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 BlogviewJames Petras Archive

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Class Struggle and Imperial Wars as the Motor Force of US History
Introduction The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state. Between the mid 1970’s to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing... Read More
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Shake Up and Shake Down
Introduction Major changes are roiling the states, societies and ruling classes of the biggest industrial economies, oil regimes and military complexes. China is re-allocating its economic wealth toward building the most extensive modern infrastructure system in history, linking four continents. Saudi Arabia is transferring a trillion dollars of pillage from princes to princes, from old... Read More
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Introduction The US political and economic elites have always bragged that capitalism is far superior to socialism in terms of providing people’s personal welfare. They claim that citizens live longer, healthier and happier lives under capitalism. The debate between the supporters of the US Affordable Care Act or ‘Obamacare’ and its most vehement opponents under... Read More
Introduction For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow. This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations: the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation. The criteria for determining an... Read More
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Introduction Saudi Arabia has built a powerful network of regional and local political, military and economic relationships incorporating a shared extremist-religious affiliation. As a result, despite its reputation as a backward despotic clerico-monarchy with an extreme dependency on oil sales, it has become a deadly political force in the Middle East and beyond. To understand... Read More
The US selection of leaders has virtually nothing to do with democratic processes and outcomes. It is useful to contrast this with the process in China. In most instances, China’s selection of leaders is far more meritocratic, successful and performance-based. In both the US and China, the process lacks transparency. US Economic, Political and Cultural... Read More
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(Lumpen Capitalism refers to an economic system in which the financial and military sector exploits the state treasury and productive economy for the 1% of the population.) Introduction US journalists and commentators, politicians and Sinologists spend considerable time and space speculating on the personality of China’s President Xi Jinping and his appointments to the leading... Read More
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Can Generals James Mattis (US Secretary of Defense) and John Hyten (Head of US Strategic Command) Prevent a Disaster?
Introduction Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Presidents of the 52 Major Jewish American Organizations are leading President Trump, like a puppy on a leash, into a major war with Iran. The hysterical ’52 Presidents’ and ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel, the most... Read More
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Weapons for Empire Building or National Liberation?
Introduction Since World War II most of the world’s conflicts have revolved around struggles for independence against Western and Japanese colonial/imperial regimes Following formal independence, a new type of imperial domination was imposed – neo-colonial regimes, in which the US and its European allies imposed vassal rulers acting as proxies for economic exploitation. With the... Read More
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Erdogan’s Turkey and Seven Deadly Sins
Introduction Multiple wars ravage the Middle East. Turkey has inserted itself into the middle of most of these regional conflicts and ended up a loser. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has intervened and formed alliances with a rogue’s gallery of imperial warlords, terrorists-mercenaries, Zionist expansionists, feudal potentates and obscure tribal chiefs, with disastrous economic,... Read More
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America has the greatest inequalities, highest mortality rate, most regressive taxes, and largest public subsidies for bankers and billionaires of any developed capitalist country. In this essay we will discuss the socio-economic roots of inequalities and the relation between the concentration of wealth and the downward mobility of the working and salaried classes. How the... Read More
Introduction Clearly the US has escalated the pivotal role of the military in the making of foreign and, by extension, domestic policy. The rise of ‘the Generals’ to strategic positions in the Trump regime is evident, deepening its role as a highly autonomous force determining US strategic policy agendas. In this paper we will discuss... Read More
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The Power Elite in the Time of Trump
Introduction In the last few months, several competing political, economic and military sectors - linked to distinct ideological and ethnic groups - have clearly emerged at the centers of power. We can identify some of the key competing and interlocking directorates of the power elite: 1. Free marketers, with the ubiquitous presence of the ‘Israel... Read More
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The fall of 2017 will witness the most brutal assault on working and middle class living standards since the end of World War II. Three presidents and their congressional allies will ‘revise’ labor legislation, progressive income tax laws and regulations and effectively end the mixed economy in France, the US and Brazil. Throughout the summer,... Read More
Introduction After 6 months of blaming Russia for the Democratic Party’s Presidential election debacle, the Party stalwarts have finally realized that the American electorate is not listening. Democratic Party investigators in Washington still hold hearings and the mass media are still scandal mongering, but the public is not rallying to their cause. Trump’s demagogy may... Read More
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Washington and Brussels’ response to foreign affairs challenges, as they face their own political and economic disasters and decline, has been to impose economic sanctions, boycotts and issue increasingly reckless military threats against rival nations. The ruling and main opposition parties in the US and EU have taken over the major media, turning ‘news programs’... Read More
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Divisions, Indecisions and Civil War
Introduction One of the most important outcomes of the Trump Presidency are the revelations describing the complex competing forces and relations engaged in retaining and expanding US global power (‘the empire’). The commonplace reference to ‘the empire’ fails to specify the interface and conflict among institutions engaged in projecting different aspects of US political power.... Read More
