Henry A. Giroux

Dr. Henry A. GirouxHenry A. Giroux (1943-)

Nacido en Providence, Rhode Island, Estados Unidos, fillo de emigrantes canadianos. Estudiou historia en Barrington (1968-1974) e doctorouse na Carnegie Mellon University de Pittsburgh (1977). Iniciouse como docente na Universidade de Boston (1977-1983), da que pasou á Universidade de Miami en Oxford, Ohio (1983-1992). Director do Center for Education and Cultural Studies da Universidade de Miami. Catedrático na Pennsylvania State University (1992). Director do Waterbury Forum sobre Educacion e Estudios Culturais da Pennsylvania State University.

O seu traballo académico máis significativo consistíu en integrar os estudios culturais dentro do estudio da Educación e a Pedagoxía, así como pola súa crítica radical ao sistema educativo e cultural moi determinado polo mercado das industrias culturais norteamericanas.

Entre os seus numerosos libros: Border crossings: cultural workers and the politics of education, Routledge, New York, 1992; Living dangerously: multiculturalism and the politics of difference, P. Lang, New York, 1993; Between borders: pedagogy and the politics of cultural studies (con Peter McLaren), Routledge, New York, 1994; Disturbing pleasures: learning popular culture, Routledge, New York, 1994; Fugitive cultures: race, violence, and youth, Routledge, New York, 1996; Counternarratives: cultural studies and critical pedagogies in postmodern spaces, Routledge, New York, 1996; Pedagogy and the politics of hope: theory, culture, and schooling, WestviewPress, Boulder, Col., 1997; Channel surfing: race talk and the destruction of today's youth, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997; Education and cultural studies: toward a performative practice (con Patrick Shannon), Routledge, New York, 1997; The mouse that roared: Disney and the end of innocence, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 1999; Stealing Innocence: Youth, Corporate Power and the Politics of Culture, St. Martins, New York, 2000.

En España están editados: Los profesores como intelectuales: hacia una pedagogía crítica del aprendizaje, Paidós, Barcelona, 1990; Igualdad educativa y diferencia cultural, El Roure, Barcelona, 1992; Placeres inquietantes: aprendiendo la cultura popular, Paidós, Barcelona, 1996; Cruzando límites. Trabajadores culturales y políticas educativas, Paidós, Barcelona, 1997; Sociedad, cultura y educación (con Peter McLaren), Miño y Dávila Editores, Madrid, 1999; El ratoncito feroz: Disney o el fin de la inocencia, Fundación Germán Sánchez Ruipérez, Madrid, 2001; Cultura, política y práctica educativa, Graó, Barcelona, 2001; La inocencia robada, Morata, Madrid, 2003; Cine y entretenimiento. Elementos para una crítica política del filme, Paidós, Barcelona, 2003.

Giroux é un crítico da cultura establecida nos Estados Unidos, arraigada aos circuitos do mercado, que presenta como instrumento de socialización en valores democráticos moi pobres, orientados á reproducción dos mitos que describen a realidade e a historia norteamericanas. Denuncia os imperios culturais e mediáticos como os causantes da desaparición do espazo público e o empobrecemento xeral dos norteamericanos desde as fases máis temperás da infancia e a xuventude. Os nenos e os xoves aparecen como obxectivo das industrias, pero tamén como víctimas dos consumos que estas lles ofrecen. Ao establecer unha relación entre os estudios sobre educación e cultura, describe os efectos negativos sobre a socialización cívica na fase escolar da impregnación ambiental que despregan as corporacións mediático-culturais.

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education

Giroux: Neoliberalism's War on Higher EducationHenry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education

Haymarket Books
Published: February, 2014
Price: $17.00
ISBN: 9781608463343

Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education reveals how neoliberal policies, practices, and modes of material and symbolic violence have radically reshaped the mission and practice of higher education, short-changing a generation of young people.

Giroux exposes the corporate forces at play and charts a clear-minded and inspired course of action out of the shadows of market-driven education policy. Championing the youth around the globe who have dared to resist the bartering of their future, he calls upon public intellectuals—as well as all people concer ned about the future of democracy—to speak out and defend the university as a site of critical learning and democratic promise.

About the author

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. His most recent books include: Disposable Youth: Racialized Memories and the Culture of Cruelty and Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future.

Reviews

“Professor Giroux has focused his keen intellect on the hostile corporate takeover of higher education in North America... He is relentless in his defense of a society that requires its citizenry to place its cultural, political, and economic institutions in context so they can be interrogated and held truly accountable. We are fortunate to have such a prolific writer and deep thinker to challenge us all.”
—Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union

“No one has been better than Henry Giroux at analyzing the many ways in which neoliberalism, with its vicious and predatory excesses, has damaged the American economy and undermined its democratic processes. Now, as Giroux brilliantly explains, it is threatening one of the nation’s proudest and most important achievements—its system of higher education.”
—Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former op-ed columnist for the New York Times

“Henry Giroux remains the critical voice of a generation. . . . He dares us to reevaluate the significance of public pedagogy as integral to any viable notion of democratic participation and social responsibility. Anybody who is remotely interested in the plight of future generations must read this book.”
—Dr. Brad Evans, Director, Histories of Violence website
 

Praise for Twilight of the Social:

"A convincing indictment of a society that sacrifices its youth and its education, and perhaps its future, on the alter of private gain. Giroux is a one-man indignation machine. We need more like him."—Russell Jacoby, UCLA, author of The Last Intellectuals and The End of Utopia

"Henry Giroux has been the most consistent and outspoken defender and promoter of the life-prospects and human dignity of which young generations were robbed or which they were prevented to recognize as their birth rights. This book offers a profound analysis of the current state of the world and the chances of making it more hospitable to its newcomers--a warning and call to action. Obligatory reading to all of us who care, young and old alike."—Zygmut Bauman

"Henry Giroux is one of our most important public intellectuals. Though he vividly describes the privatization of compassion, the rapid decline of higher education s commitment to democracy and shared notions of the public good, the force of Giroux's writings shows us we are not alone and there is power in his arguments of resistance. This is a vital book that needs to be read..."—David H. Price, Professor of Anthropology, St. Martin's University

Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education

Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education Henry A. Giroux: Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education

ISBN-13: 9781608463343
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publication date: 3/11/2014
Pages: 200

Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education reveals how neoliberal policies, practices, and modes of material and symbolic violence have radically reshaped the mission and practice of higher education, short-changing a generation of young people.

