Required Reading: University pushing purchase of 'Democracy for the Few'
- Author Michael Parenti, a Yale graduate, is 'one of the nation’s leading progressive political analysts.'
An entry-level political science course at Cypress College (CC) in California is requiring students to purchase Democracy for the Few, a book written by “one of the nation’s leading progressive political analysts.”
Author Michael Parenti, a Yale graduate, ran for a congressional seat in 1974 on the Liberty Union Party ticket, a “nonviolent socialist party” promoting anti-war values.
The class, listed as POSC 100, is the most basic political science course offered at the college and is a prerequisite for the majority of political science courses. According to the CC class schedule“[d]uplicate credit [is] not granted” for students who do not take this course.
In addition, a professor of the course—and many other courses in the political science department—Peter Mathews, was a Democratic nominee for U.S. Congress in 1998. According to students, Mathews’ liberal bias is anything but subdued in the classroom.
“You can talk to any student that has taken the course,” Roberto Guerrero, a political science major and founding president of CC’s Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) group told Campus Reform. “It is a just one-sided bias, it’s just big government, big government. He is what a preacher is to a church, which is his word, and that’s it.”
“This is not the only book [students] have in the class. The other textbook deals with structure of government and process how [bills] become law, the more institutional part of it,” Prof. Mathews told Campus Reform when asked if a conservative perspective was presented in the class. “Not all perspectives are equal in terms of their validity. Some of them describe reality more accurately and some don’t.”
When asked if the book was biased, Prof. Mathews rejected the question.
“What do you mean ‘ideologically biased?’” Mathews asked Campus Reform. “It backs up every one of its claims with facts and reason and information like all textbooks do.”
“Democracy of the Few is a clear leftist book,” Guerrero said. “It’s pretty much just leftist wing [propaganda], more government, basically criticizing religion, criticizing free markets. It is literally a required reading by Mr. Mathews.”
“He definitely doesn’t hide who he is,” Guerrero continued. “There really is no education [sic] value. It’s indoctrination, that’s really what it is.”
Cecilia Packard, a political science major at CC and an active member of YAL, says she would like to see balanced views of both parties presented in the class.
“I feel that it’s really unfair that the other ideas aren’t really being represented from the conservative side of things,” Packard told Campus Reform. “I would be really frustrated that I wasn’t being heard and represented [as a conservative student].”
An overview of the book states that it “is a provocative interpretation of American Government” which “shows how democracy is repeatedly violated by corporate oligopolies, and how popular forces have fought back and occasionally made gains in spite of the system.”
The table of contents of the 9th edition includes sections titled “A Constitution for the Few,” “The U.S. Global Military Empire,” and “Unequal Before the Law,” among others.
“This book started me looking at the Progressive Movement way back in college,” one review from a woman said.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO