For a Revolutionary Right That Out-left’s the Left 2

What does it mean when the Right is becoming more revolutionary minded than the Left? Nowadays, there are “left-conservatives”, “left-libertarians”, “left-secessionists”, “conservative revolutionaries”, “left-nationalists”, “national-syndicalists”, “national-anarchists”, “national-bolsheviks”, “national-maoists”, “left-populists”, “left-decentralists”, “national-communists” and lots of other labels that defy the left/right stereotype. What does is mean that the official Left has become a haven of moribund predictability regurgitating the most superficial cliches’?

What if a revolutionary Right emerged that was able to outmaneuver the totalitarian humanists of the Left by maintaining a more revolutionary position, absorbing untapped social energies ignored by the Left, undercutting the Left’s support base, and operating within a general populist framework?

There are a wide variety of lumpen elements and outgroups that are ignored or despised by the Left, despite the leftoids claim to be the champion of the oppressed and downtrodden? What about the handicapped, the mentally ill, students, youth, prostitutes and other sex workers, prisoners, prisoner’s rights activists, advocates for the rights of the criminally accused, the homeless and homeless activists, anti-police activists, advocates of alternative medicine, drug users, the families of drug war prisoners, immigrants, lumpen economic elements (jitney cab drivers, peddlers, street vendors), gang members and many others too numerous to name?

Who is it that stands for the workers and the poor? Is it the Left with its commitment to New Class managerial bureaucratic welfarism? Who stands for the people of rural American farming communities? Is is the cosmopolitan Left with its hostility to all things traditional? Who stands for the environment? Is it the middle class do-gooders of the Sierra Club? Or is it the ecological revolutionaries of the Earth Liberation Front?

What kind of economic outlook is more revolutionary? A Left offering more welfare statism or a revolutionary Right offering a negative income tax that by passes the bureaucratic middlemen of the welfare state, cutting taxes and regulation from the bottom up and eliminating corporate, bank and military welfare from the top down, and developing worker cooperatives, mutual banks, community development corporations, land trusts, kibbutzim and anarcho-syndicalist unions.

In the area of race relations, which is more revolutionary? More affirmative action, welfare, coercive intergrationism and multiculturalist propaganda? Or a system of reparations to America’s minority nationalities, political autonomy, cultural self-determination, economic development and self-sufficiency?

In foreign policy, what is more radical? “Human rights internationalism” or shutting down the American empire, dismantling the standing army and replacing the military-industrial complex with a decentralized militia confederation?

In criminal law, who has the more radical position? Liberals advocating civilian review boards and drug courts or revolutionaries favoring shutting down the police state and prison-industrial complex altogether along comprehensive prisoner amnesty?

As we build a movement towards such ends, look for the Left to attempt to obstruct our efforts at every turn.

Pan-Secessionist Anti-Universalism Vs. Totalitarian Humanism 4

The primary ideological war of the future will not be between the left and right, or between socialism and capitalism, or even between nationalism and imperialism. The struggle will be between anti-universalism and decentralism on one end and totalitarian humanism on the other.

I first became aware of this sometime during the mid-1990s when I was something of an oddity; a leftwing anarchist participating in the right-wing patriot/militia/survivalist movement. After observing the police state atrocities at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and the similarities of these to prior Cointelpro repression against the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement, and noticing the insufficient response of the Left on these matters, I started to understand the need to move past the conventional left/right political model. I was pleased to find many on the far right with many of the same ideas and interests as myself, particularly opposition to the US empire, the corporate ruling class, the federal Leviathan, the internal police/surveillance state and much else. For the first time, I came across contemporary groups advocating secession from the United States. The first of these was the Republic of Texas.

It occurred to me that I had finally found the means of overthrowing the US ruling class,i.e., a tactical alliance of decentralists from the far right (like my militia comrades) and from the far left (like revolutionary anarchists). Observing such tendencies on the far right as the sovereigns, common law courts, militias, neo-secessionists, the land rights movement and county autonomy, and noticing the similarities of these with libertarian municipalism, anarcho-syndicalism, individualist-anarchism, and green decentralism, it seemed like a perfect solution: an alliance of left and right against the ruling class middle. Sure, there were some serious cultural differences, but decentralism seemed to be the solution to all that. Liberal communities like big cities, metro areas, suburbs and culturally mixed neighborhoods would govern themselves according to liberal values while conservative communities like rural counties, small towns, sparsely populated regions and culturally homogenous enclaves would govern themselves according to conservative values. And we would all be free of the superstate that is oppressing us all.

