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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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10. Reclaiming Public Values in the Age of Casino Capitalism


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Chapter 10

Reclaiming Public Values in the Age of Casino Capitalism

This is a difficult time in American history. Economic meltdowns, massive unemployment, corporate-induced ecological disasters in the Gulf of Mexico, and a growing disdain for liberal and progressive politics that has gained enormous currency since the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. The American people have every right to demand to live in peace, enjoy the comforts of economic security, have access to decent health care, be able to send their children to quality schools, and live with a measure of security. Yet at a time when public values are subordinated to the rationality of profits, exchange values, and unbridled self-interest, politics becomes corrupt, devoid of critical agents, and reduced to empty rituals largely orchestrated by those who control the wealth, income, media, and commanding institutions of American society. As we have just witnessed in the debate on health care reform, the interests of the vast majority of American people in a public option and the extension of Medicare have been totally lost on a Congress that has been corrupted by power and its comfortable and shameful relations with those who control the military-industrial-academic complex. The Republican Party minority in the Senate did everything they could to prevent the further lengthening of a six-month extension of emergency jobless benefits for the millions of long-term unemployed Americans, many of whom are barely able to survive ← 106 | 107 → and have given up all...

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