Giroux on collaborating intellectuals Recent blog posts

Giroux on collaborating intellectuals

interview with Giroux continues


Giroux's issues with some intellectuals

Giroux stresses that

The seriousness of the retreat of intellectuals from addressing important social issues, aiding social movements, and using their knowledge to create a critical formative culture cannot be overstated.


He notes that


Unfortunately, the flight of the intellectuals from the struggle against neoliberalism and other forms of domination is now matched by the rise of anti-public intellectuals who have sold themselves to corporate power.


and that


More specifically, neoliberalism has created not only a vast apparatus of pedagogical relations that privileges deregulation, privatization, commodification, and the militarization of everyday life, but also an legion of anti-public intellectuals who function largely in the interest of the financial elite.


He contends that


Rather than show what is wrong with democracy, they do everything they can to destroy it.


and that


These intellectuals are bought and sold by the financial elite and are nothing more than ideological puppets using their skills to destroy the social contract, critical thought, and all those social institutions capable of constructing non-commodified values and democratic public spheres. They view both informed critique and collective dissent as dangerous. 


He points out that 


As such, they are the enemies of democracy and are crucial in creating subjectivities and values that buy into the notion that capital rather than people are the subject of history and that consuming is the only obligation of citizenship. 


and that


Their goal is to normalize the ideologies, modes of governance, and policies that reproduce massive inequities and suffering for the many and exorbitant and dangerous privileges for the corporate and financial elite.  


and that


They are the apostles of an unmitigated apology for thoughtlessness and assume that any act of critical thinking is tantamount to a form of  stupidity.


He stresses that


Moreover, such intellectuals are symptomic of the fact that neoliberalism represents a new historical conjuncture in which cultural institutions and political power has taken on a whole new life in shaping politics.


He explains that 

What this implies is that the left in its various registers has to create its own public intellectuals in higher education, the alternative media, and all of those spaces where meaning circulates. 

and that


Intellectuals have a responsibility to connect their work to important social issues, work with popular movements, and engage in the shaping of policies that benefit all people and not simply a few.


He also argues that 


At the heart of this suggestion is the need to recognize that ideas matter in the battle against authoritarianism and that pedagogy must be central to any viable notion of politics and collective struggle.


and that 


Public intellectuals have an obligation to work for global peace, individual freedom, care of others, economic justice, and democratic participation, especially at a time of legitimized violence and tyranny.


Giroux says


I completely agree with the late Pierre Bourdieu when he insisted that there is enormous political importance “to defend the possibility and necessity of the intellectual, who is firstly critical of the existing state of affairs.


He contends that


There is no genuine democracy without genuine opposing critical power.” 


and that


The very notion of being an engaged public intellectual is neither foreign to nor a violation of what it means to be an academic scholar, but central to its very definition. 

Put simply, academics have a duty to enter into the public sphere unafraid to take positions and generate controversy, functioning as moral witnesses, raising political awareness, and making connections to those elements of power and politics often hidden from public view.


He recommends that



The left in its various registers has to engage the issue of economic inequality, overcome its fragmentation, develop an international social formation for radical democracy and the defense of the public good, undertake ways to finance itself, take seriously the educative nature of politics and the need to change the way people think, and develop a comprehensive notion of politics and a vision to match.


and that


one has to be motivated by a faith in the willingness of young people to fight principally for a future in which dignity, equality, and justice matter and at the same time recognize the forces that are preventing such a struggle.


He says that


More specifically, hope has to be fed by the need for thoughtful collective action.   Power is never completely on the side of domination and resistance is not a luxury but a necessity.


Posted by Alon Serper on 02 June 2014 13:13:54

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