In the ten years I have advocated such an approach, interest in this idea has grown considerably. Dozens of secession groups of varying sizes have emerged in North America and some of these have been featured in major national media outlets. The relative popularity of a maverick presidential candidate like Ron Paul would have been unthinkable ten years ago. At various points, hundreds of US localities and a few states have issued resolutions condemning such excesses as the Iraq war and the Patriot Act. A fairly large movement against the institutions of international capitalism such as the WTO, IMF and World Bank emerged for a time.

Along the way, I have noticed another trend that is less admirable and one that I have written extensively about. I call this trend “totalitarian humanism”. I first started noticing this when I would propose the aforementioned left/right decentralist alliance in some leftist circles. “But they’re anti-abortion, they’re homophobes, they’re racists, they’re nationalists, they go to church, they eat meat and chew tobacco and fuck in the missionary position….” would be the increasingly familiar response. Me: “Yeah, so what, you don’t have to associate with them, you don’t have to live among them and in a decentralist system you don’t even have to share a political roof with them….”

What I found absolutely astounding was the inability of some leftoids to even understand my position. It’s not that they could follow my arguments but simply disagreed. Instead, what I was talking about-a system of decentralized anti-universalism where incompatible cultural groups simply separate themselves from one another-was utterly incomprehensible to them, as though I was trying to explain advanced theoretical physics or infinitesimal calculus to them. A real turning point came with the emergence of an anarchist tendency called “national-anarchism” which basically advocates the formation of ethnically homogenous village communities for the sake of preserving indigenous European racial, ethnic and cultural identity in the face of the increasingly global uniformity that has accompanied the global economy and Americanization of the world. It seemed harmless enough to me, and very similar to what many non-European indigenous peoples’ and traditional religious groups (like the Amish) have advocated in the past.

But the reaction to the “national-anarchists” among many leftists and left-anarchists was similar to what one might expect from a little girl when confronted with a spider or snake. Absolute, sheer hysteria.  I had previously become aware of the therapeutic state through my studies of the ideological underpinnings of the War on Drugs, whereby the imprisoning of millions of people and the creation of a police state in the name of “public health” is considered a legitimate and appropriate governmental activity. The writings of Dr. Thomas Szasz were quite beneficial to me in this regard.

I started noticing a similar phenomenon concerning such matters as race, gender, religion, sexuality and other things. I recall a conversation with a devout liberal who expressed his “outrage” at having attended a Muslim mosque and noticing the gender-segregated seating arrangement. Me: “It’s their mosque, for God’s sake, if you don’t like it, don’t go in there…” The same argument I have made for years to social conservatives who are offended by adult entertainment facilities.

What I eventually came to realize is that many liberals and leftoids simply cannot stand the idea that someone, somewhere, sometime may be practicing “un-liberalism”. For instance, a small private school teaching creationism, a private religious community or house of worship practicing “sexism” or “homophobia”, an isolated village practicing racial/ethnic exclusivity, a single individual hidden away in a broom closet silent thinking politically incorrect thoughts to himself.

What is called “liberalism” in modern times is really totalitarian humanism (some have also called it cultural Marxism). It is a totalitarian movement every bit as much as the totalitarian movements of the 20th century: communism, fascism and national socialism.  It aims to regulate every aspect of life down to the most minute detail including day to day personal habits like diet, language, smoking, family relations, recreational activities and much else. It is 1984, Brave New World and A Clockwork Orange all rolled into one.

Totalitarian humanism is the ideology of the ruling classes of the Western nations.  This ideology has formed the basis of a new Inquisition. Even those with status and positions of high esteem are vulnerable. Notice the fates of Dr. James Watson or Harvard’s Lawrence Summers. Even infant children are not immune:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/education/2261307/Toddlers-who-dislike-spicy-food-racist,-say-report.html

Politically disapproved speech can now land you in jail in many “democratic” countries, in spite of their much-flaunted phony “tolerance”, just as it could in many previously existing communist, fascist or theocratic regimes. Totalitarian Humanism is Robespierre, Mussolini and Mao all over again.

Resistance to this villainy is the defense of liberty and civilization. No compromises or concessions should be made to these cretinous elements.  The governments that these elements now control must ultimately be eradicated. The development of secession movements by regions, communities, towns, cities or by non-territorial groups wishing to defend themselves against increasing attacks by the state should be given every possible means of support and encouragement. All who would resist the forces of totalitarian humanism should be welcomed into our resistance forces, whether they be adherents of some eccentric religious doctrine, some seemingly perverse sexuality, racial separatists, environmental radicals or simply persons with more conventional political views who see danger ahead.

On Being the Leader of Anarcho-Fascism in America Reply

Saith the Lefto-Totalitarian aspiring Stasi at Libcom.org:

I’m particularly bothered by these so-called “anarcho”-nationalists that are trying to take advantage of the increase in interest in anarchism. The leaders of this fake “anarchism” are Keith Preston (USA), Troy Southgate (UK), Richard Hunt (UK), Peter Topfer (Germany), Hans Cany (France), and Flavio Goncalves (Portugal). What is worrying is that Keith Preston at least is trying to give his ideas legitimacy by hooking up to the tendency to bridge the gap between the libertarian “right” and “left” (as Kevin Carson is trying to do). It’s all very fishy. Websites trying to link Bakunin and Julius Evola, Proudhon and Alain de Benoist, Kropotkin and Otto Strasser. Strange shit.

Any thoughts? It seems to have grown out of hippy-dippy “anarchism”, at least in the UK – Richard Hunt, Southgate’s comrade-in-arms, was part of that “Green Anarchist” scene. But elsewhere…? Where the hell does this crap come from?

So I am the leader of “anarcho-fascism in the USA”? Hmm. I’m actually more “liberal” on most social/cultural questions than most liberals. For instance, I’m pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia, anti-death penalty (though not for the usual reasons), pro-drug legalization, pro-gay rights, pro-sex worker rights, pro-prison abolition, pro-homeless, pro-disabled peoples’ rights, pro-indigenous peoples’ rights, pro-rights of the mentally ill, anti-drinking age, anti-compulsory schooling, anti-censorship and I’d put more strident limits on the powers of the police than the ACLU would. I’m also interested in anarcho-syndicalist or “libertarian socialist” economics. This is far more left than most liberals and even many hard leftists. I’m not a carte blanche liberal. For instance, I agree with the far right on the right to bear arms. I’m more moderate on immigration and I despise political correctness. Like many conservatives, libertarians and other right-wingers who profess opposition to statism, I oppose the Federal Reserve, the United Nations, income taxes, the public school system, welfare, affirmative action, antidiscrimination laws, the Environmental Protection Agency, “hate crimes” (really thought crimes) legislation, public housing, campus speech codes, zoning ordinances, social security, and many other forms of statism and authoritarianism typically championed by “the Left.”

Of course, what really seems to set these Totalitarian Humanist types off the most is my upholding the rights of free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association (or not to associate). This is why, unlike anarchists of the leftoid persuasion, I welcome national-anarchists, third-positionists, members of the European New Right, conservative Christians, black separatists, white separatists, Jewish separatists, survivalists, paleoconservatives, “right-wing” libertarians, and other decentralists or anti-statists with non-leftist cultural views into the ranks of the anti-System movement.

If this doesn’t jibe with these self-styled “anti-fascist” or “anti-racist” cretins, then too damn bad. As Aidan Rankin has observed, so-called “anti-fascism” is merely a new kind of fascism with a leftist outward appearance. It will be interesting to observe how these leftoid-totalitarian humanist-antifascist creatures evolve in the future. As Cultural Marxism becomes ever more deeply entrenched and absorbed by the establishment, these gutter creeps are likely to abandon their pretended anti-establishment and anti-American stances, and simply become jingoists, upholding the police state and imperialist war in the name of waging the holy jihad against racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, speciesism, weightism, lookism, yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah, fart, fart, fart…

They certainly have a prototype in the Commies/Trots-turned-Know Nothings in the Neocons.

The State and Immigration 2

Some months ago I wrote an article for LewRockwell.Com discussing the role of the state with regards to immigration. You can read the full article here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/preston7.html

Joshua Holmes offers a rebuttal here: http://noonefreer.blogspot.com/2008/01/another-terrible-argument-against.html

Joshua hasn’t converted me, but he makes some points worth addressing. First, he addresses the class issue:

“1. “Immigration is class warfare!” Basically, mass immigration is a way for the rich to exploit the poor.

