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The ruling class is the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political agenda.
Analogous to the class of the major capitalists, other modes of production give rise to different ruling classes: under feudalism it was the feudal lords while under slavery it was the slave-owners. Under the feudal society, feudal lords had power over the vassals because of their control of the fiefs. This gave them political and military power over the people. In slavery, because complete rights of the person's life belonged to the slave owner, they could and did every implementation that would help the production on the plantation.
In his recent studies on elites in contemporary societies, Mattei Dogan has argued that because of their complexity and their heterogeneity and particularly because of the social division of work and the multiple levels of stratification, there is not, or can not be, a coherent ruling class, even if in the past there were solid examples of ruling classes as in the Russian and Ottoman Empires and the more recent totalitarian regimes of the 20th century (Communist and Fascist).
Milovan Djilas said that in a Communist regime the nomenklatura form a ruling class, which "benefited from the use, enjoyment, and disposition of material goods", thus controls all of the property and thus all of the wealth of the nation. Furthermore, he argued, the Communist bureaucracy was not an accidental mistake, but the central inherent aspect of the Communist system since a Communist regime would not be possible without the system of bureaucrats.
Globalization theorists argue that today a transnational capitalist class has emerged.
Sociologist C. Wright Mills (1916–1962) argued that the ruling class differs from the power elite. The latter simply refers to the small group of people with the most political power. Many of them are politicians, hired political managers and/or military leaders. The ruling class are people who directly influence politics, education and government with the use of wealth or power.
There are several examples of ruling class systems in movies, novels and television shows. The 2005 American independent film The American Ruling Class written by former Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham and directed by John Kirby is a semi-documentary that examines how the American economy is structured and for whom. The 2017 Philippine political crime-suspense epic Wildflower is about a rich influential and corrupt political family the Ardientes ruling over a town where a wave of murders and crimes which they have committed washed over.
Society, in the novel Brave New World , by Aldous Huxley, is eusocial with a genetically engineered caste system. The alpha++ class is the ruling class having been bred as scientists and administrators and control the World State in the novel. This situation can also be found in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four where the inner party as symbolized by the fictitious Big Brother literally controls what everyone in the outer party hears, sees and learns, albeit without genetic engineering and on the model of Stalinist communism having taken over the Anglosphere (Oceania). In Oceania, the ignorant masses ("proles") are relatively free as they pose no threat to oligarchical collectivism ("Big Brother").
Examples in movies include Gattaca , where the genetically-born were superior and the ruling class; and V for Vendetta , which depicted a powerful totalitarian government in Britain. The comedic film The Ruling Class was a satire of British aristocracy, depicting nobility as self-serving and cruel, juxtaposed against an insane relative who believes that he is Jesus Christ, whom they identify as a "bloody Bolshevik".
The nomenklatura were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in the bureaucracy, running all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the communist party of each country or region.
Periodization is the process or study of categorizing the past into discrete, quantified named blocks of time. This is usually done in order to facilitate the study and analysis of history, understanding current and historical processes, and causality that might have linked those events.
Totalitarianism is a political system or a form of government that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is regarded as the most extreme and complete form of authoritarianism. In totalitarian states, political power has often been held by autocrats who employ all-encompassing campaigns in which propaganda is broadcast by state-controlled mass media.
Anti-capitalism is a political ideology and movement encompassing a variety of attitudes and ideas that oppose capitalism. In this sense, anti-capitalists are those who wish to replace capitalism with another type of economic system, usually some form of socialism.
Bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term that can mean:
A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.
The Establishment is term used to describe a dominant group or elite that controls a polity or an organization. It may comprise a closed social group that selects its own members, or entrenched élite structures in specific institutions. One can refer to any relatively small class or group of people that can exercise control as The Establishment. Conversely, in the jargon of sociology, anyone who does not belong to The Establishment may be labelled an "outsider". Anti-authoritarian and anti-establishment ideologies question the legitimacy of establishments, even seeing their influence on society as anti-democratic.
Criticism of capitalism ranges from expressing disagreement with the principles of capitalism in its entirety to expressing disagreement with particular outcomes of capitalism.
