Native American Wisdom
A People’s History of the United States ~ 1492 ~ Present ~ by Howard Zinn (Complete online Book)
The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victims (the Arawaks) – the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress – is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders. It is as if they, like Columbus, deserve universal acceptance, as if they – the Founding Fathers, Jackson, Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, the leading members of Congress, the famous Justices of the Supreme Court – represent the nation as a whole. The pretence is that there really is such a thing as “the United States,” subject to occasional conflicts and quarrels, but fundamentally a community of people with common interests. It is as if there really is a “national interest” represented in the Constitution, in territorial expansion, in the laws passed by Congress, the decisions of the courts, the development of capitalism, the culture of education and the mass media.
“History is the memory of states,” wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored, in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those statesmen’s policies. From his standpoint, the “peace” that Europe had before the French Revolution was “restored” by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation – a world not restored but disintegrated.
My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominator’s and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.
Thus, in that inevitable taking of sides which comes from selection and emphasis in history, I prefer to try to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees, of the Civil War as seen by the New York Irish, of the Mexican war as seen by the deserting soldiers of Scott’s army, of the rise of industrialism as seen by the young women in the Lowell textile mills, of the Spanish-American war as seen by the Cubans, the conquest of the Philippines as seen by black soldiers on Luzon, the Gilded Age as seen by southern farmers, the First World War as seen by socialists, the Second World War as seen by pacifists, the New Deal as seen by blacks in Harlem, the postwar American empire as seen by peons in Latin America. And so on, to the limited extent that any one person, however he or she strains, can “see” history from the standpoint of others.
My point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears, that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present. And the lines are not always clear. In the long run, the oppressor is also a victim. In the short run (and so far, human history has consisted only of short runs), the victims, themselves desperate and tainted with the culture that oppresses them, turn on other victims.
Still, understanding the complexities, this book will be sceptical of governments and their attempts, through politics and culture, to ensnare ordinary people in a giant web of nationhood pretending to a common interest. I will try not to overlook the cruelties that victims inflict on one another as they are jammed together in the boxcars of the system. I don’t want to romanticize them. But I do remember (in rough paraphrase) a statement I once read: “The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you don’t listen to it, you will never know what justice is.”
~ VF ~
“Howard Zinn was teaching a class, but he wasn’t yet a professor and his classroom wasn’t at a university. It was late 1951, and the students who gathered for Zinn’s lessons in Brooklyn were his fellow members of the Communist Party USA.
One of Zinn’s comrades described him as “a person with some authority” within the local CPUSA section and said that Zinn’s class was on “basic Marxism,” the theme being “that the basic teachings of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present.”
That description, furnished to the Federal Bureau of Investigation by a former Communist in 1957, is included in more than 400 pages of Zinn’s FBI file made public last week.
The FBI files demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that Zinn — author of A People’s History of the United States, widely used as a textbook or supplement in many of our nation’s high schools and universities — was a card-carrying Communist at a time when the Soviet Union was America’s most dreaded enemy.”
I have finally taken the time to read the FBI file on Howard Zinn in its entirety, finding the 26 years of surveillance was money better spent supporting the very things he fought for.
Of those 26 years, and from its beginnings, as a direct and indirect fight against what Richard Nixon defended, and of Nixons dangerous self-righteous narcissism, Zinns aim comes clear through his direct and unwavering support in the release of The Pentagon Papers : –
Time and again the true motives of the United States comes into view with these files, at the cost of millions of innocent lives across Asia, who paid the price, along with many many thousands of Americans, against unmatched ideologies.
When looking into the history of the First and Second world wars, and the consequent blow-backs that became a battle by the United States to win control over Japan from Russia – the gift of giving Korea back to France – the murderous futility in violence over which nation had control over those lands – what then became the utter destruction of both Vietnam, Cambodia and those bordering countries – I ask you, what or whom are you defending?
I also note that Henry Kissenger, now 87, still walks as freely as both father and son Bush, Cheney, Blair and Brown, yet they have caused, by their willingness to adhere to the short-term charms in their support of right-wing despots for oil, as a representationally unwieldy stock of world leaders, dangling on ever tightening and shortening ropes, that unquestionably sale us beyond the globes limits to growth for a percentage of a dime.
If anyone were to tell me that my school-fed history of the world were enough to warrant an opinion as to what is presently unfolding at this time in history, and if they too were born into the chains of the American mediocrity of nationalistic, patriotic infirmity, I would state they were in the process of being on a side in defending yet another spoon-fed war of attrition, but that this time the balance of victory will be so equal with the loser as to cause such sufferance to both parties as not to warrant defending.
To quote A.J. Muste ~ “The problem after a war is with the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?”
By reading and fully understanding the FBI file, the information concludes definitively that ZINN stated, that he was not now, or was he ever a member of the CP. He acknowledged that perhaps his activities in the past had opened him to charges that he was associated with the CP as a member; however he was not. He also denied that his wife was or had been a CP member.
He stated that he was a liberal, and perhaps some people would consider him to be a ‘leftist.’ Zinn said that he had participated in the activities of various organizations, which might be considered Communist fronts, but that his participation was motivated by his belief that in this country people had the right to believe, think and act according to their own ideals. He stated, however, that the individual right should not be extended to violate the rights of others. He continued that he did not believe in the doctrine of force and violence, and further that any individual or organization did not have the right to advocate or teach the overthrow of the Government of the United States by force or violence.
