WHAT: Digging Deeper LXIV: Michael Parenti and the Democratic Personality
WHO: Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN: Monday, December 8, 2008 -- 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th St., Tacoma, WA 98405
United for Peace
of Pierce County
December 8, 2008
UFPPC study circle
DIGGING DEEPER LXIV: Michael Parenti and the democratic personality
On Dec. 8, Digging Deeper will examine Contrary Notions: The Michael Parenti Reader (City Lights, 2007), a collection of thirty-eight pieces by a radical critic of American society who was born in East Harlem in 1933. Parenti holds a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University, but in 1972 was "purged," as he puts it, from the University of Vermont by its trustees for "unprofessional conduct" during antiwar activities, despite the support of his students, his entire department, the faculty senate, the council of deans, the provost, and the president of the university. In recent years Parenti has devoted himself full-time to writing and public speaking, lecturing widely throughout the U.S. and Canada, and occasionally in Europe. Contrary Notions treats of what Parenti calls "real history" as well as politics, empire, wealth, class power, technology, culture, ideology, media, the environment, sex, and ethnicity. Parenti is an important critic of the national security state, which he calls "that most virulent purveyor of state power . . . an informal configuration that usually includes the Executive Office of the White House, special White House planning committees, the sixteen intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of national intelligence, National Security Council, and other such units designed in surveillance, suppression, covert action, and forceful interventions aborad and at home. The president operates effectively as head of the national security state so long as he stays within the parameters of its primary dedication—which is to advance the interests of corporate investors and protect the overall global capital accumulation process" ("A Guide to Concepts and Isms," in Contrary Notion, pp. 199-200).
Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County (www.ufppc.org) has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-evening book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle. Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, torture, Iran, U.S.-Iran relations, the writings of Robert Baer, Islam, American immigration policy, Barack Obama and the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Saul Alinsky’s life and writings, war and human nature, parallels between the U.S. and ancient Rome, the sustainability revolution, and the debt crisis, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change. Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation.
DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA.