Trump’s brand of populism and politics are a tragedy for democracy and a triumph for authoritarianism. Using manipulation, misrepresentation and a discourse of hate, he is pushing policies designed to destroy the welfare state and the institutions that make a democracy possible. Trump’s first few months in office offer a terrifying glimpse of an authoritarian project that combines the ruthlessness of neoliberalism with an attack on historical memory, critical agency, education, equality and truth itself. While the US may not be in the full bloom of the fascism of the 1930s, it is at the tipping point of a virulent, American-style authoritarianism. These are truly dangerous times as right-wing extremists continue to move from the margins to the center of political life.
I asked renowned public intellectual and social activist Henry Giroux—who has written extensively on cultural studies, youth studies, popular culture, media studies, social theory and the politics of higher and public education—to discuss the new developments that are taking place in the United States and the possible strategies and tactics to engage successfully in processes of resistance and egalitarian social transformation during the Trump era. In this interview, he analyzes the underlying forces of authoritarianism at work in the United States and Europe, and argues that resistance is not simply an option but a necessity.