Henry A. Giroux | The Ghost of Fascism in the Age of Trump

In the age of Trump, history neither informs the present nor haunts it with repressed memories of the past. It simply disappears. Memory has been hijacked. This is especially troubling when the “mobilizing passions” of a fascist past now emerge in the unceasing stream of hate, bigotry, lies and militarism that are endlessly circulated and reproduced at the highest levels of government and in powerful conservative media, such as Fox News, Breitbart News, conservative talk radio stations and alt-right social media. Power, culture, politics, finance and everyday life now merge in ways that are unprecedented and pose a threat to democracies all over the world. This mix of old media and new digitally driven systems of production and consumption are not merely systems, but ecologies that produce, shape and sustain ideas, desires and modes of agency with unprecedented power and influence.

Gangster Capitalism and Nostalgic Authoritarianism

Gangster capitalism and nostalgic authoritarianism in Trump’s America


Just one year into the Donald Trump presidency, not only have the failures of American democracy become clear, but many of the darkest elements of its history have been catapulted to the center of power. A dystopian ideology, a kind of nostalgic yearning for older authoritarian relations of power, now shapes and legitimates a mode of governance that generates obscene levels of inequality, expands the ranks of corrupt legislators, places white supremacists and zealous ideologues in positions of power, threatens to jail its opponents, and sanctions an expanding network of state violence both at home and abroad. Trump has accelerated a culture of cruelty, a machinery of terminal exclusion and social abandonment that wages a war on undocumented immigrants, poor minorities of color and young people. He uses the power of the presidency to peddle misinformation,erode any sense of shared citizenship, ridicule critical media and celebrate right-wing “disimagination machines” such as Fox News and Breitbart News. Under his “brand of reality TV politics,” lying has become normalized, truthfulness is viewed as a liability, ignorance is propagated at the highest levels of government and the corporate controlled media, and fear-soaked cyclones of distraction and destruction immunize the American public to the cost of human suffering and misery. Under the Trump administration, culture has been weaponized and is used as a powerful tool of power, misinformation and indoctrination. James Baldwin, in a 1979 New York Times essay titled “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” wrote, “People evolve a language …

Shutting Down American-Style Authoritarianism

[Note from Tikkun: We are happy to share with you the latest thinking of Tikkun’s contributing editor Henry Giroux. We have a strategy to defeat Trumpism, and a training on how to be an effective progressive activist in the Trump years ahead (offered on line so people anywhere can be part of it). Please check it out at www.spiritualprogressives.org/training (the current training with over two hundred people is finishing this week, but you can sign up to be informed of when the next training begins and how to register for it). [Meanwhile, if you happen to be in the SF Bay Area, Rabbi Lerner is sitting “shiva” and mourning the loss of his sister Trish Vradenburg who was, among many other things, a co-publisher of Tikkun for some ten years with her husband George. The tradition is for people to visit the mourners at their home, and to bring a vegetarian dish so that the mourner doesn’t have to attend to normal errands and tasks and can just stay in the mourning (as opposed to the American culture of ‘cheerinesss’ in which the goal is to get the mourner out of their grief, the Jewish tradition is to support them to fully grieve).

Trump’s War on Dangerous Memory and Critical Thought

The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists. ― Hannah Arendt
People living in the United States have entered into one of the most dangerous periods of the 21st century. President Donald Trump is not only a twisted caricature of every variation of economic, political, educational, and social fundamentalism, he is the apogee of an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian culture committed to destroying free speech, civil rights, women’s reproductive freedoms, and all vestiges of economic justice and democracy. Trump is the fascist shadow that has been lurking in the dark since Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Authoritarianism has now become viral in America, pursuing new avenues to spread its toxic ideology of bigotry, cruelty, and greed into every facet of society.

Normalizing Trump’s Authoritarianism is Not an Option

American society is no longer at the tipping point of authoritarianism, we are in the midst of what Hannah Arendt called “dark times” and individual and collective resistance is the only hope we have to move beyond this ominous moment in our history.

Defending Educators in an Age of Neoliberal Tyranny

IN AN AGE OF intellectual and spiritual debasement, thinking is vilified as an act of subversion and ignorance translates into a political and cultural virtue. Traces of critical thought appear only at the margins of the culture as ignorance becomes the primary organizing principle of American society.

Reclaiming the Radical Imagination: Reform Beyond Electoral Politics

It is time for progressives and others to shift the critique of Obama away from an exclusive focus on the policies and practices of his administration and instead develop a new language for politics—one with a longer historical purview and a deeper understanding of the ominous forces that now threaten any credible notion of the United States as an aspiring democracy.

Zero Tolerance

There is a growing sense in American life that politics has become corrupt. Those traditional public spheres in which people could exchange ideas, debate, and shape the conditions that structured their everyday lives increasingly appear to have little relevance or political importance. Within the increasing corporatization of everyday life, market values replace social values and people appear more and more willing to re treat into the safe, privatized enclaves of the family, religion, and consumption. The result is not only silence and indifference, but the terrible price paid in what Zygmunt Bauman calls the “hard currency of human suffering.”