The current protests among young people, workers, the unemployed, students, and others are making clear that this is not - indeed, cannot be - only a short-term project for reform, but must constitute a political and social movement of sustained growth, accompanied by the reclaiming of public spaces, the progressive use of digital technologies, the development of democratic public spheres, new modes of education and the safeguarding of places where democratic expression, new identities and collective hope can be nurtured and mobilized. Without broad political and social movements standing behind and uniting the call on the part of young people for democratic transformations, any attempt at radical change will more than likely be cosmetic.
Any viable challenge to the new authoritarianism and its theater of cruelty and violence must include developing a variety of cultural discourses and sites where new modes of agency can be imagined and enacted, particularly as they work to reconfigure a new collective subject, modes of sociality and “alternative conceptualizations of the self and its relationship to others.”(35) Clearly, if the United States is to make a claim on democracy, it must develop a politics that views violence as a moral monstrosity and war as virulent pathology. How such a claim to politics unfolds remains to be seen. In the meantime, resistance proceeds, especially among the young people who now carry the banner of struggle against the encroachment of an authoritarianism that is working hard to snuff out all vestiges of democratic life.
1. Melinda Cooper, “Life as Surplus: Biotechnology & Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era” (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008), p. 92.
2. Andrew Bacevich, “After Iraq, War is US,” ReadersNewsService (December 20, 2011). Online here.
3. Henry A. Giroux, “‘Instants of Truth’: The ‘Kill Team’ Photos and the Depravity of Aesthetics,” Afterimage: Journal of Media Arts and Cultural Criticism (Summer 2011), pp. 4-8.
4. Thom Shanker and Graham Bowley, “Images of G.I.s and Remains Fuel Fears of Ebbing Discipline,” New York Times (April 18, 2012). Online here.
5. Craig Whitlock and Carol Morello, “US Army Sergeant Faces 17 Murder Counts in Afghan Killings,” Toronto Star (March 22, 2012). Online here.
6. Mark Selden and Alvin Y. So, eds., “War and State Terrorism: The United States, Japan and the Asia-Pacific in the Long Twentieth Century” (Denver: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); Jeremy Brecher, Jill Cutler and Brendan Smith, eds., “In the Name of Democracy: American War Crimes in Iraq and Beyond” (New York: Macmillan, 2005); Jordan J. Paust, “Beyond the Law: The Bush Administration’s Unlawful Responses in the ‘War’ on Terror,” (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); and Andrew Bacevich, “Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War” (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010).
7. Joachim J. Savelsberg and Ryan D. King, “American Memories: Atrocities and the Law” (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2011); Carl Boggs, “The Crimes of Empire: The History and Politics of an Outlaw Nation” (London: Pluto Press, 2010).
8. See for example, Catherine A. Lutz, “Homefront: A Military City and the American Twentieth Century” (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002); Carl Boggs, ed., “Masters of War: Militarism and Blowback in the Era of the America Empire” (New York: Routledge, 2003); Chalmers Johnson, “The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic” (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2004); Andrew J. Bacevich, “The New American Militarism” (Oxford University Press, 2005); Nick Turse, “How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives” (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008); and Andrew J. Bacevich, “Washington Rules: America’s Path To Permanent War” (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2010).
9. Joe Klein and Condoleezza Rice, “US Education Reform and National Security” (Washington: Council on Foreign Relations, 2012), online here. For a brilliant critique of this right-wing warmongering screed, which is really a front for privatizing schools, see Jennifer Fisher, “‘The Walking Wounded’: Youth, Public Education and the Turn to Precarious Pedagogy,” Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies 33:5 (November-December 2011), pp. 379-432.
10. I want to thank Grace Pollock for this idea. See also: Henry A. Giroux, “The ‘Suicidal State’ and the War on Youth,” Truthout (April 10, 2012). Online here.
11. Chris Hedges, “Murder Is Not an Anomaly in War,” TruthDig.com (March 19, 2012). Online here.
12. Phil Stewart, “Death Penalty Possible in Afghan Massacre: Panetta,” Reuters (March 12, 2012). Online here.
13. Steward, “Death Penalty.”
14. Hedges, “Murder Is Not an Anomaly.”
15. Robert Johnson, “Pentagon Offers US Police Full Military Hardware,” ReaderSupportedNews (December 11, 2011). Online here.
16. Dana Priest and William Arkin, “Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State” (New York: Little Brown, 2011).
17. Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz, “Cops Ready for War,” ReaderSupportedNews (December 21, 2011). Online here.
18. David Theo Goldberg, “The Threat of Race: Reflections on Racial Neoliberalism” (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), p. 334.
19. Richard McAdam, “On Bounties and the Integrity of Professional Sports,” SportsCardForum (April 2012). Online here.
20. McAdam, “On Bounties.”
21. Gary Younge, “America’s Deadly Devotion to Guns,” The Guardian UK (April 16, 3012). Online here.
22. Younge, “America’s Deadly Devotion.”
23. Jean and John Comaroff, “Criminal Obsessions, after Foucault: Postcoloniality, Policing and the Metaphysics of Disorder,” Critical Inquiry 30 (Summer 2004), pp. 803, 804.
24. Comaroff, “Criminal Obsessions,” p. 804, 808.
25. Stanley Aronowitz, “The Winter of Our Discontent,” Situations IV, no.2 (Spring 2012), p. 57.
26. The complete findings of the study are available at www.costofwar.com.
27. David Rothkopf, “Power, Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government - and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead” (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2012), p. 258.
28. Paul Krugman, “American’s Unlevel Field,” New York Times (January 8, 2012), p. A19; Nicholas Lemann, “Evening the Odds: Is there a Politics of Inequality?” The New Yorker (April 23, 2012), online here. See also Charles M. Blow, “Inconvenient Income Inequality,” New York Times (December 16, 2011), p. A25, online here; David Moberg, “Anatomy of the 1%,” In These Times (December 15, 2011), online here; Hope Yen and Laura Wides-Munoz, “US Poorest Poor at Record Highs,” ReaderSupportedNews (November 4, 2011), online here.
29. Michelle Brown, “The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society and Spectacle” (New York: New York University Press, 2009), p. 194.
30. Brown, “The Culture of Punishment,” p. 196.
31. Aronowitz, “The Winter of Our Discontent,” p. 69.
32. C. Wright Mills, “The Cultural Apparatus, The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills” (Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 204.
33. Bernard Harcourt, “Occupy’s New Grammar of Political Disobedience,” The Guardian UK (November 30, 2011). Online here.
34. Stanley Aronowitz, “The Winter of Our Discontent,” p. 68.
35. Brown, “The Culture of Punishment,” p. 207.
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