There is a tendency among culture jammers to harbor a pessimistic worldview – to assume that we've always been on the losing side of history and that, despite our best efforts, nothing will change. Against this narrative of predestined defeat and perpetual victimhood stood Howard Zinn, whose sustained commitment to pointing out that we, the people, have often risen up victoriously against the moneyed corporate elite made him a hero.
Zinn's greatest achievement is the monumental A People's History of the United States, an alternative history book originally published in 1980 and revised several times since, which documents the suppressed stories of triumphant abolitionists, socialists and rabble rousers. For many of us, reading Zinn for the first time was a revelation: an emboldening experience of finding continuity between our acts of resistance today and the long and glorious history of passionate dissent we had known nothing about.
Howard Zinn, August 24, 1922 – January 27, 2010, will be remembered because he gave us back our history and made it clear that in these dark times of corporate domination, the rumblings we hear from below are the aftershocks of past uprisings and the first signs that things are about to change, again.