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(Make The Chumps Pay the Bill)
In accordance with the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) the Office of Compliance (OC) compiled and published shocking statistics listing (1) the number of settlements paid to its employees and interns after allegations of abuse by legislators; (2) the total amount of dollars paid by US Treasury to the victims of Congressional workplace abuse.... Read More
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Introduction Clearly the pendulum has swung to the right in the past few years. Numerous questions arise. What kind of right? How far right? How did they gain power? What is their appeal? How sustainable are the right wing regimes? Who are their international allies and adversaries? Having taken power, how have the rightist regimes... 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
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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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
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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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
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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
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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: 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 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
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
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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
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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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The Financial Press and its Keepers
Introduction: US officialdom and their media megaphones have systematically concocted narratives having less to do with political reality and more with their hallucinogenic world view. Pre-election and post-election reportage weaves a tapestry of fiction and fantasy. We will discuss the most pernicious of these remarkable foibles and fables and their predictable failures. 1. The pundits,... Read More
Introduction: Every aspect of this year’s US Presidential election has been fraught with myths, distortions, fabrications, wishful thinking and invented fears. We will proceed to discuss facts and fictions. (1) Electoral Participation The mass media, parties and candidates emphasized the ‘unprecedented voter turnout’ in the elections. In fact, 48% of the eligible voters abstained. In... Read More
Introduction Castigating the US electorate as accomplices and facilitators of wars, or at best describing it as ignorant sheep herded by political elites, speaks only to a partial reality; in public opinion polls, even in ones weighted overwhelmingly to the center-right, the American people consistently opposse militarism and wars, past and present. The right and... Read More
The class struggle from below has taken different forms and directions, with greater or lesser intensity, between countries and within countries in different time periods. In general terms the countries with relative higher levels of urbanization and industrialization, experience the greatest urban centered struggles - as is the case with Argentina, Venezuela and Chile but... Read More
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Can Coups Defeat Elected Governments?
Never in the history of the United States, has a President and Supreme Court Judge openly advocated the overthrow of a Presidential candidate. Never has the entire mass media engaged in a round-the-clock one-sided, propaganda war to discredit a Presidential candidate by systematically ignoring or distorting the central socio-economic issues of their opposition. Introduction Washington... Read More
Introduction: The constitutional order of the US, such as it exists, faces a profound crisis of legitimacy, rooted in the multi polarity of US society. The US is divided among (1) a deeply entrenched police - judicial - presidential state against civil society organized in community based Afro-American, Hispanic and disinherited workers; (2) a corrupt... Read More
Rational Voters and Irrational Experts Large swaths of the US electorate are voting for rational choices against a system controlled by an economic and political oligarchy. Rational choice is based on experience with political leaders who pursue policies which lead to a trillion dollar financial crises and bailouts which impoverish millions of mortgage holders and... Read More
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Introduction During her 4 years as Secretary of State of the United States (2009- 2014), Hillary Clinton controlled US foreign policy. She had access to the most confidential information and state documents, numbering in the tens of thousands, from all of the major government departments and agencies, Intelligence, FBI, the Pentagon, Treasury and the office... Read More
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Introduction Over half the US electorate views the two leading candidates for the 2016 Presidential elections with horror and disdain. In contrast, the entire corporate mass media, here and abroad, repeat outrageous virtuous claims on behalf of Hillary Clinton and visceral denunciations of Donald Trump. Media pundits, financial, academic and corporate elites describe the prospects... Read More
Prologue: In 2004 I wrote Brazil and Lula: Year Zero (Edifurb: Blumenau, Sao Paolo 2005), in which I presented my analysis of the Lula-Workers Party (PT) regime in Brazil undergoing a Grand Transformation with the first stage represented by the PT’s incorporation into a government apparatus led by of bankers and exporters (the agro-mineral elite).... Read More
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Introduction: From left to right a raucous chorus has emerged to denounce Republican Presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump as a ‘fascist’. They cite his campaign promises to build an Israeli-style wall along the US border; his threats to expel eleven million undocumented immigrants; and to restrict foreign Muslims from entering the US, as well as... Read More
