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Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order
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Disobedience and Democracy: Nine Fallacies on Law and Order

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Howard Zinn’s cogent defense of civil disobedience, with a new introduction by the author. In this slim volume, Zinn lays out a clear and dynamic case for civil disobedience and protest, and challenges the dominant arguments against forms of protest that challenge the status quo. Zinn explores the politics of direct action, nonviolent civil disobedience, and strikes, and d ...more
Paperback, 148 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by South End Press (first published 1968)
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So basically, back in the 60's, an associate Justice of the Supreme Court wrote a pamphlet about Civil Disobedience in response to all the upheavals of the time. His name was Abe Fortas. His argument was essentially that disobedience was acceptable only if it didn't go directly against the laws of the country.

Another guy named Howard Zinn read it, got really pissed off, and wrote the book I am now reviewing.

It's pretty much 124 pages of Abe Fortas getting bitch slapped.

Zinn, though especially ra
Daniel Lightfoot
"We are a nation of laws." Even in periods of acute social unrest in the United States, when government has played a dynamic role in stifling change and perpetuating and extending various inequities, it has not been uncommon to hear liberal social critics articulate a doctrine of loyalty to a state.

Such was the case in 1968 when Howard Zinn wrote his Nine Fallacies on Law and Order. Abe Fortas, justice of the American Supreme Court, had just published a book arguing for unflinching loyalty to t
David Bjelland
For being a response to a specific publication (Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas' "Concerning Dissent and Civil Disobedience") in a specific time/place (the US circa 1968), Disobedience and Democracy is an impressively broad treatise on "civil disobedience" - taken by Zinn to encapsulate all the tools at the disposal of citizens to leverage their collective power and bring about a more just society. There is idealism at work here (Howard Zinn is Howard Zinn), but the content is rock solid. Histo ...more
Written as a critique of Supreme Court Justice Abe FortasConcerning Dissent & Civil Disobedience, this really serves as an excellent rebuttal to any critics of extra-legal civil disobedience, dismantling their arguments one by one. Zinn's language is precise, accessible, and utterly logical. One can sense the seething emotion behind his words even though he does well maintaining his argument dispassionate. I suffered a minor cringe within the first few pages upon seeing his "The time for act ...more
James Payne
A surprisingly robust, almost seething though dispassionate/cogent, tear down of quote/unquote liberal opinions regarding actual political change i.e. civil disobedience re: race, Vietnam, etc in the 1960s.

His defense of "violence" as a resistance tactic was AWESOME 2 SEE. Why don't more people talk about this book? He is young and angry and a smartie here, whereas he sometimes came off too Clintonville liberal in his later work.
Ryan Mishap
Written in 1968 as a rebuttal of Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas's book on civil disobedience, this slim volume still holds important points that every activist should know about defending the practice of civil disobedience--then, after successfully defending it, we can move beyond it...
Finally, a book where I can feel the passion for a humanist cause through his words. I wish this was required reading in high school. A quick read and a GREAT introduction to Zinn.
Jeffrey Thiessen
Obviously a little outdated, since the fallacies are all based on a Supreme Court Judge's position paper during Vietnam - but still incredibly thought provoking.
Jennifer Norton
I've been carrying this book around for months, savoring its contents. Now it has a permanent place in my bag.
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Howard Zinn was a historian, playwright, and social activist. He was a shipyard worker and Air Force bombardier before he went to college under the GI Bill and received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He taught at Spelman College and Boston University, and was a visiting professor at the University of Paris and the University of Bologna. He received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs ...more
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“La distinction traditionnelle entre guerres "justes" et guerres "injustes" est désormais obsolète. La cruauté des moyens dépasse aujourd'hui tout objectif imaginable. Aucune frontière nationale, aucune idéologie, aucun "mode de vie" ne peut justifier la disparition de millions de vies que la guerre moderne, nucléaire ou conventionnelle, entraîne inévitablement. Les prétextes classiques sont soit trop confus soit trop changeants pour que l'on meure pour eux. Les systèmes changent, les politiques changent. Les distinctions entre le bien et le mal proclamées par les politiciens ne sont pas assez évidentes pour justifier que des générations d'être humains meurent pour prouver leur caractère sacro-saint. Même une guerre de légitime défense, la plus moralement justifiable des guerres, perd tout caractère moral lorsqu'elle exige un sacrifice collectif si énorme qu'il frise le suicide.” 5 likes
“Aucun représentant ne peut exactement représenter les besoins d'autrui ; un représentant tend à devenir membre d'une certaine élite et jouit souvent de privilèges qui érodent l'intérêt qu'il doit porter aux revendications de ses mandants. Relayée par les élus du système représentatif, la colère des protestataires perd de sa force ; [...]. Les élus développent une certaine expertise qui tend à sa propre perpétuation. Les représentants passent plus de temps ensemble qu'avec les électeurs qu'ils représentent et forment vite un club fermé respectant ce que Robert Michels appelait "un pacte d'assistance mutuelle" contre le reste de la société.” 4 likes
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