social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political agenda
The ruling class is the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political agenda.
- Law represents from age to age the code of the dominant or ruling class, slowly accumulated, no doubt, and slowly modified, but always added to and always administered by the ruling class. Today the code of the dominant class may perhaps best be denoted by the word Respectability—and if we ask why this code has to a great extent overwhelmed the codes of the other classes and got the law on its side (so far that in the main it characterises those classes who do not conform to it as the criminal classes), the answer can only be: Because it is the code of the classes who are in power. Respectability is the code of those who have the wealth and the command, and as these have also the fluent pens and tongues, it is the standard of modern literature and the press. It is not necessarily a better standard than others, but it is the one that happens to be in the ascendant; it is the code of the classes that chiefly represent modern society; it is the code of the Bourgeoisie. It is different from the Feudal code of the past, of the knightly classes, and of Chivalry; it is different from the Democratic code of the future—of brotherhood and of equality; it is the code of the Commercial age and its distinctive watchword is—property.
- Edward Carpenter, “Defence of criminals: A criticism of morality”
- How stupid and shortsighted the ruling class really is! Cupidity is stone blind. It has no vision. The greedy, profit-seeking exploiter cannot see beyond the end of his nose. He can see a chance for an "opening"; he is cunning enough to know what graft is and where it is, and how it can be secured, but vision he has none — not the slightest. He knows nothing of the great throbbing world that spreads out in all directions. He has no capacity for literature; no appreciation of art; no soul for beauty. That is the penalty the parasites pay for the violation of the laws of life.
- Eugene V. Debs, "The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech" in The Call (16 June 1918)
- The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.
They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.
And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.
- Eugene V. Debs, "The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech" in The Call (16 June 1918)
- There were a few human beings who gradually, through the process of invention and experiment, built and operated, first, local river and bay, next, along-shore, then off-shore rafts, dugouts, grass broats, and outrigger sailing canoes. Finally, they developed voluminous rib-bellied fishing vessels, and thereby ventured out to sea for progressively longer periods. Developing ever larger and more capable ships, the seafarers eventually were able to remain for months on the high seas. Thus, these venturers came to live normally at sea. This led them inevitably into world-around, swift, fortune - producing enterprise. Thus they became the first world men. The men who were able to establish themselves on the oceans had also to be extraordinarily effective with the sword upon both land and sea. They had also to have great anticipatory vision, great ship designing capability, and original scientific conceptioning, mathematical skill in navigation and exploration techniques for coping in fog, night, and storm with the invisible hazards of rocks, shoals, and currents. The great sea venturers had to be able to command all the people in their dry land realm order to commandeer the... skills necessary to produce their large, complex ships... There were very few of these top power men. But as they went on their sea ventures they gradually found that the waters interconnected all the world’s people and lands... these very few masters of the water world became incalculably rich and powerful.
- These hard, powerful, brilliantly resourceful sea masters had to sleep occasionally, and therefore found it necessary to surround themselves with super-loyal, muscular but dull-brained illiterates who could not see nor savvy their masters’ stratagems. There was great safety in the mental dullness of these henchmen. The Great Pirates realized that the only people who could possibly contrive to displace them were the truly bright people. For this reason their number-one strategy was secrecy. If the other powerful pirates did not know where you were going, nor when you had gone, nor when you were coming back, they would not know how to waylay you. If anyone knew when you were coming home, “small-tini-ers” could come out in small boats and waylay you in the dark and take you over-just before you got home tiredly after a two-year treasure ¬ harvesting voyage. Thus hijacking and second-rate piracy became a popular activity around the world’s shores and harbors. Thus secrecy became the essence of the lives of the successful pirates; ergo, how little is known today of that which I am relating. p. 20
- The great top pirates of the world, realizing that dull people were innocuous and that the only people who could contrive to displace the supreme pirates were the bright ones, set about to apply their grand strategy of anticipatory divide and conquer to solve that situation comprehensively. The Great Pirate came into each of the various lands where he either acquired or sold goods profitably and picked the strongest man there to be his local head man. The Pirate’s picked man became the Pirate’s general manager of the local realm. If the Great Pirate's local strong man in a given land had not already done so, the Great Pirate told him to proclaim himself king. Despite the local head man’s secret subservience to him, the Great Pirate allowed and counted upon his king-stooge to convince his countrymen that he, the local king, was indeed the head man of all men -the god—ordained ruler. To guarantee that sovereign claim the Pirates gave their stooge-kings secret lines of supplies which provided everything required to enforce the sovereign claim. The more massively bejewelled the king’s gold crown, and the more visible his court and castle, the less visible was his pirate master.
