"Barney and Bill Juxtaposed: An Epic Rant"................Jim Esch
"Where All the Dramas Began".............................Lori Ewen
"Not Just Macaroni"..................................Frank B. Ford
"My Friend Clinton?: State Reform and Class Power".....Mort Allman
SPARKS: A ZINE FOR CREATIVE PEOPLE
Editors: Jim Esch and Stacy Tartar
Copyright # 1994 by Jim Esch and Stacy Tartar
All rights for each work contained herein revert back to the author(s) upon publication. We welcome and encourage your submissions. Snail-mail manuscripts will be considered and returned, provided you have included a self addressed stamped envelope. Send all correspondence to the address below.
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by Stacy Tartar
Words are such fuck-ups.
But they're so interesting.
Guilty hangs in the back of my throat then
shoots at my teeth like a firing squad.
My tongue rolls back, dead.
Resentment is a different kind of word.
Resentment takes its time
inspecting hidden teeth
before it opens wide
and snaps down.
The feel at the end
depends on whether or not you explode
the final t.
more than it says.
The heavens scream too as the earth
pitches on violent waves of change.
The sun, monstrously huge, swims into view
before bleeding into black tidal waters.
Or is it the sun?
Now we cry our tears,
but they melt into our faces
as our faces and our bodies all melt away.
The gate is burned.
Time is shed.
Names all melted, love and fear
mere vapor, blown upon the winds.
And the winds have buried us,
shuffled us, like so many dunes
in a shifting desert.
rock that rises
collector of dreams
Godless and guilty
your face glittering in a box of golden flowers
mastered by the shining
fixed by the image of your own two hands
that leave dark scatterings of blood
so high upon your brow
angels wings dissolving in the sun
you think you know what song the sea will sing
you think you know everything
BILL AND BARNEY JUXTAPOSED: an epic rant
by Jim Esch
i fuck you, you fuck me, let's all fuck ourselves
let's pack it in kids, i'm tired of this shit
the dancing, the sing sings
why do ya need a purple dinah-shore
when your presidents pitch the dirty work anyway?
Barney says, listen to the will to power,
the absolute control over your daily attention span,
my Jurassic fist is your spotless freedom to choose
king dinosaur king bill, b.c. rex
bill n barney funny house white house honey
oedipus was right only no one could see it
dido was her own torch song
somebody fetch me an epic. Hey kids, Bill says make an epic
oh america the beautiful
dumb blonde of the west
what's that up your dress?
o say can you weed? by the lawns' early blight what so proudly we
failed at the stoplight's last beaming whose broad hype and slight
stars through the scurrilous tights oh the hand jobs we botched were so
gallantly gleaming and the rocket's lead stare the bombs bursting in
pairs gave proof to the right that our fags were still fair o thay does
that fart spangled tanner still bathe oer the land of the thieves and
the foam of depraved...
wait o minute, Barney, Bill said EPIC
make change your friend
bring me your hired, your scores, your befuddled asses yearning to pay
by Jim Morris
[found poem from the Estes model rocketry safety code]
the code of power
with use the exhaust
of the disconnected
And carry them to the launch pad
I pledge to you the model of my Recovery
[found in a list in wallet]
Yes, I will be as you like
And fog my face with your
JOURNAL ENTRY (10/1/80)
The Wildman, Popcorn man invaded me today. The women with wiped
mascara. Screaming for me reasons that are beyond myself. Why? It's
only her fault. everything's everybody's own fault. Mankind is a crook.
The thoughts of a man are only human malfunctions.
10 SECONDS BIGGER
incense burns my other
as I clutch your left thigh
I can smell the incense
my body expands as my watch
grows ten seconds bigger.
All in good time
All in good time
Someone is swimming
in the aftermath of us
My shadow still smiles
WHERE ALL THE DRAMAS BEGAN
by Lori Ewen
She went out to the movies. She sat quietly in her seat as the film
began and patiently waited for the previews to end and the main feature
to begin. The screen flickered. Images arose, came and went, brightly
shrouded actors and actresses, loud music, al so distant -- so unlike
life. Yet like life, she thought. Magically as we watch a movie so does
God watch our lives go by. He may predict the ending but perhaps it is
still an ending by fate.
