Broadcast 5/31/2015 at 2:23 PM EDT (95 Listens, 85 Downloads, 2631 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast
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Henry Giroux is a professor of education who holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest. He's the author of over 60 books, his latest,
The Violence of Organized Forgetting: Thinking Beyond America's Disimagination Machine
City Lights Press (2014). others include: Neoliberalism's War Against Higher Education, Disposable Youth, Racialized Memories, and the Culture of Cruelty
and Twilight of the Social: Resurgent Publics in the Age of Disposability
and Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism
and Dangerous Thinking
Interview Notes (mostly my questions)
Rob: How has your experience with Paulo Freire affected your work?
Rob: talk about agency-- an idea you bring up often.
Rob: I recently talked to Diane Ravitz about how Hedge fund managers are trying to buy up education
they are about the pedagogy of oppression
Rob: can you talk about agency-- a word you use a lot in your writing?
exercising not only over their own lives but also over the institutions that bear down on their lives.
Rob: what are some of the parameters of agency? How does it relate to authoritarianism
we can talk about agency in relationship to time and the material conditions of everyday life--
Educative element Whether or not we are being educated to make decisions.
Fascism is thoughtlessness (Arendt)
Question of the unconscious-- we have to come to grips with the way that people internalize things so they become second nature.
Rob: Culture of cruelty?
THe policies, ideologies-- invalidate the social contract-- they create a society that's like a shark tank, that mimics reality TV where there's only one person left on the island. The view any sort of dependency, any compassion for the other as something to be ridiculed-- the object as scorn and disdain.
An utter disdain for human life. That's why they hate all things public. Anything that is associated with the commons.
Rob: what do you mean by "they"
right wing extremists, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, but it's also in the democratic party-- who want to eliminate social security" this all based on a notion of individualism and self help.
Rob: this idea of individualism is at the root of the USA/
it depends on what individualism you are talking about" What you see is a notion of individualism that is cruel and excessive, characterized by an endless search
I put a qualifier-- I'm talking about rabid individualism.
Rob: Ayn Rand has been embraced by these rabid individualists
She's been replaced by something even more deadly. We've seen it in the film American Psychopaths.
Rob: Talk about psychopaths.
there's a lot of literature that shows that these financial elite are sociopaths.
Rob: What do we do?
We need to raise a fundamental question. What would it mean to live in a real democracy.
We need to reclaim a sense of politics. We've lost the ability to imagine that there's something outside of capitalism or the two party system, that we don't have to live with this massive inequality of wealth and power.
More than anything else we need to reclaim the radical imagination.
Rob: It doesn't seem like something we'll see in the near future in the educational system we have.
We see a new energy in #blacklivesmatter,
Rob: I recently interviewed the founder of TED, who said we need bottom-up education
We need to find ways to empower communities so they take education back from right wing groups" The right wing won that war. The left doesn't take policy seriously.
Rob: i've seen how liberals go out on a protest but don't engage the oppressed"
I don't believe that intellectuals we need are going to come from harvard and Yale. i think they are criminogenic environments.
Rob: How would you describe what's happening in Baltimore and Ferguson in educational terms?
At the heart of any education is the ability to imagine
I think the radical imagination is absolutely crucial.
Rob: talk about what progressives seeing darkness and no hope
we have a crisis of subjectivity that is unparalleled.
Rob: What is the violence of organized forgetting?
It's about the creation of a massive disimagination machine-- mainly cultural apparatuses.
They operate in such a way as to destroy public memory and a very right wing version of the world. Destruction of memory, implosion of speed, celebrity culture" the Kardashian sisters who represent civic illiteracy.
atomization of the american public
Rob: implosion of speed-- what are you talking about there?
everything is about the surface, we are bombarded by ads. We teach kids that multitasking is a virtue, where technologies mediate relationships where human beings don't have to be face to face. We're bombarded by bits not by narratives.
The disimagination machine is about the death of narratives, the death of stories.
In a society with historical memory in crisis we live in a present crisis
We see it particularly in the notion of flexibility-- something used by neoliberals"
Rob: talk more about the story and the destruction of story
narratives take time. Time has to slow down for a narrative. Kids don't want to talk on the phone-- in the sense that you have to listen"
And you have speed dating in which the most superficial characteristics is how we relate to someone.
What I'm really talking about the destruction of narratives and stories is the destructions of the places that make them possible.
