Henry Giroux warns of a neoliberal fascism we must resist

In youth work circles [or at least in youth work academia] Henry Giroux is best known for a vision of critical pedagogy, which advocates for the need to make pedagogy central to politics itself, seeking to create the conditions necessary for the development of a formative culture that provides the foundation for developing critical citizens and a meaningful and substantive democracy. 


Henry Giroux – ta to thisishell.com

In recent years he has aimed his critical arrows at the curse of neoliberalism, exposing its anti-democratic and authoritarian character through such books as ‘Neoliberalism’s War Against Higher Education’ and ‘Education and the Crisis of Public Values’. Throughout his work, he is sensitive to the condition of young people under neoliberalism, going so far as to talk of ‘a war on youth’ – see ‘Youth in a Suspect Society: Democracy or Disposability?’ and a previous post on this site, ‘The War on Youth: ‘Twas ever thus.


In his latest book, ‘American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism’  he ups the stakes. The spectre now haunting society is an emerging neoliberal fascism. His argument is expressed in a new article, Neoliberal Fascism and the Echoes of History.

Perhaps you think he exaggerates. I’m minded of a phrase we used in our founding Open Letter about the need to wake from the slumber of decided opinion. I can but recommend that you engage with Henry’s analysis.


Ta to antifascistnews.net

A couple of excerpts to entice you:

The nightmares that have shaped the past and await return slightly just below the surface of American society are poised to wreak havoc on us again. America has reached a distinctive crossroads in which the principles and practices of a fascist past and neoliberal present have merged to produce what Philip Roth once called “the terror of the unforeseen.”

The war against liberal democracy has become a global phenomenon. Authoritarian regimes have spread from Turkey, Poland, Hungary and India to the United States and a number of other countries. Right-wing populist movements are on the march, spewing forth a poisonous mix of ultra-nationalism, white supremacy, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. The language of national decline, humiliation and demonization fuels dangerous proposals and policies aimed at racial purification and social sorting while hyping a masculinization of agency and a militarism reminiscent of past dictatorships. Under current circumstances, the forces that have produced the histories of mass violence, torture, genocide and fascism have not been left behind. Consequently, it has been more difficult to argue that the legacy of fascism has nothing to teach us regarding how “the question of fascism and power clearly belongs to the present.”

We live at a time in which the social is individualized and at odds with a notion of solidarity once described by Frankfurt School theorist Herbert Marcuse as “the refusal to let one’s happiness coexist with the suffering of others.” Marcuse invokes a forgotten notion of the social in which one is willing not only to make sacrifices for others but also “to engage in joint struggle against the cause of suffering or against a common adversary.”

One step toward fighting and overcoming the criminogenic machinery of terminal exclusion and social death endemic to neoliberal fascism is to make education central to a politics that changes the way people think, desire, hope and act. How might language and history adopt modes of persuasion that anchor democratic life in a commitment to economic equality, social justice and a broad shared vision? The challenge we face under a fascism buoyed by a savage neoliberalism is to ask and act on what language, memory and education as the practice of freedom might mean in a democracy. What work can they perform, how can hope be nourished by collective action and the ongoing struggle to create a broad-based democratic socialist movement? What work has to be done to “imagine a politics in which empowerment can grow and public freedom thrive without violence?” What institutions have to be defended and fought for if the spirit of a radical democracy is to return to view and survive?




Still room at the IDYW conference plus can we measure and treasure character?

On Thursday I’m contributing to a Centre for Youth Impact event, ‘The Measure and the Treasure: Evaluation in personal and social development’ in London. It’s sold out. OK, I accept there is unlikely to be a connection. However I will post next week a report of the proceedings and a summary of my sceptical input into the morning panel debate.


The Measure and the Treasure: Evaluation in personal and social development

The Centre for Youth Impact is hosting a day-long event on the 16th March 2017 focused on issues of measurement and personal and social development.
The day will explore policy, practical and philosophical debates about whether, how and why we should seek to measure the development of social and emotional skills in young people – also referred to as non-cognitive skills, soft skills and character, amongst other terms. We want to structure a thought-provoking and engaging day that introduces participants to a range of ideas and activities. The day will be designed for practitioners working directly with young people, those in an evaluation role, and funders of youth provision.

