Henry A. Giroux on “War Culture” and the Undermining of Democracy

Henry A. Giroux returns with another in-depth analysis of our most pressing problems. America at War With Itself explores the violence at work in the US from Donald Trump’s campaign to the death of Sandra Bland, and argues that only through widespread social investment in democracy and education can the common good prevail. Order your copy today by making a donation to Truthout!

In this interview with Forthright Radio, Henry Giroux talks about the rise of authoritarianism by commenting on a range of interrelated policies and practices that increasingly function to undermine democratic institutions and work to produce what he calls a “war culture” in the United States. This is an interview that touches on the rise of Trump as a symptom of neofascism, the development of an environment in which the crimes of the elite and police take place with impunity, and a society in which violence has become normalized.

Giroux argues that America is engaged in practices in which extreme violence becomes the mediating force to address America’s social problems while at the same time producing a lawless culture in which unarmed Black people are killed by the police. He also discusses our society’s willingness to sacrifice children to lead poisoning in order to raise profit margins and the rise of a massive surveillance state that undermines dissent and creates a culture of fear. Giroux argues that American society is now conducting warfare against its own citizens, especially those considered disposable — Black people, immigrants, young people, Muslims, the working classes and others.

This is an interview unlike many others in its attempt to bring together the varied driving forces at work in tipping the United States into a dark and updated form of authoritarianism. Giroux also attempts to develop a discourse of resistance and hope by pointing to the need for mass support of broad-based social movements willing to challenge the political and corporate elites and to work not for reform but for the restructuring of society through a new system based on the principles of democratic socialism.