The problem is that keeping desperately poor people from working in the world’s largest economy is, itself, the worst economic exploitation around. Forcing people to scratch out a living in a rural Mexican village or in a war-torn hellhole like the Sudan is the worst sort of class warfare in existence. You can’t call yourself a friend of the workers if you’re stopping them from the richest job market in history.”

Well, first of all, I am not a universalist. Naturally, I am more concerned about the working class from which I come and the indigenous American working class to which I am most closely connected than I am with workers anywhere just as I am more concerned about my own circle of family, friends and peers than I am with “humanity” as a whole. Mass immigration is harmful to the indigenous American working class (of any color). That said, I’m all for the self-advancement of workers in the Sudan and Mexico, which is part of the reason why I’ve been a committed anti-imperialist my entire adult life. I want people in these places to be sovereign in their own homelands, communities and cultures and in control of their own economies and natural resources so that they may develop in their own way and at their own pace. Good luck to them.

“Libertarians say that, if the world is set to rights, there’s nothing wrong with the existence of the rich and the poor. And if the poor choose to work for the rich, that’s a private matter and no one else’s business. Preston nowhere mentions or addresses this argument, even though it’s the fundamental libertarian complaint against state interference in labor-management relations.”

This is such a naive view of political economy it’s barely worth discussing. I’ll simply say, “Joshua, read some Kevin Carson and then we can discuss this further.” You can start here: http://mutualist.org/id4.html

“But even as Preston laments the fate of the workers, he betrays them. Why else would he say, “There are going to be a lot of very wealthy people, and a lot of peons who are going to live in the barrios.” Why use the Spanish word? The reason is ugly but simple; Preston is saying, “I don’t want to live in a country full of Mexicans.” Fair enough, but why should his preferences get enacted into law? There’s nothing libertarian about that.”

I’d rather live in country full of Mexicans than in a country full of white yuppies and megachurch Jesus freaks. The bottom line is that if you move the Third World into the West, you will lower the overall quality of life in the West to Third World levels, rather than vice versa. Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn made the argument that the effect of “free, universal and compulsory” education has been not to raise the educational standards of the stupid but to dumb down the smart. Immigration has a similar effect.

“(There also considerable market-oriented literature about the barrios as a creation of unjust legal systems, but that’s not a problem with immigration.)”

Indeed they are, and so are black ghettos.

The bulk of Joshua’s arguments concern a passage from my article he finds particularly objectionable:

“I’m in favor of private property, not just for individuals as the Lockeans are, but also for families (as illustrated by the law of inheritance), communities (“the commons”), property rooted in ancestral traditions (for instance, the recognition of the prerogative of indigenous peoples’ to their sacred burial grounds), the property of tribes and ethnic groups (their historical homelands), and of nations (their generations long established domain). However, I’m also in favor of alternative business models like cooperatives and works councils. Whatever the particular approach to property theory one adheres to, or whatever model of business/labor/economic organization one finds to be most optimal or just, it is unlikely that there can ever be a system of ownership, whether individual or collective, that places no barriers to entry whatsoever. Is an anarcho-leftist commune going to accept all comers, irrespective of beliefs, behavior or economic output? Republicans? Religious fundamentalists? Meat-eaters? Skinheads? And is enforcement of rules pertaining to immigration visas or border crossing inherently any more authoritarian than the enforcement of laws against trespassing or the restriction of entry to private facilities such as school campuses, shopping centers or office buildings? Both involve forcible expulsion of those uninvited persons who refuse to exit on their own initiative and not necessarily anything more.”

Says Joshua, in response to this passage:

“That this passage appears on a libertarian site is breathtaking, because Preston is implicitly arguing that the state is the representative of or embodiment of one of those listed groups. Wasn’t Preston just arguing about the awfulness of class warfare a few paragraphs beforehand, and now he’s arguing that the state is the embodiment of some rights-bearing group? He argues that the elites are using the state to create mass immigration, then argues that the state is the father of us all? Well, which is it?”

I’ve made no such argument at all. I’ve merely argued in favor of property rights beyond the merely individual level, not that the state is the embodiment of families, communities, indigenous peoples, ethnic groups or tribes or even nations. In fact, I regard the state as a parasite on all of these entities and institutions, including their property rights.

