Hope in the age of looming authoritarianism

by Henry A. Giroux I can understand pessimism, but I don’t believe in it. It’s not simply a matter of faith, but of historical evidence. Not overwhelming evidence, just enough to give hope, because for hope we don’t need certainty, only possibility. — Howard Zinn In the current historical moment, the line between fate and destiny is difficult to draw. Dominant power works relentlessly through its major cultural apparatuses to hide, mischaracterize, or lampoon resistance, dissent, and critically engaged social movements. This is done, in part, by sanitizing public memory and erasing critical knowledge and oppositional struggles from newspapers, radio, … Continue reading Hope in the age of looming authoritarianism

Public Intellectuals Against the Neoliberal University

by Henry A. Giroux The University is a critical institution or it is nothing. — Stuart Hall Let me begin with the words of the late African-American poet, Audre Lorde, who was in her time a formidable writer, educator, feminist, gay rights activist and public intellectual who displayed a relentless courage in addressing the injustices she witnessed all around her.  She writes: Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into … Continue reading Public Intellectuals Against the Neoliberal University

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

Marching in Chicago: Resisting neoliberal savagery

by Henry A. Giroux Across the globe, predatory capitalism spreads its gospel of power, greed, commodification, gentrification, and inequality.  Through the combined forces of a market driven ideology, policy, and mode of governance, the apostles of free-market capitalism are doing their best to dismantle historically guaranteed social provisions provided by the welfare state, define the accumulation of capital as the only obligation of democracy, increase the role of corporate money in politics, wage an assault on unions, expand the military-security state, increase inequalities in wealth and income, foster  the erosion of civil liberties, and undercut public faith in the defining … Continue reading Marching in Chicago: Resisting neoliberal savagery

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

The New Extremism: Politics of distraction in the Age of Austerity

by Henry A. Giroux The debate in both Washington and the mainstream media over austerity measures, the alleged fiscal cliff and the looming debt crisis not only function to render anti-democratic pressures invisible, but also produce what the late sociologist C. Wright Mills once called “a politics of organized irresponsibility.”[1] For Mills, authoritarian politics developed, in part, by making the operations of power invisible while weaving a network of lies and deceptions through what might be called a politics of disconnect. That is, a politics that focuses on isolated issues that serve to erase the broader relations and historical contexts … Continue reading The New Extremism: Politics of distraction in the Age of Austerity

The war against teachers as public intellectuals

by Henry A. Giroux “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” — Alexander Pope The tragic deaths of 26 people shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., included 20 young children and two teachers. Many more children might have been killed or injured had it not been for the brave and decisive actions of the teachers in the school. The mainstream media was quick to call them heroes, and there is little doubt that what they did under horrific circumstances reveals not only how important educators are in shielding children from imminent threat, but also how … Continue reading The war against teachers as public intellectuals