Lights went on. Still she sat to watch the credits roll. Boy 1, Boy 2,
even they got mention, though she didn't remember them much. Like the
girls behind the sales counter in life. Not memorable, but nonetheless
an integral part of any sales transaction. Just fly by night folks in
She got up to leave the theater. There were people around her and in
front of her and behind her. Looking up she realized she was
unrecognizable in the crowd. She enjoyed the anonymity. She thought she
had enjoyed the film. It was entertaining. Now she had to go home. Home
was where all the dramas began.
NOT JUST MACARONI
by Frank B. Ford
Couldn't see my house with all the satellite dishes, right?
Whatayathink? Huh? Whatayathink? Huh? Whatayathink? Huh?
Whatayathink? Yup yip sonabitch heyhigh!
Screenbowl with five hundred little playing card screens.
I watch all at once, all at once, all at once lots of times, but point
anywhere, you! Click for Monster-Surrounda-Picture-Sound. Look!
Chinaman talking Chinaman-talk see! Pores in his face like quarters.
TV dinners? Uh uh! See! I put up phone picture bigger than a
man! Whatayathink? Huh? Point at phone and order. Yup yip sonabitch
hey hey high!
I don't know I don't know I don't know. I don't know what I want:
chicken-beef-bread-icecream I don't know but send lots lots lots!
Look at that! All football everybody running. Five hundred
games! Run jerk run CENTURY OF EXCELLENCE.
WE'RE NUMBER 1 MAKING CARS AND MAKING PROGRESS Yup yip
sonabitch heyhigh! NOT JUST MACARONI
PIES GREAT GRANDMOTHER MADE Bolly bolly wick wick.
ACCORDING TO THE LATEST SURVEY Yup yip sonabitch heyhigh. Look out!
Don't let them!
WE ARE SOLVING THE TRASH CRISES WORLDWIDE hey hey hey bolly bolly wick
KILLING MAIMING RAPE EVERY MINUTE--DIGBY ALARMS COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE I
got metal detectors I got everything. They're trying to kill you all
the time. They can't get enough cops. Look! Break in every game:
cops in Paris smashing students, white clubs, batons. Good!
Yup yip sonabitch. Take all my money for jails take it all!I get the
news from all the countries they're all trying to kill me. They all
are! Yup yip sonabitch NOT JUST MACARONI white clubs.
Hey highbolly bolly wick wick ACCORDING TO THE LATEST SURVEY
bolly bolly wick wick, bolly bolly wick wick, bolly bolly wick wick
wick wick wick wick. Baton, bat-awn bat-awnnnnnnnnnnnnn.
MY FRIEND CLINTON? STATE REFORM AND CLASS POWER.
by Mort Allman
"[W]hen you see profound change and you want to preserve what is
most important in your values, your family, your community, you
have to find a way to make that change your friend. That is what
this administration is dedicated to doing -- both in trying to
change the rules of the economic game and in trying to open up a
new era of time when Americans who work hard and play by the rules
have a certain basic security."
(Bill Clinton, October 3, 1993)
"A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for
capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of
this very best shell...it establishes its power so securely, so
firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the
bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it."
(Lenin, THE STATE AND REVOLUTION)
It doesn't take a policy wonk to notice the increased legislative
activity in Washington this past year. Not since Reagan's first term
has there been such a sense of political change. It seems as if Clinton
is really trying to fulfill his promises to change the country's
We might be inclined to applaud such efforts. 'Good for Clinton,' we
might say. 'He's trying to change the system. He's trying to bring down
the deficit. He's trying to reform the health care system.' Yes, it
seems as if Washington, like it or not, is dealing with one idealistic
southern reformist. A forward-looking baby boomer Democrat. Hoo-ray!
