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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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13. Brutalizing Kids: Painful Lessons in the Pedagogy of School Violence


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Chapter 13

Brutalizing Kids


Zombie politics has as one of its distinctive features the violence it wages against young people. For instance, on May 20, 2009, Marshawn Pitts, a 15-year-old African American boy who is also a special needs student, was walking down the corridor of the Academy for Learning High School in Dolton, Illinois. A police officer in the school noticed that the boy’s shirt was not tucked in and started shouting and swearing at him. Pitts claims that he immediately started to tuck in his shirt, but it was too late. Within seconds, the police officer pushed him into the lockers, repeatedly punched him, and then slammed him to the ground and pushed his face to the floor. The officer then applied a face-down take-down hold to the child, a maneuver that has resulted in over twenty deaths nationwide and is banned in eight states. Pitts said he was terrified and was having a hard time breathing as a result of the forceful restraint. Because of this unprovoked attack by a police officer who is supposed to protect kids in school, the young man ended up with a broken nose and a bruised jaw.

In case the reader suspects I have confused the facts, the assault was caught on school security cameras and ended up on YouTube.1 Indeed, a 15-year-old boy with an early childhood brain injury and a...

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