“But to answer his question, the difference between the state’s borders and the individual’s borders is “rights”. The state has no right to the borders because it is not a rights-bearing group or its representative. Keep as many folks off your property as you like, but you don’t get to tell me who I allow access. Preston’s argument is akin to an assault defendant saying that it’s perfectly okay to punch people in a boxing match.”

I regard rights as conventions rooted in historic tradition and experience, and relative to the particulars of specific cultures, and not as decrees from On High. Beyond that, I don’t trust the state to uphold “rights” of any kind. Down with the INS, all hail the Minutemen!

“Once again, the LRC folks flail about but can’t answer the serious libertarian argument at the heart of our open borders stance: who I allow onto my property, who I hire and fire, is not the business of anyone else, including the state. “

I would agree with this when it comes to individual property owners, small businesses, genuinely private associations, etc. I don’t agree when it comes to mass corporations and crony-capitalist institutions connected to the state. For instance, while I think private neighborhoods, private schools, private clubs, genuinely private businesses, etc. should be allowed to discriminate all they want, even on grounds liberals find taboo like race, gender, et al, I wouldn’t have a problem with a rule that said McDonald’s, Walmart, General Motors or Microsoft cannot simply refuse to hire blacks, or Mormons or gays simply because they are blacks, Mormons or gays. But I would also have no problem with a rule that Big Capital cannot displace indigenous workers out of desire to exploit immigrant labor. Corporate feudalism really isn’t my idea of liberty.

Beyond that, libertarianism is not the end-all of human existence. It’s not a religion or something that can answer all the world’s problems. I consider liberty to be the highest political value (as opposed to equality or throne and altar or the glory of the fatherland), but sectarian versions of libertarianism are hardly important enough to justify political, economic and cultural suicide, which is what will happen if we Westerners allow our societies to be overrun by immigration. That said, I very much favor standing with Third World nations against imperialism and exploitation by international capitalism. I favor practicing class solidarity with domestic workers, including immigrant workers, even illegals. For instance, I’m a big fan of Caesar Chavez. I favor practicing solidarity with all prisoners, even those on death row, and, yes, even those in immigrant detention camps.

I do not favor creating any new laws whatsoever for the purpose of curbing immigration. I’m simply for ending all state subsidies and entitlements that create incentives for immigration, ending birth citizenship (a privilege, not a right),  decentralizing the naturalization process to the community level according to community standards, repealing laws prohibiting private discrimination, deporting immigrants convicted of violent crimes, forming citizen militias to patrol entry points, creating worker-run enterprises to discourage the employment of cheap immigrant labor, organizing boycotts of employers who do engage in such practices, and outright syndicalist seizure of state-connected industries who displace indigenous labor with immigrant labor.

There’s a such thing as a society becoming so “tolerant” that it leads to self-destruction. For instance, the Weimar Republic did not act to save itself even in the face of imminent Nazi or Communist seizure of power. The same thing is going on in Europe today with regards to unqualified Islamic immigration in the name of multiculturalist ideology. And in America, the indigenous working class is being sold out in the name of trendy liberal notions of “diversity”.

Why Pan-Secessionism? 4

Most Americans agree that the political system in the United States is incompetent, corrupt and not likely to be reformed in any meaningful way. More and more Americans are getting fed up with the Tweedle Dee vs. Tweedle Dum so-called “electoral process”. The problem is that while Americans frequently agree that “the system” is no good, there is virtually no agreement as to what should be done about it or what an alternative system might be. Enter the idea of pan-secessionism.

Secession, of course, involves the idea of regions or localities separating themselves from larger political units, such as the secession of the thirteen American colonies from the British empire in 1776, the secession of the Confederate states from the Union in 1861, the secession of Norway from Sweden in the early twentieth century, or the secession of the various Warsaw Pact nations or Soviet republics from the Soviet empire in the late 1980s.

As the American economy continues to decline due to America’s massive trade deficits, falling currency, rising fuel costs, unemployment, fiscal extravagance, military overstretch, mass immigration, rising health care and housing costs, American society and American politics will become increasingly polarized along the lines of social class, as is the case in many Latin American or Middle Eastern nations, and as was the case in Europe prior to the mid-20th century.

Americans are divided among themselves along cultural, regional, religious, racial, ethnic and political lines. Yet most Americans agree that the system as it stands is no good. And all Americans have a stake in resisting the corporate oligarchy that presently runs the system.  Pan-secessionism provides a way for all Americans to unite against the common enemy (“the system”) and manage their differences at the same time. Simply put, we should all work together to attack our common enemy, and then go our separate ways.

