I posted a comment at Truth Dig which I decided to write as a Blog post as well just to bring together some of my Reading on Elites and Oligarchy. Chris Hedges article is here.
Comment by (Soicilaistworld)
”We must seize this splendid opportunity to get to meet with them, talk with them, win their trust, hopefully, win them over.”
Who are they? perhaps a little Friere might help.
“[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into
reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This
individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world
unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a
dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself
the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the
oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history,
to fight at their side.”―Paulo Freire,
Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Chris Hedges is usually very good at describing the Class War who are the classes at war is the question. It always has been the Ruling Class against the rest of us and US, We are divided and fight against ourselves. The Ruling Class consolidate their power and control through the Iron Law of Oligarchy. ´´first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It claims that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an “iron law” within any democratic organization as part of the “tactical and technical necessities” of organization´from Wikipedia. The Oligarchy is the commissariat of the ruling class, the rash of Billionaires in the past 20 years has been the blossoming of the new face of our political reality as the rest of us or the 99%. The functionaries populate the Organs of the power Elite aptly described by C Wright Mills in the Power Elite also from Wikipedia
The resulting elites, who control the three dominant institutions
(military, economic and political) can be generally grouped into one of
six types, according to Mills:
the “Metropolitan 400” – members of historically notable local
families in the principal American cities, generally represented on the Social Register
“Celebrities” – prominent entertainers and media personalities
the “Chief Executives” – presidents and CEO’s of the most important companies within each industrial sector
the “Corporate Rich” – major landowners and corporate shareholders
the “Warlords” – senior military officers, most importantly the Joint Chiefs of Staff
the “Political Directorate” – “fifty-odd men of the executive
branch” of the U.S. federal government, including the senior leadership
in the Executive Office of the President, sometimes variously drawn from elected officials of the Democratic and Republican parties but usually professional government bureaucrats”
The Analysis from the early 20th Century to the early 21st Century changes in Global Scope and also the America Exceptional slant now reflecting US uni polar phenomenon since the early 1990s and the collapse of the Soviet Union. One can think in terms of democracy among the International Elite based upon National Franchises. Schumpeter’s competing elites model of democracy serves double duty in demonstrating both the Political Theater of FAUX electoral political democracy and also in the behind closed doors machinations of the powerful list found in magazines like Forbes. ´´( quotes from Roy Madron, Super Competent Democracies).
‘Democracy is that institutional arrangement for arriving at political
decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a
competitive struggle for the people’s vote’.” Joseph Schumpeter, Quoted
from Roy Madron, Super Competent Democracies who in turn Cites.
“Participation, and Democratic Theory” by Carole Pateman. Dr Pateman
says that, Schumpeter and his followers: … set the current
Anglo-American political system as our democratic ideal (with) a
‘democratic theory’ that in many respects bears a strange resemblance to
the anti-democratic arguments of the last (i.e. 19th) century. No
longer is democratic theory centred on the participation of ‘the
people’; in the contemporary theory of democracy it is the participation
of the minority elite that is crucial and the non-participation of
the apathetic, ordinary man lacking in the feelings of political efficacy,
that is regarded as the main bulwark against
Heres the Forbes List of the most powerful people in the world 2009 edition http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/11/worlds-most-powerful-leadership-power-09-people_land.html.
Where is the throne of ELITE POWER? I would argue it is where it has always been in the Counting houses, in the Banks and exchequers. Some study of Steve Keen’s work on advanced financialised Capitalism bears close examination and his work on endogenous money creation, David Graeber’s Debt the first 5000 years serves as a useful historical context against which Keen’s work can be considered, search Marx´s roaming cavaliers of Capital to get some of Keens cutting analysis of Financialised Capitalism and its cannibalistic nature described by Marx so aptly. http://www.debtdeflation.com/blogs/2009/01/31/therovingcavaliersofcredit/
“Talk about centralisation! The credit system, which has its focus in the so-called national banks and the big money-lenders and usurers surrounding them, constitutes enormous centralisation, and gives this class of parasites the fabulous power, not only to periodically despoil industrial capitalists, but also to interfere in actual production in a most dangerous manner— and this gang knows nothing about production and has nothing to do with it.” –
See more at:
Marx, Capital Volume III, Chapter 33, The medium of circulation in the credit system, pp. 544–45 [Progress Press] – See more at:
I have been working for the past month exclusively on Oligarchy and this talk by Webster Tarpley has a very good analysis of where we have come from and where things seem to be headed.
Tarpley has a lot of good things to say one has to get past the inevitable point at which he will challenge and dismiss something one holds very dear, he upsets everyone I think but his analysis is always an interesting starting point. Of all my own enquiries recently the most revelatory insight I stumbled across was the concept of Hybridity introduced in this paper on the nature of Islamaphobia in Sweden. http://inhouse.lau.edu.lb/bima/papers/Jonas_Otterbeck.pdf
´´ According to the historian Åsa Karlsson, who cites among others Peter Burke, the upper classes of an emerging (Western) Europe came to distance themselves more and more from both the other classes of their own societies and from other cultures. At the same time, there was an urge for knowledge about the others that they had distanced themselves from. (16) This change of attitude towards other ethnic groups, classes, and religions has also been discussed by other Swedish scholars. (17)
16. Å. Karlsson 1998:84ff.
17.Larsson cited in Å Karlsson 1998:84; Ambjörnsson 1994:33ff.
In Many ways, Chris Hedges frustration and pessimism set out in this article asks a question of which path leads to liberation? This Blog by Toby Russel posits the ruling Elite, Hybridised Oligarchy call it what you will as a Danistocracy borrowed from Popp and Albrecht, http://thdrussell.blogspot.se/2011/12/from-here-to-there.html The medias role as the Fourth Estate is brought centre stage in this analysis with the Political Theater relegated to a role subservient to or co-mingled with the Main Stream media. This Speech, a rare one from Popp sets out much of what we need to do which could be summed up as Ignore the Bastards and do what you know will do some good. Do not pay attention to the Narcissists it only encourages them.
The speech of Andreas Popp from Wissensmanufaktur/ Plan B on Easter Monday Demonstration 2014 in Berlin with about 6.000 demonstrators is now available in English.
Businessman and author Andreas Popp, together with his friends at Wissensmanufaktur Institute, has developed an alternative “Plan B” for our western economy and society since they realized that the current system does not serve the people, but cannot be “healed” from within.
As of April 2014, German mainstream media continue to ignore the peaceful weekly Monday demonstrations in now over 34 German cities – defaming them ludicrously as “new right-wing movement”, whatever this should mean – as well as the efforts and offerings of Wissensmanufaktur and many other activists.
For more ideas on career suicide notes please see my Blog.
54 thoughts on “The Iron Law of Oligarchy.”