Michael Parenti

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Michael Parenti (born 1933) is an American political scientist, historian and media critic.


  • Our fear that Communism might someday take over most of the world blinds us to the fact that anti-communism already has.
  • In every class society that's ever existed, the ruling element does not rule nakedly. They always adorn their rule with myths, themes and symbols to justify their position at the apex of the social pyramid.

Democracy for the Few (2010 [1974]), sixth edition[edit]

  • It may come as a surprise to some academics, but there is a marked relationship between economic power and political power.
    • Preface to the Sixth Edition, p. viii
  • The close relationship between politics and economics is neither neutral nor coincidental. Large governments evolve through history in order to protect large accumulations of property and wealth.
    • Chapter 1, p. 4
  • It is ironic that people of modest means sometimes become conservative out of a scarcity fear bred by the very capitalist system they support.
    • Chapter 3, p. 44
  • Actually, the New Deal's central dedication was to business recovery rather than social reform.
    • Chapter 5, p. 71
  • The rich have grown richer, but their tax rate has declined. The poor have grown poorer, but their taxes have increased.
    • Chapter 6, p. 81
  • Twelve states in the Great Plains have a wind energy potential greater then the electric use of our entire nation.
    • Chapter 7, p. 118
  • The trick is to steal big.
    • Chapter 8, p. 127
  • Even though the crime rate has dropped in recent years, the United States has more police per capita then any other nation in the world.
    • Chapter 10, p. 173
  • The two party electoral system performs the essential function of helping to legitimate the existing social order.
    • Chapter 11, p. 179
  • Those who control the wealth of this society have an influence over political life far in excess of their number.
    • Chapter 12, p. 203
  • There is a century-old saying, "The dollar votes more times than the man."
    • Chapter 13, p. 222
  • The peculiar danger of executive power is that it executes.
    • Chapter 14, p. 259
  • Conservatives insist that government should be " run more like a business." One might wonder how that could be possible, since government does not market goods and services for the purpose of capital accumulation.
    • Chapter 15, p. 267
  • All economic and political institutions are contrivances that should serve the interests of the people. When they fail to do so, they should be replaced by something more responsive, more just, and more democratic. Marx said this, and so did Jefferson. It is a revolutionary doctrine, and very much an American one.
    • Chapter 17, p. 335

Dirty truths (1996), first edition[edit]

  • Conservatives are fond of telling us what a wonderful, happy, prosperous nation this is. The only thing that matches their love of country is the remarkable indifference they show toward the people who live in it.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Hidden Holocaust,USA, p. 2
  • The dirty truth is that the rich are the great cause of poverty.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Creating The Poor, p. 21
  • The dirty truth is that many people find fascism to be not particularly horrible.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Fascism In a Pinstriped Suit, p. 32
  • Every ruling class has wanted only this: all the rewards and none of the burdens. The operational code is: we have a lot; we can get more; we want it all.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Rollback, p. 46
  • Revolutions are not push button affairs; rather, they evolve only if there exists a reservoir of hope and grievance that can be galvanized into popular action.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Making The World Safe For Hypocrisy, p. 64
  • The real danger we face is not from terrorism but what is being done under the pretext of fighting it.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, The Terrorism Hype, p. 81
  • Conservatives have nothing against incumbency when it is their people who are filling the slots.
    • 1 POLITICS AND ISSUES, Term Limits: Trick or Treat?, p. 92
  • To complain about how the media are dominated by liberals, Limbaugh has an hour a day on network television, an hour on cable, and a radio show syndicated by over 600 stations.
    • 2 MEDIA AND CULTURE, The "Liberal Media" Myth, p. 98
  • Union busting has become a major industry with more than a thousand consulting firms teaching companies how to prevent workers from organizing and how to get rid of existing unions.
    • 2 MEDIA AND CULTURE, Giving Labor The Business, p. 122
  • Maintaining silence about a dirty truth is another way of lying, a common practice in high places.
    • 2 MEDIA AND CULTURE, The Invisible Bloodbaths, p. 132
  • Russia became a juicy chunk of the Third World, with immense reserves of cheap labor, a vast treasure of natural resources, and industrial assets to be sold off at giveaway prices.
    • 2 MEDIA AND CULTURE, Yeltsin's Coup And The Medias Alchemy, p. 140
  • You will have no sensation of a leash around your neck if you sit by the peg. It is only when you stray that you feel the restraining tug.
    • 2 MEDIA AND CULTURE, Some Call It Censorship, p. 150
  • The media have been tireless in their efforts to suppress the truth about the gangster state.
    • 3 CONSPIRACY: PHOBIA AND REALITY, The JFK Assassination I, p. 159
  • To make the world safe for those who own it, politically active elements of the owning class have created a national security state that expends billions of dollars and enlists the efforts of vast numbers of people.
    • 3 CONSPIRACY: PHOBIA AND REALITY, The JFK Assassination II: p. 174
  • Archbishop Romero of El Salvador was a member of the Salvadoran aristocracy. He could not have risen to the top of the church hierarchy otherwise. But after he began voicing critical remarks about the war and concerned comments about the poor, he was assassinated.
    • 3 CONSPIRACY: PHOBIA AND REALITY, The JFK Assassination II: p. 189
  • One does not have to be a Marxist to know there is something very wrong in this society.
    • 4 POLITICAL THEORY AN CONSCIOUSNESS, Political Science Fiction, p. 231
  • When change threatens to rule, then the rules are changed.
    • 5 MISCELLANY AND MEMORABILIA, Struggles in Academe: A Personal Account, p. 248
  • In the end I created a career of my own, concentrating on my writing and lecturing, reaching larger audiences than I would had I ended up with tenure and a full teaching load. It was Virginia Woolf who said that it is terrible to be frozen out of a sacred tradition-but even more terrible to be frozen into it.
    • 5 MISCELLANY AND MEMORABILIA, Struggles in Academe: A Personal Account, p. 252

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