The Establishment generally denotes a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organisation. The Establishment may be a closed social group which selects its own members or specific entrenched elite structures, either in government or in specific institutions.
Anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment ideologies tend to view establishments as illegitimate.
- If you attack the establishment long enough and hard enough, they will make you a member of it.
- Art Buchwald, International Herald Tribune, May 24, 1989)
- Where grievances pile high and most of the elected spokesmen represent the Establishment, violence may be the only effective response.
- William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion, p. 88–89 (1970)
- As an institutional fact, the cultural apparatus assumes many forms, but everywhere today it tends to be part of some national establishment. This term, “establishment,” is of course your (a British) term. The ambiguity with which you use it is at once too lovely and too useful for a mere sociologist to avoid stealing it. I now serve notice that I do intend to steal it, although I promise that I shall try not to make of it a Concept. In general, the term points to the overlap of culture and authority. This overlap may involve the ideological use of cultural products and of cultural workmen for the legitimation of power, and the justification of decisions and policies. It may involve the bureaucratic use of culture by the personnel of authoritative institutions. But the essential feature of any establishment is a traffic between culture and authority, a tacit co-operation of cultural workmen and authorities of a ruling institution. This means of exchange between them includes money, career, privilege; but, above all, it includes prestige. A zone of at least semiofficial prestige which is at once of culture and of authority is the zone of any establishment.
- C. Wright Mills, "The Cultural Apparatus," in The Politics of Truth: Selected Writings of C. Wright Mills (2008)
- I do not think life will change for the better without an assault on the establishment, which goes on exploiting the wretched of the earth. This belief lies at the heart of the concept of revolutionary suicide. Thus it is better to oppose the forces that would drive me to self-murder than to endure them. Although I risk the likelihood of death, there is at least the possibility, if not the probability, of changing intolerable conditions.
- Many journalists become very defensive when you suggest to them that they are anything but impartial and objective. The problem with those words 'impartiality' and 'objectivity' is that they have lost their dictionary meaning. They've been taken over... [they] now mean the establishment point of view... Journalists don't sit down and think, 'I'm now going to speak for the establishment.' Of course not. But they internalise a whole set of assumptions, and one of the most potent assumptions is that the world should be seen in terms of its usefulness to the West, not humanity.
- You should question authority and you should not assume that the establishment or the press tells you all of the truth.
- J. K. Rowling, as quoted in Harry Potter's Bookshelf by John Granger
- We look at politicians and think: This one's owned by this millionaire. That one's owned by that millionaire, or lobbyist, or special interest group. Me? I speak for the people. So the establishment attacks me. They can't own me, they can't dictate to me, so they search for ways to dismiss me.
- Donald J. Trump. Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again (2015) p. 97