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Michael Parenti

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Parenti
Michael Parenti.jpg
Parenti in 2004
Michael John Parenti

(1933-09-30) September 30, 1933 (age 87)[1]
Years active1967–present
Notable work
  • Democracy for the Few
  • To Kill a Nation
  • Superpatriotism
  • Blackshirts and Reds
Political partyLiberty Union Party[a]
ChildrenChristian Parenti

Michael John Parenti (born September 30, 1933) is an American political scientist and cultural critic who writes on scholarly and popular subjects. He has taught at American and international universities and has been a guest lecturer before campus and community audiences.[2][3]

Education and personal life

Michael Parenti was raised by an Italian-American working class family in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City.[4] After graduating from high school, Parenti worked for several years. Upon returning to school, he received a B.A. from the City College of New York, an M.A. from Brown University, and his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. Parenti is the father of Christian Parenti, an author and contributor to The Nation.


For many years Parenti taught political and social science at various institutions of higher learning. Eventually he devoted himself full-time to writing, public speaking, and political activism.[5] He is the author of 23 books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least 18 languages.[6] Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad.

Parenti's writings cover a wide range of subjects: U.S. politics, culture, ideology, political economy, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, free-market orthodoxies, conservative judicial activism, religion, ancient history, modern history, historiography, repression in academia, news and entertainment media, technology, environmentalism, sexism, racism, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.[7][8][9] His influential book Democracy for the Few,[10] now in its ninth edition, is a critical analysis of U.S. society, economy, and political institutions and a college-level political science textbook published by Wadsworth Publishing.[11] In recent years he has addressed such subjects as "Empires: Past and Present," "US Interventionism: the Case of Iraq," "Race, Gender, and Class Power," "Ideology and History," "The Overthrow of Communism," and "Terrorism and Globalization."[6]

In 1974, Parenti ran in Vermont on the democratic socialist Liberty Union Party ticket for U.S. Congress and received 7% of the vote.[12] Parenti was once a friend of Bernie Sanders whom he later split with over his support for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.[13][14][15]

In the 1980s, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. In Washington, D.C., in 2003, the Caucus for a New Political Science gave him a Career Achievement Award. In 2007, he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee and an award from New Jersey Peace Action.[citation needed]

He served for 12 years as a judge for Project Censored. He also is on the advisory boards of Independent Progressive Politics Network and Education Without Borders as well as the advisory editorial boards of New Political Science and Nature, Society and Thought.[16]


To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia

In 2000, Verso Books published Parenti's To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia.[17] According to Kirkus Reviews: "Parenti dissents from every piece of conventional wisdom about the former Yugoslavia’s breakup, the Kosovo crisis, and the NATO bombing campaign against the Serbian state in purported support of the Kosovar Albanians."[17]

John Simpson in the New Statesman writes: "Parenti’s writing does not lack clarity and crispness, and there are points (especially about the gullibility of much reporting during the bombing campaign) where I would agree with him. But his conclusions are quite unacceptable. He attempts to whitewash Slobodan Milosevic." He says Parenti writes "kindly of the homicidal lunatic Radovan Karadzic and regards the dreadful siege of Sarajevo as perfectly reasonable." Such individuals as Parenti "never seem to understand that just because one side in a dispute uses the wrong tactics, that doesn’t make the other side guiltless."[18] Publishers Weekly's review stated that "Parenti gives an unabashedly critical assessment of" the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia. "Readers not familiar with his leftist analysis may find Parenti's dismissal of NATO's justification for its 1999 bombing campaign shocking or silly; others may find it thought-provoking." But the review also says: "While other Balkan political and military leaders may also deserve blame, Milosevic does not deserve a defense."[19]

The Assassination of Julius Caesar

In 2003 The New Press published Parenti's The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome.[20] PW said, "Parenti... narrates a provocative history of the late republic in Rome (100–33 B.C.) to demonstrate that Caesar's death was the culmination of growing class conflict, economic disparity and political corruption."[21] Kirkus Reviews wrote: "Populist historian Parenti... views ancient Rome’s most famous assassination not as a tyrannicide but as a sanguinary scene in the never-ending drama of class warfare."[20] Kirkus Reviews described the book as "revisionist history at its most provocative."[20] Political Affairs wrote: "This is an excellent book and a good read."[22]

