Henry A. Giroux

'You cannot expect anything but fascism': Pedagogy theorist on how Trump 'legitimated a culture of lying, cruelty and a collapse of social responsibility'

The impeachment of Donald Trump appears to be a crisis without a history, at least a history that illuminates, not just comparisons with other presidential impeachments, but a history that provides historical lessons regarding its relationship to a previous age of tyranny that ushered in horrors associated with a fascist politics in the 1930s.  In the age of Trump, history is now used to divert and elude the most serious questions to be raised about the impeachment crisis. The legacy of earlier presidential impeachments, which include Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, provide a comparative historical context for analysis and criticism. And while Trump's impeachment is often defined as a more serious constitutional crisis given his attempt to use the power of the presidency to advance his personal political agenda, it is a crisis that willfully ignores the conditions that gave rise to Trump's presidency along with its recurring pattern of authoritarian behavior, policies, and practices.  One result is that the impeachment process with its abundance of political theater and insipid media coverage treats Trump's crimes as the endpoint of an abuse of power and an illegal act, rather than as a political action that is symptomatic of a long legacy of conditions that have led to the United States' slide into the abyss of authoritarianism.

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We can fight the dictatorship of ignorance — and we can win

What role might education and critical pedagogy have in a society in which the social has been individualized, emotional life collapses into the therapeutic, and education is reduced to either a private affair or a kind of algorithmic mode of regulation in which everything is reduced to a desired outcome? What role can education play to challenge the deadly neoliberal claim that all problems are individual, regardless of whether the roots of such problems lie in larger systemic forces? In a culture drowning in a new love affair with instrumental rationality, it is not surprising that values that are not measurable — compassion, trust, solidarity, care for the other and a passion for justice — wither.

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Our culture of ignorance has made possible the rise of a terrible new political blend: Neoliberal fascism

The ghosts of a fascist past are with us once again resurrecting the discourses of hatred, exclusion and ultra-nationalism in countries such as the United States, Hungary, Brazil, Poland, Turkey and the Philippines. In addition, right-wing extremist parties are on the move politically in Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. The designers of a new breed of fascism increasingly dominate major political formations and other commanding political and economic institutions across the globe. They have infused a fascist ideology with new energy through a right-wing populism that constructs the nation through a series of racist and nativist exclusions, all the while feeding off the chaos produced by neoliberalism.

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How higher education has been weaponized in the age of Trump — and how it can be redeemed

Donald Trump’s ascendancy in American politics has made visible a plague of deep seated civic illiteracy, a corrupt political system, and a contempt for reason that has been decades in the making. It also points to the withering of civic attachments, the undoing of civic culture, the decline of public life, and the erosion of any sense of shared citizenship.

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Donald Trump, Brett Kavanaugh and the Path to Neoliberal Fascism

The threads of a general political and ideological crisis run deep in American history, and with each tweet and policy decision Donald Trump pushes the United States closer to a full-fledged fascist state. His words sting, but his policies can kill people. Trump’s endless racist taunts, dehumanizing expressions of misogyny, relentless attacks on all provisions of the social state and ongoing contempt for the rule of law serve to normalize a creeping fascist politics. Moreover, his criminogenic disdain for any viable sense of civic and moral responsibility gives new meaning to an ethos of selfishness and a culture of cruelty, if not terror, that has run amok. Yet it is becoming more difficult for the mainstream media and pundits to talk about fascism as a looming threat in the United States in spite of the fact that, as Michelle Goldberg observes, for some groups, such as "undocumented immigrants, it's already here.”

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The New, Old Authoritarianism of Donald Trump

The following is an excerpt from the new book America at War with Itself by Henry A. Giroux (City Lights, 2016): 

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Are We Becoming a Theocracy? 4 Fundamentalist Ideologies That Threaten America

Americans seem confident in the mythical notion that the United States is a free nation dedicated to reproducing the principles of equality, justice and democracy. What has been ignored in this delusional view is the growing rise of an expanded national security state since 2001 and an attack on individual rights that suggests that the United States has more in common with authoritarian regimes like China and Iran "than anyone may like to admit." I want to address this seemingly untenable notion that the United States has become a breeding ground for authoritarianism by focusing on four fundamentalisms: market fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism, educational fundamentalism and military fundamentalism. This is far from a exhaustive list, but it does raise serious questions about how the claim to democracy in the United States has been severely damaged, if not made impossible.

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As Depressing as It Is to Watch America's Killing Machine Gear Up for Another War, We Can't Give Up Hope -- Or Else It Really Is All Over

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 torture, is about to bomb Syria and kill untold number of civilians, spies on its own citizens, extends the reach of the punishing state into all aspects of society, and inflicts violence on black and brown youths through racial profiling and the machinery of the mass incarceration state? How does one retrieve hope from the dark and dismal killing, cruelty, human rights violations and abuse that has been produced as a result of the needless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the role played by a conformist media that supported such practices? Is hope on terminal life support when the police are allowed to handcuff a kindergarten student for doodling on her desk or arrest a student for a dress code violation? What does hope mean in a country in which there is no tolerance for young protesters and infinite tolerance for the crimes of bankers, hedge fund managers and corporate polluters? How can hope make a difference in a country in which economics drives politics and harsh competition replaces any notion of compassion and respect for the public good?

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