India and the politics of ‘corruption’

by Anjan Chakrabarti & Anup Dhar Politics begins where the masses are, not where there are thousands, but where there are millions, that is where serious politics begins. — Lenin Think of all the people in Tagore’s Red Oleander, residing perhaps in post-independent India –– who did not have names and were identified as mere numbers, 21F, 79D, 84M, etc. — forming their own party with the assistance of Nandini, the female rebel protagonist (Ranjan — the other rebel protagonist had already been killed by the King) and challenging the King, the Gosain (clergy), the Adhyapak (professor) and a host … Continue reading India and the politics of ‘corruption’

The ghost of Authoritarianism in the Age of the Shutdown

by Henry A. Giroux In the aftermath of the reign of Nazi terror in the 1940s, the philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote: National Socialism lives on, and even today we still do not know whether it is merely the ghost of what was so monstrous that it lingers on after its own death, or whether it has not yet died at all, whether the willingness to commit the unspeakable survives in people as well as in the conditions that enclose them.[1] Adorno’s words are as relevant today as they were when he first wrote them. The threat of authoritarianism  to citizen-based … Continue reading The ghost of Authoritarianism in the Age of the Shutdown

Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Are we destined for history, for philosophy, for the world, have we been sent, probably from further afield than from our individuality, to wage a war in their name? — Anti-Badiou, Laruelle With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own. — John F. Kennedy The US of A is on the brink again. It is on the verge of running out of cash … Continue reading Taking notes 26: Revolution-in-waiting

Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 2

by Danny Weil [Note: This piece concludes the two-part essay. For Part 1, please see: Link] Ted Forstmann and private advocacy philanthropy as a social movement When there is an obvious financial pay-off for those promoting public policy changes through ‘advocacy philanthropy’, it behooves citizens to critically examine those advocates, their agendas and the implications of their claims. Sadly, this is not the case in America today nor was it at the time the leverage buy-out of public schools was being driven by those who posed as charitable individuals but whose real agenda was and is the incessant accumulation of … Continue reading Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 2

Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 1

by Danny Weil In a newly released book entitled The Gates Foundation and the Future of US  Public Schools, author Kenneth Saltman argues that the entry into educational reform policies within the last decade by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other, what he calls “venture philanthropists”, is part of a broader ideological and economic trend.  More specifically, Saltman argues that this development is one connected to neo-liberalism and the shift from a capitalist industrial economy to a service oriented economy. Saltman continues by correctly identifying that this modification represents a shift from the public governance of education to … Continue reading Advocacy philanthropy and the leveraged buy-out of public schools — Part 1

Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

If it has not already, then the world should be taking note of the curious and disturbing situation that is developing in Cyprus. The latest is that some resolution has come to pass in which Cyprus can remain in the Eurozone and deposits over 100,000 euros, not guaranteed by EU governments, will be expropriated to help resolve the debt issue. Most of those who will be affected by this appear to be Russians who have deposited billions in Cyprus. But it does appear that we have what amounts to a never-ending Eurozone crisis where the savings of ordinary Cypriots (small … Continue reading Taking notes 15: Sad Cyprus

Taking notes 10: Plutonomy and the precariat

by Noam Chomsky The Occupy movement has been an extremely exciting development. Unprecedented, in fact. There’s never been anything like it that I can think of. If the bonds and associations it has established can be sustained through a long, dark period ahead — because victory won’t come quickly — it could prove a significant moment in American history. The fact that the Occupy movement is unprecedented is quite appropriate. After all, it’s an unprecedented era and has been so since the 1970s, which marked a major turning point in American history. For centuries, since the country began, it had … Continue reading Taking notes 10: Plutonomy and the precariat

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

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