And yet, we still get this pervading sense that our government seems
utterly intractable, unshakeable. We watch in silence as egotistic
senators hold out for hand-outs from the White house. So-called
"deficit reduction" strikes the skeptical eye as so much number-fudging
and face-saving. We get the impression that there's an illusion of
activism in Washington, not the real thing.
What gives? After 12 years of divided government, we finally have a
unified front. Both houses of congress are under Democratic control; at
the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue sits a Democratic president.
Shouldn't the party be ramming through all that legislation that they
just couldn't get past the veto power of republican presidents Bush and
Reagan? Shouldn't we be witnessing a mud slide of progressive reform,
long overdue? Why else would the electorate have turned Bush out of
office, unless it was 'to see things change.'?
To answer these questions we first have to understand the power base of
our present administration and closely examine who it serves.
Conventional political wisdom tells us that Clinton took power by means
of a broad-based coalition so fed up with the inactivity and brazenness
of the Bush/Reagan years that they settled on him as the most qualified
candidate, or at least the lesser of three evils. Clinton's campaign
correctly gauged popular unrest and successfully channeled it into
votes. The public expected, even demanded that Clinton be more of an
activist, reformist president. We were sick of nothing being done about
the recession. We were tired of Bush's foreign policy visits while our
infrastructure and economy faltered. We wanted a more responsive
government. Labor, feminists, minority-blocs, progressives, radicals,
gays/lesbians, liberals, "Reagan democrats", even socially-moderate
suburbanites--we all tentatively climbed aboard Clinton's Magic Bus and
turned him into office.
In a textbook democratic state, you would expect the Clinton government
to be responsive to the power-bloc that put him there. But beyond the
rhetoric about things changing and 'putting people first,' how has
Clinton's presidency helped our coalition?
While retaining some very mild reformist tendencies (stroking the
conscience of democrats who sincerely believe they are reinventing
government, solving the health care crisis, getting the fiscal house in
order, etc.), this "new" leadership in fact STILL acts largely in
behalf of America's large property owners, the well-invested, those who
own the means of production in the society, and those who have been
entrusted with the management of the rest of us wage laborers. Clinton,
the great salesman of reform, is really Clinton the sell-out artist. He
is unable or unwilling to truly champion the needs of the body politic,
Clinton's Reformist Program
Let's judge our present government based on its electoral mandate to
change domestic policy. After all, that is why we elected a united
government, wasn't it? To see the end of gridlock. To see that abstract
term "change" made real. In the parlance of bourgeois democratic
states, change equals reform. How can we characterize Bill Clinton's
specific brand of reformism? In three ways:
1. Centrist Starting Point. Proposals are framed in mild, moderate
terms, so that they will be palatable to conservatives and
moneyed interests. Everyone must be pleased and placated. This
won't hurt a bit.
2. Balancing act. Any progressive tendencies are balanced by
right-leaning proposals, rhetoric and personnel. Reforms must
almost be apologized for. Equivocation, backpedaling and floating
trial balloons are typical political strategies. It might be apt
to recall that Clinton hired Reagan-era media guru David Gergen to
get his house in order last spring. Why? Ostensibly to achieve
more "balance." To send the "right" signals.
3. The sell-out. Clinton is willing to sell-out his reforms to get a
policy through congress or a directive through the military. Such
spineless compromise is even more amazing given his initial
centrist positions, and it leads to the conclusion that he has a
fundamental lack of commitment to anything other than the
appearance of activist government. A lot may be happening in
Washington, but what does it amount to?
Numerous cases can be called forth to depict these three points. One
need only recall the withdrawal of the Lani Guinier nomination, the
backpedaling and equivocation regarding gays in the military, the
supreme court nomination of a moderate, Ruth Ginsburg, the collective
might of presidents Clinton, Carter, Bush, and Ford throwing their
weight behind NAFTA, the various wheeling, dealing, and fudging on the
much contested budget agreement, the whittling down of the college
service program, the deceptive cancellation of the Strategic Defense
Initiative, the continuation of Bush policies in Somalia, the lack of
resolve in Bosnia, and an inconsistent policy towards Haiti that seems
to change weekly.
