Attack the System radio

Attack the System: Who Are the Power Elite?

Attack the System
Who Are the Power Elite?

December 29, 2013

Keith Preston dissects the American ruling class.

Topics include:

  • The difference between power elite analysis and conspiracy theories.
  • Power elite analysis versus theories of democratic pluralism.
  • Classical elite theory as developed during the interwar period of the 1920s.
  • C. Wright Mills as the godfather of power elite theory.
  • James Burnham and the managerial revolution.
  • William Domhoff and the role of ideological institutions.
  • Robert Putnam and the role of technological elites.
  • Thomas Dye and the development of consensus among elites.
  • How the power elite uses demographic, cultural, and class conflict to protect its own position of dominance.

File type: MP3
Length: 1:14:02
Bitrate: 32kb/s CBR

Download (right click, ‘save as’)

Email Keith:

8 replies »

  1. I had a hard time hearing a direct answer to the question “who are the power elite?” throughout the podcast. My sense is that you see it as Mills’s interlocking directorate class. Is that the case?

  2. Well, I took the core ideas of the elite theorists from the early 20th century, and then put Mills radical spin on it, plus some modifications from subsequent thinkers.

  3. I would imagine that the changing nature and flux of the groups involved might preclude an exact who’s who of the power elite.

  4. You sound like an intelligent man trying to write a textbook on a podcast. Or you might say someone who is a member of the intellectual elite. Or a politician who is reluctant to answer an obvious and direct question.

  5. Well, my purpose with this podcast was to outline the various strands of power elite theory as these would apply to the United States. Beyond that, I wanted to leave the question a bit open given the institutional sophistication of the ruling classes in modern societies, their periodic shift in personnel, and their various second and third tier appendages.

    Apparently, I achieved my goal.

  6. I’m glad you called attention to the connection between political correctness and the police state. The two are not antagonistic.

    From what I’ve seen, the divided and ruled constituencies that you mention are, to a great extent, knowingly and willingly divided and ruled. I think this is particularly true of the more vocal feminist constituencies. Also, going back to the civil rights/women’s liberation era and coming forward to the present, many members of these constituencies do not in the least object to the existence of a power elite. They want to join it and to make it work for them.

    I think the alliance you’re hoping to build among those who are ruled by the power elite will need to await the impoverishment of a younger generation and the fall of the middle and working classes. Though the power elite may be impregnable because so many of us support their rule and privilege, their power over us may eventually wane when, though there may be no effective opposition to their rule in an America willfully divided by race, gender, sexual orientation etc, we’re each, in our isolated villages, devoting our energies to eking out a living.

    You didn’t mention James Howard Kunstler (in this podcast) but irritating though he may be in some ways, I think his vision of the future has much to recommend it.

    Nice reference to the daddy of them all, C. Wright Mills.

  7. I would encourage you to modulate your voice better when speaking. Perhaps speaking more quietly, or something, would stop you from squeaking. Your voice was so irritating that my dogs, who were quiet and calm before I turned this on, got irritable and started fighting. I also found your voice extremely irritating.

Leave a Reply