Giroux exposes the corporate forces at play and charts a clear-minded and inspired course of action out of the shadows of market-driven education policy. Championing the youth around the globe who have dared to resist the bartering of their future, he calls upon public intellectuals—as well as all people concer ned about the future of democracy—to speak out and defend the university as a site of critical learning and democratic promise.

About the author

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. His most recent books include: Disposable Youth: Racialized Memories and the Culture of Cruelty and Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future.

Reviews

“Professor Giroux has focused his keen intellect on the hostile corporate takeover of higher education in North America... He is relentless in his defense of a society that requires its citizenry to place its cultural, political, and economic institutions in context so they can be interrogated and held truly accountable. We are fortunate to have such a prolific writer and deep thinker to challenge us all.”
—Karen Lewis, President, Chicago Teachers Union


“No one has been better than Henry Giroux at analyzing the many ways in which neoliberalism, with its vicious and predatory excesses, has damaged the American economy and undermined its democratic processes. Now, as Giroux brilliantly explains, it is threatening one of the nation’s proudest and most important achievements—its system of higher education.”
—Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former op-ed columnist for the New York Times

“Henry Giroux remains the critical voice of a generation. . . . He dares us to reevaluate the significance of public pedagogy as integral to any viable notion of democratic participation and social responsibility. Anybody who is remotely interested in the plight of future generations must read this book.”
—Dr. Brad Evans, Director, Histories of Violence website

Praise for Twilight of the Social:

"A convincing indictment of a society that sacrifices its youth and its education, and perhaps its future, on the alter of private gain. Giroux is a one-man indignation machine. We need more like him."—Russell Jacoby, UCLA, author of The Last Intellectuals and The End of Utopia

"Henry Giroux has been the most consistent and outspoken defender and promoter of the life-prospects and human dignity of which young generations were robbed or which they were prevented to recognize as their birth rights. This book offers a profound analysis of the current state of the world and the chances of making it more hospitable to its newcomers--a warning and call to action. Obligatory reading to all of us who care, young and old alike."—Zygmut Bauman

"Henry Giroux is one of our most important public intellectuals. Though he vividly describes the privatization of compassion, the rapid decline of higher education s commitment to democracy and shared notions of the public good, the force of Giroux's writings shows us we are not alone and there is power in his arguments of resistance. This is a vital book that needs to be read..."—David H. Price, Professor of Anthropology, St. Martin's University

Henry A. Giroux: America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth

America’s Education Deficit and the War on YouthHenry A. Giroux: America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth

Editorial: Monthly Review Press, 2013
ISBN:
978-1-58367-344-7

America’s latest war, according to renowned social critic Henry Giroux, is a war on youth. While this may seem counterintuitive in our youth-obsessed culture, Giroux lays bare the grim reality of how our educational, social, and economic institutions continually fail young people. Their systemic failure is the result of what Giroux identifies as “four fundamentalisms”: market deregulation, patriotic and religious fervor, the instrumentalization of education, and the militarization of society. We see the consequences most plainly in the decaying education system: schools are increasingly designed to churn out drone-like future employees, imbued with authoritarian values, inured to violence, and destined to serve the market. And those are the lucky ones. Young people who don’t conform to cultural and economic discipline are left to navigate the neoliberal landscape on their own; if they are black or brown, they are likely to become ensnared by a harsh penal system.

Giroux sets his sights on the war on youth and takes it apart, examining how a lack of access to quality education, unemployment, the repression of dissent, a culture of violence, and the discipline of the market work together to shape the dismal experiences of so many young people. He urges critical educators to unite with students and workers in rebellion to form a new pedagogy, and to build a new, democratic society from the ground up. Here is a book you won’t soon forget, and a call that grows more urgent by the day.

Giroux has written a compelling critical discourse analyzing the present crisis of democracy. We can only hope it will become a manifesto, taken up by an informed and energized citizenry—ready to act.
Carol Becker, Professor of the Arts and Dean of the School of the Arts, Columbia University; author, Thinking In Place

This is classic Giroux in the sense that it contains all the passion, empathy, and righteous anger that we have come to associate with Henry Giroux. Impressive in his unflagging commitment to a public pedagogy that creates, sustains, and expands our discussions of what it means to be a citizen and member of a world community. Among so many strengths, I would single out this book’s attention to the youth of the world—not as ‘resources’ to be ‘developed’ and ‘trained,’ but as our best hope for a just world.
David Palumbo-Liu, author, The Deliverance of Others: Reading Literature in a Global Age

From Mobil/Exxon to the two presidential candidates, everyone has a cure for the ills of education, but as usual Henry Giroux sees the truth behind the rhetoric. Stop stealing the future from our young people, especially in the working class. Unable to get decent educations, chained to dead-end jobs, our young people are the targets of state-sponsored violence. Giroux knows personally this situation; this book is his intellectual autobiography. Listen to him and act.
John Carlos Rowe, University of Southern California

Henry Giroux: Why Faculty Should Join Occupy Movement Protesters on College Campuses

Henry Giroux: Why Faculty Should Join Occupy Movement Protesters on College Campuses

In both the United States and  many other countries, students are protesting against rising tuition fees, the increasing financial burdens they are forced to assume, and the primacy of market models in shaping higher education while emphasizing private benefits to individuals and the economy. Many students view these policies and for-profit industries as part of an assault on not just the public character of the university but also as an attack on civic society and their future. 

