TOTALITARIANISM AND AUTOCRACY
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This week, we will focus on excerpts from Hannah Arendt’s _The Origins of Totalitarianism_, alongside Henry Giroux’s recent analysis. Giroux is primarily a scholar of pedagogy and education, so his writing about the significance of education today, as shaped by Arendt's thought, should be particularly interesting to many of us.
Arendt’s book is very, very long and we will focus only on some parts from “Section 3: Totalitarianism.” However, if you want to present on something else from that book (for example, the relation between imperialism and totalitarianism) – please do so and let us know!
Additionally, I linked to a couple of short pieces on maneuvering and surviving under autocracy.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism – I suggest focusing on chapters 11 and 13, but if you have any other interests/suggestions please share!
Henry A. Giroux, _America at War with Itself_ (City Lights Publishers, 2016) – Part 1. http://www.citylights.com/resources/download.cfm?GCOI=87286100277470&thefile=America_At_War_With_Itself_ExcerptCL.pdf
Henry Giroux, “Donald Trump and the Ghosts of Totalitarianism” , Counterpunch, September 18, 2015 (about Arendt). http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/09/18/donald-trump-and-the-ghosts-of-totalitarianism/
Reuters, Covering Trump the Reuters Way, Jan 31, 2017 http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15F276
Masha Gessen, “Autocracy: Rules for Survival,” NYRB, November 10, 2016 (We have mentioned this article a couple of times before, it remains very good). http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/11/10/trump-election-autocracy-rules-for-survival/
GENERAL GROUP INFO
Donald Trump’s campaign, victory, and flurry of post-inauguration actions, have sent shockwaves throughout our communities, normalizing racism and misogyny and emptying out democratic principles. Battles that were won are suddenly contested, while ongoing struggles for justice face new and powerful forms of suppression. Beyond the implications of Trump’s populist victory, a Trump administration will work to severely curtail civil, migrant, and workers rights, reproductive and public health policies, environmental policy, and public education, while reinforcing militarized policing and mass incarceration, tightening the incestuous relation between government and capital, and eroding independent journalism.
But Trump is just a symptom, and the rot that led to his emergence goes deep. This reading group aims to study the histories leading to this moment – both histories of oppression and histories of resistance. It is also a space for us to reflect together on current affairs and new modes of resistance – intellectually, emotively, and in practice.
There is no obligation to read everything (or anything). It would be great if you could come having read the primary texts, and anything else of the readings that is of interest to you. If you are willing to volunteer to present or suggest a reading, please respond in the comments.