[Marxism] how the ruling class rules, was: Two gains US scored recently in Iraq wat
urbanfear75 at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 30 15:08:27 MST 2004
For the left I think understanding how the ruling
class rules is one of the most important things we
need to attempt understand and analyze.
I don't think the ruling classes' strategies are hap
hazard or unconscious. I think they are exceedingly
But as stansfield smith pointed out in a previous
email, most Americans don't think in terms of a
marxian analysis nor do most members or supporters of
the ruling classes. Do they see themselves engaged in
class warfare? Or do they see themselves engaged in
the process of stabilizing society and the economy?
In promoting their core and highest values? For every
necessary evil there is a justification that
reinforces their goals and defines them as just and
For them freedom and liberty is the freedom and
liberty to exploit labor and resources. For them this
is not exploitation as an inherent negative but as an
Sometimes I get the feeling, reading certain authors
on the left, that American capitalists are all
Montgomery Burns like characters rubbing their hands
and snickering at the next nefarious plan they can
Their world view has to come in closer to American
power is an inherent good. The very American values
many on the left denounce are for these people the
greatest standard for universal human values. At the
very least the US represents the best of all possible
worlds. And not just in lip service.
This framing of reality is transmitted to all layers
of society and indeed globally. It's so saturated
that a short hand develops and these cultural memes
are transmitted in the most insipid and innocuous
ways. They have the effect of blocking any social
imagination and critical thought.
So in this highly framed and attenuated reality where
almost no alternative imaginations exist I don't see
the ruling classes ruling by conspiracy. At most it
can be defined as a conspiracy of the like minded. A
conspiracy of common values and world views.
How difficult is it advance the position that the
problem of global terrorism is primarily the result
of US government actions. That is tantamount to
turning the world view of the majority of Americans on
Going back to the 90's. The greater portion of the
anti-globalization movement did not vary much from
this world view. For many it was more a reigning in
of the more flagrant excesses of global capitalism
(and not even defied as such, primarily viewed as
certain bad apples in the corporate cart.)
As the anti-globalization movement morphed almost
overnight into the antiwar movement, more elements
with this prevailing world view dominated.
The war on Afghanistan might have been viewed almost
universally by the ruling class as a mission of mercy.
Not even a necessary evil. But the war on Iraq
certainly was viewed by many as a flagrant excess.
Democrat party operatives don't conspire so much to
coopt more radical elements on their left flank, they
simply take for granted the framed reality in which
even those on the establishment left operate.
Taking for example a figure like Howard Dean. I
remember when that video tap of Dean on a Canadian tv
show surfaced. I gleefully noted to my friends how I
saw Dean as exactly that kind of character. A right
of center democrat party operative. He knew very well
how the democrat caucus in Iowa works. Very small
numbers of people participate and small social justice
and antiwar groups, even in a state like Iowa, could
hand someone like himself the win.
I'm originally from Iowa and was in Iowa during the
caucuses last winter. Many of the groups i had
associated with over the years split generally for
Dean. Even those individuals i considered to have
more advanced politics and more radical stances fell
into the democrat vortex via Kucinich.
The very compelling argument being that Iowa is a
small state, only the most mobilized politicos pay
attention and participate in the caucus and we can
send a message to the nation that we reject Bush, his
war and policies in general. It's an argument made at
every caucus in Iowa that i can remember since I've
become politically active. Yet people continue to
believe they can have an impact on the democrat party
nationally regardless of the mountain of evidence to
The other part of active democrats in Iowa already had
a well established ABB stance. My belief of how Kerry
won and eventually took the nomination is that Howard
Dean messed up. Dean had a relatively small cadre of
instate groupies in Iowa. Most of his canvassers and
campaign workers came from other parts of the country.
Iowans, being a xenophobic and conservative group,
were generally turned off by this foreign army of
volunteers. Kerry won, as most people realize, on his
Those groups and nuclei of more radical opposition to
war and capitalist globalization had been sucked into
the democrat party vortex. Dean spent much of his
effort nationally on courting this crowd and bringing
on many of the young organizers in small towns and
suburban areas. They became invested once again in
the democrat party.
Was it a conspiracy to coopt? Hardly. It was a
strategy employed by Dean and Kucinich and others that
served their immediate interests and the interests of
their faction of the ruling class. There is certainly
always a section of the ruling class the seeks to
reign in the most flagrant excesses of it's other
Charles asked Are you saying Kerry and all the
Democrats who ran for office didn't knowingly and in
concert a attempt to deceive the working class?
Are you asking if they sat down and said how can we
deceive and lie to the working class about our
motives? That is certainly the over all effect.
However, my point is to say i don't believe it works
that way. These people are not even honest with
themselves about their motives or ambitions. To the
extent that they are they view it as being in tune
with the greater good.
As Mark wrote,
Everyone involved only has to do what helps increase
their standing and these things converge nicely.
Officials in a precinct, a community, a state are all
competing for position in their party, and their
ability to deliver the vote is a vital aspect of that.
So, each of them does their best to tilt the results
for which they are partly responsible
...and it doesn't require some big conspiracy--just
the ordinary function of the system...like capitalism
Sorry this is getting so long. But my finally point
is that what all this talk of stolen elections and of
conspiracies avoids is how pathetic the left is in the
US. The left is so irrelevant it's hardly worth
mentioning. The left cannot break through the framed
reality in the US. And as long as it stays mired in
ideas and personalities only relevant to those
involved in small marxists and anarcho sects it will
continue to be irrelevant.
Current conditions require a radical departure in the
way we theorize and act.
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