James Petras

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Person.png James Petras   Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Jim with dogs.jpg
BornJames Petras
Alma materBoston University, University of California at Berkeley
Member ofNewsBud, The Unz Review
His decades of writing has focused on social justice, anti-imperialism, Latin-America,Zionism and similar subjects. He is not afraid to touch on the deeper machinations of empire.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. His lifelong career has been motivated by a commitment to social justice.


Petras was prominently involved in the Young Socialist Alliance circa 1960,[1] and is listed as the Bay Area correspondent for The Young Socialist in several issues.[2] Through the decades Petras has worked directly with indigenous workers as an organizer, in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers' Movement and the unemployed workers' movement in Argentina.[3]

He has advised left-wing presidents like President Andreas Papandreou (Greece 1981-84),[4] President Salvador Allende of Chile (1970–73) and in recent years, President Hugo Chávez, and defended the rights of the indigenous in Latin America. From 1973-76 Petras worked on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America.

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."[5]

Describing the political conflict during and following the 2009 presidential election in Iran as pitting "high income, free market oriented capitalist" reformists against Ahmadinejad's "working class, low income, community-based supporters of a 'moral economy'", he denounced the narrative that the election was stolen as a hoax perpetrated by Western opinion makers.

Petras defended Marine Le Pen during the 2017 French presidential campaign, praising her policy views as pro-working class, anti-imperialist, Keynesian, pro-choice, and supportive of gay rights. Petras predicted that a victory by Emmanuel Macron followed by his implementation of an "ultra-neoliberal supply-side agenda" would lead to mass street demonstrations by leftists, followed by a stronger Le Pen candidacy in the 2022 election.[6]

Anti-Zionism and the Jewish lobby

In the book The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, 2006) he writes[7]:

The question of who is financing the Israeli state is basic because Israel as we know it today is not a viable state without massive external support. As the July 2004 updated Congressional Research Service Issue Brief for Congress titled "Israel: U.S. Foreign Assistance" points out in its opening statement: "Israelis not economically self-sufficient, and relies on foreign assistance and borrowing to maintain its economy. Despite what might seem an insurmountable obstacle not just to Israel's prosperity, but to its sustainability, the country has nonetheless done rather well. Billions of dollars are raised from a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish institutions to sustain the Israeli war machine, its policy of generous subsidies for Jews enticed to settle in colonies in the Occupied Territories and in Israel-sufficient to place the country as the world's 28th highest in living standards for Israel's Jewish citizens.

Without external aid Israel's economy would require severe cutbacks in living standards and working conditions, leading to the likely flight of most Israeli professionals, businessmen, and recent overseas immigrants. The Israeli military budget would be reduced and Israel would be obligated to reduce its military interventions in the Arab East and the Occupied Territories. Israel would cease being a rentier state living on overseas subsidies and would be obligated to engage in productive activity-a return to farming, manufacture and services minus the exploitation of low paid Asian maids, imported Eastern European farm workers, and Palestinian construction laborers.

Europe continues to privilege the importation of Israeli exports and financial services, despite overt and malicious attacks by leaders of both Israeli parties. Prominent Jewish organizations linked to major parties in France and England have muted any efforts to use the "trade card" to pressure Israel to accept European Union or United Nations mediation. European trade and financial ties to Israel however are not the basic prop for the Israeli war machine. The principle basis for long-term, large-scale financial support is found in the US, among public and private institutions.

In the United States there are essentially four basic sources of financial, ideological and political support for the Israeli rentier economy:

1. Wealthy Jewish contributors and powerful disciplined fund-raising organizations.

2. The US government-both Congress and the Presidency.

3. The mass media, particularly the New York Times, Hollywood, and the major television networks.

4. The trade union bosses and the heads of pension funds.

There is substantial overlap in these four institutional configurations. For example, Jewish supporters in the Israeli lobby work closely with Congressional leaders to secure long-term, large-scale US military and economic aid for Israel. Most of the mass media and a few trade unions are influenced by unconditional supporters of the Israeli war machine. Pro-Israel Jews are disproportionately represented in the financial, political, professional, academic, real estate, insurance and mass media sectors of the American economy.

While Jews are a minority in each and every one of these categories, their disproportionate power and influence stems from the fact that they function collectively: they are organized, active, and concentrate on a single issue-US policy in the Middle East, and specifically in securing Washington's massive, unconditional, and continuing military, political and financial support for Israel. Operating from their strategic positions in the power structure, they are able to influence policy and censor any dissident commentators or views from circulating freely in the communications and political system.


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 termed the liquid bomb plot a "hoax".[8]

Selected bibliography

  • 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 978-0-9845255-0-8
  • Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, Clarity Press, Inc. (2008). ISBN 0-932863-60-4
  • Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants, Clarity Press, Inc. (2007). ISBN 978-0-932863-54-6
  • 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, Routledge (1992).


Documents by James Petras

TitleDocument typePublication dateSubject(s)Description
Document:Organized Political Terrorismarticle31 July 2011Zionism
2011 Norway attacks
Document:The Imperial Empire: The Sun Never Sets but the Mote remains in the Emperor’s Eyearticle16 May 2016Globalisation
US Empire
The structure and vulnerabilities of the US Empire
Document:War on Libya: Official Lies and Misconceptionsarticle25 March 20112011 Attacks on Libya
"Humanitarian intervention"
A rundown of the principal falsehood propagated by the official narrative on Libya
Document:Who Spies for Israel in Washington’s Nuclear Negotiations?article1 April 2015Israel
Judaic power
Iran/Nuclear weapons
How Israel's interests are pursued in the corridors of US power in general and in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran in particular - with a credible list of suspects.


A document sourced from James Petras

TitleTypeSubject(s)Publication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Imperial Empire: The Sun Never Sets but the Mote remains in the Emperor’s EyearticleGlobalisation
US Empire
16 May 2016James PetrasThe structure and vulnerabilities of the US Empire
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  1. Breitman, George. Trotskyism in the United States: Historical Essays and Reconsiderations.
  2. Young Socialist, October 1959
  3. https://monthlyreview.org/2002/01/01/the-unemployed-workers-movement-in-argentina/ The Unemployed Workers Movement in Argentina
  4. James Petras, "The Assassination of Greece," (20 February 2015). Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  5. http://www.axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_22549.shtml Modernity and Twentieth Century Holocausts: Empire-Building and Mass Murder By James Petras, Axis of Logic, Friday, July 21, 2006.
  6. http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2139%7Ctitle=Twenty Truths about Marine Le Pen
  7. https://thirdworldtraveler.com/Petras_James/Power_Israel_US.html
  8. http://www.voltairenet.org/article143264.html