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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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15. Youth Beyond the Politics of Hope


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Chapter 15

Youth Beyond the Politics of Hope

The counter-revolution that has gripped the United States since the late 1980s has been somewhat modified with the election of Barack Obama to the presidency. Unfortunately the dark times that befell us under the second Bush administration have far from disappeared, especially for young people. The assault that the second Bush administration waged on practically every remnant of the public good—from the Constitution to the environment to public education—appears to have somewhat lessened its grip as the Obama regime moves into its second year in power. Yet the range, degree, and severity of the problems the Obama team has inherited from the Bush administration seem almost too daunting to address successfully: a war raging in two countries, a legacy of torture and secret prisons, a dismantling of the regulatory apparatus, a poisonous inequality that allocates resources to the rich and misery to the poor, an imperial presidency that shredded the balance of power, a looming ecological apocalypse, a ruined reputation abroad, and a financial crisis that is almost unprecedented in American history—policies and conditions that have brought great suffering to millions of Americans and many millions more throughout the world. But the crisis that is most often forgotten or repressed in the daily headlines of gloom is the war that is being waged at home, primarily against young people, who have historically been linked to the promise of a ← 149 | 150 → better...

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