The American Political System

The American Political System. The United States is a representative federal democracy driven by-elections in which citizens and lobbyists, diverse interests compete.

The concentration of Economic Power:-

In the United States, Professor C. Kaysen notes,

“There are currently some 4.5 million business enterprises. Corporations formed only 13 per cent of the total number.”

The United States’ political history would have been different if the concentration of economic power had been as rapid as Marx thought it must become. In fact, as Professor E.S. Mason says about the United States, the largest corporations have grown mightily, but so has the economy.


Ralph Miliband dissents and regards advanced capitalism as all but synonymous with giant enterprise, which dominates its industry, commerce, and finance sectors. Concerning the United States, Carl Kaysen admits, A few large corporations are of overwhelmingly disproportionate importance in our economy, especially in certain key sectors. Whatever aspects of their economic activity, we measure employment, investment, research and development, military supply. We see the same situation.

Professor Galbraith says: in 1962, the five largest industrial corporations in the United States, with combined assets of $36 billion, possessed over 12 percent of all assets used in manufacturing. The fifty largest corporations had over a third of all manufacturing assets. The five hundred largest had well over two-thirds of corporations with assets above $10,000,600. Some two hundred in all accounted for about 80 percent of all manufacturing resources in the United States. In the first half of the decade (June 1950 June 1956), a hundred firms received two-thirds by the value of all defense contracts, ten firms received one-third.

According to Galbraith, twenty-eight corporations provided about 10 percent of all employment in manufacturing, mining, and trade. Four corporations accounted for about 22 percent of all industrial research and development. Three hundred and eighty-four big corporations accounted for 55 percent of these expenditures, but 260,000 small firms accounted for only 7 percent.

There is every reason to believe that this domination of America’s economy by giant corporations has become even more marked in recent years. State intervention itself tends to expedite this process despite its professed desire to curb monopolies and safeguard the interests of small businesses; the enormous political significance of this concentration of private economic power on American polity is a major concern chapter.

Moreover, it should be noted that this giant enterprise’s growth is not merely a national phenomenon. A growing number of the largest American firms are assuming a more pronounced transnational character, both ownership and management. Much of this has been brought about due to the equation by American corporations of a rapidly expanding stake in the economic life of other advanced capitalist countries, often to the point of actual control of the latter’s major enterprises and industries.

But American capitalism is international also in another, more traditional, sense as a large-scale capitalist enterprise is deeply implanted in the under-industrialized areas of the world, in Latin America, Middle East Africa, and Asia.

What is the political significance of these corporations from the point of view of power structures? C. Wright Mills explains; Not great fortunes, but great corporations are the important units of wealth, to which individuals of property are variously attached. The corporation is the source of, and the basis of, the continued power and privilege of wealth. All the men and the families of great wealth are now identified with large corporations in which their property is seated. It should be emphasized that the location of power inside rather than outside the typical giant corporation renders anachronistic the theory of the interest group as a fundamental unit in the structure of capitalist society. A whole series of developments have loosened or broken the ties that formerly bound the great interest groups together.

Social Structure and Class Distribution:-

The common economic features of developed capitalist systems such as the U.S, Britain, France, Canada, Japan, etc., provide these countries with a broadly similar economic base. But this commonality of their economic base is also responsible for creating many significant similarities in their social structure and class distribution. Therefore, we find in all these countries, including the United States, a relatively small number of people who own a markedly disproportionate share of personal wealth and whose income is predominantly divided from ownership of private properties.

Many of these rich persons also control the uses to which their assets are put, But some wealthy individuals may own a small part of those large assets which they control and manage in reality. These owners and controllers, taken together, institute the ruling class of the United States and other capitalist countries. Whether this usage is correct for democracy will be examined in this chapter later. At this stage, we may note economic elites’ existence, which through ownership or control do command the most important sectors of all developed capitalist economies.

At the other end of the social scale, we find in all these countries, a working-class mostly composed of industrial workers with agricultural wage-earners a steadily diminishing element in the workforce.

This implies that the main form assumed by production relations in the United States is that between capitalist employers and industrial wage-earners. Like other social classes, the working class of the United States is highly diversified. It is a distinct and specific social formation due to its characteristics distinguished from those of other classes.

Ralph Miliband says The most obvious of these characteristics is that the people generally get the least of what there is to get and who have to work hardest for it. And it is also from their ranks that are recruited the unemployed, the aged poor, the chronically destitute, and the sub-proletariat of capitalist society.

While apologists of capitalism talk of its classlessness, the proletarian condition remains still harsh in the work process, in income levels, lack of opportunities, and the social definition of existence. The economic and political life of all capitalist societies, including the United States, is chiefly shaped by re relationship, determined by the capitalist of production, between these two classiness owners of property on the one hand and the workers on the other.

The confrontation of two opposite social forces powerfully determines the political systems of developed -capitalism, and the United States is no exception to this general rule. The political process is virtually concerned with this antagonism. It is, in fact, intended to legitimate the terms of their unequal relationship.

