Sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote a book in 1956 that (sadly) still resonates today. In his book ‘The Power Elite’ Mills focused on groups and individuals who help to control this Republic for countless generations:
- 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 CEOs 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
Mills formulated a very short summary of his book:
“Who, after all, runs America? No one runs it altogether, but in so far as any group does, the power elite.”
Now, this was in 1956, but look how what this man indicated is still part of our problem. The Super Rich are bundled into what many have referred to as ‘The Deep State’. Well, contrary to what Trump has ascertained, and what actually helped him win the election in 2016, is this ‘ he Deep State’. Most of our presidents since FDR, excluding the one they knocked off, were either owned, run or influenced by such a grouping of people and organizations. Trump was able to use the actual and honest fears of the ‘Deep State’ to his advantage. Many working stiffs (usually white) saw this phony populist demagogue as the answer to their prayers: A release from that tight grip on their quality of life that this empire has successfully achieved for generations. Of course, this ‘Long Con’ as I call it has been used by the Two Party/One Party system forever it seems. Trump was just the latest, and most lethal I might add, of these devices. He, along with his minions and hidden handlers, is on the verge of finally destroying any memory of a vibrant republican democracy…. a democracy that has been a joke for decades. Getting this gang out of power will perhaps stop the bleeding a bit, but…. the Power Elite march on!
Here’s the kicker: Without an army of lackeys no empire can continue to rule so unfairly.
The Power Elite, categorized by the late C. Wright Mills, are but a few thousand people at most. They always need the ‘boots on the ground’ to maintain control. We see this occurring every day. Those who own the electronic media need a myriad of field reporters, producers, editors, writers, newscasters, hosts and their guests to keep churning out the spin. The corporate world needs top and lower level executives and managers to continue to ‘Sell their shit’ to the public.
Schools of higher learning need compliant school administrators, department heads and teachers to toe the company line of this empire. A few years ago this writer was part of a grass roots movement, The 25% Solution, advocating an immediate 25% cut in military spending, with the savings going back to the states and their localities. I was asked by a sympathetic college professor to give a presentation to a group of three sociology classes. The presentation went very well, and the three teachers were so glad that I came by. I wanted to make this a regular thing, speaking with new classes each semester. They never called or returned my calls! Somebody upstairs got to them, yes? A dear friend of mine, a NYC talk radio host, about 15 years ago had requested to his producer that they get a representative of ‘Physicians for National Health Care’ (forerunner to ‘ Medicare for All’) as a guest. He got the guest on air, and was conducting a comprehensive interview. They were covering things that Senator Sanders was, years later, passionately advocating. At the first commercial break, his producer told him, ear to ear, that he did not want the interview to run any longer. My friend argued for keeping the guest on as the phone lines were lit up with callers wishing to speak to the doctor. No dice! Over!
How powerful is this ‘Power Elite’? Ask yourself this: If you still believe that
A) Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK with that single rifle;
B) The North Vietnamese attacked the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, giving LBJ license for increasing our presence in South Vietnam;
C) James Earl Ray killed MLK and then conveniently escaped to Canada on his own;
D) Sirhan Sirhan killed RFK, though never standing close enough to him, as the autopsy revealed the bullet had to come from inches away;
E) Reagan achieved the release of hostages held by Iran right after being elected in 1980, though Carter could not negotiate it before the election;
F) Saddam Hussein was NOT suckered into his 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Bush Sr. when US ambassador April Glaspie assured him “We do not get involved in territorial disputes between two nations” (check out two facts: Kuwait was ‘Angle drilling’ oil from Iraqi waters even though Kuwait had supported Iraq’s 10 year war with Iran, their enemy as well, and then wouldn’t erase Iraqi loans owed to Kuwait);
G) We did NOT know in advance of Al Qaeda’s attack on us on 9/11, and it was NOT a false flag operation (seek out the many researched books on 9/11, showing how the government synopsis of it is hogwash);
H) Iraq did have WMDs and was planning on using them on us (despite the actual UN weapons inspections proving the opposite) and our attack, invasion and subsequent occupation was legal and moral;
I) This pandemic is a hoax and a scam, perpetrated to make sure Trump loses the election (despite a mountain of evidence revealing just how contagious and deadly this virus is)….need I go on?
It is simply just not all about politics, as the Two Party/One Party hucksters will allege. No, as much as we working stiffs and the poor and indigent need Trump and his crew to go, that is but the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’. As alluded to earlier in this column, it is urgent that working stiffs being **** by this empire stand up and say ‘Enough is enough!’
We should stop asking that the Super Rich give back more to us, and that Land Lords do the right thing by their tenants. No, we need to demand that the Mega Millionaires be taxed a Flat 50% on anything they earn over one million dollars each year, with NO deductions!
We need to demand that our local governments take over absentee landlord rental properties through legal eminent domain (at market prices) and then run them nonprofit, with the tenant having an opportunity to one day own the dwelling. With even 20% of each month’s rent going into escrow towards a future down payment, this can be accomplished. Strike Three of demands should be that this obscene military budget, accounting for 50% of our federal taxes, be cut drastically (as explained above), and the majority of our 1000+ foreign military bases be shut down, sending our military personnel home. Why not? The last time I looked it was the politicians who were our ‘Public Servants’, not the Power Elite’s.
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Philip A Farruggio is a contributing editor for The Greanville Post. He is also frequently posted on Global Research, Nation of Change, Countercurrents.org, and Off Guardian sites. He is the son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen and a graduate of Brooklyn College, class of 1974. Since the 2000 election debacle Philip has written over 400 columns on the Military Industrial Empire and other facets of life in an upside down America. He is also host of the ‘It’s the Empire… Stupid‘ radio show, co produced by Chuck Gregory. Philip can be reached at [email protected].