Who Are The Ruling Class?

Many folks in the comments of Hard Not To Call It Evil voiced the same concerns. That by lumping people into a group or Class we are dehumanizing them, just as the Ruling Class dehumanizes everyone who is NOT in the Ruling Class.

These concerns and objections are extremely valid.  

I tried to address them in the diary itself,

But we don’t know how to fight back….because WE do NOT want to dehumanize THEM. Because WE know that that is wrong. Just plain wrong. A concept that they seem to have grown totally incapable of grasping.

and especially in the ending quote…

Be careful when you fight the monsters, lest you become one.

  Friedrich Nietzsche

There is a danger in making a broad generalization that tars all of “The Rich” as an enemy in the Class War. No one wants to accuse innocent people of things that they have not done. Well, none of US do, THEY seem to thrive on it (ACORN, Community Organizers, Terrorists and unpatriotic traitors, etc.) If we do it to them, we do sink to their level.

But of course the alternative is to diffuse the message, the vital message imo, that we ARE in a Class War. A Class War that whether we like it or not, is fought largely on the public relations, propaganda, meme and spin level. If we cede that vital level, which over-specifying does by taking away one of our rhetorical ‘weapons,’ we lose one of our few advantages, our voice.

So consider this a reference piece for moving forward, something we can refer back to when these valid objections are raised in the future.

The other objection is that by engaging in this sort of generalized rhetoric, WE are the ones who are making this into an “Us vs. Them” thing.

WE are not.

THEY already have, for generations. For example, shooting down strikers and busting Unions, and using their puppets in government to pass tax codes and regulations (or deregulation) that favor them.

I responded to that objection with this metaphor.

If someone is picking your pocket every day it is THEY who are making it us vs. them.

You can ignore it for the sake of ‘harmony,’ and not being divisive, but it is still THEM picking YOUR pocket. is it your fault for having a pocket? Or theirs for picking it?

Or we could go with the classics: They started it Mom!!!

At it’s root, it comes down to power. We Do Not have power over them.

They DO have power over us.

Our actions do not affect them. Their actions….as is being most painfully illustrated again affect our entire lives.

They have power, we do not. It is that simple.

So who are they? Let’s start here.

A Congress that legislates in favor of the Ruling Class instead of the American People.

Heads of and major stockholders of multi-billion dollar corporations that participate politically….the folks who buy Congress, iow.

The higher ups and CEO’s of the Financial Industry who are Too Big to Fail….and thus are able to blackmail the government.

The American Aristocracy….Old Money folks who have political influence on the national and local level.

Those who control the Military Industrial Complex

The Saudis and other politically influential members of Opec. ALL of the heads of the Oil companiess. The heads of the insurance industry that control our health care, etc. Anyone who controls a vital resource and can thus set the prices or use blackmail in withholding it.

The heads of the Corporate Media that decide or set the tone for what the populace sees and hears. Including to a certain extent, entertainment.

That is of course only a partial list. An incomplete definition. But one thing is almost certain, if you are reading this, lol, you are probably NOT a member of the Ruling Class!

One commenter at Dkos asked

I work in the Military Industrial Complex, so

maybe I’m one of them?

My reply

Do you make the decisions?

Do you have political influence?

Do you lobby congress to start wars so you can sell more weapons systems?

Are you obscenely rich yet do nothing as 7 million people lose their homes?

Being rich does not necessarily make you a member of the Ruling Class, but the Ruling Class ARE all rich. A member of the Ruling Class has both money and political influence.

The only power we do have is to take “radical” actions such as general strikes, boycotts, or in the extreme. “Mob Action.” Violence.

Which of course we all condemn…but believe me, they condemn FAR more. Because that is the ONLY thing that they are afraid of. The people rising up and taking back what they have “stolen.”

That threat is literally our only power over them.

As long as they can buy our government and use it to their ends.

Because a representative democracy’s main function, the reason they were invented, in mankind’s long fight against tyranny, oppression, and ‘might makes right’ monarchies, aristocracies, dictatorships….where Men and not The Rule of Law set the rules…..is that representative democracies even the playing field.

But if the Ruling Class can BUY the representatives in a representative democracy, they can buy the whole playing field. They can buy and control The Commons.

And they have.

And they have used it to make obscene profits, while the underclasses ‘profits’ have stayed stagnant for decades. And now, in their unending greed, they have crashed the economy…..again. And now insist we bail them out. And they are using the government that they have both bought and are blackmailing to force us to.

I assure you, The Ruling Class knows who they are!

The real question here is….who are we?


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  1. But if you make above $5 million a year…The McCain Line…you might want to engage in some self-reflection!

      WARREN: Everybody talks about, you know, taxing the rich, but not the poor, the middle class. At what point, give me a number, give me a specific number. Where do you move from middle class to rich? […]

       MCCAIN: How about $5 million? No, but seriously, I don’t think you can, I don’t think seriously that the point is I’m trying to make, seriously, and I’m sure that comment will be distorted but the point is…that we want to keep people’s taxes low, and increase revenues. … So, it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes. I really don’t.