For many young people in the Occupy movement, higher education has defaulted on its promise to provide them with both a quality education and the prospects of a dignified future. They resent the growing instrumentalization and accompanying hostility to critical and oppositional ideas within the university. They have watched over the years as the university is losing ground as a place to think, dissent, and develop a culture of questioning, dialogue, and civic enlightenment. They are rethinking what should be the role of the university in a world caught in a nightmarish blend of war, massive economic inequities and ecological destruction.

What role should the university play at a time when politics is being emptied out of any connection to a civic literacy, informed judgment, and critical dialogue, further deepening a culture of illiteracy, cruelty, hypermasculinity and disposability? Young people are not only engaging in a great refusal; they are also arguing for the social benefits and public value of higher education while deeply resenting the fact that, as conservative politicians defund higher education and cut public spending, they do so in order to be able to support tax breaks for corporations and the rich and to ensure ample funds for sustaining and expanding the warfare state.

The Occupy protesters view the assault on the programs that emerged out of the New Deal and the Great Society as being undermined as society increasingly returns to a Second Gilded Age, in which youth have to bear the burden of an attack on the welfare state, social provisions, and a huge wealth and income inequality gap. Young people recognize that they have become disposable, and that higher education, which always embodied the ideal, though in damaging terms, of a better life, has now become annexed to the military-academic-industrial complex. 

What is important about the Occupy protesters' criticism of being saddled with onerous debt, viewed as a suspect generation, subjected to the demands of an audit culture that confuses training with critical education and their growing exclusion from higher education is that such concerns situate the attack on higher education as part of a broader criticism against the withering away of the public realm, public values and any viable notion of the public good. To paraphrase William Greider, they have come to recognize in collective fashion that higher education has increasingly come to resemble "an ecological dead zone" where social relevance and engaged scholarship perishes in a polluted, commercial, market-driven environment. The notion of the university as a center of critique and a vital democratic public sphere that cultivates the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the production of a democratic polity is giving way to a view of the university as a marketing machine essential to the production of identities in which the only obligation of citizenship is to be a consumer.

Henry A. Giroux: Beyond the Limits of Neoliberal Higher Education: Global Youth Resistance and the American/British Divide

Henry A. Giroux: Beyond the Limits of Neoliberal Higher Education: Global Youth Resistance and the American/British Divide

“We need a wholesale revision of how a democracy both listens to and treats young people.”[1]

The global reach and destructiveness of neoliberal values and disciplinary controls are not only evident in the widespread hardships and human suffering caused by the economic recession of 2008, they are also visible in the ongoing and ruthless assault on the social state, workers, unions, higher education, students, and any vestige of the social at odds with neoliberal values. Under the regime of market fundamentalism, institutions that were meant to limit human suffering and misfortune and protect the public from the excesses of the market have been either weakened or abolished, as are many of those public spheres where private troubles can be understood as social problems and addressed as such.[2] Privatization has run rampant, engulfing institutions as different in their goals and functions as public schools and core public services,  on the one hand, and prisons, on the other. This shift from the social contract to savage forms of corporate sovereignty is part of a broader process of “reducing state support of social goods [and] means that states—the institutions best placed to defend the gains workers and other popular forces have made in previous struggles—are instead abandoning them.”[3] Faced with massive deficits, the U.S. federal government along with many states are refusing to raise taxes either on the rich or on wealthy corporations, while at the same time enacting massive cuts in everything from Medicaid programs, food banks, and worker retirement funds to higher education and health care programs for children. For example, Florida Governor Rick Scott has “proposed slashing corporate income and property taxes, laying off 6,700 state employees, cutting education funding by $4.8 billion, and cutting Medicaid by almost $4 billion. Scott’s ultimate plan is to phase the Sunshine state’s corporate income tax out entirely. He [wants] to gut Florida’s unemployment insurance system, leaving unemployed workers ‘with much less economic protection than unemployed workers in any other state in the country.’”[4] As social problems are privatized and public spaces are commodified, there has been an increased emphasis on individual solutions to socially produced problems, while at the same time market relations and the commanding institutions of capital are divorced from matters of politics, ethics, and responsibility. Free market ideology with its emphasis on the privatization of public wealth, the elimination of social protections, and its deregulation of economic activity now shapes practically every commanding political and economic institution in the United States. In these circumstances, notions of the public good, community, and the obligations of citizenship are replaced by the overburdened demands of individual responsibility and an utterly privatized ideal of freedom.

