Robert Birnbaum

This is a great collection of interviews by Robert Birnbaum – here is a link to one of many: identity theory | the narrative thread – howard zinn interview
zinn Zinn says things one might expect in the interview:

HZ: It’s really interesting. Here the guy wins the presidency by the most nefarious of methods and without a popular mandate. Losing a popular vote by a larger margin than Hayes lost the popular vote in 1876, but then moves ahead with aplomb, with total arrogance as if the country is his. My feeling is that we are living in an occupied country. Really, that we’ve been taken over, a junta has taken power and now the problem for the American people is to do what people do in an occupied country…

But there was also something there that was new to me and led to a light going on in my head:

HZ: Yeah. The whole concept of punishment is foreign to me. And revenge. To me the only useful thing about bringing these people before the bar of justice is as an education. In a way, by doing that, we are going back to a very primitive approach to punishment…some of the Indian tribes and other indigenous peoples where their idea of punishment is to shame people before the tribe. They’d exile them or send them out in the forest with a glass of water.[laughs] But they’d shame them and that’s a useful thing to do…more serious than putting them behind bars. So, Kissinger deserves to be shamed and the people who have had him as dinner guest deserve to be shamed. Although we should stop short of putting on trial anyone who made a dinner for him.

Now there is an idea. Punishment cls simply be to have a Justice Dept. Website where people were displayed for a period of time. Removal from the site would be like a parole. Some would never be removed & their current address would always need to be there etc. Anyway that is just me taking Zinn’s idea a bit further.

Later: It occurred to me that this idea might be a bit anti civil liberties, but it would not be if one thought of it as an alternative to goal, and I think it could be in many cases. The idea is a tribute to the power of the word.

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