Rob: Let's talk about neoliberalism
talk about it as political economic and ideological as a mode of governance and pedagogy and it has this irrational belief that the market is able to solve and govern all problems and social relationships.
It casts all dimensions of life in terms of market rationality.
Rob: why is the market as the answerer, as the solution, irrational when it, in a way, is bottom-up?
it is heartless, produces massive human suffering, and finds enemies in those institution.
It's both carcinogenic, criminogenic. The we understand this is that capitalism is not democracy. it is actually antithetical to democracy.
Rob: Keep going how is capitalism antithetical to democracy
because we have destroyed the social state we have now energized the punisher state
Capitalism may be one of the most evil systems we've every seen.
Rob: Is there any version of capitalism that can operate in a tolerable way.
In a democracy markets don't rule.
I call myself a radical democrat. I believe in socialist democracy.
Rob What is socialist democracy? Bernie Sanders just started talking about it
We talk about a system that does three things:
-a system that gives power to people
-You need to put into place that social programs that enable people to function in a democracy. People need to be educated.
-We need to be absolutely serious about the relationship between democracy and power, We need to democratize power.
Rob: What does that mean?
Rob: We have to develop a science of small.
We need a politics of disruption
Rob What would that look like?
Rob: What do you mean by Disimagination machine
There are apparatuses that engage in forms of symbolic terrorism. They miseducate people to things that are antithetical to their own interests.
It trades in civic illiteracy, in civic cowardice. We see this massive machinery exercising a degree of
Rob: You talk about the politics of disconnection:
Population that can barely translate larger problems into systemic issues.
One of the most powerful pedagogies that neoliberalism produces
Freddie Gray murder is not just about police violence this is about systemic violence t hat is allowed without impunity.
Rob How do you respond to the excuses and explanations you see on Fox news. What is your response to those who say that they are thugs and lawbreakers?
they're not putting out news,
Rob: what do you say to someone sees what's happening in Baltimore as thugs and crime?
Rob: in your book you talk about a New kind of authoritarianism
in the US we have a political, cultural s ystem that is no longer accountable for democracy
we no longer have a political state we have a corporate state. We have a new historical conjunction that resembles totalitarianism.
Rob: why does it resemble totalitarianism
Rob; You use the word precariate
people who are barely surviving"
defending Cornel West from Eric Dyson
Dyson's attack should not be seen simply as a personal attack as much as it is a product of the fear liberal intellectuals have about the role of left-oriented public intellectuals and the crucial role that pedagogy and changing consciousness plays in creating the formative cultures that make individual and collective resistance possible.
bankrupt liberalism that wallows in the irrelevant, personal, and soothes itself with what it thinks is a trenchant analysis, one that in reality reads like an apology for a politics burdened by its bad-faith defense of the status quo.
History is open but it is only open to change if there are struggles, if a collective consciousness emerges that understands the nature of a new historical moment and the forces at work necessary to change it.
Swindle of Fulfillment
assumptions that benefit the one percent.
The definition of liberals-- they leave the room when a fight breaks out.
Liberals are enormously afraid of the right but more afraid of the left.
Capitalism is not democracy. We now inhabit an authoritarian state.
Liberals never talk about what's at the root of the system-- inequality, sharing wealth, the system is broken-- they don't talk about community, about democracy, about a foreign policy that's horrendous, about racism, about the war at home.
We no longer live in a democracy. We live in a soft-core form of authoritarianism.
Why doesn't the left take educations seriously. Why doesn't it consider the essential educative nature of politics.
Flashpoints and movements?
Obama worse than Bush
Outside of liberalism we just don't have a language.
POlitics is local, power is global.
Hopeful-- student movements, Ferguson, podemos, Greece's Syriza, Occupy
Fox News-- the new Pravda of America-- ?
How do we talk about agency?
Since the 1920's we've lived in the age of the anti-enlightenment
Ferguson: Criminalization as revenue source
The Punishing state is becoming more intensified. The heart of the system is a systemic form of violence against most people.
Talks at the american educational research association.
Gives me hope-- for the first time in 20 years I see people connecting the dots.
The politics of disposability, of disappearance.
Authoritarianism is making a comeback
All the institutions that matter in a democracy are being eviscerated.
The war on young people today is about eliminated the radical imagination. The war on young people is a generational issue, not just a class issue. They realize they've been written out of democracy.
trends in education-- neoliberal model.
Evisceration. you use that word a lot.
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