In the current market-driven society, with its ongoing uncertainties and collectively induced anxieties, core public values that safeguard the common good have been abandoned under a regime that promotes a survival-of-the-fittest economic doctrine. As Jeffrey Sachs points out, “Income inequality is at historic highs, but the rich claim they have no responsibility to the rest of society. They refuse to come to the aid of the destitute, and defend tax cuts at every opportunity. Almost everybody complains, almost everybody aggressively defends their own narrow, short-term interests, and almost everybody abandons any pretense of looking ahead or addressing the needs of others.”[5]  Shared sacrifice and shared responsibilities now give way to shared fears and a disdain for investing in the common good or for that matter the security of future generations of young people. Conservatives and liberals alike seem to view public values as either a hindrance to the profit-seeking goals of the allegedly free market or as a enervating drain on society. Espousing a notion of the common good is now treated as a sign of weakness, if not a dangerous pathology.[6]

Public spheres that once offered at least the glimmer of progressive ideas, enlightened social policies, non-commodified values, and critical exchange have been increasingly commercialized—or replaced by private spaces and corporate settings whose ultimate fidelity is to expanding profit margins. For example, higher education is increasingly defined as another core element of corporate power and culture. Public spaces such as libraries are detached from the language of public discourse and viewed increasingly as a waste of taxpayers’ money. No longer vibrant political spheres and ethical sites, public spaces are reduced to dead spaces in which it becomes almost impossible to construct those modes of knowledge, communication, agency, and meaningful interventions necessary for an aspiring democracy. What has become clear is that the neoliberal attack on the social state, workers, and unions is now being matched by a full-fledged assault on higher education. Such attacks are not happening just in the United States but in many other parts of the globe where neoliberalism is waging a savage battle to eliminate all of those public spheres that might offer a glimmer of opposition to and protection from market-driven policies, institutions, ideology, and values. Higher education is being targeted by conservative politicians and governments because it embodies, at least ideally, a sphere in which students learn that democracy, as Jacques Rancière suggests, entails rupture, relentless critique, and dialogue about official power, its institutions, and its never-ending attempts to silent dissent.[7]

Henry A. Giroux: From Benetton to Murdoch: The Culture of Money, Shock and Schlock

Henry A. Giroux: From Benetton to Murdoch: The Culture of Money, Shock and Schlock

"Benetton appropriated for one of its advertising campaigns actual news photos of social events that portray various calamities of the time. These include pictures of a bloodied Mafia murder victim, depictions of child labor, a terrorist car bombing and the bloodstained clothes worn by a Croatian student the day he was killed."

What C. Wright Mills once termed "the cultural apparatus" matters even more 50 years later.(1) At the dawn of the 21st century, this apparatus has grown into a vast web of media monopolies, which serve to entertain global audiences, set fashion standards, provide information about the world, promote celebrity culture, create consumer desires and occasionally offer insights about existing social problems while holding powerful individuals and institutions accountable. But they do more. They also function as teaching machines, producing and legitimating particular modes of identity while providing the framing mechanisms that drive the questions, interests and values that shape a society. Through the sheer power of their size and ubiquity, the media and its digital extensions influence major institutions, influence the larger culture and reproduce particular social values; they also set standards, exert influence upon politics and often privilege the trivial over the substantive, the consumer over the citizen and the narrowest of interests over larger ethical and social considerations. As the old and new media take over the space of the public and private, they have become a more insistent and aggressive anti-democratic force corrupting politics, demeaning public goods, trading in campaigns of fear, substituting opinions for legitimate argument and turning news outlets into spectacles of pain and perversion, if not worse. Think here of the preponderance of hate radio and television shows that feature the likes of Glenn Beck, Michael Savage and Bill O'Reilly. And bear in mind the narcissistic messages endlessly paraded on realty TV shows. Listen to the often cruel and homophobic nonsense vomited up from the mouths of right-wing luminaries such as Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin and how the mainstream media reports such invective as a serious species of argument. The scandalous example of Rupert Murdoch is a recent case in point where money and greed combined with a politics of corruption and shock to produce a culture of cruelty that tarnished everything it touched. Not only did News Corporation inundate the world with schlock tabloids, it also invaded the privacy and violated the dignity of the British royal family, various celebrities and the victims of the 2005 terrorist attack in London by hacking into their voice mail accounts. And by some accounts, is guilty of the same criminal offense in the United States.(2) But the most offensive hacking News Corporation has done is to hack into people's minds, filling their everyday lives with gossip, spectacles, the relentless sexualization of women and incessant cheerleading for a market-driven society where all that matters is winning and making money. Unfortunately, what is often left out of existing narratives about the rise of big media and its commitment to shock and political conservatism is the role it plays as a form of public pedagogy, an educational force that demeans any viable notion of democratic values, relations and critical agency. One way of understanding this reactionary form of public pedagogy is to examine the crucial, if not foundational role that trendy and "conscious" corporations like Benetton have played over the last 40 years in trading in an aesthetic of glam exposé that makes an appeal to addressing viable social issues.

The merging of spectacle, shock and schlock advertising history has assumed increasing importance in societies where the media and other forms of screen culture become the most powerful repository for engaging and educating the wider public. In what follows, I want to turn to a brief history of Benetton and its practices as a way of understanding the current role that the media plays in promoting a culture of sensation, fear and cruelty that obliterates any remnant of social responsibility and a viable politics and pedagogy of representation. The Benetton model is important because it illustrates how the aestheticization of shock, difference and glamour can be used and manipulated not only to attract a wider audience for its clothing line, but also to misappropriate social consciousness as a way to bring attention to itself while subordinating important social issues to the brand-name power of the logo and the lure of the commodity.

