James Petras is a retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and adjunct professor at Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who has published prolifically on Latin American and Middle Eastern political issues.
Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. His initial appointment at Binghamton was in 1972 at the Sociology Department and his field is listed as: Development, Latin America, the Caribbean, revolutionary movements, class analysis.American Sociological Association's Marxist Sociology Section and the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book of 2002.
During his life he received the Western Political Science Association's the Best Dissertation award (1968), the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the
Petras 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 publications such as the New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review and Le Monde Diplomatique. Currently he writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo.
Petras is currently a member of the editorial collective of Canadian Dimension and contributes to CounterPunch and Atlantic Free Press.
Petras describes himself as a "revolutionary and anti-imperialist" activist and writer. He has worked with the Brazilian landless workers’ movement and the unemployed workers’ movement in Argentina. From 1973-76 Petras worked on the Bertrand Russell Tribunal on Repression in Latin America. He has called the United States the "dominant Imperial power" and has called efforts to reform human rights in China "Washington's human rights propaganda campaign".
In November 2006 the FARC in Colombia addressed a letter concerning three American hostages (Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes) to American film stars, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and leftist intellectuals Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, and James Petras.
In a 2006 article entitled "9/11 Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories Still Abound", the Anti-Defamation League noted Petras's assertion there was evidence that "Israelis" may have known about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks but withheld the information from the United States government. Petras has called American Jews "Israel's fifth column," a synonym for traitors, goes on to stereotype the American Jewish community "primarily defined by their entrepreneurial capacities," and then calls them "upholders of a doctrine of offensive wars." Petras has also called Israel "the most militarized country in the world."
Petras has defended the 2009 election results in Iran giving "nationalist-populist" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a 60%+ victory, in a 2009 article entitled "The Iranian Elections: The ‘Stolen Elections’ Hoax". Describing the struggle in Iran as pitting "high income, free market oriented capitalist individuals" reformists against Ahmadinejad's "working class, low income, community-based supporters of a 'moral economy'", he denounced the claim that the election was stolen as a "hoax" perpetrated by "Western opinion makers".
- Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, Clarity Press, Inc. (2008). ISBN 0932863604
- Rulers and Ruled in the US Empire: Bankers, Zionists and Militants, Clarity Press, Inc. (2007). ISBN 978-0932863546
- 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, Routlege (1992).