Introduction: Pluto-Zionism is the three-way marriage of plutocracy, rightwing Zionism and US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a serial war criminal, racist and servant of Wall Street. How did this deadly ménage-a-trois come about? The answer is that a stratospherically wealthy donor group, dedicated to promoting Israel’s dominance in the Middle East and deepening US military... Read More
Introduction: Mapping the emerging global economic, political and military configurations requires that we examine regions and countries along several dynamic policy axis: Though many of these dimensions overlap, they also highlight the complexity and influence of local and national versus global power relations. We will first identify and classify the regimes and emerging movements, which... Read More
Introduction: Over the past three years Latin American leftist leaders, who presided over heterodox ‘free trade’ and commodity based welfare economies, lost presidential, legislative and municipal elections and referendums or faced impeachment. They fell because they lost competitive elections, not because of US invasions or military coups. These same leftist leaders, who had successfully defeated... Read More
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Introduction: The presidential elections of 2016 have several unique characteristics that defy common wisdom about political practices in 21st century America. Clearly the established political machinery – party elites and their corporate backers -have (in part) lost control of the nomination process and confront ‘unwanted’ candidates who are campaigning with programs and pronouncements that polarize... Read More
Introduction: Over the past few decades, insurgent mass movements reflecting political discontent with the domestic economy and imperialist foreign policy have emerged to challenge the leadership and policies of the Democratic Party (DP). There are good reasons for this: The Democratic Party in power in Congress and the White House presided over (1) the deepening... Read More
Resurgence of the Far Right and the Absence of the Consequential Left
Introduction: Incumbent politicians and parties, both center-left and right, have suffered serious defeats in recent elections. The principal beneficiary has been the extreme right. Nowhere did the ‘consequential left’ register a victory, although in a few instances it marginally increased its vote. The one major exception has been Turkey, where the incumbent Erdogan regime scored... Read More
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Distortion, Fabrication and Falsification in the Financial Press
Introduction: With the collapse of the Communist countries in the 1990’s and their conversion to capitalism, followed by the advent of neo-liberal regimes throughout most of Latin America, Asia, Europe and North America, the imperial regimes in the US and EU have established a new political spectrum, in which the standards of acceptability narrowed and... Read More
Introduction: Democratic critics of military seizures of power commonly refer to them as military coups.They adopt a very narrow and misleading conception of what is taking place. Likewise, human rights activists and progressive analysts who conceptualize the reign of violence which follows, a ‘coup’ as state terror fail to take account of the systemic forces... Read More
Pope Francis, Vladimir Putin, Xi, Jinping, Hassan Rouhani, and Jeremy Corbyn
Introduction: Western imperialism, in all of its manifestation, is being challenged by five political leaders, through diplomacy, moral persuasion and public pressure. In recent time, Pope Francis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn have raised fundamental questions concerning (1) war and peace in... Read More
Hugo Chavez always thought that the Bolivarian revolution was a continuous process in two senses - 1) the contemporary revolution was a continuation of the historic national liberation struggle led by Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century. 2) The political and national revolution begun with his election in 1998 must, of necessity, advance to... Read More
Introduction: Rightwing politics now dominate the globe. Broadly speaking, the Right can be divided into a US-centered rightwing bloc and a variety of anti-US rightwing regimes and social forces. The US-centered rightwing includes absolutist monarchies, like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and Jordan; neoliberal electoral regimes and opposition parties in the European Union and... Read More
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The Bond between Israel and World Zionism
Introduction: The single greatest feat of Israel and its overseas missions has not been material success, or the military conquest of millions of unarmed Palestinians, it has been ideological – the widespread acceptance in the US of a doctrine that claims ‘Jews are a superior people’. Apart from small extremist rightwing sects who exhibit visceral... Read More
Introduction: Throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, rightwing governments have increasingly adopted extremist socio-economic policies, slashing social expenditures, labor and welfare legislation, while increasing corporate subsidies and reducing taxes for the elite. The rightwing has launched increasingly reckless military interventions via-invasions, proxy wars and massive weapon build-ups on the frontiers of Russia, China and... Read More
The Rise of the Non Leftist Left
Introduction: Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’. New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious... Read More
Or The Value of Political Commitments to Social Science
Introduction: For many decades, mainstream social scientists, mostly conservative, have argued that political commitments and scientific research are incompatible. Against this current of opinion, others, mostly politically engaged social scientists, have argued that scientific research and political commitment are not contradictory. In this essay I will argue in favor of the latter position by demonstrating... Read More
Numerous prominent progressive US pundits, whose political pronouncements carry great weight in the alternative media, have proclaimed ‘Latin America’s decisive break’ with US domination and have gone on to announce the beginning of a new ‘post-imperial epoch’. “One of the most spectacular developments of this period is occurring in Latin America – For the first... Read More
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.


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What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?