Public reenactment of a speech given by author and activist Howard Zinn at a peace rally on Boston Common on May 5, 1971. Zinn defends the use of civil disobedience to protest the war in Vietnam and calls on Congress to impeach the president and vice president of the United States for the high crime of waging war on the people of Southeast Asia. Matthew Floyd Miller delivered the speech on Boston Common on July 14, 2007.


For me the event at the Common was undeniably stirring. There was an odd sense of chronological dislocation, too, for though the speaker seemed to be addressing people in the present, he was, in a theatrical sense, speaking to an invisible audience, a crowd with a very different sense of the moment. That audience dispersed many years ago, yet one felt it reconvene as a ghostly presence.”

- Ken Johnson, Boston Globe, July 2007

Quotes from speech:

"We need to do something to disturb that calm, smiling, murderous president in the White House... because for six years the President has carried on an unconstitutional war, and for six years the bodies of Americans have been coming home in plastic bags, and for six years the villages and countryside of Vietnam have been destroyed, and these members of Congress have been sitting there silently, passively, voting the money for this war."

"Young men will refuse to be drafted and women will defy the state, and we will refuse to pay our taxes, and we'll disobey. And they'll say we're disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war."

Reenactment info:

July 14, 2007

Boston Common

Production stills

Transcript of original 1971 speech by Howard Zinn
Adobe Acrobat Document 33.0 KB
Reenactment Flyer
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB