Nov 102002
Authors: Spencer Goodfriend

One of the country’s foremost independent political analysts, Michael Parenti, argued last Friday at CSU that the United States has become a plutocracy instead of a democracy.

“Free market capitalism is capitalism with out democracy,” Parenti said. “Nobody is getting more welfare (from the government) than corporate America.”

A plutocracy is a system ruled by wealthy interests.

Among his other key points were that globalization is not really free trade, but rather a monopoly-oriented and friendly system looking out for large-scale corporate interests. Parenti also argued that countries with capitalist systems tend to create more poverty than wealth through the exploitation of the working class.

“The democratic struggle is very closely related to class struggle,” Parenti said.

Students and adults alike seemed to be shocked when he leaked little known political tidbits such as that the U.S. gave Iraq over 90 percent of its chemical/biological weapon factories in the Iraq-Iran war, or that Argentina was a fairly prosperous country until capitalism came in and created a 50 percent poverty rate.

“I’m very glad I decided to go see this lecture. (Parenti) helped make me aware of the downfalls of our (economic) system,” said sophomore open option major Garrett Haberman. “I wasn’t really aware of the contradictions and two-faced actions of our principles and country.”

In regards to the possible war with Iraq, Parenti hints towards a statement made by political figure Alexander Hamilton during the infant stages of the United States: Many leaders in history pursued interests abroad to strengthen support at home.

“He made a lot of sense, people like him will make more people re-evaluate their stance on economic and international issues,” said senior finance major Matt Sweet.

Parenti is an author and lecturer who received his Ph.D from Yale. He has taught at colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. He is the author of such books as “Democracy for the Few”, “Against Empire” and “History as a Mystery.” His newest book is titled “The Assassination of Julius Caesar,” and will be available in about four months.

Parenti urges people interested in his books to buy them at a “mom-and-pop bookstore” rather than a large chain.

Parenti came as a part of International Fest, which runs through November. Students can pick up a schedule at the information desk.

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