[Marxism] Fwd: The Putin Paradigm | by Masha Gessen | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 13 15:36:03 MST 2016

The best available definition of the kind of state Putin has built is 
provided by the Hungarian sociologist Bálint Magyar, who calls it a 
mafia state: it’s run like a family by a patriarch who distributes 
money, power, and favors. Magyar uses the word “family” to mean a clan 
of people with longstanding associations; it is important that one 
cannot enter the family unless invited—“adopted,” in Balint’s 
terminology—and one cannot leave the family voluntarily. In this model 
the family is built on loyalty, not blood relations, but Trump is 
bringing his literal family into the White House. By inviting a few 
hand-picked people into the areas that interest him personally, he may 
be creating a mafia state within a state. Like all mafias, this one is 
driven primarily by greed.

The complete term Magyar uses is “the post-communist mafia state,” and 
he argues that it can take root only on the ruins of a totalitarian 
state. But Trump may introduce the world to the post-democratic mafia 
state. In this model, he will still be the patriarch who distributes 
money and power. The patriarch’s immediate circle will comprise his 
actual family and a few favorites like General Flynn. They will concern 
themselves with issues of interest to the president, and with enrichment 
of themselves and their allies. The outer circle will be handed issues 
in which Trump is less interested. In practical terms, this will mean 
that the establishment Republicans in the cabinet will be able to pursue 
a radically conservative program on many areas of policy, without regard 
to views Trump may or may not hold, and this will keep the Republican 
Party satisfied with a president it once didn’t want.


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