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Ruling class

social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political agenda
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 ruling class is the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political agenda.

QuotesEdit

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • They don't really care about us.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

See alsoEdit

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