The Militarization of Racism and Neoliberal Violenc

(Small excerpt from Op-Ed by Henry A. Giroux on the Ferguson racist killing and repression of protesters by police, Truthout, 18 August 2014)

Under the regime of neoliberalism, the circle of those considered disposable and subject to state violence is now expanding. The heavy hand of the state is not only racist; it is also part of an authoritarian mode of governance willing to do violence to anyone who threatens neoliberal capitalism, white Christian fundamentalism, and the power of the military-industrial-academic-surveillance state. The United States’ embrace of murderous weapons to be used on enemies abroad has taken a new turn and now will be used on those considered disposable at home. As the police become more militarized, the weapons of death become more sophisticated and the legacy of killing civilians becomes both an element of domestic as well as foreign policy. Amid the growing intensity of state terrorism, violence becomes the DNA of a society that refuses to deal with larger structural issues such as massive inequality in wealth and power, a government that now unapologetically serves the rich and powerful corporate interests, and makes violence the organizing principle of governance.

The worldwide response to what is happening in Ferguson sheds a light on the racist and militarized nature of American society so as to make its claim to democracy seem both hypocritical and politically insipid. At the same time, such protests make visible what the artist Francisco Goya called the sleep of reason, a lapse in witnessing, attentiveness, and the failure of conscience, which lie at the heart of neoliberal’s ongoing attempt to depoliticize the American public. Political life has come alive once again in the United States, moving away from its withdrawal into consumer fantasies and privatized obsessions. The time has come to recognize that Ferguson is not only about the violence and consolidation of white power and racism in one town; it is also symptomatic of white power and the deep-seated legacy of racism in the country as a whole, which goes along with what the United States has become under the intensifying politics of market fundamentalism, militarism and disposability.

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