American historian Howard Zinn died in January at the age of 87 — but Zinn will live forever in the Panopticonic infamy of a 423-page FBI dossier.

Why was Howard Zinn so dangerous?

What did he know that our government didn’t want the rest of us to know?

Here’s the PR blurp from the FBI website:

In 1949, the FBI opened a domestic security investigation on Zinn (FBI File # 100-360217). 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.

Here are some random clips from the FBI file — starting with all the common identification facets for alias: “Howie Zinn.”

These FBI reports are filled with interviews that lead nowhere and prove nothing while trying to suggest something.  “CP” stands for “Communist Party.”  The FBI was “Red Hunting” and Zinn was a prime target.

Here’s another report — about how quiet and wonderful the Zinn family were as neighbors:

Providing support for another public figure can land you in the files of the FBI as this field report indicates — as Zinn signed a letter supporting Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver:

Closing the case on Zinn in 1969?  Perhaps.  Maybe not!

Visiting “dangerous others” in prison can get you written up by the FBI. In this field report, Zinn — his case was not closed! — is still being monitored by paid FBI informants:

The FBI spent a lot of paranoid money tracking Howard Zinn.  Was it worth the effort and the cost?

Howard Zinn lived a transparent life — the same sort of transparency he demanded from his government — and because of that firm belief in people over power, he blazed a bright, historical, record for the rest of us that still warns against conservative, concerted, efforts to bury the truth and muzzle those who dare the record the facts of what really happened without the taint and folly of a political spin machine that always punishes more than it pleases.


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