The end result? Clinton's paper-thin reforms get picked apart and
gutted till emptied of content. If they still resemble reforms, they
are at best mild treatment for the symptoms of larger problems. At
worst they are actually repressive laws masked as reform. We might have
said the same thing of democratic presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson,
When this presidency is caught in the act of reneging on promises or
selling-out the interest of the people in favor the owners of capital,
liberal pundits are apt to label such behavior as MEDIATION between
conflicting interest groups, or government and business working in
partnership (to be understood as ultimately good for the public of
course). This is the optimistic, euphemistic spin foisted upon the
public. Clinton will go down in the history books as the great
compromiser, the great deal maker, the great coalition builder
the great mediator.
Of course, such interpretations are false.
When Clinton 'mediates,' you should see it for what it really is. He is
forced by systemic restraints (legislative pressure, market pressure,
diplomatic pressure, corporate lobbyists) to curb any reform too
extreme for the ruling class.
For example, on August 13, 1993 in Denver Colorado, Mr. Clinton signed
into law the Colorado Wilderness Act designating as he said, "a total
of 612,000 acres, 19 separate areas in our national forests, as
components of the National Wilderness Preservation System." Those of us
who care about environmental protection might be applauding him at
this point. But wait,
"The Act also protects five areas totalling over 150,000 acres under
management plans that are slightly less restrictive but still
One wonders what "less restrictive" really means. But wait again, he
hasn't finished yet...
"At the same time as it protects these treasures, the Act releases
about 115,000 acres of Forest Service lands in Colorado for other
purposes balancing the goal of preserving our environment with the
need to provide for a healthy economy for the people who live and
Whatever gains achieved in preserving wilderness are balanced or
undermined by the "less restrictive" protection of 150,000 acres and
the outright release of 115,000 acres for 'economic purposes.' One
wonders what effect a 'healthy economy' will have on the health of the
Colorado environment and the health of the Colorado wage earner.
In fact, the Clinton administration, aside from being the very stuff of
the ruling and managerial classes, has internalized ruling class values
to the point that they often will not even propose meaningful reforms
to begin with. This truly is government and business working in
partnership. How can a democratically elected government act in behalf
of a small minority of economic interests?
Sociologist Ralph Miliband has attempted to account for such a paradox
in his writings on State power vs. Class power. According to Miliband,
in his essay "State Power and Class Interests" the state is held
in-check by forces outside its immediate sphere--forces that make up
the larger sphere of national and international capitalism, and its
need for capital accumulation and fluidity. These constant needs result
in organifrom capitalist interest groups like the World
Bank, the IMF, multinational corporate lobbyists, the corporate
controlled mass media, the stock markets, and even supra-governmental
bodies like the G7, the U.N., and free trade groups. These forces
combine to support 'free trade', government handouts to big business,
government funding of private research and development, protection of
private interests abroad, and so forth.
And yet the bourgeois state has a degree of relative autonomy in
relation to the ruling class, i.e. it can often act the way it wants
to. It is an entity unto itself, a powerful force that pervades
society. (Miliband 66) Look at the size of the federal and state
bureaucracies, the impact of the federal deficit on the national
economy, the pervasive presence of the military in daily life.
The state has an existence of its own and interests of its own. Thse
interests generally fall into two categories: self-preservation and the
national interest. The impulse for self-preservation needs little
explanation. Leaders will tend to pursue policies and methods that will
keep them in power, sometimes even at the expense of the ruling class.
The national interest is defined by the need to protect the social
order and national integrity (e.g. isolationist tendencies that
actually can run counter to capitalist demands); the need to finance
its own existence (hence taxation policies that can disgruntle
capitalist interests); and the need to respond to popular unrest by
reforming and regulating government and business, something that
insures a stable and peaceful labor force for capital, but which
capital begrudges all the same (Miliband 69-72).
