there's more than one pandemic ravaging
OUR EMBATTLED SOCIETY
HENRY A. GIROUX
A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair
Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural
Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship
at Ryerson University. He is the author of more than 50 books
including The Educational Deficit and the War on Youth
Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism.
Many of his essays, including The Spectacle of Illiteracy, appear
on his website at www.henryagiroux.com.
His interview with Bill
Moyers is must viewing. He was recently named one of
the century's 50 most significant contributors to the debate
is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly
that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.
COMMENTSWe now live in a world that resembles a dystopian
novel. We cannot get close to each other, every door handle
poses a threat, civil liberties are evaporating, streets are
empty, businesses are shuttered, death tolls are climbing, borders
are back with a vengeance while fear and precarity have become
the new norm. We are told endlessly by politicians, health experts
and various pundits that we are in the midst of a medical crisis.
They are only partly right.
coronavirus pandemic is more than a medical crisis, it is also
a political crisis deeply rooted in years of neglect by austerity-market
driven governments that denied the importance of public health,
and the public good, while defunding the civic institutions
and materials that allowed them to work. At the same time, this
crisis cannot be separated from the crisis of massive inequality
in wealth, income and power. Nor can it be separated from a
crisis of civic culture, education, climate change and a crisis
of civic courage.
addition, it cannot be separated from the spectacle of fear
mongering, racism and bigotry that has dominated the national
zeitgeist of so many countries to promote shared fears rather
than shared responsibilities. In a society in which individual
responsibility is viewed as the only way to address social problems,
there is no need to address broader systemic issues and hold
power accountable. Nor is their need to protect human lives,
provide meaningful work and insure quality health care for all.
Under such circumstances, the social sphere and the concept
of the public interest becomes an object of either financial
exploitation or utter disdain, or both.
plague lurks beneath the pandemic. This is the invisible plague
of casino capitalism with its privatization, commercialization
and commodification of everything. This is a plague marked by
fragile financial institutions, creation of a massive army of
impoverished workers and the prioritization of profits over
human life. All of which point to a disdain for any notion of
the social contract that expands the meaning and possibilities
of the common good, including the crucial sphere of public health.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Trump’s America.
coronavirus pandemic has pulled back the curtain to reveal a
brutal form of capitalism — and its global financial markets
— in all of their cruelty. This is a system that has not
only eroded the democratic ideals of equality and popular sovereignty,
but has also created a political and economic context in which
the pandemic puts a severe strain on medical workers and hospitals
that lack ventilators and other essential equipment to treat
patients and limit the number of deaths caused by the virus.
Doctors, nurses and front-line workers now plead for the most
basic materials to protect themselves. Nurses make masks out
of garbage bags, and in the U.S. governors plead and bid against
each other for ventilators. At work here is a failure of public
planning and implementation brought about by the dismantling
of the protective state.
live at a time of plagues that have added fuel to the current
coronavirus epidemic. For years, the plague of casino capitalism
with its mantra of fiscal austerity has waged a full-scale attack
on the welfare state and in doing so underfunded and weakened
those institutions such as education and public health. As the
pandemic crisis recedes, we will have to choose between a society
that addresses human needs and provides basic services or one
in which a survival-of-the fittest-ethos and war-of-all against-all
becomes the only organizing principle of society. There is no
doubt that this crisis will test the limits of democracy worldwide.
At the same time, the magnitude of the crisis offers windows
of opportunity in which people can begin to rethink what kind
of society, world, and future they want to inhabit.
and the Corona Death Waltz
Normalization of Fascism
Public Intellectual II
Russell: Public Intellectual
Dangerously in Dark Times
US Favourite Pastime
in Trump's America
Dark Times Teachers Matter
Age of Civic Illiteracy
and Disruption in the Academy
Society Produces a Donald Trump
School to the Prison Pipeline
Sniper and Hollywood Heroism
Age of Disposability
the Shadow of the Atomic Bomb
Machines and the Madness of the Military
Age of Neoliberal Cruelty
Politics of the Deep State
Descent into Madness