Speakers and facilitators include: Emma Revie (Ambition), Daniel Acquah (Early Intervention Foundation), Graeme Duncan (Right to Suceed), Robin Bannerjee (University of Sussex), Paul Oginsky (Personal Development Point), Jenny North (Impetus-PEF), Tony Taylor (In Defence of Youth Work), Sarah Wallbank (Yes Futures), Jack Cattell (Get the Data), Mary Darking, Carl Walker and Bethan Prosser (Brighton University), Leonie Elliott-Graves and Chas Mollet (Wac Arts), Tom Ravenscroft (Enabling Enterprise), Phil Sital-Singh (UK Youth) and Luke McCarthy (Think Forward).


Then on Friday it’s our eighth national conference in Birmingham. To be honest the number of people registering is disappointing, well down on previous years. Although, obviously, the smaller audience, around 30 folk at the moment, will make for intense debate. This said, we’d love to see you there so it’s not too late to register or even turn up on the day.

Youth Work: Educating for good or Preventing the bad?

Details on this Facebook page or at this previous post.

Educating for good? Preventing the bad? Join the debate, March 17

It’s not long to the IDYW national conference on Friday, March 17 in Birmingham. I always get anxious, worrying that nobody will turn up so forgive me encouraging you to think seriously about being with us. It’s always stimulating. Hope to see you there.

Belatedly there’s now an event post on Facebook – see this link below


PS A few folk have commented that perhaps it’s a long way to come for half a day. In the past we’ve gone for an 11.00 kick off, but never started on time due to travel dilemmas. Hence we’re experimenting with this later starting time and no lunch break. Cheers.


Education, Youth Poverty and Social Class : Setting the Agenda


Education, Youth Poverty and Social Class

An Agenda Setting Meeting

Monday 2nd September 2013, 1.00 – 3.00pm, University of Sussex

I am writing to invite you to be part of an agenda setting meeting for a series of events about education, youth poverty and social class, organised by members of the British Educational Research Association (BERA).

We know the economic situation and well-being of many young people have suffered in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and that this goes beyond the short-term effects of a recession in the UK but is part of an international trend. At the same time, it is less clear how educators can respond to the needs of young people. Disadvantaged young people continue to lose out in formal education, the expense of Higher Education has risen, while youth services are undergoing traumatic cuts.

Researchers within BERA whose work is focussed on young people, informal education, and social justice have come together to create a process that will explore responses to this situation. It is our hope that this process can include practitioners working with young people. These are large, complicated issues, and this process is by no means a solution. What we are suggesting is that some positive contribution might be made through collaboration between educators and researchers, trying together to understand what is happening and what we might do.

We hope to hold an event in November as a beginning of that process. However, before then we wanted to discuss how we do this – what might the November event consist of? Are there ways we might foster working together beyond the November event? What should the process be like?

To have this discussion, there is a meeting on Monday 2nd September 2013, 1.00 – 3.00pm in the University of Sussex, to which you are invited. To register your attendance at this meeting, please email ruth.boyask@plymouth.ac.uk . We need to know numbers for catering purposes since lunch will be provided.

If you cannot make the meeting, but are interested in the November event, and perhaps would like to support our planning with ideas, feedback or suggestions at this stage, please do get in touch with me at this email address, or you can call me at 07818080663 and we can discuss it.

Thanks and best wishes,


As I understand it Ian McGimpsey is particularly keen to get practitioners involved in this BERA initiative. If you’re down south, go for it!

New e-book: Why young people can’t get the jobs they want and the education they need

New  free to view  e-book.

Why young people can’t get the jobs they want and the education they need


Martin Allen and Patrick Ainley

Go here to download the book

Already referred to as a ‘Lost Generation’, after almost two years of Coalition government, young people now have even less to look forward to and are likely to end up worse off than their parents. This publication builds on, develops and updates arguments from our book Lost Generation? New strategies for youth and education (2010) and, in particular, those in our previous  e-pamphlet Why young people can’t get the jobs they want (2011)