’ll be able to do something that’s never been possible before, on- or offline. They’ll talk directly with artists to cut through the lies and disinformation perpetuated by the corporate music industry.”
While encouraging, things didn’t work out as originally envisioned. Bragg stood steadfastly that a 20-year copyright extension (beyond the 50 years past death privilege now granted in British law) was needed. FAC continues to support three-strikes. Bragg has disappeared from the discussion after issuing an “either or” ultimatum. Indiana Gregg, an artist without label affiliation, has been the most active artist participant in recent months. Gregg seems to have shifting and seemingly contradictory alliances. Gregg initiated Kerchoonz in 2008, a social networking site that shares advertising revenue with artists that contribute free downloads. Probably the most beneficial aspect of a2f2a has been the highlighting of new artists who’s careers have been advanced by exploring new business models not dependent on copyright or for-pay downloads.

It is these artists that consistently disprove the dire predictions of Mary Bono, the other Bono, the RIAA, the MPAA, and Billy Bragg. Creators will continue to create. Fans will continue to support them. Three-strikes will fail when the results become apparent to those even outside of the artist and fan contingencies. The only question is how much damage will be done to both emerging artists and their fans before that failure is complete.

Students Bring THEIR Bill of Rights to the School Board – by Jim Vail, in Substance News

[Jim Vail writing for Substance News describes the January 27 School Board Meeting: Go to the Substance News website to get the story.
“Especially moving was the testimony of the students from Julian, Social Justice and Clemente. One student asked Mr. Huberman directly ‘why is there only a bill of rights for students after their school is closed, not all the time?’ It took the Board by surprise, and they had to admit their testimony was strong, powerful and convincing. ”   — Lew Rosenbaum]
January 27, 2010 Chicago Board of Education meeting… More Demanding an End to Renaissance Closings

Jim Vail – January 28, 2010

"Bill of Rights" for students at schools to be closed, unveiled Jan. 17 by Schools CEO Ron Huberman. Photo by George Schmidt for Substance News.

The heat was turned up at the Chicago Board of Education meeting Wednesday, January 27, 2010, as parents, students, teachers and other community members spoke out against Mayor Richard Daley’s plan to continue closing public schools. The latest list of schools facing closings, consolidations, phase outs and “turnaround” — 14 schools in all — was announced by CEO Ron Huberman, Daley’s latest appointee, on January 19, and people began mobilizing in opposition to the actions immediately. The January 27 meeting was the first indication of how widespread the opposition was going to be.
Read More. . .

Action Alert: NPR and Howard Zinn — submitted by FAIR

[Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting  keeps an eye on the way media distorts reality.  Here is an example and an actionable opportunity — Lew Rosenbaum]

NPR Finds Right-Wing Crank to Spit on Howard Zinn’s Grave
David Horowitz in ATC obituary with substance-free attack
When progressive historian Howard Zinn died on January 27, NPR’s All Things Considered (1/28/10) marked his passing with something you don’t often see in an obituary: a rebuttal.

After quoting Noam Chomsky and Julian Bond, NPR’s Allison Keyes turned to far-right activist David Horowitz to symbolically spit on Zinn’s grave. “There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect,” Horowitz declared. “Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has unfortunately seduced millions of people at this point in time. So he did certainly alter the  consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse.”

Horowitz’s substance-free attack contributed nothing to an understanding of Zinn’s life or work, other than conveying that he’s disliked by cranky right-wingers.  (Horowitz has been best known in recent years for his race-baiting and Muslim-bashing–Extra!, FAIR report,  He seems to have been included merely to demonstrate that NPR will not allow praise for a leftist to go unaccompanied by conservative contempt.

Needless to say, it is not the case that NPR has a consistent principle that all its obituaries be thus “balanced.” Take its coverage of the death of William F. Buckley, a figure as admired by the right as much as Zinn was on the left.  Upon his death in February 2008, NPR aired six segments commemorating him, none of which included a non-admiring guest.  In two segments, All Things Considered (2/27/08) presented the remembrances of Rich Lowry (Buckley’s successor at National Review), his son Christopher and his biographer Sam Tanenhaus.

One of the All Things Considered segments did include a soundbite of Noam Chomsky debating with Buckley: “No, I don’t believe that…. In fact I think that…” But what Chomsky did not believe was unclear, let alone what he actually thought.

Talk of the Nation (2/27/08) featured admirer William Kristol, while Day by Day (2/27/08) had an extended interview with protegee David Brooks. Morning Edition (2/28/08) just quoted Buckley himself.

The celebration of Buckley culminated with Weekend Edition host Scott Simon (2/29/08), who turned the cause of death into a eulogy:  “Emphysema, such an unseemly thing for a man who was so often a breath of fresh air.”

In fact, there was much to criticize about Buckley, who was a supporter of, among other things, white supremacism in the U.S. South and South Africa, McCarthyism, nuclear war against China and the tattooing of AIDS patients’ buttocks (Extra!). Reporting his death, however, NPR didn’t think it was worth bringing on a critic who would take a negative view. Why the same outlet took a different approach when the subject was an intellectual on the left rather than the right is perhaps something the NPR ombud could answer.


ACTION: Please ask NPR ombud Alicia Shepard why All Things Considered brought on David Horowitz to trash the late Howard Zinn when NPR’s extensive coverage of William F. Buckley included no critical guests.

CONTACT: You can contact NPR ombud through this .

Please post copies of your letters in the comments section on the FAIR Blog.

Howard Zinn Education Project

Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History – a new website with free, downloadable teaching activities.

The Zinn Education Project, a collaborative effort by Teaching for Change and Rethinking Schools, has launched the new Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History website. Thanks to the support of an anonymous donor and the Caipirinha Foundation, the site features over 75 free, downloadable teaching activities for middle and high school classrooms to bring a people’s history to the classroom. These are the best history-teaching articles drawn from the archives of Rethinking Schools magazine. The site also lists hundreds of recommended books, films and websites. The teaching activities and resources are organized by theme, time period and grade level. This is the only collection of its kind for educators – print or online – in the country.

Please visit and bookmark the new Zinn Education Project: Teaching a People’s History website. You can also become a fan on Facebook.

Current Issue of the Peoples Tribune On Line: Interview with Daniel Wolff

Chicago school protest, photo by Southwest Youth Collaborative

The January issue of the Peoples Tribune includes an article about the Altgeld Gardens battle to establish a new school in their neighborhood, an interview with Daniel Wolff on problems of contemporary education, and, for those interested in the US Social Forum, soon to be held in Detroit, some critical articles on the state of social destruction in that city.

Read these all at