The Establishment

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The Establishment is used in a rather general way on WikiSpooks to refer to the (often deliberately unclear) set of relationships, figures and organisations which make up the socio political status quo. The Establishment's official (for public consumption) opinion is, by definition, the "official narrative"
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This is a priority topic relating to deep politics.  Additions to this page are particularly welcome,
though be advised that the official narrative is particularly suspect.
Broom.png As a glossary term particularly, this page should present a clearly accessible overview. It is quite off-balance.

Official Narrative

The Establishment is the set of authoritative social institutions which have stood the test of time because of their overall benevolence; those which have served people the most consistantly for the longest time, and therefore have accrued the most power in a society.

Problems

It is a mistake to see presidents or prime ministers as the establishment (though they may be members of it) - it would be more correct so say that, for the most part at least, they are servants of it.

While the notion of organisations as meritocracies in which the hardest working and most talented people get promoted is a wonderful story, it is poor representation of reality; in practice, psychopaths and sociopaths dominate at the higher levels of hierarchical organisations. This does not fit with the comfortable image of a society lead by the great and the good, but explains observable reality, for example, how governments and corporations seem practically unaffected by credible scientists warnings of disastrous climate change or why the economic system so beloved of policy makers is explicitly psychopathic.

"There is an establishment in the United States. The word "establishment" is a general term for the power elite in international finance, business, the professions largely from the Northeast, who wield most of the power regardless of who is in the White House. "Most people are unaware of the existence of this "legitimate Mafia." Yet the power of the establishment makes itself felt from the professor who seeks a foundation grant, to the candidate for a cabinet post or State Department job. It affects the nation's policies in almost every area. For example, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, subsidized by Rockefeller interests since 1927 boasts a membership of at least 90 per cent establishment figures."[1]

Palpable mendacity

The powers that be, the historical and/or ideological descendants of those whose modus operandi was naked aggression (might=right) have an obvious disregard for the desires of the members of the societies they claim to rule by right. One illustrative question should serve to dismiss the notion that the UK is a democracy in the sense that the government obeys the wishes of the citizenry. "What percentage of the UK population were in favour of the massive bank bailouts carried out by a handful of members of government?"

The corporate media may appear establishment sceptical, and sometimes promulgate official opposition narratives, but never fundamentally question the status quo. To establish their degree of commitment to the truth, one might ask "Why did no newspaper or TV station for years after 2001 even mention the WTC7, a steel reinforced skyscraper that was not hit by a plane yet collapsed at free fall speed symmetrically on its own footprint (an was announced 20 minutes early, incidentally, by the BBC)?"

International justice sounds great, but why have an entity such as the International Court of Justice if it shows no interest in prosecuting George W Bush and Tony Blair, two national leaders who demonstrably lied to start a war of aggression, officially "the supreme international crime"?[2]

Definition in Social Sciences

Power structure research is a field of social sciences based in part on the groundbreaking work The Power Elite by C.Wright Mills (1956). "The establishment" might be defined as an umbrella term for 1) "the social upper class" and 2) "the power elite" where the first acts as a recruiting ground for the second.

"Who has predominant power in the United States? The short answer, from 1776 to the present, is: Those who have the money — or more specifically, who own income-producing land and businesses — have the power. [...] In this day and age, this means that banks, corporations, agribusinesses, and big real estate developers, working separately on most policy issues, but in combination on important general issues — such as taxes, opposition to labor unions, and trade agreements with other countries — set the rules within which policy battles are waged." — Professor G. William Domhoff, The Class-Domination Theory of Power

The Upper Social Class

Domhoff goes on to define "social class" in general as a set of intermarrying and interacting families who see each other as equals, share a common style of life, and have a common viewpoint on the world.

"By the "social upper class", hereafter to be called simply "the upper class," I mean that social class that is commonly agreed by most members of the society to be the "top" or "elite" or "exclusive" class. In various times and places Americans have called such people the "high hats," the "country club set," the "snobs," and the "rich." In turn, members of this class recognize themselves as distinctive. They call themselves such names as the "old families," the "established families," and the "community leaders."

The upper class makes up less than 0.5 percent of the population. The following social institutions which are clearly named in Domhoff's research are the primary class "indicators" and act as a starting point for systematic studies of power. Members of the upper class are over-represented in corporations, nonprofit organizations, and the government.

