The Power of the People, by Howard Zinn

If you ever get depressed, if you ever start to feel hopeless, just remember: The United States is just 4 percent of the world’s population. I know we have all those guns and nuclear weapons and all those cell phones. But the truth is that the power of the people when it is organized overcomes whatever concentrations of money and military might there are.

We have seen this in history again and again, where governments that seemed all powerful, untouchable, that seemed to have total control of the country, suddenly you wake up one morning and the head of the government is on a plane fleeing the country, fleeing the Philippines with shoes. I admit it, every once in a while I have this fantasy. . . . I’m willing to chip in for the airfare.

There are wonderful signs of resistance all over the world, resistance to authority, resistance to governments, resistance to war. It makes me feel good when I pick up the paper and I see that seventeen Israeli pilots are refusing to fly missions any more.

You forget what power people have. Did you see that picture of that woman from Nigeria who was going to be stoned to death because of a sexual escapade? There was a worldwide protest against that, and the Nigerian government had to back down. People forget how powerful protest is, and how actually vulnerable these presumably powerful entities really are when people get together. We’ve seen this happen again and again in places where the all-powerful government wakes up in the morning and there are a million people in the streets, and that’s it. [more]