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Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism

Second Edition


Henry A. Giroux

In the second edition of Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, Henry A. Giroux uses the metaphor of the zombie to highlight how America has embraced a machinery of social and civil death that chills any vestige of a robust democracy. He charts the various ways in which the political, corporate, and intellectual zombies that rule America embrace death-dealing institutions such as a bloated military, the punishing state, a form of predatory capitalism, and an authoritarian, death-driven set of policies that sanction torture, targeted assassinations, and a permanent war psychology. The author argues that government and corporate paranoia runs deep in America. While maintaining a massive security state, the ruling forces promote the internalization of their ideology, modes of governance, and policies by either seducing citizens with the decadent pleasures of a celebrity-loving consumer culture or by beating them into submission. Giroux calls for a systemic alternative to zombie capitalism through a political and pedagogical imperative to address and inform a new cultural vision, mode of individual subjectivity, and understanding of critical agency. As part of a larger effort to build a broad-based social movement, he argues for a new political language capable of placing education at the center of politics. Connecting the language of critique to the discourse of educated hope he calls for the reclaiming of public spaces and institutions where formative cultures can flourish that nourish the radical imagination, and the ongoing search for justice, equality, and the promise of a democracy to come.
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8. Zombie Politics and the Challenge of Right-Wing Teaching Machines: Rethinking the Importance of the Powell Memo


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Chapter 8

Zombie Politics and the Challenge of Right-Wing Teaching Machines


Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, echoing the feelings of many progressives, in 2009 wrote in The New York Times about how dismayed he was over the success that right-wing ideologues had in undercutting Obama’s health care bill—watering it down to a shadow of what it could have been before it finally became law. He further indicated how unsettled he was by the ability of conservatives to mobilize enormous public support against almost any reform aimed at rolling back the economic, political, and social conditions that have created the economic recession and the legacy of enormous suffering and hardship for millions of Americans over the last thirty years.1 Krugman is somewhat astonished that after almost three decades the political scene is still under the sway of what he calls the “zombie doctrine of Reaganism”—the notion that any action by government is bad, except when it benefits the military, corporations, and the rich. Clearly, for Krugman, zombie Reaganism appears once again to be shaping policies under the Obama regime.

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