Hope in a time of permanent war

by Henry A. Giroux Revolution is not ‘showing’ life to people, but making them live. A revolutionary organization must always remember that its objective is not getting its adherents to listen to convincing talks by expert leaders, but getting them to speak for themselves, in order to achieve, or at least strive toward, an equal degree of participation. – Guy Debord The war drums are beating loudly and America is once more mobilizing its global war machine. How might it be possible to imagine hope for justice and a better world for humanity in a country that has sanctioned state … Continue reading Hope in a time of permanent war

Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

by Diana Johnstone Opposing genocide has become a sort of cottage industry in the United States. Everywhere, “genocide studies” are cropping up in universities. Five years ago, an unlikely “Genocide Prevention Task Force” was set up headed by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary William Cohen, both veterans of the Clinton administration. The Bible of the campaign is Samantha Power’s book, “A Problem from Hell”. Ms. Power’s thesis is that the U.S. Government, while well-intentioned, like all of us, is too slow to intervene to “stop genocide”. It is a suggestion that the U.S. government embraces, even to taking … Continue reading Taking notes 17: The good intentions that pave the road to war

The economy of violence: Waste, expenditure and surplus

by Sanjay Perera
We are living in a time when the world is seeing the full effects of the economic violence of capitalism on all life forms and the planet itself. The violent process of capitalism is one of extraction and exploitation as it operates in a framework of polarity that exacerbates the difference between taking and giving, storing and sharing, and the separation between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. Continue reading The economy of violence: Waste, expenditure and surplus

The end of American Democracy?

by Henry A. Giroux “For we already know that a worthwhile society will not be less but more free than our own. More instruction, more — and more precise — information, more concrete criticism, publicity given to the actual functioning of society and politics, all problems put in the most offensive terms — as offensive as suffering and as all true reasoning — here are the preliminary conditions for ‘transparent’ social relations.” — Merleau Ponty “It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.” — James Baldwin Four decades of … Continue reading The end of American Democracy?

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

Structural crisis needs structural change

by István Mészáros When stressing the need for a radical structural change it must be made clear right from the beginning that this is not a call for an unrealizable utopia. On the contrary, the primary defining characteristic of modern utopian theories was precisely the projection that their intended improvement in the conditions of the workers’ lives could be achieved well within the existing structural framework of the criticized societies. Thus Robert Owen of New Lanark, for instance, who had an ultimately untenable business partnership with the utilitarian liberal philosopher Jeremy Bentham, attempted the general realization of his enlightened social … Continue reading Structural crisis needs structural change

Free speech, war, and academic freedom

by Peter Neil Kirstein To justify American expansionism, presidential war messages frequently contained nationalistic proclamations of American innocence and virtue. President James Knox Polk in seeking war with Mexico on May 11, 1846 as a mandate of the nation’s “Manifest Destiny,” demonized it as a “menace,” lied that it had invaded the United States and argued war was necessary to protect American democracy. “[W]e are called upon by every consideration of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, and the interests of our country.”[1] President William McKinley in asking Congress for a declaration of war to … Continue reading Free speech, war, and academic freedom

The warfare state and the brutalizing of everyday life

by Henry A. Giroux Since 9/11, the war on terror and the campaign for homeland security have increasingly mimicked the tactics of the enemies they sought to crush. Violence and punishment as both a media spectacle and a bone-crushing reality have become prominent and influential forces shaping American society. As the boundaries between “the realms of war and civil life have collapsed,” social relations and the public services needed to make them viable have been increasingly privatized and militarized.(1) The logic of profitability works its magic in channeling the public funding of warfare and organized violence into universities, market-based service … Continue reading The warfare state and the brutalizing of everyday life

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