Henry A. Giroux: Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism

Giroux: Zombie politicsHenry A. Giroux: Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism
Published by Peter Lang Publishing (2010)

Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism capitalizes upon the popularity of zombies, exploring the relevance of the metaphor they provide for examining the political and pedagogical conditions that have produced a growing culture of sadism, cruelty, disposability, and death in America. The zombie metaphor may seem extreme, but it is particularly apt for drawing attention to the ways in which political culture and power in American society now operate on a level of mere survival. This book uses the metaphor not only to suggest the symbolic face of power: beginning and ending with an analysis of authoritarianism, it attempts to mark and chart the visible registers of a kind of zombie politics, including the emergence of right-wing teaching machines, a growing politics of disposability, the emergence of a culture of cruelty, and the ongoing war being waged on young people, especially on youth of color. By drawing attention to zombie politics and authoritarianism, this book aims to break through the poisonous common sense that often masks zombie politicians, anti-public intellectuals, politics, institutions, and social relations, and bring into focus a new language, pedagogy, and politics in which the living dead will be moved decisively to the margins rather than occupying the very center of politics and everyday life.

Henry A. Giroux holds the Global TV Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada. His most recent books include The University in Chains: Confronting the Military-Industrial-Academic Complex (2007), Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability? (2009), Politics Beyond Hope (2010), and Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror (2010).

Henry A. Giroux: Youth in a Suspect Society: Coming of Age in an Era of Disposability

Henry A. Giroux: Youth in a Suspect Society: Coming of Age in an Era of Disposability

In spite of being discredited by the economic recession of 2008, neoliberalism, or market fundamentalism as it is called in some quarters, has once again returned with a vengeance. The Gilded Age is back with big profits for the rich and corporations, and increasing impoverishment and misery for the middle and working class. Political illiteracy has cornered the market on populist rage. providing a political bonus for those who are responsible for massive levels of inequality, poverty, mortgage defaults, unacceptable levels of unemployment, and sundry other hardships. As social protections are dismantled, public servants denigrated and public goods such as schools, bridges, health care services and public transportation deteriorate, the current Washington administration unapologetically embraces the values of economic Darwinism. In doing so, Obama and his cohorts reward its chief beneficiaries, the mega banks, financial industries and big business. Reinvigorated by the passing of tax cuts for the ultra rich, the right-wing Republican Party take over of the House of Representatives along with a number of state governorships are now launching an ongoing successful attack on the welfare state, workers, students, and those who dare speak out against such attacks. Neoliberalism in zombie-like fashion is once again imposing its values, social relations and forms of social death upon all aspects of civic life.(1)

For over 30 years, the North American public has been reared on a neoliberal dystopian vision that legitimates itself through the largely unchallenged claim that there are no alternatives to a hyper-market-driven society, that economic growth should not be constrained by considerations of social costs or moral responsibility and that democracy and capitalism are virtually synonymous. At the heart of this market rationality is an egocentric philosophy and a culture of cruelty that sells off public goods and services to the highest bidders in the private sector, while simultaneously dismantling those public spheres, social protections and institutions serving the public good. As economic power succeeds in detaching itself from government regulations, a new global financial class reasserts the prerogatives of capital and systemically destroys those public spheres - including the university - that traditionally advocated for social equality and an educated citizenry as the fundamental conditions for a viable democracy.

Despite our knowledge of the corrupt profiteering practices that instigated a global financial meltdown, free-market fundamentalism appears to be losing neither its claim to legitimacy nor its claims on democracy. On the contrary, in this new era in which we live, consumerism and profit making are defined as the essence of democracy, while freedom has been reconceived as the unrestricted ability of markets to govern economic relations free from government regulation or moral considerations. As the principle of economic deregulation gradually merges with a notion of unregulated self-interest, one consequence is that people, eager to protect what they now believe is their freedom, relinquish their power and democratic rights to unaccountable, unchecked and unabashed forms of authoritarian corporate and state control.

Higher Education Under Attack: An Interview With Henry A. Giroux

Higher Education Under Attack: An Interview With Henry A. Giroux

Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department. He received his Doctorate from Carnegie Mellon in 1977, and has written numerous books about politics, higher education, and neoliberalism. Giroux is also a member of Truthout's Board of Directors. His website is www.henryagiroux.com

This interview has been expanded and edited from the original.

Johannsen: In a 2005, you discussed the corporatizing of education in a televised interview with Allan Gregg, and at the beginning of that talk he mentioned that you left the U.S. you began to discuss how the University was taking on a more managerial style. Moreover, you mentioned Penn State, and its shift to a corporate model. For instance, there were more part-time faculty positions being added eliminating tenure-track openings. You were witnessing this at Penn State, and suggested a pattern was being set that is now widespread in universities and colleges across the U.S. I am, curious about your departure from the U.S.. It seems clear that you left the U.S. for professional reasons, but did you also leave the U.S. for political reasons?

Henry A. Giroux: Yes, it was for political and academic reasons. I was particularly upset over Bush being elected in 2004, and especially under circumstances that suggested that the election was stolen from Al Gore. Both the election and the growing suppression of dissent in the university, not to mention the attack on public education by corporate interests, suggested that democracy in the United States, however fragile, was being radically undermined.

It was also a period of galloping anti-intellectualism, and that anti-intellectualism was coming from various levels—in the popular media, among elements of the dominant press, the increasing commodification of everyday life, the rise of celebrity culture, and the widespread emergence of the ethos of privatization.

Moreover, the press and other elements of the dominant media by 2004 had become even more complicitous with the forces of political conformity and were reinforcing a form of intellectual banality, commodification, and privatization that both undermined political culture and reinforced a market driven embrace of selfishness and materialism that was sabotaging every vestige of public life. Education as it was deployed by the larger culture was becoming a powerful force for both political illiteracy and for exercising a depoliticizing influence on young people and the larger polity.

Cynicism, disillusionment, and a dispiriting sense of purposeless has cast a shadow over American society seriously draining it of any language or vision that might imagine a different sort of society from the dysfunctional, militarizing, and deeply unequal social order that marked the current historical period.

