Michael Parenti

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Michael John Parenti
Michael Parenti.jpg
Michael John Parenti
Born 1933 (age 80–81)
New York City
Occupation political scientist, historian, media critic
Nationality US
Education City College of New York, B.A.
Brown University, M.A.
Yale University, Ph.D.
Subject History, Politics, Economics
Children Christian Parenti

Michael John Parenti (born 1933) is an American political scientist, 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.[1][2] He has played an activist role in political struggles, and in various anti-war movements.[citation needed]


Parenti received his PhD in political science from Yale University. He is the author of twenty three books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least eighteen languages.[3] Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad. He wrote The Assassination of Julius Caesar.[4] He is the father of Christian Parenti, an author and contributor to The Nation magazine.

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, homophobia, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.[5][6][7] Perhaps his most influential book is Democracy for the Few,[8] now in its ninth edition, a critical analysis of U.S. society, economy, and political institutions and a college-level political science textbook published by Wadsworth Publishing.[9] 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 Collapse of Communism," and "Terrorism and Globalization."[3]

Michael Parenti was raised in an Italian-American working-class family and neighborhood in New York City about which he has written.[10] 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.[11]

In 1974, Parenti ran in Vermont on the Liberty Union Party ticket for U.S. Congress and received 7% of the vote.[12]

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. In the 1980s, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

He served for some 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.[13]

Views on the former Yugoslavia[edit]

In 2000 Parenti published To Kill a Nation: the Attack on Yugoslavia. This book alleged that US policy had deliberately brought about the collapse of Yugoslavia; it also claimed that evidence of Serbian war crimes had been fabricated.

In Chapter 5, titled "Croatia: New Republic, Old Reactionaries", Parenti discusses Croatian collaboration with the Nazis during World War II, saying: "From 1941 to 1945, Croatia was a Nazi state, and a full-fledged Axis co-belligerent, at war with the Allies."

In Chapter 6, titled "Bosnia: New Colonies", Parenti devotes a paragraph to the Handzhar SS division composed largely of Bosniaks.

In Chapter 9, titled "Demonizing the Serbs", Parenti dismisses well-documented evidence that mass rape had been used to terrorize the Bosniak population.[14] On 27 June 1996, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) issued the following indictment: "Muslim women in Foca (southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina) were subjected to a brutal regime of gang rape, torture and enslavement by Bosnian Serb soldiers, policemen and members of paramilitary groups after the takeover of the city in April 1992".[15] The indictment charged eight Serbian military leaders- Dragan Gagovic, Gojko Jankovic, Janko Janjic, Radomir Kovac, Zoran Vukovic, Dragan Zelenovic, Dragoljub Kunarac and Radovan Stanjovic for their role in organizing these rape camps.[16] Parenti's claims that mass rape did not occur are thus at odds with the verdict of the ICTY.

Chapter 9 also denies the scale of the Srebrenica genocide; citing a documentary by Bill Moyers that stated 7414 civilians had been killed, Parenti claimed the real number was likely much lower. In 2004, in the case of Prosecutor v. Krstić, the ICTY ruled that the Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide, and added that the court "estimates the number of the killed men approximately 7500".[17] Since 2004, Parenti has not retracted his statements about the Srebrenica genocide.

In May 2012, the Congress of North American Bosniaks wrote a public letter to the San Jose Peace and Justice Center, calling on it to cancel a speaking invitation given to Parenti, because he "explicitly denies that genocide, systematic rape of women and girls and ethnic cleansing ever took place in Bosnia", and "places the blame on Bosniaks for the genocide at Srebrenica."[18] Upon receiving this letter, the San Jose Peace and Justice Center cancelled Parenti's speaking arrangement.

Parenti also served as US chairman of the International Committee to Defend Slobadan Milosevic, which denied the Bosnian genocide and called on the ICTY to release Milosevic immediately, despite substantial evidence of his involvement in war crimes.

Parenti's beliefs led him to become head of the United States chapter of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević,[19] in which capacity he added to the criticisms of bias in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia[20][21]

References in popular culture[edit]

Appearances in film and television[edit]

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.

In addition, he was 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).



  1. ^ tucradio.org
  2. ^ "Speaking Engagements by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography of Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  4. ^ a b ,Parenti, Michael (September 2004). The Assassination of Julius Caesar, A People's History of Ancient Rome. New Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-56584-942-6. 
  5. ^ "Articles and Other Published Selections". Michael Parenti. Archived from the original on 26 October 2007. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  6. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (August 2007). Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. p. 403. ISBN 978-0-87286-482-5. 
  7. ^ "Books by Michael Parenti". Michael Parenti. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Parenti, Michael (February 2007). Democracy for the Few (Eight ed.). Wadsworth Publishing Company. p. 322. ISBN 978-0-495-00744-9. 
  9. ^ CENGAGE Learning. "WADSWORTH CENGAGE Learning political science". Retrieved 3 January 2008. 
  10. ^ Parenti, Michael (August 2007). "La Famiglia: An Ethno-Class Experience". Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader. City Lights Books. p. 403. ISBN 978-0-87286-482-5. 
  11. ^ Parenti, Michael (1996). "Struggles in Academe: A Personal Account". Dirty Truths. ISBN 0-87286-317-4. 
  12. ^ Sanders, Bernie (1997). "You Have to Begin Somewhere". Outsider in the House. 
  13. ^ Parenti, Michael. "Michael Parenti Political Archive". Retrieved 2 January 2008. 
  14. ^ {{cite web<http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/articles-deniers.htmIn>accessdate=24 March 2014}}[dead link]
  15. ^ Press Release (Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document) “Gang rape, torture and enslavement of Muslim women charged in ICTY's first indictment dealing specifically with sexual offences,” ICTY, The Hague, 27 June 1996. CC/PIO/093-E. Retrieved 27.06.2014.
  16. ^ [<http://www.icty.org/sid/10312> <http://www.icty.org/sid/10312>]. Retrieved 24 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ Judgement, Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstić, Case No: IT-98-33-A, International Tribunal for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia Since 1991 (19 April 2004). Accessdate 24 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Protest letter on behalf of Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB), representing the interests of Bosnian American and Bosnian Canadian citizens, the Institute for Research Genocide, Canada (IGC), the Advisory Council for Bosnia and Herzegovina (ACBH), Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center (BAGI) as well as the Institute for Research of Crimes Against Humanity and International Law, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosniak Cultural Association, Bosnia and Herzegovina". 1 May 2012. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević (official website). Committee members". December 2003. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  20. ^ Parenti, Michael (December 2003). "Two letters by Michael Parenti. On the official website of the ICDSM". Retrieved 25 December 2007. 
  21. ^ "International Action Center press release: Public announcement of the formation of the U.S. section of the ICDSM and a statement against the ICTY's most recent violations of international law and human rights". December 2003. Retrieved 25 December 2007. 

External links[edit]

Michael Parenti's articles