- The Great Pirates said to all their lieutenants around the world, “Any time bright young people show up, I’d like to know about it, be cause we need bright men.” So each time the Pirate came into port the local king-ruler would mention that he had some bright, young men whose capabilities and thinking shone out in the community. The Great Pirate would say to the king, "All right, you summon them and deal with them as follows: As each young man is brought forward you say to him, young man, you are very bright. I’m going to assign you to a great history tutor and in due course if you study well and learn enough I’m going to make you my Royal Historian, but you’ve got to pass many examinations by both your teacher and myself/ ” And when the next bright boy was brought before him the King was to say, “I’m going to make you my Royal Treasurer,” and so forth. Then the Pirate said to the king, “You will finally say to all of them: ‘But each of you must mind your own business or off go your heads. I’m the only one who minds every¬body’s business”
- All the actions of the dominant class manifest its need to divide in order to facilitate the preservation of the oppressor state. Its interference in the unions, favoring certain "representatives" of the dominated classes (who actually represent the oppressor, not their own comrades); its promotion of individuals who reveal leadership capacity and could signify a threat if they were not "softened up" in this way; its distribution of benefits to some and penalties to others: all these are ways of dividing in order to preserve the system which favors the elite.
- Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1968), as translated by Myra Ramos, p. 144
- The billionaire class, for the most part, prefers the mask of a Joe Biden, who deftly broke the freight railway unions to prevent a strike and forced them to accept a contract a majority of union members had rejected. But the billionaire class also knows that the goons and con artists on the far right will not interfere in their disemboweling of the nation; indeed, they will be more robust in thwarting the attempts of workers to organize for decent wages and working conditions.
- Chris Hedges, America’s Theater of the Absurd. Scheerpost (8 January 2023)
- שָׂרַ֣יִךְ סֹורְרִ֗ים וְחַבְרֵי֙ גַּנָּבִ֔ים כֻּלֹּו֙ אֹהֵ֣ב שֹׁ֔חַד וְרֹדֵ֖ף שַׁלְמֹנִ֑ים יָתֹום֙ לֹ֣א יִשְׁפֹּ֔טוּ וְרִ֥יב אַלְמָנָ֖ה לֹֽא־יָבֹ֥וא אֲלֵיהֶֽם׃ פ
- Isaiah 1:23, Leningrad Codex
- Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.
- We are quite obviously faced with a need to organize some small defenses to the more flagrant abuses of the system now. ... While we await the precise moment when all of capitalism's victims will indignantly rise to destroy the system, we are being devoured. ... Some of us are going to have to take our courage in hand and build a hard revolutionary cadre for selective retaliatory violence.
- Jonathan P. Jackson, in Blood in My Eye (1971), pp. 11-12
- Most of the fascist functionaries live as unguarded as I do. I could slip a knife between Max Rafferty's ribs. The Agnews and Du Ponts, the Rockefellers and Morgans, all of the Getty, Hunt, and Hughes types who sneak around in armored cars and jets are just as reachable. ... Hell will be their reward.
- Jonathan P. Jackson, in Blood in My Eye (1971), p. 46
- They don't really care about us.
- Michael Jackson, "They Don't Really Care About Us" (1995)
- Stupidity does not imply malice, but malice implies stupidity. That’s because a stupid populace is irresistable to a malicious ruling class – it’s much easier to deceive and control – which is why the populace has been methodically “dumbed down” by “the elite” using their proprietary indoctrination mills (public schools and universities) along with immigration policy favoring fast-breeding low-IQ migrants and mass-media idiocy including miscegenation propaganda directed specifically at White people.