Henry A. Giroux: Militarized Conservatism and End(s) of Higher Education

Henry A. Giroux: Militarized Conservatism and End(s) of Higher Education

The Pathologies of War

There can be little doubt that America has become a permanent warfare state.(1) Not only is it waging a war in three countries, but its investment in military power is nearly as much as all of the military budgets of every other country in the world combined. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute states, "The USA's military spending accounted for 43 per cent of the world total in 2009, followed by China with 6.6 per cent; France with 4.3 per cent and the UK with 3.8 per cent."(2) The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Americans a staggering $1 trillion to date, second only in inflation-adjusted dollars to the $4 trillion price tag for World War II."(3) Pentagon spending for 2011 will be more than $700 billion. To make matters worse, as Tom Englehardt points out, "We dominate the global arms trade, monopolizing almost 70% of the arms business in 2008, with Italy coming in a vanishingly distant second. We put more money into the funding of war, our armed forces and the weaponry of war than the next 25 countries combined (and that's without even including Iraq and Afghan war costs)."(4) Moreover, the United States maintains a massive ring of military bases and global presence around the world, occupying "over 560 bases and other sites abroad"(5) and deploying over 300,000 troops abroad, "even as our country finds itself incapable of paying for basic services."(6) In spite of how much military expenditures drain much-needed funds from social programs, the military budget is rarely debated in Congress or a serious object of discussion among the public. Rather than avoid squandering resources and human lives on foreign wars, we avoid "the realities and costs of war."(7)

War is now normalized even as the United States becomes more militarized, moving closer to a national security state at home and an imperial/policing power abroad. Military historian Andrew Bacevich is right in arguing, "The misleadingly named Department of Defense serves in fact as a Ministry of Global Policing."(8) War has become central to American character, but what is often unacknowledged is that its perpetual wars abroad are increasingly matched by a number of wars being waged on the domestic front. Such a disconnect becomes clear in the refusal of politicians, anti-public intellectuals and the general public to acknowledge how the federal deficit has been run up by our military adventures. As Frank Rich argues, "The cultural synergy between the heedless irresponsibility we practiced in Iraq and our economic collapse at home could not be more naked. The housing bubble, inflated by no-money-down mortgage holders on Main Street and high-risk gamblers on Wall Street, was fueled by the same greedy disregard for the laws of fiscal gravity that governed the fight-now-play later war[s]" in Iraq and Afghanistan and more recently in Libya.(9) Similarly, as the spirit of a hyper-militarized America bleeds into everyday life, politics increasingly becomes an extension of war, and right-wing, liberal and conservative politicians eagerly embrace a militaristic approach to policy and the need to cleanse the social order of any institution, mode of dissent, social group and public sphere willing to question its state of permanent war and its militarized and unchecked embrace of economic Darwinism. These foreign and domestic wars are not unrelated, given that they are waged in the interests of right-wing militarists, neoconservatives, liberals and corporate moguls - all of whom have a political and economic stake in such military incursions abroad and wars at home. Wars make the economic elite even richer just as they undermine civil liberties, public services and public dissent. A hyper-militarized America has not only fueled violations of executive power, it has also promoted armed conflicts that are directly related to an economic crisis that has produced a wave of political extremism in the United States, while furthering the rise of a punishing state that places the burdens of the current economic crisis on the backs of the poor. We seem to have no trouble in spending money for the production of organized violence designed to kill people, but we have little money to spend on education, health care, or other serious social problems facing the United States. As one educational journal pointed out:

This juxtaposition of robust war spending and inadequate support for education highlights the moral bankruptcy of political and economic leaders who seem to find endless piles of money to kill people abroad but not much to educate them at home. And, of course, the relationship is plain: The more dollars spent on war, the fewer available for human needs - whether alternative energy, food stamps, in-home elder care, public libraries or keeping teachers in their classrooms.(10)

Henry A. Giroux: From "Morning in America" to the Nightmare on Main Street

Henry A. Giroux: From "Morning in America" to the Nightmare on Main Street

Ronald Reagan's infamous "it's morning in America" slogan, used as part of his 1984 presidential campaign, paved the way for a set of market-driven policies that historians faithful to the human record will be compelled to rename twilight in America to signal a historical crisis fueled less by a spirited hope for the future than by a shocking refusal to be held accountable to and for it. The policies that informed Reagan's neoliberal agenda have given way to the intense assault now being waged by his more extremist governmental descendants on all vestiges of the democratic state. This brutal evisceration includes a rejection and devaluing of the welfare state, unions, public values, young people, public and higher education; and other political, social and economic institutions and forces in American life that provide a counterweight against the political power of mega-corporations, the rich and the powerful.

In order to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful corporations, the formative cultures, social formations and institutions necessary for a viable democracy are under a wide-ranging assault. The intensity and barbarism of such an attack is evident in the current right-wing attempts to dismantle crucial social safety nets, collective bargaining rights, unions and the regulatory constraints on powerful corporations. This conservative assault is not just about the enactment of reactionary government policies; it is also about the proliferation of a war at home, the collateral damage of which is harsh and brutalizing, especially for young people, the unemployed, the elderly, the poor, and a number of other individuals and groups now bearing the burden of the worst economic recession since the 1920s. But there is more at stake than an increase in the hard currency of human suffering; there are also disturbing signs that American society is moving toward an authoritarian state largely controlled by corporations and a financial elite.(1)