The theory of the Asiatic mode of production (AMP) was devised by Karl Marx around the early 1850s. The essence of the theory has been described as "[the] suggestion ... that Asiatic societies were held in thrall by a despotic ruling clique, residing in central cities and directly expropriating surplus from largely autarkic and generally undifferentiated village communities".
Revolutionary Integrationism is an analysis, philosophy, and program for resolving the "black question"—the problem of the superoppression of blacks, and their liberation—in the United States.
Marxian class theory asserts that an individual's position within a class hierarchy is determined by their role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position. A class is those who share common economic interests, are conscious of those interests, and engage in collective action which advances those interests. Within Marxian class theory, the structure of the production process forms the basis of class construction.
The aristocracy is a social class that a particular society considers its highest order. In many states, the aristocracy included the upper class of people (aristocrats) with hereditary rank and titles. In some, such as ancient Greece, Rome, and India, aristocratic status came from belonging to a military caste. It has also been common, notably in African societies, for aristocrats to belong to priestly dynasties. Aristocratic status can involve feudal or legal privileges. They are usually below only the monarch of a country or nation in its social hierarchy. In modern European societies, the aristocracy has often coincided with the nobility, a specific class that arose in the Middle Ages, but the term "aristocracy" is sometimes also applied to other elites, and is used as a more generic term when describing earlier and non-European societies.
The following is a description of the social structure of Romania divided into three distinct categories.
The transnational capitalist class (TCC), also known as the transnational capitalist network (TCN), in neo-Gramscian and other Marxian-influenced analyses of international political economy and globalization, is the global social stratum that controls supranational instruments of the global economy such as transnational corporations and heavily influences political organs such as the World Trade Organization. Up until 1960s capitalist class was studied mostly within the national context. Study from 1974 titled Global Reach: The Power of the Multinational Corporation by Ronald E. Muller and Richard Barnet started the discussion about multinational corporations and to what authors referred as “international corporate elite.”
Mattei Dogan was a Romanian-born French political sociologist and senior research officer emeritus of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and professor emeritus of political science of the University of California, Los Angeles. Over a period of 22 years, he also taught at UCLA, Indiana University, Yale University, the Institute of Statistical Mathematics in Tokyo, the University of Florence, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He was a foreign honorary member of the Romanian Academy from 1992, and he received the CNRS Silver medal.
A member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was a member of the nomenklatura, the country's de facto ruling class. Nikita Khrushchev chaired the Presidium from 1955 to 1964; Leonid Brezhnev succeeded him that year and chaired until 1982. In contrast to full members, candidate members of the Presidium could not vote during Presidium sessions. It was normal that a full member of the Presidium had previously served as a candidate member, but this was not always the case. During the term 23 people held seats in the Presidium: 14 full members and 9 candidate members. One candidate member was promoted to full membership in the Presidium during the term. Not a single Presidium member died during this period while retaining office.
A number of authors have carried out comparisons of Nazism and Stalinism in which they have considered the similarities and differences of the two ideologies and political systems, what relationship existed between the two regimes, and why both of them came to prominence at the same time. During the 20th century, the comparison of Nazism and Stalinism was made on the topics of totalitarianism, ideology, and personality cult. Both regimes were seen in contrast to the liberal West, with an emphasis on the similarities between the two. The political scientists Zbigniew Brzezinski, Hannah Arendt and Carl Friedrich and historian Robert Conquest were prominent advocates of applying the "totalitarian" concept to compare Nazism and Stalinism.
Bureaucratic collectivism is a theory of class society. It is used by some Trotskyists to describe the nature of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, and other similar states in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere.
In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production is a specific combination of the following:
Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality, published in 1928, is the most famous written work of the Peruvian socialist writer José Carlos Mariátegui and considered his magnum opus. It was published in Lima, in 1928, and is accredited to establishing its author as one of the most widespread Marxist voices in Latin America. It is a work that has been reissued dozens of times, in addition to being translated into Russian, French, English, Italian, Portuguese and Hungarian.
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