57 Michael Parenti Quotes from American Political Scientist

Michael John Parenti, born in 1933, is a renowned American political scientist, historian and cultural critic, recognized for his Marxist perspectives and contributions to the American Left.

Born in East Harlem, New York, to an Italian-American family, Parenti’s academic journey took him from the City College of New York to a PhD from Yale University. He is the father of Christian Parenti, an academic and journalist.

Career Highlights
Parenti dedicated many years to teaching before fully committing to writing, activism and public speaking.


He has authored 20 books, with translations in 18 languages and written over 300 articles. Notable works include “Democracy for the Few” and “Blackshirts and Reds,” with the latter defending 20th-century communist states.

Throughout his career, Parenti has tackled diverse subjects, from U.S. politics to global issues. In 1974, he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in Vermont, securing third place.

Parenti’s associations include a fellowship at the Institute for Policy Studies and recognition awards from various organizations.

Media Engagements
Parenti’s voice has resonated in documentaries like “The Panama Deception” and “The Weight of Chains 2.”

Here is a collection of the best quotes by Michael Parenti.

Top 10 Michael Parenti Quotes


Actually, the New Deal’s central dedication was to business recovery rather than social reform. ~ Michael Parenti.


Apathy’s a problem but who cares? ~ Michael Parenti.


You don’t know you’re wearing a leash if you sit by the peg all day. ~ Michael Parenti.


The Federalists also used bribes, intimidation, and fraud against opponents of the Constitution. ~ Michael Parenti.


The dirty truth is that many people find fascism to be not particularly horrible. ~ Michael Parenti.


The rich have grown richer, but their tax rate has declined. The poor have grown poorer, but their taxes have increased. ~ Michael Parenti.


You don’t know you’re wearing a leash if you sit by the peg all day. ~ Michael Parenti.


One mechanism of repression is the grand jury. ~ Michael Parenti.


When change threatens to rule, then the rules are changed. ~ Michael Parenti.


The two party electoral system performs the essential function of helping to legitimate the existing social order. ~ Michael Parenti.

Famous Michael Parenti Quotes

One finds fortunes built on slave labor, indentured labor, prison labor, immigrant labor, female labor, child labor, and scab labor – backed by the lethal force of gun thugs and militia. ‘Old money’ is often little more than dirty money laundered by several generations of possession. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.


A huge national security state has developed in the United States since World War II. Its function is to buttress anticommunist, pro-capitalist governments and undermine and destroy popular movements whenever possible. ~ Michael Parenti.

Ecology’s implications for capitalism are too momentous for the capitalist to contemplate. They are more wedded to their wealth than to the Earth upon which they live, more concerned with the fate of their fortunes than with the fate of humanity. ~ Michael Parenti.


Our fear that communism might someday take over most of the world blinds us to the fact that anti- communism already has. ~ Michael Parenti.

In almost every enterprise, government has provided business with opportunities for private gain at public expense. Government nurtures private capital accumulation through a process of subsidies, supports, and deficit spending and an increasingly inequitable tax system. ~ Michael Parenti.

In reality, many universities have direct investments in corporate America in the form of substantial stock portfolios. By purchase and persuasion, our institutions of higher learning are wedded to institutions of higher earning. ~ Michael Parenti.


The first atrocity, the first war crime committed in any war of aggression by the aggressors is against the truth. ~ Michael Parenti.

Official Washington cannot tell the American people that the real purpose of its gargantuan military expenditures and belligerent interventions is to make the world safe for General Motors, General Electric, General Dynamics, and all the other generals. ~ Michael Parenti.


Even though the crime rate has dropped in recent years, the United States has more police per capita than any other nation in the world. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

Best Michael Parenti Quotes


Maintaining silence about a dirty truth is another way of lying, a common practice in high places. ~ Michael Parenti.

We are not just passive receptors sponging up a flow of images and information. Perception involves organizing stimuli and data into comprehensible units. In a word, perception is itself an act of selective editing. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

It is ironic that people of modest means sometimes become conservative out of a scarcity fear bred by the very capitalist system they support. ~ Michael Parenti.


The trick is to steal big. ~ Michael Parenti.

The American way is to criticize and debate openly, not to accept unthinkingly the doings of government officials of this or any other country. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

Popular Michael Parenti Quotes

The worst forms of tyranny, or certainly the most successful ones, are not those we rail against but those that so insinuate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny. ~ Michael Parenti.

The god who presides over the Judeo-Christian belief system bears a disquieting resemblance to those imperfect creations known as human beings. This suggests that either he really did fashion us in his own image or we fashioned him in ours. ~ Michael Parenti.


People who think they’re free in this world just haven’t come to the end of their leash yet. ~ Michael Parenti.

No system in history capitalism has been more relentless in battering down ancient and fragile cultures, devouring the resources of whole regions, pulverizing centuries-old practices in a matter of years, and standardizing the varieties of human experience. ~ Michael Parenti.

I spent thirty-three years in the Marines, most of my time being a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

Wise Michael Parenti Quotes

No surprise then that the pure socialists support every revolution except for the ones that succeed. ~ Michael Parenti.

Generosity toward the lower classes historically has never been an important part of upper-class awareness. ~ Michael Parenti.


The peculiar danger of executive power is that it executes. ~ Michael Parenti.

The most powerful ideologies are not those that prevail against all challengers but those that are never challenged because in their ubiquity they appear as nothing more than the unadorned truth. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

A joke circulating in Russia in 1992 went like this: Q. What did capitalism accomplish in one year that communism could not do in seventy years? A. Make communism look good. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

Profound Michael Parenti Quotes

Capitalism is not just an economic system but an entire social order. Once it takes hold, it is not voted out of existence by electing socialists or communists. ~ Michael Parenti.

As demonstrated in Russia and numerous other countries, when faced with a choice between democracy without capitalism or capitalism without democracy, Western elites unhesitatingly embrace the latter. ~ Michael Parenti.

Just as the power of the feudal aristocracy had to be broken in order for capitalism to emerge fully, so must imperialism and capitalism in Third World nations be overcome if a new system is to prevail. ~ Michael Parenti.

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. ~ Michael Parenti.

The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments. ~ Michael Parenti.

I had a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals, promotions. l might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three city districts. The Marines operated on three continents. ~ Michael Parenti.

America is a simplified ideological abstraction, an emotive symbol represented by other abstract symbols like the flag. It is the object of a faith like devotion, unencumbered by honest history. ~ Michael Parenti.


Their quest was not to investigate heterodoxy but to insulate themselves from it. ~ Michael Parenti.

Not everything written by mainstream scholars serves the powers that be, but very little of it challenges such powers. ~ Michael Parenti.


The first law of the market is to make the largest possible profit from other people’s labor or go out of business. Profitability rather than human need is the determining condition of private investment. ~ Michael Parenti.

So these were the 57 popular quotes about Michael Parenti.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Kirby Smart quotes and Yo Yo Ma quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

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