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Introduction Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990’s progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US’s corporate for-profit medical system... Read More
Introduction Throughout the US and European corporate and state media, right and left, we are told that ‘populism’ has become the overarching threat to democracy, freedom and . . . free markets. The media’s ‘anti-populism’ campaign has been used and abused by ruling elites and their academic and intellectual camp followers as the principal weapon... Read More
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Introduction The most striking feature of recent elections is not ‘who won or who lost’, nor is it the personalities, parties and programs. The dominant characteristic of the elections is the widespread repudiation of the electoral system, political campaigns, parties and candidates. Across the world, majorities and pluralities of citizens of voting age refuse to... Read More
Introduction Many experts and commentators describe the political process in Latin America as one of ‘alternating right and left governments’. Journalists focus on the abrupt regime changes from democratic to authoritarian; from neo-liberal to progressive programs; and from oligarchs to populists. The financial media present the ‘right’s’ socially regressive policies and strategies as ‘reforms’, a... Read More
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Introduction US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations: 1) US Imperialism is the force of global domination 2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran’s allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi’a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing... Read More
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Introduction On a scale not seen since the ‘great’ world depression of the 1930’s, the US political system is experiencing sharp political attacks, divisions and power grabs. Executive firings, congressional investigations, demands for impeachment, witch hunts, threats of imprisonment for ‘contempt of Congress’ and naked power struggles have shredded the façade of political unity and... Read More
Reversing Five Decades of Working-Class Power
Introduction: Whatever has been written about President Emmanuel Macron by the yellow or the respectable press has been mere trivia or total falsehood. Media lies have a purpose that goes beyond Macron’s election. Throughout Europe and North America, bankers and manufacturers, NATO, militarists and EU oligarchs, media moguls and verbal assassins, academics and journalists, all... Read More
Introduction Over the past two decades Washington has pursued the age-old imperial strategy of divide and conquer throughout the Middle East, Southwest Asia and East Africa. Unable to dominate and dictate national policy of the nation-states, Washington has worked to break-up central governments and sub-divide them into ethno-mini-states amenable as imperial rule. Washington’s strategy of... Read More
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America’s Great Leap Backwards
Introduction: For almost 50 years, the US economy and society has taken a great leap backward - accelerating during the past three Presidencies. Not only have we experienced the reversal of past socio-economic legislation, but also our presidents and Congress have dragged us into multiple aggressive wars. Now, the threat of a nuclear attack against... Read More
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Introduction: Every day in unimaginable ways, prominent leaders from the left and the right, from bankers to Parisian intellectuals, are fabricating stories and pushing slogans that denigrate presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.… They obfuscate her program, substituting the label ‘extremist’ for her pro-working class and anti-imperialist commitment. Fear and envy over the fact that a... Read More
The ‘Traitor of the Year Award’
Introduction: While the Right faithfully supports the policies and interests of its ruling class supporters, the Left has systematically betrayed their political platform promises and deceived its working class, salaried employees, small business and regional supporters. Historic reversals have happened in rapid succession by Leftist leaders, including greater oligarch control over the economy, more dictatorial... Read More
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Introduction: US Empire building on a world-scale began during and shortly after WWII. Washington intervened directly in the Chinese civil war (providing arms to Chiang Kai Shek’s army while the Red Army battled the Japanese), backed France’s re-colonization war against the Viet Minh in Indo-China and installed Japanese imperial collaborator-puppet regimes in South Korea, Taiwan... Read More
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Introduction: Ethno-religious (ER) beliefs and practices have been harmless when individuals or groups linked to those practices have limited influence over the state and economy. In contrast, when such groups exercise a disproportionately powerful influence over the state and economy, they dominate and exploit majorities while forming closed self-replicating networks. Examples of powerful ethno-centric regimes... Read More
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Introduction Every day and throughout the world we read and hear of turmoil, of threats, violence, divisions, wars for peace and peace for wars, freedom as oppression and oppression as freedom. In a world where words have lost their meanings and meanings have no words, how do we go about understanding turmoil? Surely, economies rise... Read More
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The ‘White Plague’ of the 21st Century
Introduction Over the past two decades hundreds of thousands of Americans have died prematurely because of irresponsibly prescribed narcotic ‘pain killers’ and other central nervous system depressants, like tranquillizers and their deadly interactions. The undeniable fact is that they have been mostly from the white working and lower middle class from rural and deindustrialized regions.... Read More
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Introduction: The cross border flood of millions of immigrants provokes profound political divisions, violence and the rise of mass movements challenging the unity of the European Union (EU) and the survival of the dominant political parties in the US and Europe. Both the progressive pro-immigrant and rightwing anti-immigration parties and movements propose easy answers and... Read More
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Introduction: From their dismal swamps, US academic and financial journal editorialists, the mass media and contemporary ‘Asia experts’, Western progressive and conservative politicians croak in unison about China’s environmental and impending collapse. They have variably proclaimed (1) China’s economy is in decline; (2) the debt is overwhelming; a Chinese real estate bubble is ready to... Read More
