Intellectuals as subjects and objects of violence

by Henry A. Giroux Edward Snowden, Russ Tice, Thomas Drake, Jeremy Scahill, and Julian Assange, among others, have recently made clear what it means to embody respect for a public intellectual debate, moral witnessing and intellectual culture. They are not just whistle-blowers or disgruntled ex-employers but individuals who value ideas, think otherwise in order to act otherwise, and use the resources available to them to address important social issues with what might be called a fearsome sense of social responsibility and civic courage. Their anger is not treasonous or self-serving as some critics argue, it is the indispensable sensibility and … Continue reading Intellectuals as subjects and objects of violence

Taking notes 9: The end of the beginning

by Daniel Pinchbeck At last, we have reached the end of the classic Mayan Long Count calendar, the 5,125-year cycle that ended on December 21st of last year. The mainstream media has, predictably, used the occasion to ridicule the straw man they irresponsibly helped to set up: That this was a doomsday threshold, as silly as Y2K. At the same time, the worst and best predictions of alternative theorists ranging from Graham Hancock to Paul LaViolette to Jose Arguelles, Terence McKenna, John Major Jenkins, David Wilcock, and Carl Johan Calleman have failed to materialize. Apparently, a galactic superwave is not … Continue reading Taking notes 9: The end of the beginning

Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

by Jeff Shantz  That anarchists should run afoul of the authorities is hardly surprising.  Indeed, anarchism has a long history of direct conflict with State institutions and their defenders.  Some of the most striking images from this history are the caricatures of black trenchcoat wearing “bomb throwers” who owe their fame to activities at the turn of the Twentieth Century.  Novels such as Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and Frank Harris’ The Bomb have kept the character of the fanatic alive.  In the popular imagination the spectre of anarchy still conjures notions of terror, chaos, destruction and the collapse of civilization … Continue reading Black blocs and contemporary “propaganda of the deed”

Beyond the politics of the Big Lie

by Henry A. Giroux “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr. The American public is suffering from an education deficit.  By this I mean it exhibits a growing inability to think critically, question authority, be reflective, weigh evidence, discriminate between reasoned arguments and opinions, listen across differences, and engage the mutually informing relationship between private problems and broader public issues. This growing political and cultural illiteracy is not merely a problem of the individual, one that points to simple ignorance. It is a collective and social problem that goes … Continue reading Beyond the politics of the Big Lie

Borderless pedagogy in the Occupy movement

by Henry A. Giroux A group of right-wing extremists in the United States would have the American public believe it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of a market society.  Comprising this group are the Republican Party extremists, religious fundamentalists such as Rick Santorum, and a host of conservative anti-public foundations funded by billionaires such as the Koch brothers[1] whose pernicious influence fosters the political and cultural conditions for creating vast inequalities and massive human hardships throughout the globe. Their various messages converge in support of neoliberal capitalism and fortress … Continue reading Borderless pedagogy in the Occupy movement

The ‘suicidal state’ and the war on youth

by Henry A. Giroux In spite of being discredited by the economic recession of 2008, market fundamentalism has once again assumed primacy as a dominant force for producing unprecedented inequalities in wealth and income, runaway environmental devastation, egregious amounts of human suffering and what Alex Honneth has called an “abyss of failed sociality.”(1) The Gilded Age is back with big profits for the ultra-rich and large financial institutions and increasing impoverishment and misery for the middle and working class. Political illiteracy and religious fundamentalism have cornered the market on populist rage providing support for a country in which, as Robert … Continue reading The ‘suicidal state’ and the war on youth

Protesting youth: A new political language

by Henry A. Giroux Young people are demonstrating all over the world against a variety of issues ranging from economic injustice and massive inequality to drastic cuts in education and public services. At the moment, these demonstrations are being met with state sanctioned violence and insults in the mainstream media rather than with informed dialogue, critical engagement and reformed policies. In the United States the state monopoly on the use ofviolence has intensified since the 1980s and in the process has been increasingly directed against young people, poor minorities, immigrants, and increasingly women. As the welfare state is hollowed out, … Continue reading Protesting youth: A new political language

Post-racial America

by Henry A. Giroux  The killing of a young African-American boy, Trayvon Martin, by an overzealous white Hispanic security guard who appears to have capitulated to the dominant post-racial presumption that equates the culture of criminality with the culture of blackness, has devolved into a spectacle. While there is plenty of moral outrage to go around, a recognition that racism is alive and well in America, and that justice has been hijacked by those who can afford it, the broader and more fundamental questions and analyses are not being raised. Complex issues get lost when spectacular events are taken over … Continue reading Post-racial America

Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

by Dave Hill This is a revolutionary period in world history. The collapse of finance capitalism, the bankers’ bailouts across the globe, the continuing bankers’ bonuses, and the intrinsic problems of finance capitalism have, under current `bourgeois’ parliamentarist rule, resulted in ordinary families, workers and communities,`paying for the crisis’. All this, while the national and international capitalist classes and organisations impose austerity capitalism on a reeling public and public educational, social, health and welfare systems. This `austerity capitalism’ has led to an eruption of discontent-against political, economic and financial dictatorship, through the Arab Spring, the indignados in Spain, the Occupy … Continue reading Fighting neo-liberalism with education and activism

Taking notes 2

With the recent downgrading of almost ten Eurozone states by Standard & Poor’s from their so-called triple-A ratings thanks to their debts, sage Euro policymakers have railed against them and the other two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch. The claim by these staunch Europeans is that these credit rating agencies were too quick in downgrading their debt ridden countries from their much coveted ‘AAA’ status despite these chronic economies succumbing to ‘bailouts and austerity programmes’. Coincidentally, as if by the magic of the ‘free market’ some new characters have appeared on the scene called Berger and Krall to launch a European … Continue reading Taking notes 2