Michael John Parenti (born September 30, 1933) is an American political scientist, academic historian and cultural critic who writes on scholarly and popular subjects. He has taught at universities as well as run for political office. Parenti is well known for his Marxist writings and is a leading intellectual of the American Left
Education and personal life
Michael Parenti was raised by an Italian-American working-class family in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. After graduating from high school, Parenti worked for several years. Upon returning to school, he received a BA from the City College of New York, an MA from Brown University and a PhD in political science from Yale University. Parenti is the father of Christian Parenti, an academic, author and journalist.
Michael John Parenti Career
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. He is the author of 20 books and over 300 articles. His works have been translated into at least 18 languages. 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. His book Democracy for the Few, 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.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.”
In 1974, Parenti ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Vermont as the candidate of the democratic socialist Liberty Union Party; he came in third place, with 7.1% of the vote. Parenti was once a friend of Bernie Sanders, but he later split with Sanders over the latter’s support for the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.
In the 1980s, he was a visiting fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies 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.
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.
Appearances in media
Apart from several recordings of some of his public speeches, Parenti has also appeared in the 1992 documentary The 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.
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