Latin America, the Middle East and Ukraine
Introduction: Over thirty year ago a savvy Colombian peasant leader told me, “Whenever I read the word ‘peace accords’ I hear the government sharpening its knives”. In recent times, ‘peace accords’ (PAs) have become a common refrain across the world. In almost every region or country, which are in the midst of war or invasion,... Read More
From Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump
Introduction: US militarism expanded exponentially through the first two decades of the Twenty-First Century, and was embraced by both Democratic and Republican Presidents. The mass media’s hysteria towards President Trump’s increase in military spending deliberately ignores the vast expansion of militarism, in all its facets, under President Obama and his two predecessors, Presidents ‘Bill’ Clinton... Read More
Introduction: The Financial Times’ Special Report (2/16/2017) published a four-page spread on the ‘use and possible dangers of artificial intelligence (AI)’. Unlike the usual trash journalists who serve as Washington’s megaphones on the editorial pages and political columns, the Special Report is a thoughtful essay that raises many important issues, even as it is fundamentally... Read More
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Introduction By the end of the first month of President Trump’s Administration we are in a better position to evaluate the policies and direction of the new President. An examination of foreign and domestic policy, particularly from a historical and comparative perspective will provide insights about whether America is heading for a catastrophe as the... Read More
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Introduction President Trump is deeply embedded in the politics of the deep state structure of American imperialism. Contrary to occasional references to non-intervention in overseas wars, Trump has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors. While neoconservatives and liberals have raised a hue and cry about Trump’s ties to Russia, his ‘heresies’ over NATO and... Read More
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Introduction: During his inaugural speech, President Trump clearly and forcefully outlined the strategic political-economic policies he will pursue over the next four years. Anti-Trump journalist, editorialists, academics and experts, who appear in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal have repeatedly distorted and lied about the President’s program as... Read More
Introduction: The malady, common among political leaders who commit heartless crimes while craving popular adulation as heroes and misunderstood saints, is ‘Political Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ (PMSP). PMSP best explains the pathologic drive of politicians and policy makers who inflict relentless, systematic mass destruction and then intervene in a most theatrical manner to save a... Read More
The CIA’s Overt Threats against Trump
Introduction The norms of US capitalist democracy include the election of presidential candidates through competitive elections, unimpeded by force and violence by the permanent institutions of the state. Voter manipulation has occurred during the recent elections, as in the case of the John F. Kennedy victory in 1960 and the George W. Bush victory over... Read More
Introduction The global growth and survival of ISIS, in the face of opposition by governments, armies, intelligence agencies and police forces from nearly a hundred countries, requires analysis. We understand ‘ISIS’ as the organized, militant, violent Salafist movement sometimes funded by the royal family of Saudi Arabia. The Opposition Those generally opposed to ISIS, in... Read More
“The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.” H. Balzac Among the current crop of Wall Street financiers, Laurence “Larry” Fink has received the greatest number of awards and plaudits. He is the CEO and Chairman of Black Rock (BR), the world’s largest multinational investment management... Read More
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Time for New Beginnings
Introduction: There are deep flaws in the blogs, media reports, and official statements, which purport to describe world historic events and changes. These so-called ‘up-to-date’ reports of major world events undergo repeated revisions in hours, days or weeks as the story is being ‘played out’. What might start out as a ’scoop’ for the upwardly... Read More
Introduction There are various types of coups: the seizure of executive power by military officials who disband the elected legislature, judiciary and executive, shut-down the media that criticizes the military take-over and and outlaws’ independent social movements. The most recent coups are led by institutional forces which ouster the elected President through the intervention of... Read More
The events leading to the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey has a long and torturous trail. The beginning and end are found in President Obama’s attempt to militarily encircle and discredit Russia through massive propaganda and sanctions. Obama built military bases on Russia’s borders; organized a putsch in the Ukraine; launched violent attacks... Read More
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Introduction: A coup has been underway to prevent President-Elect Donald Trump from taking office and fulfilling his campaign promise to improve US-Russia relations. This ‘palace coup’ is not a secret conspiracy, but an open, loud attack on the election. The coup involves important US elites, who openly intervene on many levels from the street to... Read More
In recent times, and probably since the establishment of universal voting, presidents- elect have systematically violated or broken their promises to their supporters. This essay begins with the campaign promises of the outgoing President Barack Obama and the President-Elect Donald Trump. We will then examine the reasons why rhetorical populist, peaceful and democratic promises always... Read More
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Introduction With a few notable exceptions, political leaders are chosen by political leaders, and not by electorates or community-based organizations or popular assemblies. Popular media figures and the so-called ‘pundits’, including academics and self-declared experts and ‘think-tank’ analysts reinforce and propagate these choices. A collection of terms and pseudo concepts are essential in validating what... Read More
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James Petras
About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association’s Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author)Multinationals on Trial (2006).

He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. In 1973-76 he was a member of the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. He received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley.


PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?