Despite the occasional conflicts between business and government, what
ultimately seals the bond between state power and ruling class
interests is this conception of National Interest. Usually the state
will identify the national interest with whatever will maximize profits
for private industries. The national interest IS the interest of the
ruling class. So the War in Iraq is waged in the national interest
(i.e. in the interest of the oil companies). NAFTA is in the national
interest. Managed competition in health care is in the national
interest. Leasing wilderness land to business is in the national
For another example, we can cite Bob Rubin, assistant to the president
for economic policy, who spoke on health care and the economy on
October 6, 1993:
Let me make one very brief comment myself, and my own is a very
practical perspective. I remember during the transition we had a
health care presentation, and afterwards I turned to Ira Magaziner.
At that time he wasn't in charge of health care yet. I said, you
know, it's a funny thing. Virtually every CEO that I've spoken to
in recent years -- and I'd spoken to enormous numbers of them
because I was in the financial service industry before I came here
-- has said that escalating health care costs are one of the major
problems of their company. Virtually every CEO that I had spoken
to said, and as I said, I'd spoken to enormous numbers of them --
viewed the escalation of health care costs as a tremendous
impediment with respect to international competitiveness and
exports. And exports, as you know, are critical to economic growth
-- have been in recent years and certainly will be in the years ahead
So I had the feeling then, and I've had it evermore since then,
that we simply have to get health care costs under control if we're
going to have the kind of economic future we want to have.
Secondly, there are non-quantifiable aspects of health care
security and universal coverage which are of great importance
economically. A healthy work force is a better work force. You
have lower turnover, lower absenteeism. You can't quantify these
things, but they're very important. And, finally, as Erskine
Bowles will discuss, there's no question in my mind that when the
small business sector focuses on health care reform and understands
it, and understands how it relates to their long-term prospects, a
great preponderance of small business-people will be in favor of
health care reform."
Mr. Rubin identifies the national interest with ruling class
interests. The need for health care reform is dictated by the needs as
expressed by corporate CEOs. There is no mention of the human suffering
of poor people without insurance, of the populace being ravished by
exploitive health care costs. No, it all boils down to profits; we need
more productive workers! That's what reform is all about.
The connections between state and class power lead Miliband to a model
that describes their relationship as a partnership between separate but
related forces. In a democratic state, the relationship is a semi-fluid
one. In those aspects of the state subject to the will of the people
(elections), there may well be room for representatives and executives
from the left, and there may well be room for the passages of certain
reforms in the context of a capitalist system, which can never be
challenged. Yet to protect the existing societal structure from too
much 'damage', there are forces of the state that are more
conservative, more rigid, more blatantly protective of dominant class
interests. They exist primarily to preserve order, which usually means
protecting the rich and subjugating the lower classes by means of the
military, the civil service, the police, the judiciary, and even the
lawmakers themselves. These state powers almost always act in the
interest of the dominant class. And they help to curb any extremes
arising from the whims of the democratically elected wings of
government. Such a model of the bourgeois democratic state helps us to
understand the nature of the Clinton administration -- the character of
its 'reforms' and the resistance to them. 
Obviously an array of forces like this makes reform difficult. So how
can any reforms be achieved? We know that part of the state's function
is to maintain the capitalist order of society. At the same time, the
bourgeois democratic state needs the ratification of popular support;
without it, the government will be illegitimate, and disorder will
ensue. Thus, various reforms become necessary from time to time to keep
the lower classes at bay, to keep up our shaky confidence in the
system; this is the ulterior motive of the reformist program, mere
bones to busy the dogs. Such reformism, because it is watered-down, and
because it is not sweeping, will ultimately fail to solve the very
problems it sets out to fix.
Let's examine a contested reform that finally made it into law, namely
the Family Leave Act. The family leave bill was resisted by
conservative elements who thought it would be bad business to let
workers take emergency time off without the threat of losing their job.
