Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions

By Henry Etzkowitz; Peter Schwab | Go to book overview

Part three
The invisible power elite
Some institutions are readily perceived as political institutions. The people who act within them are known as politicians, legislators, or judges. They identify themselves as politically or legally motivated and everyone thinks of them as acting from political or legal motives.Other institutions are not clearly political. Although they exert power in directing and controlling American society, people who act within them maintain they are acting strictly to make money. These economic institutions, whether they be multinational corporations or criminal families, are also political institutions for they structure and influence the operation of the overtly political institutions. Elite clubs and associations operate within the same framework to influence the official political institutions.The exercise of power, whether it be invisible and hidden or visible and public, must be studied if an understanding of the American political process is to be achieved. It is often very difficult to obtain valid and documented information on the workings of the invisible power structures. This does not make it less important to analyze them, but only more difficult to learn about them. Still, this task of ferreting out data on multinational corporations, organized crime, elite clubs and associations, and other relatively invisible political entities must be undertaken if their true range of effects on us is to be understood and acted upon.1
NOTES
1. One of the many groups engaged in this process is The American Committee on Africa. Formed in 1965 by returned Peace Corps Volunteers, it publishes a monthly journal, Southern Africa. The Committee attempts to uncover the political manipulations of multinational banks, such as the Bank of America, and Chemical Bank of New York, in the Republic of South Africa. The committee has also investigated Gulf Oil Corporation's relationship with the colonial policy of Portugal in Mozambique. Under the colonial Portugese regime, Gulf benefitted from oil investments in Mozambique. In return Gulf supported financially Portugal's attempt to prevent revolutionary movements in Mozambique from being successful. Although Mozambique became independent in 1975 as a result of a revolution in Portugal itself, the policy that Gulf followed allowed it to profit heavily from its investments in Mozambique while it interfered in the politics of that country. Much of this information would not have become known had it not been for the research conducted, and published, by The American Committee on Africa.

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Is America Necessary? Conservative, Liberal, & Socialist Perspectives of United States Political Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One 15
  • 1 - Where Do I Stand? 17
  • Conservative 21
  • Conclusion 28
  • Socialist 44
  • Notes 46
  • Part Two 57
  • 2 - The Presidency 61
  • Conservative 67
  • Socialist 79
  • Notes 85
  • 3 - The Pentagon 101
  • Conservative 107
  • Socialist 117
  • 4 - The Secret Police 133
  • Conservative 139
  • Socialist 152
  • Notes 160
  • Part Three 167
  • 5 - Elite Clubs and Associations 169
  • Conservative 173
  • Notes 184
  • Notes 192
  • 6 - Multinational Corporations 209
  • Conservative 213
  • Socialist 221
  • Notes 244
  • 7 - Organized Crime 257
  • Conservative 259
  • Socialist 264
  • Part Four 283
  • 8 - Congress 285
  • Conservative 289
  • Socialist 296
  • Notes 303
  • 9 - The Courts 315
  • Conservative 319
  • Socialist 330
  • Notes 337
  • 10 - Regulatory Agencies 347
  • Conservative 349
  • Socialist 361
  • Notes 369
  • Political Parties 385
  • Conservative 387
  • Liberal 396
  • Conclusion 410
  • 12 - Academia 413
  • Conservative 416
  • References 427
  • Notes 434
  • Part Five 449
  • 13 - The Media 451
  • Conservative 453
  • Liberal 467
  • Notes 474
  • 14 - Banks 483
  • Conservative The Great Banking Retreat. 485
  • Socialist 489
  • Notes 497
  • 15 - Unions 511
  • Conservative 513
  • Notes 519
  • A Critical Issue 537
  • 16 - The Economic Crisis 539
  • Conservative 542
  • Socialist 544
  • Notes 550
  • Part Seven 557
  • 17 - Political Programs 567
  • Louis Banks. the Mission Of Our Business Society. 568
  • Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Toward an Initiatory Democracy. 576
  • Stanley Aronowitz. On Organization: A Good Party Is Hard to Find. 581
  • Mass Parties and Reformism 587
  • Notes 596
  • Fred R. Harris. Up With Those Who'Re Down. 602
  • Part Eight 613
  • Appendix 621
  • Note 644
  • Index 649
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