Against the New Authoritarianism: Politics after Abu-Ghraib

Fed up with attacks on academic independence, the corporatization of universities and an increasingly hostile intellectual climate, cultural theorist and noted academic Henry Giroux left a plum post at Penn State for Hamilton’s McMaster University. Fortunately for us, it’s hard to keep a good cultural theorist down.

Giroux’s 41st book demonstrates America’s new authoritarianism in its reliance on religion, the vice-like grip of neo-liberal ideology on the government and economy, its stifled news media and increasing militarization and destruction of the public sphere. Giroux paints a dark picture of a democracy under siege from within.

Giroux also revisits German theorist Theodor Adorno’s position on education, arguing that a system of education that forces us to be more critical of power and acknowledge the inherent humanity of all peoples is crucial in turning the tide against authoritarianism. According to Giroux, Adorno’s stance, conceived post-holocaust, is relevant in our era of abuses, such as those at Abu Ghraib. It’s also an idea that I feel deserved more attention in this volume. Let’s hope that he explores it further in the coming years. (Ron Nurwisah)

by Henry A. Giroux, $18.95, 196 pgs, Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 201E-121 Osborne St., Winnipeg, MB, R3L 1Y4, arbeiterring.com

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