The state finally was able to legislate such a bill, albeit in a
watered-down form compared to other industrialized countries. But even
the liberal, reformist elements will justify their support in
capitalist terms. One argument in favor of the reform was that a family
leave bill would be good for business in the long run by insuring
satisfied and thus more productive workers. And productivity is
definitely in the interest of the ruling class.
But assuming that such a reform as family leave might be perceived by
right-wing ideologues as "extreme" or "contrary to ruling class
interest," how does the state get away with this under the vigilant
gaze of the business owners, the corporate execs, and mega-stock
holders? They get away with it because they are not controlled by the
ruling class per se. The state does function in part through a measure
of democratic participation and popular support. As Miliband puts it,
the state is an institution that acts in BEHALF of the ruling class
more often than not, but it does not act at the BEHEST of the ruling
class. The government is more of a guardian of ruling class interests
and identifies its own interests with the ruling class. This is very
different from the assertion that the government is a lackey for the
ruling class. The distinction is important because it makes room for
activist struggle within the system while realizing the limitations of
Despite the stated intentions, beliefs and goals of the present
leadership, close examination of Clinton's hollow reforms will
demonstrate their true function--keeping the popular masses subservient
to the demands of global capitalism by way of minor adjustments to the
system intended to diffuse popular unrest. What matters are not
intentions of our leaders, but the real effects of their policies and
When it comes to health reform, Clinton will not even propose a single
payer system with the government as sole insurer. That would endanger
the insurance companies. And the insurance companies are our friends.
It is in the national interest to have health insurance companies.
Single payer systems are too extreme. No, it is better to have a
muddled, messy combination of private insurance and public insurance,
probably accompanied by regressive taxation and leaky efforts at cost
control. The best we can hope for from Clinton's plan would be some
minimum safety net to cover the presently uninsured.
When it comes to NAFTA, Clinton negotiates feeble, unenforceable side
agreements with Mexico in order to throw his weight behind a
'free-trade' agreement potentially disastrous for American labor, not
to mention the environment or the Mexican worker. And yet in the same
breath the government touts a high-growth, high wage economy. What's
good for business will be good for you.
When it comes to allowing gays in the military, Clinton caves-in to the
generals and the Sam Nunns, and settles on a blatantly hypocritical
policy of don't ask-don't tell-don't pursue. Why? Because the military
essentially refused his original "extremist" position, which dared to
acknowledge that homosexuals might want to serve in the armed forces
and should have the right to do so.
When it comes to the Strategic Defense Initiative (Star Wars), Clinton
cancels the program, gives it a new name, and increases the funding.
Are these by any stretch of imagination great reforms? If we put
ourselves as activists in the position of defending such two-faced
policy wavering, such deception and ruinous doctrines, we place our own
political integrity on the line.
However, this is not to say we should necessarily oppose Clinton's
reforms on principle. Each must be taken and evaluated on its own
merits. If any improvement can be made in working conditions, privacy
rights, environmental protection, class, race, and gender
discrimination, we should lend our support. But let us dispel any
illusions. This president is more of an enemy than friend.
He will not change the rules of the game.
Does Clinton Deserve Our Support?
It should by now be clear that we cannot continue to allow the
democrats to sponge left-wing support after selling-out the very
principles we value again and again and again. A man like Clinton in
the White House is not going to lastingly effect the unjust system
underpinning the state. Such radical change is not in his nature. Don't
be disappointed if he doesn't advocate it.
If we only wage the struggle at the level of state power, we will fail
more often than not, and our success will be hollow. But with respect
to pending legislation and executive policy, we can and should remain
active. Insist on the strongest reforms that can be possibly pried out
of the system as we know it. Articulate strong positions and make them
heard. As long as we have such a government in place, we need to press
it to the wall, make it pay attention. We must always agitate against
those who offer only band-aid solutions to systemic problems.
But more importantly, we must also wage a broader struggle at the CLASS
level. Everyday, the ruling class is waging war against you. You are
being pressured to work longer for less pay, with a less secure future.