God and His Demons

Prometheus Books published Parenti's 2010 book God and His Demons.[23] Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Don Lattin said: "God and his Demons is a depressing, mean-spirited book. Much of it is a recounting of the usual suspects we find in the new wave of atheist chic nonfiction - targets like Islamist extremists, TV preachers, child-molesting Catholic priests, Christian right political operatives, creationists, cult leaders and, for historical context, a reminder that the Crusades and the Inquisition were no picnic either."[23] Publishers Weekly called it an "angry volume" that "makes no clear argument", and said: "His condescending tirade is directed not so much at religion as at human beings whom—one gets the impression—he can barely suffer."[24] Gregory Erlich, writing in CounterPunch, said, "God and His Demons is exceptionally well-written book, infused with the author’s characteristic style, wit, no-nonsense analysis and deeply-felt humanism. This ranks among the author’s most important works, deserving of the highest praise."[25]

Appearances in media

Apart from several recordings of some of his public speeches, Parenti has also appeared in the 1992 documentary Panama Deception, the 2004 Liberty Bound and 2013 Fall and Winter documentaries as an author and social commentator.

Parenti was interviewed in Boris Malagurski's documentary film The Weight of Chains 2 (2014). He was also interviewed for two episodes of the Showtime series Penn & Teller: Bullshit!, speaking briefly about the Dalai Lama (Episode 305 – Holier Than Thou) and patriotism (Episode 508 – Mount Rushmore).

New York City-based punk rock band Choking Victim use a number of samples from Michael Parenti's lectures in their album No Gods, No Managers.



  • Repression in Academia: A Report from the Field
    Politics & Society, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1971. (pp. 527–537)
  • Methods of Media Manipulation
    The Humanist, Vol. 57, No. 4, 1997. (pp. 5–7)


See also


  1. ^ In 1974, Parenti ran for Congress for Vermont's at-large district in the House of Representatives under the Liberty Union Party ticket. He isn't associated with the party.
  2. ^ The article Parenti wrote featuring in the first edition of the Prevailing Winds magazine was an adaptation from a lecture Parenti gave in Berkeley, California on November 26, 1993.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "About TUC Radio".
  3. ^ "Speaking Engagements by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  4. ^ Parenti, Michael (August 2007). "La Famiglia: An Ethno-Class Experience". Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. pp. 403. ISBN 978-0-87286-482-5.
  5. ^ Parenti, Michael (1996). "Struggles in Academe: A Personal Account". Dirty Truths. ISBN 0-87286-317-4.
  6. ^ a b "Biography of Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  7. ^ "Articles and Other Published Selections". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  8. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (August 2007). Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. pp. 403. ISBN 978-0-87286-482-5.
  9. ^ "Books by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Retrieved 25 December 2007.
  10. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (February 2007). Democracy for the Few (Eight ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company. p. 322. ISBN 978-0-495-00744-9.
  11. ^ CENGAGE Learning. "WADSWORTH CENGAGE Learning political science". Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
  12. ^ Sanders, Bernie (1997). "You Have to Begin Somewhere". Outsider in the House.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Parenti, Michael. "Michael Parenti Political Archive". Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  17. ^ a b "To Kill a Nation; The Destruction of Yugoslavia". Kirkus Reviews. December 1, 2000. Retrieved November 11, 2014.
  18. ^ Simpson, John (March 26, 2001). "The shame of the nation". New Statesman. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  19. ^ "To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved November 11, 2011.
  20. ^ a b c "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome". Kirkus Reviews. June 1, 2003. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  21. ^ "The Assassination of Julius Caesar: A People's History of Ancient Rome". Publishers Weekly. May 26, 2003. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  22. ^ Riggins, Thomas (June 24, 2004). "Book Review - The Assassination of Julius Caesar, By Michael Parenti". Political Affairs. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
  23. ^ a b Lattin, Don (April 5, 2010). "Review: 'God and His Demons,' by Michael Parenti". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  24. ^ "God and His Demons". Publishers Weekly. January 11, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  25. ^ Taking on the Religious Right, March 24, 2010

External links

Michael Parenti's articles
This page was last edited on 26 November 2020, at 01:14
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