Michael John Parenti
September 30, 1933
|Political party||Liberty Union Party[a]|
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 American and international universities and has been a guest lecturer before campus and community audiences.
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 B.A. from the City College of New York, an M.A. from Brown University and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. Parenti is the father of Christian Parenti, an academic, author and journalist.
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 23 books and many more 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 influential 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 in Vermont on the democratic socialist Liberty Union Party ticket for U.S. Congress and received 7.1% of the vote. Parenti was once a friend of Bernie Sanders, with whom he later split over Sanders'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 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.
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.
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).