Your unions are being gouged. Your families treated without respect.
Your cities are imploding. Your savings are eroding. Your television
hammers you with ruling class ideology day after day.
It's time to draw our own line in the sand. Resist the state and the
ruling class in everyday life. Challenge the media, agitate
representatives and councilmen, act locally, and protest injustice. We
must contribute in our daily lives to the raising of class
consciousness. We must support with our dollars activist causes and
alternative economic concerns. We must reach out to the disenfranchised
and disgruntled. We must collectively resist wage exploitation. We
cannot rely on the government as we know it to solve our problems for
us; the structure and organs of government must be changed.
Prescription For Radical Opposition
If we could actually elect a true leftist government in America (and
electoral mandate is probably our best hope for now, remote as that
possibility seems), how might it actually try to wrest control of the
state from the hands of the ruling class?
According to Ralph Miliband, a new government must first make radical
personnel changes in state institutions. We could contemplate a
thorough house cleaning of the military and every cabinet division.
This would neutralize much of the conservatism of the bureaucracy. (We
might note here that Clinton was notoriously tardy at filling
government posts with his own people, a serious but unsurprising
political blunder, especially for an establishment politician.)
At the same time, the government would need not merely to propose mild
reformist laws, but direct its energy at smashing and replacing the
institutions of government, aiming to democratize the state further --
to place the decision making power more in the hands of the people. 
And further, the government would need to encourage the creation and
development of political institutions parallel to state institutions,
e.g. worker's committees, civic oversight committees, maybe even
popular militias--in short, to create organs of class power
distinguishable from state power (Miliband 104-106).
The aim of such a government would be the radical transformation of
state institutions, turning power into the hands of the people by means
of real democratic organs. It is in this sense that a democratically
elected government could smash the state. But without the help of
organized, class-based institutions, such a government would be smashed
itself by the forces of the ruling class. Such thoughts must
unfortunately remain sketchy; it takes collective action to realize
their full dimensions.
Miliband, Ralph. Class Power & State Power: Political Essays.
London: Verso, 1983.
Miliband also analyzes how the ruling class can exert pressure on
the state to demand its way in the sphere of public policy. The first
method is an unfocused but all out generalized struggle of every
disgruntled member of the ruling class in daily life.
It includes middle class 'housewives' demonstrating...;factory owners
sabotaging production; merchants hoarding stocks; newspaper proprietors
and their subordinates engaging in ceaseless campaigns against the
government; landlords impeding land reform;...anything that
influential, well-off, educated (or not so well-educated) people can do
to impede a hated government....Nothing very dramatic is required; just
an individual rejection in one's daily life and activity of the
regime's legitimacy, which turns by itself into a vast collective
enterprise in the production of disruption ( Miliband 86)
The second method is what Miliband calls "external conservative
intervention." This is outside influence by other countries,
multinational corporations with global interests, the IMF, the World
Bank, etc. The third method is the struggle waged by organized
conservative political parties. Primarily in the United States, the
Republican party most often represents the ruling class up and down the
line. These political parties articulate the general unease expressed
by the class in daily life and turn it into political willpower. The
fourth method is extreme right-wing groups who can be allied with in
cases of extreme emergencies when the going gets tough. We might
include fascist groups, the KKK, and the religious right. The fifth
method is the conservatism inherent in the civil service and judicial
branches of government. They will generally resist extreme reform. And
last but not least, there is always the military. The military can
easily be called to arms to protect ruling class interest or to resist
the radical left. All of these pressures can and will be brought to
bear to resist any effort of the state to act "out of line."
Technological developments (computers, telecommunications) bring
massive potential to put decision making power in the hands of the
people. We can be sure that capital interests are and will continue to
resist such potential. Thus we might expect a continuation of the
present trend, namely, that the masses are given access to mass
communication tools primarily as a means of "entertainment" or commerce
(e.g. interactive entertainment, more TV channels, easier access to
movies, games, bread, and circuses) and not as a means of empowerment.