An observance in adoration of the late historian Howard Zinn – a controversial Marxist known to spew anti-American, anti-Western opinions in his textbooks and an admitted social activist – has been organized by Purdue University professors, who have asked their peers across the country to take part in a Howard Zinn Read-In this November.
The event aims to “symbolize the ongoing fightback in the United States against the privatization of public education,” “attacks on teachers and teachers unions,” and in defense of Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which protestors call “an important text for understanding the history of underrepresented populations.”
Zinn was notably criticized by former Indiana governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, who called Zinn’s textbook A People’s History of the United States “a truly execrable, anti-factual piece of disinformation that misstates American history on every page.” Daniels had made the comments in an email when he was governor, and had wanted to make sure the book was not used in K-12 schools in the state. The email was recently published, prompting an uproar among leftist scholars.
Professors have since accused Daniels of standing against academic freedom, while those who have defended Daniels have argued that pointing out egregious factual errors and extreme bias in Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States as a concern not to use it in K-12 schools is a far cry from censorship. Many respected scholars have even denounced Zinn’s work, for example.
But the Purdue professors and others shall stand in solidarity with Zinn, whose more notable quotes include:
“Behind the English invasion of North America, behind their massacre of Indians, their deception, their brutality, was that special powerful drive born in civilizations based on private profit.”
“I refuse to celebrate ‘the greatest generation’ because in so doing we are celebrating courage and sacrifice in the cause of war. And we are miseducating the young to believe that military heroism is the noblest form of heroism, when it should be remembered only as the tragic accompaniment of horrendous policies driven by power and profit.”
“The Constitution. . . illustrates the complexity of the American system: that it serves the interests of a wealthy elite, but also does enough for small property owners, for middle-income mechanics and farmers, to build a broad base of support.”
Professors, on their pro-Zinn Facebook page, say: “In honor of historian Howard Zinn and all the ordinary people he celebrated in his work, on Tuesday November 5, scholars and activists from across the country will take part in a Read-in of Zinn’s work on the campus of Purdue University and on campuses across the nation. …The Zinn Read-in Committee envisions the event to be a commemoration of academic freedom and a declaration of anti-censorship.”
They don’t stop there.
“The event will also symbolize the ongoing fightback in the United States against the privatization of public education, attacks on teachers and teachers unions, and the need for real democracy in both schools and curriculum,” the Facebook page states. “Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is an important text for understanding the history of underrepresented populations; the fight for the right to teach this history is never separate from the fight to improve the material lives of students, teachers, minorities and workers around the world.”
It’s unclear how large the read-in will be. SocialistWorker.org has come out in support of the endeavor, for one. A story on the read-in has yet to be published in Purdue’s campus newspaper, The Exponent.
An image on the Howard Zinn Read-In Facebook page, created Sept. 8, states “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
Yeah – that’s what Mitch Daniels said.
Jennifer Kabbany is associate editor of The College Fix.
IMAGE: Facebook screenshot