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Henry A. Giroux Discusses Political Frauds and the Ghost of Totalitarianism

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 By Ian Masters, Background Briefing | Audio Interview
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Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Rochester, N.H., Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist / The New York Times)Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire, September 17, 2015. (Photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist / The New York Times)

Help Truthout keep publishing stories like this: They can't be found in corporate media! Make a tax-deductible donation today.

Also see Henry A. Giroux | Political Frauds and the Ghost of Totalitarianism.

In this interview, Henry Giroux argues that Trump's popularity is both an expression of right wing populism and extremism with its long history of nativism, racism, xenophobia, right-wing organizations and religious fundamentalism. What is new however is that these anti-democratic forces have taken on a new distinctive form in combining with the protean elements of a 21st century version of totalitarianism, which herald a possible model for America's future. The deep seated and historically sedimented forces of right-wing populism have combined with neoliberal ideology and its forms of structural violence to produce mass poverty, homelessness, the war on terror, a politics of disposability, a culture of fear, the concentration of power in the hands of the financial elite, the punishing state, and crucial role of corporate media in producing a depoliticized and civically illiterate public. Structures of terror and oppression have merged with cultural apparatuses that produces new and depoliticized forms of subjectivity, modes of identification wedded to consumerism, and a thoughtlessness associated with celebrity culture. The public spheres that produce people capable of thinking critically have been undermined and are disappearing - from schools to an informed and critical media.

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

Giroux explores a number of emerging fundamentalisms - economic, military, political, religious, educational and authoritarian - and how they have produced a new historical conjuncture in which a savage form of neoliberalism governs all of social life; a militarism shapes both foreign and domestic policies; educational fundamentalism works to destroy public and higher education as critical public spheres; religious bigots wage an assault on reason and critical thought; and how the a new mode of authoritarianism merges the surveillance state with the mass incarceration state. The interview concludes with Giroux arguing for an increased emphasis on making education central to politics, a social movement capable of producing a comprehensive vision of politics, and the creation of a third party that constitutes a radically democratic new political formation.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Ian Masters

Ian Masters is an Australian-born and BBC-trained journalist and filmmaker. He has made a career of asking provocative questions of the most informed thinkers in order to bring light to the day's most important news stories. Since 1980 his Sunday program, Background Briefing, has aired on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles. In 2009, the program expanded to five days each week.

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Henry A. Giroux Discusses Political Frauds and the Ghost of Totalitarianism

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 By Ian Masters, Background Briefing | Audio Interview
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Rochester, N.H., Sept. 17, 2015. (Photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist / The New York Times)Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Rochester, New Hampshire, September 17, 2015. (Photo: Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist / The New York Times)

Help Truthout keep publishing stories like this: They can't be found in corporate media! Make a tax-deductible donation today.

Also see Henry A. Giroux | Political Frauds and the Ghost of Totalitarianism.

In this interview, Henry Giroux argues that Trump's popularity is both an expression of right wing populism and extremism with its long history of nativism, racism, xenophobia, right-wing organizations and religious fundamentalism. What is new however is that these anti-democratic forces have taken on a new distinctive form in combining with the protean elements of a 21st century version of totalitarianism, which herald a possible model for America's future. The deep seated and historically sedimented forces of right-wing populism have combined with neoliberal ideology and its forms of structural violence to produce mass poverty, homelessness, the war on terror, a politics of disposability, a culture of fear, the concentration of power in the hands of the financial elite, the punishing state, and crucial role of corporate media in producing a depoliticized and civically illiterate public. Structures of terror and oppression have merged with cultural apparatuses that produces new and depoliticized forms of subjectivity, modes of identification wedded to consumerism, and a thoughtlessness associated with celebrity culture. The public spheres that produce people capable of thinking critically have been undermined and are disappearing - from schools to an informed and critical media.

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in the Public Intellectual Project, click here.

Giroux explores a number of emerging fundamentalisms - economic, military, political, religious, educational and authoritarian - and how they have produced a new historical conjuncture in which a savage form of neoliberalism governs all of social life; a militarism shapes both foreign and domestic policies; educational fundamentalism works to destroy public and higher education as critical public spheres; religious bigots wage an assault on reason and critical thought; and how the a new mode of authoritarianism merges the surveillance state with the mass incarceration state. The interview concludes with Giroux arguing for an increased emphasis on making education central to politics, a social movement capable of producing a comprehensive vision of politics, and the creation of a third party that constitutes a radically democratic new political formation.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Ian Masters

Ian Masters is an Australian-born and BBC-trained journalist and filmmaker. He has made a career of asking provocative questions of the most informed thinkers in order to bring light to the day's most important news stories. Since 1980 his Sunday program, Background Briefing, has aired on KPFK-FM in Los Angeles. In 2009, the program expanded to five days each week.