Pan-secessionism provides the framework whereby social conservatives and counterculturalists, religious fundamentalists and feminists or gays, blacks and whites, Christians and Muslims, conservatives and liberals, anarchists and socialists, communists and fascists, libertarians and communitarians, family values advocates and proponents of alternative lifestyles, yuppies and punk rockers, homeschoolers and drug users, militiamen and gangbangers, skinheads and illegal immigrants, vegetarians and pro-lifers can all achieve self-determination for themselves within the context of communities specifically designed to meet their own cultural or philosophical standards or desires. The “system” uses these differences as a means of dividing and conquering all of us who are under their boot. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan once remarked, “If we can’t get along, then we need to separate.”

Already there are over three dozen secessionist organizations in North America. Imagine if they all grew to where they had thousands of members and then tens of thousands and then hundreds of thousands and then entire towns, counties, cities, metro areas, states and regions started declaring their independence from Washington, D.C., and began creating their own intentional communities and intentional states with their own schools, health care systems, businesses, labor organizations, social services, cultural organizations, protection services, courts and militias. Dissenting political forces have done just this in many other countries, and we can do it in America as well. So let’s get to it.

Lessons of the Ron Paul Campaign? 3

It would appear that Ron Paul’s heroic but quixotic presidential campaign is all but finished. That said, what lessons can be drawn from the Ron Paul experience? To some degree, it would appear that those of us advocating a “third way” beyond left and right have been on the right track. Ron Paul’s support came primarily from the vast culture of the “radical right” (those so far to the Right as to be outside the Republican Party) and from “moderates” or “independents” (the radical middle), blacks (no doubt due to his stands on the Iraq war and the drug war), antiwar sympathizers, young people and “secularists” (who are mostly independently minded, dissident intellectuals). These are precisely the constituents a serious beyond left and right movement would need to capture.

Ron Paul is a good candidate. He is quite solid on the primary issues: the foreign policy agenda of the Neocons and their liberal-internationalist accomplices, sovereignty, the police state and its “root causes” (the drug war, terror war, crime war, etc.) and essential trade, monetary and fiscal matters. That mainstream Republicans in general and “movement conservatives” in general refused to support Ron Paul illustrates their true colors as the “Party of War and Fascism”. RP is a solid family man, a baby doctor, an evangelical Christian, pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, anti-gay marriage, anti-income tax and anti-immigration. One would think he would be the ideal conservative candidate, but he was rejected in favor of the warmongering AIPAC/Military-Industrial-Complex stooge McCain, the used car salesman Romney or the televangelist Huckster. This means we can pretty much forget about “conservatives” as reliable allies against Big Brother.

More…

Do I Believe Jews Control the World? 6

Found this amusing post on the Revolution International blog:

Very strange website. I note you link to Keith Preston (thinks Jews control the world), Peter Topfer (attended Teran holocaust denial conference), the National Bolshevik Party (neo-Nazi and old KGB), Black nationalists who are anti-Semitic (and anti-White), and Folk & Faith (who openly support Mussolini and, at least on their forums, refer to themselves as fascists). Needless to say, you lot aren’t anarchists. Not even close. They are 2 different words – “Anarchist” and “Fascist.” Real anarchists have this history of beating-up and killing fascists, and fascists have a history of jailing and shooting anarchists. Savvy?

These comments come from an Irish left-anarchist by the name of Daniel Owen (http://celticanarchy.org/)

So do Jews really control the world? No, reality is more complicated than that. Modern democratic states are essentially an alliance of the political apparatus of government and the capitalist economic ruling class that displaced the traditional feudal aristocracy in the West. As mass democracy has grown, suffrage has become universal and the mass media has emerged as a major public institution, politics has become a kind of oligopoly of political interest groups seeking to control the forces of state and capital. The composition of the ruling class at any one time represents shifting coalitions of such interest groups, including those of an economic, ideological, cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, generational or some other nature. None of this can be explained in crudely reductionist terms. For instance, the Marxist view of the state as the “executive committee of the ruling class” frequently ignores the role of non-economic forces as well as intra-state and intra-capitalist class rivalries in determining political outcomes. It ignores the question of “bureaucratic thrust” whereby bureaucratic entities take on a life of their own where self-preservation begins to overshadow instrumental purposes.

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