The Bureau noted Zinn’s activities in what were called Communist Front Groups, and received informant reports that Zinn was an active member of the CPUSA; Zinn denied ever being a member when he was questioned by agents in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, the Bureau took another look at Zinn on account of his criticism of the FBI’s civil rights investigations. Further investigation was made when Zinn traveled to North Vietnam with Daniel Berrigan as an anti-war activist. The investigation ended in 1974, and no further investigation into Zinn or his activities was made by the FBI.
But here, I fall into the charms of following a set base of your rules to adhere to. Left and right; right over wrong. As a battle over some instilled ideology, both accuse the other of being historically skewed and contradictory. By offering you The People’s History of the United States, I hoped you would read of your history, not from the creators of nation states, but of the people who lived within those shores, and from the perspective of those who were both persecuted, and in the minority.
~ VF ~
A great movie documenting a way of life that follows nature’s lead. I’m posting Part 2 for a quote:
Humans are the earth’s stewards. Nature has inherent laws or a way of flourishing/growing/relplenishing. On respecting the design/law of nature from FRESH part 2 @7:30:
We didn’t feed dead cows to cows, not because we were against the industrial food system or anything like that. It was just because an herbivore doesn’t eat dead cows. ~Joel Salatin
also…this is great:
My intent is to point out …nature is intelligent design/law and people are intelligent enough without computers to see the truth of the matter.
There is subjective truth…meaning the subjective truth of individual experience. There is something externally verifiable in our living ecosystem. lf I tell you it is raining…you can verify for yourself whether or not it is raining. In fact, even if a computer tells you it is raining…you would still need to verify it is raining, in your experience, for you to make that same statement or agree it is truly raining. A fool can be taught by nature, easily shown…as nature does not hesitate to react by design. People are biological. Any economy that is run like a machine ignores natural ecology.
Richard Maybury explains:
@4:05 The economy is not a machine.
@5:02 We are biological organisms. The economy is an ecology, the human ecology, and it is by far the most complex ecology on earth. @5:15 I think, for instance, the typical big city Hospital probably contains more complexity than all the other so called natural ecologies in the world put together…
What Obama Does Not Know – Part 1 of 3
video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqEmEjYuT1s
*edit to add link
Previously in this thread, we have gleaned that wisdom is being responsible for moral behavior.
Russell Means elaborates on man being Universal in his Matriarchy series(post #45, this thread).
Since science is not based on beliefs, it often ignores morality.
The Leo Tolstoy quotes below expand on morality(beliefs, referenced by Leo Tolstoy as religion)…and poignantly answers Mark’s question post #127:
So far no one seems to have a problem with the science. If that’s the case why aren’t we all clamoring to do something about it?
Basically, Why can’t/won’t scientific consensus work?
Discussion on Metaphysics / Religious Philosophy of Leo Tolstoy
‘True Religion’ as our True Connection to the Universe (What Exists, God)
Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) Biography, Pictures & Quotes
‘Confessions and Other Religious Writings.’
True religion is that relationship, in accordance with reason and knowledge, which man establishes with the infinite world around him, and which binds his life to that infinity and guides his actions .. and leads to the practical rules of the law: do to others as you would have them do unto you. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions)
What is Religion and of What Does Its Essence Consist?
‘Religion is obsolete; to believe in anything other than science is ignorance. Science will arrange all we need and we need only science to guide us through life.’ This is what the scientists themselves say … (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions)
…then scroll down much further to:
Thus, due to the absence of religion, the people of today’s world have built themselves a very cruel, bestial and immoral life. They have also led their complex, subtle and useless mental activities to such a level of unnecessary intricacy and confusion in order to conceal the evil in their lives, that the majority have entirely lost the capacity of differentiating between good and evil, falsehood and truth.
There is not a single question which the men of our world can approach simply and straightforwardly. Every question, be it economic (internal or foreign), civil, diplomatic, scientific, not to mention religious and philosophical ones, are put so artificially and mistakenly, wrapped in such a thick layer of complex, unnecessary argument and full of so many subtle twists of meaning and words and such sophistry and debate that all discussions of such questions go round and round in circles, grasping hold of nothing, like a disconnected car wheel. They lead nowhere except to achieve the one purpose for which they are instigated: to conceal from oneself and others the evil in which men live and which they commit. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions)
Added to all this, the applied sciences, such as technology and medicine, inevitably diverge from their reasonable purpose and adopt a false direction as a result of the absence of any religious guiding principle. Thus the whole of technology is aimed not at easing the burden of the working masses, but at the improvements requested by the wealthy classes, thus increasing the division between rich and poor, masters and slaves. If some advantage from these inventions and improvements, some small fragment, falls into the lap of the working classes, it is certainly not because they were intended for the people, but simply because by their nature they could not be kept from them. (Leo Tolstoy, Confessions)
Read the last quoted paragraph again….it is the essence of Native American Wisdom(doing work for profit, with no moral basis for such work, will prove harmful in time).
(1929 – 1985)
A Conversation with Phillip Deere, Muskogee Creek Elder.
Majority Can Be Wrong (41:12)
The entire Creation still follows the Original Instructions of life. The Tree, the fruits, they never fail.
They never make a mistake to bring their fruits in their season.
The Animals never make a mistake.
They still live as they were created.
Among the Creation…Life, the Circle, a measurement with no beginning and no ending.
– Phillip Deere (Muskogee Creek 1977)
We are all poor because we are all honest. ~Red Dog Oglala Lakota Sioux
Look at me- I am poor and naked, but I am the chief of the nation. We do not want riches, but we do want to train our children right. Riches would do us no good. We could not take them with us to the other world. We do not want riches. We want peace and love.
– Red Cloud, Lakota (Sioux)
John Trudell – Take back the Earth