is a retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...
at Binghamton University
Binghamton University, also formally called State University of New York at Binghamton, , is a public research university in the State of New York. The University is one of the four university centers in the State University of New York system...
in Binghamton, New York
Binghamton is a city in the Southern Tier of New York in the United States. It is near the Pennsylvania border, in a bowl-shaped valley at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers...
and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...
who has published prolifically on Latin American and Middle Eastern political issues.
Academic and Literature
Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. His initial appointment at Binghamton was in 1972 at the Sociology Department and his field is listed as: Development, Latin America, the Caribbean, revolutionary movements, class analysis. During his life he received the Western Political Science Association's the Best Dissertation award (1968), the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association , founded in 1905 as the American Sociological Society , is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the discipline and profession of sociology by serving sociologists in their work and promoting their contributions to serve society.The ASA holds its...
's Marxist Sociology Section and the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book of 2002.
Petras is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review
The American Sociological Review is a bimonthly, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all aspects of sociology, including new theoretical developments, results of research that advance the understanding of fundamental social processes, and methodological innovations. It is published by SAGE...
, British Journal of Sociology
The British Journal of Sociology is an academic journal, founded in 1950 at the London School of Economics. The main founders were the sociologists Morris Ginsberg and Thomas Humphrey Marshall. Their intended title, "The London Journal of Sociology", seems to have been changed by the publisher...
, Social Research
Social Research is a quarterly academic journal of the social sciences, published by The New School for Social Research, the graduate social science division of The New School. The journal has been published continuously since 1934. It has featured over 2,000 authors, including Hannah Arendt, Leo...
and Journal of Peasant Studies
. He has published over 2000 articles in publications such as the New York Times
, The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...
, The Nation
The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. The periodical, devoted to politics and culture, is self-described as "the flagship of the left." Founded on July 6, 1865, It is published by The Nation Company, L.P., at 33 Irving Place, New York City.The Nation...
, Christian Science Monitor
, Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy is a bimonthly American magazine founded in 1970 by Samuel P. Huntington and Warren Demian Manshel.Originally, the magazine was a quarterly...
, New Left Review
New Left Review is a 160-page journal, published every two months from London, devoted to world politics, economy and culture. Often compared to the French-language Les Temps modernes, it is associated with Verso Books , and regularly features the essays of authorities on contemporary social...
, Partisan Review
Partisan Review was an American political and literary quarterly published from 1934 to 2003, though it suspended publication between October 1936 and December 1937.-Overview:...
and Le Monde Diplomatique
Le Monde diplomatique is a monthly newspaper offering analysis and opinion on politics, culture, and current affairs. It was first created mainly for a diplomatic audience as its name implies...
. Currently he writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada
, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo
Petras is currently a member of the editorial collective of Canadian Dimension
Canadian Dimension is a Canadian leftist magazine founded in 1963 by Cy Gonick, and published out of Winnipeg, Manitoba 6 times a year, with a circulation of 3,000 copies....
and contributes to CounterPunch
Counterpunch can refer to:* Counterpunch , a punch in boxing* CounterPunch, a bi-weekly political newsletter* Counterpunch , a type of punch used in traditional typography* Punch-Counterpunch, a Transformers character...
and Atlantic Free Press.
Petras describes himself as a "revolutionary and anti-imperialist" activist and writer. He was a founding member of the Young Socialist Alliance
The Young Socialist Alliance was a Trotskyist youth group of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States of America. It was founded in 1960, although it had roots going back several years earlier. It was dissolved in 1992...
and early articles by him appeared in the The Young Socialist in 1959 and 1960. He's listed as the Bay Area correspondent for the paper for several issues. He has worked with the Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...
ian landless workers’ movement and the unemployed workers’ movement in Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...
. From 1973-76 Petras worked on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He has called the United States the "dominant Imperial power" and has called efforts to reform human rights in China "Washington's human rights propaganda campaign".
Petras has referred to American policy towards Iraq as "The US/Iraqi Holocaust (UIH)" which he describes as "an ongoing process spanning the last 16 years (1990-2006) provides us with a striking example of state-planned systematic extermination, torture and physical destruction designed to de-modernize a secular developing society and revert it into a series of warring clan-tribal-clerical-ethnic based entities devoid of any national authority or viable economy."
In November 2006 the FARC in Colombia addressed a letter concerning three American hostages (Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes) to American film stars, the Reverend Jesse Jackson
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to...
and leftist intellectuals Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...
, Angela Davis
Angela Davis is an American political activist, scholar, and author. Davis was most politically active during the late 1960s through the 1970s and was associated with the Communist Party USA, the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party...
, and James Petras.
Petras has defended the 2009 election results
The 2009 Iranian presidential election was characterized by huge candidate rallies in Iranian cities, and very high turnout reported to be over 80 percent. Iran holds a run-off election when no candidate receives a majority of votes, and this would have been held on 19 June 2009...
in Iran giving "nationalist-populist" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a 60%+ victory, in a 2009 article entitled "The Iranian Elections: The ‘Stolen Elections’ Hoax". Describing the struggle in Iran as pitting "high income, free market oriented capitalist individuals" reformists against Ahmadinejad's "working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...
, low income, community-based supporters of a 'moral economy'", he denounced the claim that the election was stolen as a "hoax" perpetrated by "Western opinion makers".
Controversy and Allegations of Antisemitism
In a 2006 article entitled "9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound", the Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...
noted Petras's assertion there was evidence that "Israelis" may have known about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but withheld the information from the United States government. Petras has called American Zionists "Israel's fifth column
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...
," a synonym for traitors, goes on to stereotype the American Jewish community "primarily defined by their entrepreneurial capacities," and then calls them "upholders of a doctrine of offensive wars." Petras has also called Israel "the most militarized country in the world."
In a 2009 article, the ADL again criticized Petras, stating that he has blamed the current economic crisis on the "Zionist" control over the U.S. government and world events, and has argued that pro-Israel Americans have launched a massive crusade to push the U.S. into a war with Iran. The ADL also alleged that Petras' conspiracy theories also include the anti-Semitic accusation that the American Jewish community is "controlling the communications media" and is "bloodthirsty" in its appetite for war. The ADL also cited a 2008 interview in which Petras stated that [U.S.] presidents are at the disposal of "Jewish power" and maintained that Jews represent "the greatest threat to world peace and humanity."
In the same interview, Petras stated that "it’s one of the great tragedies that we have a minority that represents less than 2% of North American’s population but has such power in the communications media" and that the reason "why the North American public doesn’t react against the manipulations of this minority...[is] because the Jews control the communications media."
In an article written in 2009, Petras wrote that President Barack Obama had a "one-sided and longstanding commitment to the State of Israel and loyalty to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the United States, as well as the long-term and successful effort of a network of financially and politically powerful Jewish Zionists to ‘embed’ Obama to their ‘Israel First’ political apparatus." He also argued that "The conversion and promotion of Obama as an Israel-Firster is an excellent case study of the methods the ZPC has used to build a near invincible power base in the US political system" and that "His capitulation to the Zionofascists was the inevitable consequence of his intimate and longstanding ties to his liberal-Zionist backers." In addition, he stated that "The Zionist-influenced mass media took their cue from the far-right and orchestrated a hate campaign against Reverend Wright and his links to Obama." He concluded his article by stating that:
"Clearly Obama is a greater war monger on issues involving Israel then even Bush: It comes with being a “Jewish President”"
In the same article, he stated that "The Zionist self-promoters (ZSP), ever ready to take credit for any success (no matter how notorious and immoral) – Wall Street speculators, Ivy League professors, Pentagon militarists, cultural gurus and even the key patrons of art forms like jazz and constantly rewrite history (or biography in the case of Obama) to maximize their self-importance in all aspects of American life." He also added that:
"Not only do the Zionists and their embedded clones rule the White House, they also have the political apparatus (left, liberal, center and right) to silence, insult, witch hunt and isolate any critic of their agenda, their organizations and of the State of Israel."
In the article "Organized Political Terrorism: The Norwegian Massacre, the State, the Media and Israel" Petras blamed Israel, and fascist in the Norwegian police, for the 2011 Norway attacks
The 2011 Norway attacks were two sequential terrorist attacks against the government, the civilian population and a summer camp in Norway on 22 July 2011....
- The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack, Clarity Press, Inc. (2011). ISBN: 1-4611-1760-7 ISBN 978-1-4611-1760-5
- War Crimes in Gaza and the Zionist Fifth Column in America, Clarity Press, Inc. (2010). ISBN: 0-9845255-0-5 ISBN 978-0-9845-2550-8
- Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, Clarity Press, Inc. (2008). ISBN 0932863604
- Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants, Clarity Press, Inc. (2007). ISBN 978-0932863546
- The Power of Israel in the United States, Clarity Press, Inc. (2006). ISBN 0-932863-51-5
- Empire with Imperialism: The Globalizing Dynamics of Neoliberal Capitalism, Luciano Vasapollo, Zed Books (2006).
- Social Movements and State Power: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, with Henry Veltmeyer, Pluto Press (2005).
- Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21st Century, with Henry Veltmeyer, Zed Books (2001).
- The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America, with Henry Veltmeyer, Palgrave Macmillan (2000).
- Empire or Republic: Global Power or Domestic Decay in the US, with Morris Morley, Routledge (1994).
- Latin America in the Time of Cholera: Electoral Politics, Market Economics, and Permanent Crisis, Routlege (1992).