Political power is now up for sale just as government resources are increasingly being contracted out or sold off to the highest bidder. Like lemmings in heat, thousands of corporate lobbyists flock to Washington determined to corrupt the political process, while multibillionaires such as the Koch brothers use their $42 billion-dollar war chest to fund right-wing think tanks, the Tea Party, and other conservative groups in order to crush the labor movement and enact legislative policies designed to decimate the social state and hand over the levers of political and economic sovereignty to the rich. Commenting on the real agenda of the Koch brothers and the Republican Party, New York Times op-ed writer Frank Rich rightly argues, "[t]he real goal is to reward the G.O.P.'s wealthiest patrons by crippling what remains of organized labor, by wrecking the government agencies charged with regulating and policing corporations and, as always, by rewarding the wealthiest with more tax breaks."(2)

Henry A. Giroux: Left Behind? American Youth and the Global Fight for Democracy

Henry A. Giroux: Left Behind? American Youth and the Global Fight for Democracy

[O]ne has no choice but to do all in one's power to change that fate and at no matter what risk - eviction, imprisonment, torture, death. For the sake of one's children, in order to minimize the bill that they must pay, one must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion. - James Baldwin(1)

The people have awakened. If change had happened through elites, there wouldn't have been real change. Now people understand their rights and know how to demand them. They realized their own power. -Ahmed Mahir, leader of the Egyptian Youth April 6th Movement

Within the last few months, we have seen an outpouring of student protests from all over the globe. Fifty thousand students took to the streets in London to protest tuition hikes, while "thousands of young people in Puerto Rico and Ireland are marching against cuts to student funding and fee increases."(2) Students in France and Greece are demonstrating with their bodies, confronting the police and registering their outrage over the imposition of severe austerity measures. In Spain and Italy, youth are challenging unemployment rates that have soared to 40 and 30 percent respectively. In Tunisia and Egypt, students have been at the forefront of uprisings that eventually led to the overthrow of authoritarian societies, which for too long forced young people to linger in a liminal space in which there were no jobs, no hope for the future and far too few freedoms. This general sense of frustration among young people is widespread in Europe and the Middle East. For instance, students marching in Rome "shouted, 'We don't want to pay for the crisis,' referring to the financial crisis that has turned ... labor market[s] from bad to worse. 'Where do I see my future? Certainly not in this country,' said protester, Morgana Proietti, expressing a common sentiment."(3)

Counterpublic spheres and modes of resistance that we once did not think young people could mount have erupted in a rush of emotional and political expressions and scattered demonstrations. Mass demonstrations have been organized through the emergent screen cultures of a generation well versed in new technologically assisted forms of social networking and political exchange. Governments complicit with a lethal combination of massive inequality, joblessness and ongoing cutbacks in social services are now the object of righteous youthful aggression in which buildings are occupied, pitched battles are waged in the streets and banners are dropped from national symbols like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and once impregnable governmental institutions. Shared sufferings, pent up repressions, ideological longings and emotional attachments have flared up in a massive collective demand by young people to be part of a future in which justice, democratic values and politics once again matter. Forging collective spaces of resistance, young people are expressing their long simmering anger and indignation against harsh injustices, growing inequalities and insufferable injuries in both totalitarian and allegedly democratic countries. The fear of political transgression that kept individual actors in check has given way to a politics in which dissent is amplified, multiplied and seized upon with vigor and moral courage that has seldom found such thunderous expression among young people since the late 1970s. Democracy is no longer being defended. It is being reinvented as a kind of shared existence that makes the political possible.(4)

Henry A. Giroux : Torturing Democracy

Henry A. Giroux : Torturing Democracy

The following essay is excerpted from the preface to Henry Giroux's "Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror" (Paradigm Publishers 2010).

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, we have lived through a historical period in which the United States relinquished its tenuous claim to democracy. The frames through which democracy apprehends others as human beings worthy of respect, dignity, and human rights were sacrificed to a mode of politics and culture that simply became an extension of war, both at home and abroad. At home, the punishing state increasingly replaced the welfare state, however ill conceived, as more and more individuals and groups were now treated as disposable populations, undeserving of those safety nets and basic protections that provide the conditions for living with a sense of security and dignity. Under such conditions, basic social supports were replaced by an accelerated production of prisons, the expansion of the criminal justice system into everyday life, and the further erosion of crucial civil liberties. Shared responsibilities gave way to shared fears, and the only distinction that seemed to resonate in the culture was between friends and patriots, on the one hand, and dissenters and enemies, on the other. State violence not only became acceptable, it was normalized as the government spied on its citizens, suspended the right of habeas corpus, sanctioned police brutality against those who questioned state power, relied on the state secrets privilege to hide its crimes, and increasingly reduced public spheres designed to protect children to containment centers and warehouses that modeled themselves after prisons. Fear both altered the landscape of democratic rights and values and dehumanized a population that was ever more willing to look the other way as large segments of the populace were either dehumanized, incarcerated, or simply treated as disposable. The dire consequences can be seen every day as the media report a stream of tragic stories about decent people losing their homes; more and more young people being incarcerated; and growing numbers of people living in their cars, on the streets, or in tent cities. The New York Times offers up a front-page story about young people leaving their recession-ridden families in order to live on the street, often surviving by selling their bodies for money. Reports surface in the dominant media about unspeakable horrors being inflicted on children tortured in the "death chambers" of Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan. And the American people barely blink.