"They attend a system of private schools that extends from pre-school to the university level; the best known of these schools are the "day" and "boarding" prep schools that take the place of public high schools in the education of most upper-class teenagers. Adult members of the upper class socialize in expensive country clubs, downtown luncheon clubs, hunting clubs, and garden clubs. Young women of the upper class are "introduced" to high society each year through an elaborate series of debutante teas, parties, and balls. Women of the upper class gain experience as "volunteers" through a nationwide organization known as the Junior League, and then go on to serve as directors of cultural organizations, family service associations, and hospitals (see Kendall, 2002, for a good account of women of the upper class by a sociologist who was also a participant in upper-class organizations)."

Analysis of membership lists reveals that the social upper class is nationwide in scope (compared to "local" or "international" networks). This is because there is "overlapping" membership among the many social clubs around the country.

"These various social institutions are important in creating "social cohesion" and a sense of in-group "we-ness." This sense of cohesion is heightened by the fact that people can be excluded from these organizations. Through these institutions young members of the upper class and those who are new to wealth develop shared understandings of how to be wealthy. Because these social settings are expensive and exclusive, members of the upper class usually come to think of themselves as "special" or "superior." They think they are better than other people, and certainly better able to lead and govern. Their self-confidence and social polish are useful in dealing with people from other social classes, who often admire them and defer to their judgments." — Professor G. William Domhoff, The Class-Domination Theory of Power

Domhoff concludes "there is no doubt that there is a nationwide upper class in the United States with its own distinctive social institutions, lifestyle, and outlook. [...] Combining our studies with findings by economists on the wealth and income distributions, it is possible to say that the upper class, comprising 0.5% to 1% of the population, owns 35-40% of all privately held wealth in the United States and receives 12-15% of total yearly income. In short, the upper class scores very high on the "who benefits" power indicator."

Schooling

In his 1906 History of American Education, Elwood Cubberley refers to the propaedudic function of schools - a very small percentage of kids (i.e. the children of the elite) are prepared to perpetuate the social establishment. Schooling whistleblower John Taylor Gatto carried out an extensive analysis of the curriculum at the private boarding schools preferred by the ivy league universities. He notes extensive training in rhetoric and self-reliance to be key elements of their curriculum in leadership.[3]

Four Establishment Model

Deep politics researcher Joël van der Reijden describes a "Four Establishment Model",

  • Liberal establishment - Eastern Establishment plus allies on the West Coast, in Europe and around the world - banking, multinationals, State Department, CIA leadership to a very large extent, diplomacy, United Nations, CFR, sustainable development, global warming, Protestant Christian and even New Agey, etc. Dominant influence on world politics.
  • US Conservative Establishment - Centered around the Pentagon. Seemingly managed by the CIA as controlled opposition and as a private intelligence network. Limited resources from foundations. Anti-UN, anti-CFR, anti-State Department - anything Liberal Establishment really, as well as often anti-neocon. Hawkish. Not necessarily Jewish, but allied with Israel. A lot of "New Rights" switched over to being Neocons.
  • Catholic Conservative Establishment (Vatican-Paneuropa/Opus Dei), with the Heritage Foundation as a powerful U.S. ally. Vatican-Paneuropa Network with, during the Cold War and even beyond, Otto von Habsburg at its center. Ran by Opus Dei and the Knights of Malta. Indispensable allies of the CIA during the Cold War.
  • Zionist Establishment: Israeli government and corporations with overseas Jewish communities, including many Russian oligarchs and mafia elements. Allied with the neocons. Troublesome relationship with other establishments.

Alternatives

The establishment would love for their subjects to believe that, as Margaret Thatcher famously stated "There Is No Alternative!" Anthropologist David Graeber describes how the establishment's "vast machine to perpetuate hopelessness" endeavours to limit people's imaginations.

The last 30 years have seen the construction of a vast bureaucratic apparatus for the creation and maintenance of hopelessness, a giant machine designed first and foremost to destroy any sense of possible alternative futures. At its root is a veritable obsession on the part of the rulers of the world - in response to the upheavals of the 60's and 70's - with ensuring that social movements cannot be seen to grow, flourish or propose alternatives. That those who challenge existing power arrangements can never under any circumstances can never be seen to win. Maintaining this illusion requires armies, prisons, police and private security firms to create a pervasive climate of fear, jingoistic conformity and despair. All these guns, surveillance cameras and propaganda engines are extraordinarily expensive and produce nothing — they're economic deadweights that are dragging the entire capitalist system down.
David Graeber[4]

 

Related Quotation

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PageQuoteAuthor
John Lennon“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.”John Lennon


References

  1. January 3, 1962, Amarillo Globe-Times, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, 'Finds Power Elite Has... Funnel Into Capital'
  2. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." Broomhall, Bruce. International justice and the International Criminal Court (2 ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-19-925600-6. 
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkT0k57tAHo
  4. The Vast Machine To Perpetuate Hopelessness
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