    McCain is right – millionaires are rich. In fact, those making $5 million per year or more are wealthier than 99.99% of all Americans. All but the nation’s wealthiest five percent, have household incomes of less than $174,000 per year.

    Awfully nice of one of The Ruling Class to define that for us!

  2. The poor and the disenfranchised or the rich and the power?

    The richest have the most to lose by collapse, while for the poor what difference will it make? The country and economy have already collapsed for them?

    The ‘schmucks’ caught in the middle class are stuck in the middle… it can always get worse for them, but rarely does it get better. So a collapse will hurt them, but so does the status quo that keeps the rich in power – this just hurts a more slowly and drawn out over decades.

    Sort of like climate change… the collapse is easier to ignore since it is happening slowly over decades. It still hurts.

  3. essay over at Huffpo…

    Enough With The Pitchforks And Head-Rolling

    Populist champion William Jennings Bryan’s iconic 1896 ‘Cross of Gold speech’ to the DNC reveals a perverse irony for the current crisis, wherein it is proclaimed: “Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” The implication was of course that the farmers and middle class were the key economic drivers, and that the cities were just a bonus byproduct of this indispensable foundation.

    Needless to say, things have changed since Bryan’s day and the complete opposite is now true — in this 21st Century economic triage, the ‘cities’ of which Bryan spoke are now the foremost priority

    Right! The cities no longer need food! We no longer need labor to keep the systems running! All we need is people pushing the paper of an artificial economy around. THOSE people MUST be the priority! Corporations are more important than people!

    His conclusion? Shockingly enough, we should “Move On.” From being angry at the people who have screwed us by crashing the economy and wiped out our retirements! Good plan, I am sure the invisible hand will take care of that!

    In a perfect world, those responsible for the financial mess would be subject to all due banishment and excoriation, and justice would be served to the poor and middle class who suffer most. Unfortunately, however, the system and the current situation dictate otherwise. Because revenge is a dish best served cold, the resurgent populist movement should redirect their efforts for the time being towards helping themselves and those in need, rather than towards public head-rolling displays that ultimately yield little to nothing in practical gains. Destructive avarice and ridiculous double standards should by no means be upheld or condoned in principle, but it’s time our government moved on from what is quickly becoming a domestic quagmire.

    Uh…..taking on and reining in the Ruling Class IS helping ourselves and those in need.

    And instead of bemoaning that we do not live in a ‘perfect world’….how about we try to MAKE the world a little more perfect?

    • Edger on March 24, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    but that too many of us forgot.


  4. is very easy to see now…

    The effort to save a corrupt and failed market system at all costs is evidence of them in action.

    But you will never get to the actual ruling class because the secret of the longevity of any great fortune is to hide it.

    The problem isn’t Americans are cowards but ignorant of the ways of the world and easily led by ‘leaders’ chosen by the ruling class to do its bidding.

    Finding the ruling class is like looking for Kennedy’s killers. Invisible except for the fact of an exploding head.


  5. … this is a very good question.

    I have no doubt there are two classes in America today.

    All you have to do is look in our prisons to see that.

    Those of us with no power are subject to the laws — those with power are not.

    We’ve seen eight years of no regulation on business and theft on a grand scale — Bush’s cronies have literally gotten away with murder.   Halliburton.  KBR.  Companies whose names I don’t even know who have made billions on no-bid contracts.

    Fraud in our banking system, and anyone remember Enron, and Cheney’s top-secret energy panel?

    The profit off human suffering alone is obscene.

    There are the deliberate thieves (usually cronies of Cheney, heh), and then there are those who have looked the other way in order to maintain their lifestyles.

    The corporate media and our political insider classes.

    I know, I’m just making lists here.

    When I took debate in high school and college, we were told we had to show an inherent problem in order to promote change — that is, the problem was embedded in the system itself so the system had to change.

    I think a case can be made for that now, that inherent in our system is a two-tier kind of justice.

    So yeah, there’s a ruling class.

    I know this is a ramble … but I do think this is a very good question.

  6. Is a very large subject.


    • Edger on March 25, 2009 at 12:40 am

    And we still are, if we want to be The Way We Were…

  7. “I brought you into this world, and I. Can. Take. You. Out!”


    THE INDIAN WOMEN: We whom you pity as drudges

    reached centuries ago the goal that you are now nearing.

    The use of Indian women to provide an exemplar of feminist liberty continued into the nineteenth century. On May 16, 1914, only six years before the first national election in which women had the vote, Puck printed a line drawing of a group of Indian women observing Susan B. Anthony, Anne Howard Shaw and Elizabeth Cady Stanton leading a parade of women. A verse under the print read:

    “Savagery to Civilization”

    We, the women of the Iroquois

    Own the Land, the Lodge, the Children

    Ours is the right to adoption, life or death;

    Ours is the right to raise up and depose chiefs;

    Ours is the right to representation in all councils;

    Ours is the right to make and abrogate treaties;

    Ours is the supervision over domestic and foreign policies;

    Ours is the trusteeship of tribal property;

    Our lives are valued again as high as man’s.”


    • Temmoku on March 25, 2009 at 10:35 pm

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