Henry A. Giroux: Beyond the Swindle of the Corporate University: Higher Education in the Service of Democracy

Henry A. Giroux: Beyond the Swindle of the Corporate University: Higher Education in the Service of Democracy

Thinking is not the intellectual reproduction of what already exists anyway. As long as it doesn't break off, thinking has a secure hold on possibility. Its insatiable aspect, its aversion to being quickly and easily satisfied, refuses the foolish wisdom of resignation. The utopian moment in thinking is stronger the less it ... objectifies itself into a utopia and hence sabotages its realization. Open thinking points beyond itself.  -Theodor W. Adorno

In spite of being discredited by the economic recession of 2008, neoliberalism, or market fundamentalism as it is called in some quarters, has once again returned with a vengeance. The Gilded Age has come back with big profits for the rich and increasing impoverishment and misery for the middle and working class. Political illiteracy has cornered the market on populist rage, providing a political bonus for those who are responsible for massive levels of inequality, poverty, and sundry other hardships. As social protections are dismantled, public servants are denigrated and public goods such as schools, bridges, health care services and public transportation deteriorate, the Obama administration unapologetically embraces the values of economic Darwinism and rewards its chief beneficiaries: mega banks and big business. Neoliberalism - reinvigorated by the passing of tax cuts for the ultra rich, the right-wing Republican Party taking over of the House of Representatives and an ongoing successful attack on the welfare state - proceeds, once again, in zombie-like fashion to impose its values, social relations and forms of social death upon all aspects of civic life.(1)

With its relentless attempts to normalize the irrational belief in the ability of markets to solve all social problems, neoliberal market fundamentalism puts in place policies designed to dismantle the few remaining vestiges of the social state and vital public services. More profoundly, it has weakened if not nearly destroyed those institutions that enable the production of a formative culture in which individuals learn to think critically, imagine other ways of being and doing and connect their personal troubles with public concerns. Matters of justice, ethics and equality have once again been exiled to the margins of politics. Never has this assault on the democratic polity been more obvious, if not more dangerous, than at the current moment when a battle is being waged under the rubric of neoliberal austerity measures on the autonomy of academic labor, the classroom as a site of critical pedagogy, the rights of students to high quality education, the democratic vitality of the university as a public sphere and the role played by the liberal arts and humanities in fostering an educational culture that is about the practice of freedom and mutual empowerment.(2)

Memories of the university as a citadel of democratic learning have been replaced by a university eager to define itself largely in economic terms. As the center of gravity shifts away from the humanities and the notion of the university as a public good, university presidents ignore public values while refusing to address major social issues and problems.(3) Instead, such administrators now display corporate affiliations like a badge of honor, sit on corporate boards and pull in huge salaries. A survey conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that "19 out of 40 presidents from the top 40 research universities sat on at least one company board."(4) Rather than treated as a social investment in the future, students are now viewed by university administrators as a major source of revenue for banks and other financial institutions that provide funds for them to meet escalating tuition payments. For older generations, higher education opened up opportunities for self-definition as well as pursuing a career in the field of one's choosing. It was relatively cheap, rigorous and accessible, even to many working-class youth. But as recent events in both the United States and Britain make clear, this is no longer the case. Instead of embodying the hope of a better life and future, higher education has become prohibitively expensive and exclusionary, now offering primarily a credential and, for most students, a lifetime of debt payments. Preparing the best and the brightest has given way to preparing what might be called Generation Debt.(5)

Henry A. Giroux: In the Twilight of the Social State: Rethinking Walter Benjamin's Angel of History

Henry A. Giroux: In the Twilight of the Social State: Rethinking Walter Benjamin's Angel of History

By eviscerating public services and reducing them to a network of farmed-out private providers, we have begun to dismantle the fabric of the state. As for the dust and powder of individuality: it resembles nothing so much as Hobbes's war of all against all, in which life for many people has once again become solitary, poor and more than a little nasty.(1) -Tony Judt

Responding in 1940 to the unfolding catastrophes perpetrated by the rise of fascism in Germany, Walter Benjamin, a German Jewish philosopher and literary critic, wrote his now famous "Thesis on the Philosophy of History." In the ninth thesis, Benjamin comments on Paul Klee's painting "Angelus Novus." He writes:

"Angelus Novus" shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The Angel would like to stay, awaken the dead and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.(2)

The meaning and significance of Benjamin's angel of history has been the subject of varied interpretations by philosophers, literary critics, and others.(3) Yet, it still offers us a powerful lesson about a set of historical conditions marked by a "catastrophe that keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage."(4) In this instance, catastrophe both undermined any hope of democracy in Europe and gave rise to the dark forces of a brutal authoritarianism and the industrialization of death. In the midst of such a crisis, Benjamin's angel is frozen in time, paralyzed by a storm called "progress" that pulls him into the future without being able to "awaken the dead" or mend the catastrophe at his feet.

For Benjamin, the storm of progress was a mode of modernity gone askew and a deceit that made a claim on happiness rather than the horrors of destruction, constituting a set of conditions that unleashed a barrage of unimaginable carnage and suffering in the 1930s and 1940s. The utopian belief in technologically assisted social improvement had given way to a dystopian project of mad violence that would inevitably produce the context for Benjamin to take his own life in 1940. According to Benjamin, the horrors of the past made it difficult to believe in progress as a claim on and history as a narrative of the advancement of human civilization. In fact, as Zygmunt Bauman has pointed out, the overdetermined force of history was not just at stake in Benjamin's narrative, but also the notion that "we are pulled forward by future happiness - [when] in fact, [as Benjamin noted], we are pushed from behind by the horror of destruction we keep perpetrating on the way."(5) Within this narrative, Benjamin's angel of history would be at home today And, yet, even in the darkest times, there were people brave enough to struggle for a more progressive understanding of history and a more promising democratic future, waging that the catastrophes of the past and the false claims of a history propelled by predetermined laws and order building imperatives could be prevented through a kind of memory work and politics in which such atrocities were acknowledged and condemned as part of a larger project of freedom, collective struggle and social justice.

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