- Chris Langan, Gab, October 27, 2021
- Kevin Carson has coined the terms “vulgar libertarianism” and “vulgar liberalism” for the tendencies, respectively, to treat the benefits of the free market as though they legitimated various dubious features of actually existing “capitalist” society (vulgar libertarianism), and to treat the drawbacks of actually existing “capitalist” society as though they constituted an objection to the free market (vulgar liberalism). ... The widespread assumption that big business and big government are fundamentally at odds, and that big business supports a free market, serves to maintain the ruling partnership in power; indeed, ‘vulgar liberalism’ and ‘vulgar libertarianism’ (in Carson’s sense) represent the dominant ideologies of the establishment left and establishment right, respectively. The establishment left disguises its government intervention on behalf of the rich as government intervention on behalf of the poor, while the right disguises its government intervention on behalf of the rich as an opposition to government intervention per se – and each side has an interest in maintaining the myth propagated by its nominal opponent. For those who are repelled by the realities of corporate capitalism are lured into becoming opponents of the free market and foot soldiers for the left wing of the ruling class, while those who are attracted by free-market ideals are lured into becoming defenders of corporate capitalism and foot soldiers for the right wing of the ruling class. Either way, the partnership as a whole has its power reinforced.
- Roderick Long, "Left-libertarianism, market anarchism, class conflict and historical theories of distributive justice," Griffith Law Review, Vol. 21 Issue 2 (2012), pp. 413-431
- The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production.
- Karl Marx, The German Ideology (1846), p. 64
- Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
- The league at Allstedt wanted to establish this principle, Omnia sunt communia, ‘All property should be held in common’ and should be distributed to each according to his needs, as the occasion required. Any prince, count, or lord who did not want to do this, after first being warned about it, should be beheaded or hanged.
- Thomas Müntzer, in Revelation and Revolution: Basic Writings of Thomas Müntzer (1993), p. 200
- Always, the rulers of an order, consistent with their own interests and solely of their own design, have employed what to them seemed to be the most optimal and efficient means of maintaining unquestioned social and economic advantage. Clear-cut superiority in things social and economic—by whatever means—has been a scruples-free premise of American ruling class authority from the society's inception to the present. The initial socioeconomic advantage, begotten by chattel slavery, was enforced by undaunted violence and the constant threat of more violence.
- Huey P. Newton, War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America, doctoral dissertation submitted to the faculty of University of California Santa Cruz, June 1, 1980
- We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
- For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
- οὐδεὶς οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν περὶ τὰ τῶν πόλεων πράττει οὐδ᾽ ἔστι σύμμαχος μεθ᾽ ὅτου τις ἰὼν ἐπὶ τὴν τῷ δικαίῳ βοήθειαν σῴζοιτ᾽ ἄν.
- There is no one who ever acts honestly in the administration of States, nor any helper who will save any one who maintains the cause of the just.
- Plato, The Republic, 496d
- . . . The universe,
In Nature’s silent eloquence, declares
That all fulfil the works of love and joy, -
All but the outcast, Man. He fabricates
The sword which stabs his peace; he cherisheth
The snakes that gnaw his heart; he raiseth up
The tyrant whose delight is in his woe,
Whose sport is in his agony.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Fairy in Queen Mab (1813), Canto III
- You made your rulers mighty, gave them guards,
So now you groan 'neath slavery's heavy rod.
- Solon of Athens, as reported by Diogenes Laërtius (trans. C. D. Yonge) The Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers (1853), "Solon", sect. 5, p. 25.
- In the year 1877, the signals were given for the rest of the century: the blacks would be put back; the strikes of white workers would not be tolerated; the industrial and political elites of North and South would take hold of the country and organize the greatest march of economic growth in human history. They would do it with the aid of, and at the expense of, black labor, white labor, Chinese labor, European immigrant labor, female labor, rewarding them differently by race, sex, national origin, and social class, in such a way as to create separate levels of oppression—a skillful terracing to stabilize the pyramid of wealth.
- Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States (1980), p. 253
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