One wonders what actor Matt Damon, such a big fan of anti-American historian Howard Zinn that he plugged him in his movie Good Will Hunting, narrated an audio book and did a TV series based on Zinn’s work, will think of this.
A recent Freedom of Information document drop shows that Zinn was an active member of the communist party, having joined long after the truth of the evil empire was known.
Although Zinn denied being a member of the CPUSA, the FBI file discloses that several reliable informants in the party identified Zinn as a member who attended party meetings as many as five times a week.
What’s more, one of the files reveals that a reliable informant provided a photograph of Zinn teaching a class on “Basic Marxism” at party headquarters in Brooklyn, New York, in 1951. A participant in the class said that Zinn taught that “the basic teaching of Marx and Lenin were sound and should be adhered to by those present.”
The FBI file also includes information on Zinn’s pro-Castro activism and support for radical groups such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Progressive Labor Party (PLP), Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and Black Panther Party. Much of the latter was in connection with Zinn’s support for a communist military victory in Vietnam.
For background on Zinn, read this by Daniel Flynn of the History News Network:
Who is the most influential historian in America? Could it be Pulitzer Prize winners Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. or Joseph Ellis or David McCullough, whose scholarly works have reached a broad literary public? The answer is none of the above. The accolade belongs instead to the unreconstructed, anti-American Marxist Howard Zinn, whose cartoon anti-history of the United States is still selling 128,000 copies a year twenty years after its original publication. Many of those copies are assigned readings for courses in colleges and high schools taught by leftist disciples of their radical mentor.
“Objectivity is impossible,” Zinn once remarked, “and it is also undesirable. That is, if it were possible it would be undesirable, because if you have any kind of a social aim, if you think history should serve society in some way; should serve the progress of the human race; should serve justice in some way, then it requires that you make your selection on the basis of what you think will advance causes of humanity.”
History serving “a social aim” other than the preservation or interpretation of a historical record is precisely what we get in A People’s History of the United States. Howard Zinn’s 776 page tome, which after selling more than a million copies, has been recently re-released in a hardback edition.
What accounts for the massive sales figures? One odd answer for a work by a university professor is that A People’s History of the United States has been the beneficiary of fawning celebrities, who are not normally associated with . Zinn has discussed politics with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and was on Rage Against the Machine’s reading list (note: beware of rock bands that issue reading lists). In Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon’s “Will Hunting” tells his psychiatrist that A People’s History of the United States will “knock you on your ass.” Damon and co-star Ben Affleck, who grew up near Zinn outside of Harvard Square, are said to be producing a miniseries based on their neighbor’s magnum opus. Zinn repaid the actors’ youthful infatuation by including them in an inconsequential paragraph in the book’s new edition.
Read it all.