How I Became An Activist
In the Spanish of the American Southwest a palito is a piece of kindling wood that ignites the larger logs. What is that palito that sparks a passive citizen to become an activist? We are all products of many influences. One big factor for me (AR’s David Barsamian) was my uncle Sarkis Hagopian. He wasn’t really my uncle but since he was from my mother’s village we called him that. He was barely educated. Most of his family was wiped out in the Armenian Genocide. He was a tailor in East Orange, NJ. He used to come over to our East 87th St railroad walkup apartment in New York on Sundays. I was just a kid but I was very impressed with his outspoken political views. He hated McCarthy, Nixon and other right-wingers of the ’50s. So in a way he was my palito.
Michael Parenti is one of this country’s foremost independent political analysts. Cornel West calls him, “a towering prophetic voice.” He has taught at major colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of numerous books including the classic Democracy for the Few, Power and the Powerless, The Face of Imperialism, and The Assassination of Julius Caesar.