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Why Don’t Americans Care About Democracy at Home?

Posted on Oct 3, 2012
david_shankbone (CC BY 2.0)

By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout

(Page 5)


1. Manfred B. Steger and Ravi K. Roy, Neoliberalism: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford University Press, 2010). Juliet B. Schor, Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth(New York: Penguin Press, 2010); Henry A. Giroux, Against the Terror of Neoliberalism (Boulder: Paradigm, 2008); David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (New York: Oxford Press, 2005); John and Jean Comaroff, eds. Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001). On the moral limits and failings of neoliberalism, see Michael J. Sandel,  What Money Can’t Buy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012) and for positing a case for neoliberalism as a criminal enterprise, see Jeff Madrick, Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present (New York: Vintage, 2011); Charles Ferguson, Predator Nation (New York: Crown Business, 2012); Henry A. Giroux, Zombie Politics in the Age of Casino Capitalism (New York: Peter Lang, 2010).

2. João Biehl, Vita: Life in a Zone of Social Abandonment (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2005). These zones are also brilliantly analyzed in Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (New York: Knopf, 2012).

3. Zygmunt Bauman,“Does ‘Democracy’ Still Mean Anything? (And in Case It Does, What Is It?)” Truthout (January 21, 2011). Online:

4.  George Lakoff and Glenn W. G Smith, “Romney, Ryan and the Devil’s Budget,” The Berkeley Blog (August 23, 2012). Online:

5.  Robert Reich,“Mitt Romney and the New Gilded Age” Truthout (July 2, 2012). Online:


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6.  David Theo Goldberg, “The Taxing Terms of the GOP Plan Invite Class Carnage,” (September 20, 2012). Online:

7.  Paul Krugman,“Galt, gold and God,” The New York Times, (August 23, 2012), p. A25.

8. Ibid.

9.  Marian Wright Edelman,“Ryanomics Assault on Poor and Hungry Children,” Huffington Post (September 14, 2012). Online:

10. Reich,“Mitt Romney and the New Gilded Age,”; Charles Ferguson, Predatory Nation: Corporate Criminals, Political Corruption, and the Hijacking of America (New York: Crown Business, 2012); Daisy Grewal,“How Wealth Reduces Compassion: As Riches Grow, Empathy for Others Seems to Decline,” Scientific American (April 10, 2012). Online:

11.  Bauman,“Does ‘Democracy’ Still Mean Anything?”

12.  Lewis H. Lapham,“Feast of Fools: How American Democracy Became the Property of a Commercial Oligarchy,” Truthout (September 20, 2012). Online:

13.  Ibid.

14.  Zygmunt Bauman, This is Not a Diary (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012), p. 102.

15. Lapham,“Feast of Fools,”

16. Eric Lichtblau,“Economic Downturn Took a Detour at Capitol Hill,” The New York Times (December 26, 2011). Online:

17. Peter Grier, “So Much Money, So Few Lobbyists in D.C.: How Does the Math Work?” DC Decoder (February 24, 2012). Online:

18.  Bill Moyers and Bernard Weisberger,“Money in Politics: Where is the Outrage?” Huffington Post (August 30, 2012). Online:

19.  It is difficult to access this study because Citigroup does its best to make it disappear from the Internet. See the discussion of it by Noam Chomsky in"Plutonomy and the Precariat: On the History of the U.S. Economy in Decline,” Truthdig (May 8, 2012). Online:

20.  Salvatore Babones,“To End the Jobs Recession, Invest an Extra $20 Billion in Public Education,” Truthout (August 21, 2012). Online:$20-billion-in-public-education

21.  John Atcheson,“The Real Welfare Problem: Government Giveaways to the Corporate 1%,” Common Dreams (September 3, 2012). Online:

22.  John Cavanagh,“Seven Ways to End the Deficit (Without Throwing Grandma Under the Bus),” Yes! Magazine (September 7, 2012). Online:

23.  Ibid.

24.  Joseph Stiglitz,“Politics Is at the Root of the Problem,” European Magazine (April 23, 2012). Online:

25.  Lynn Parramore,“Exclusive Interview: Joseph Stiglitz Sees Terrifying Future for America If We Don’t Reverse Inequality,” AlterNet (June 24, 2012). Online:

26.  Editorial,“America’s Detainee Problem,” Los Angeles Times (September 23, 2012). Online:

27.  Glenn Greenwald,“Unlike Afghan Leaders, Obama Fights for Power of Indefinite Military Detention,” The Guardian (September 18, 2012). Online: See also, Glenn Greenwald,“Federal Court Enjoins NDAA,” Salon (May 16, 2012). Online: . See also, Henry A. Giroux, Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror (Boulder: Paradigm 2010).

28.  Charlie Savage, “Judge Rules against Law on Indefinite Detention,” New York Times (September 12, 2012). Online:

29. Karen J. Greenberg,“Ever More and Ever Less,” TomDispatch (March 18, 2012). Online:

30.  Catherine Poe,“Federal Judge Emails Racist Joke about President Obama,” Washington Times (March 1, 2012). Online:

31. Editorial,“Why Romney Is Slipping,” New York Times (September 25, 2012), p. A20.

32. Brennan Keller,“Medical Expenses: Top Cause of Bankruptcy in the United States,” Give Forward (October 13, 2011). Online:

33. George Lakoff and Glenn W. G Smith,“Romney, Ryan and the Devil’s Budget,” Berkeley Blog (August 23, 2012). Online:

34. David Corn, “Secret Video: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He Really Thinks of Obama Voters,” Mother Jones (September 17, 2012). Online:

35.? Naomi Wolf,“How the Mitt Romney Video Killed the American Dream,” The Guardian (September 21, 2012). Online:

36. Corn,“Secret Video,”

37. Paul Krugman,“Defining Prosperity Down,” New York Times (August 1, 2010), p. A17.

38. Zygmunt Bauman is the most important theorist writing about the politics of disposability.  Among his many books, see Wasted Lives (London: Polity Press, 2004).

39. Robert Reich,“The Rebirth of Social Darwinism,” Robert Reich’s Blog (November 30, 2011). Online:

40. C. Wright Mills, The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills (New York:OxfordUniversity Press, 2008), p. 200.

41. Hart Research Associates, American Academics: Survey of Part Time and Adjunct Higher Education Faculty (Washington, D.C.: AFT, 2011). Online: Street, Maria Maisto, Esther Merves, and Gary Rhoades, Who Is Professor “Staff” and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes? (Los Angeles: Center for the Future of Higher Education, 2012). Online:

42. Andrew Martin and Andrew W. Lehren,“A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College,” New York Times (May 12, 2012), p. A1.

43. Cited in Richard J. Bernstein, The Abuse of Evil: The Corruption of Politics and Religion since 9/11 (London: Polity Press, 2005), pp. 7-8.

44. Martha C. Nussbaum, Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs The Humanities (New Jersey:PrincetonUniversity Press, 2010), p. 142.

45. Les Leopold,“Crazy Country: 6 Reasons America Spends More on Prisons Than On Higher Education,” Alternet (August 27, 2012). Online On this issue, see also the classic work by Angela Y. Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (New York: Open Media, 2003); and Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (New York: New Press, 2012).

46. Erica Goode,“Many in U.S. Are Arrested by Age 23, Study Finds,” New York Times (December 19, 2011), p. A15.

47. Zygmunt Bauman, The Individualized Society (London: Polity, 2001), p. 4.

48. Leopold,“Crazy Country,”

49. See, for instance, Rebecca Solnit,“Rain on Our Parade: A Letter to the Dismal Left,” (September 27, 2012). Online:,_we_could_be_heroes/ TomDispatch refers to this article as a call for hope over despair. It should be labeled as a call for accommodation over the need for a radical democratic politics.  For an alternative to this politics of accommodation, see the work of Stanley Aronowitz, Chris Hedges, Henry Giroux, Noam Chomsky, and others.

50. Cornelius Castoriadis,“Democracy as Procedure and Democracy as Regime,” Constellations 4:1 (1997), p. 5.

51. Archon Fung,“The Constructive Responsibility of Intellectuals,” Boston Review (September 9, 2011). Online:

52. Heather Gautney,“Why Do Political Elites All Hate Democracy?” LA Progressive (September 19, 2012). Online:

53. Stuart Hall and Les Back,“In Conversation: At Home and Not at Home,” Cultural Studies Vol. 23, No. 4 (July 2009), p. 681.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

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