However, it would be wrong to assign a merely nominal role to other social classes and strata in capitalist America. In fact, their existence and activity greatly help to prevent the political polarization of a capitalist society. In the United States, a large and growing class of recessional people lawyers, doctors, scientists, administrators, technocrats, etc. plays a significant economic and political role in the system -then we have a middle class associated with small and medium-sized enterprises, which cannot be assimilated into the upper class of the corporate rich. Finally, a capitalist society includes many cultural workers, writers, poets, critics, journalists, priests, and intellectuals.

The brief enumeration of classes and strata given here is not exhaustive. We have disregarded the lumpen and criminal elements and excluded those who actually run the state as politicians, civil servants, judges, and military men. Their role will be taken up separately a little later, and one point may be noted that classes may exist, yet they may not be conscious of their class positions and actual relations between classes.

As C. Wright Mills says, The fact that men are not class conscious and in all places does not mean that there are no classes or that everybody is middle class in America. The economic and social facts are one thing. Psychological feelings may or may not be associated with them in rationally expected ways. Both are important. If psychological feelings and political outlooks do not correspond to economic or occupational class, we must try to determine why rather than throw out the economic baby with the psychological bath and fail to understand how either fits into the national tub.

In his introduction to Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville says that this book was written under the impression of a kind of religious dread produced in the author’s mind by contemplating this irresistible revolution that had advanced for so many centuries despite all obstacles.

He was here speaking of the progress in the direction of democratic egalitarianism. Since then, many writers have echoed de Tocqueville’s sentiments. J. s. Meisel spoke about the myth of the most potent sociopolitical solvent of modem times. Theories have been advanced about the mass society, the end of ideology, the end of history, and classlessness.

However, Professor Kolko maintains that there was no significant trend towards income equality in the United States between 1910 and 1959; H.P Miller also notes that this nation may soon face an increase in the disparity in the absence of remedial action of incomes.

Professor Meade has drawn our attention to a really fantastic inequality in property ownership, and equalization is a myth in the context of significant economic inequalities in all developed capitalist countries, including the United States. For the United States, R.J. Lampman notes that the share of wealth accruing to the top 2 percent of American families in 1953 amounted to 29 percent (instead of 33 percent in 1922) and that one percent of adults owned 76 percent of corporate stock, as compared with 61.5 percent in 1922 This hardly justifies the belief in People’s Capitalism.

This shows that despite tall claims about the leveling process, there continues to exist a relatively small class of people who own large amounts of property and also receive substantial incomes derived from that ownership. On the other end, a vast class of people owns very little or no property, whose income depends on the sale of their labor power, and who live a life of actual poverty.

The findings of an official conference on Economic Progress in the United States, which reported in 1962 are thirty-four million people in families, and four million unattached individuals lived in poverty, thirty-seven million people in families, and two million unattached individuals lived in deprivation. A total of seventy-seven million comprised two-fifths of the U.S population in 1960.

The phenomenon of managerialism does not significantly alter the class and social polarization of American society. In practice, Adolf Berle writes about the United States, and tiny, self-perpetuating oligarchies guide institutional corporations. These in tum are drawn from and judged by the group opinions of a small fragment of America-its business and financial community.

But this view is not true because the corporate managers are seldom free from the owners’ direct pressures and because they themselves are usually part of the owning fraternity. In the United States, according to Kolko, the managerial class is the largest single group in the stock holding population, and a greater proportion of this class owns stock than any other. Thus modern managerial class is an indivisible component of the ruling capitalist class, and the work process under both remains one of ordination and subjection.

Professor Kolko concludes: The signal fact of American business history is the consensus among business people that the capitalist system is worth maintaining. It may tolerate decisive innovation in the economic sphere but is opposed to radical economic programmed that might alter the concentration of economic power and undermine the sterility, if not the very existence of the status quo. The question now is whether this economically dominant business elite is also ruling class in the sense that it exercises a decisive degree of political power; whether its control and ownership of the industrial-commercial complex enable it to dominate the state in the political environment developed capitalism.

The State System and the State Elite:-

According to Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy, and Ralph Miliband, the ruling class of a capitalist society is that class that owns and controls the means of production and which is able by the economic power thus conferred upon it, to use the state as its instrument for the domination of society. The theorists of liberal democracy and often of social democracy, on the other hand, have denied that it was possible to speak in a significant way of a capitalist class at all and that such economic power as could be located in capitalist society was so diffuse, fragmented, competitive, and so much subject to a multitude of countervailing checks as to render impossible its hegemonic assertion vis-a-vis the state or society.

You may find, therefore, in a capitalist country like the United States, a plurality of competing economic, political, and other elites, which are, by the very fact of their pluralistic competition, their lack of common purpose and absence of cohesion is capable of forming a dominant class that can wield effective power.

It may easily be conceded that their docs exist a plurality of economic and other elites in a developed capitalist society like the United States. Despite the integrating trends of its capitalism, these elites do from distinct interests and groupings, whose completion greatly influences the political process. However, this elite pluralism cannot obstruct the USA capitalist society’s various elites from integrating into a dominant economic class, showing great solidarity and cohesion because their common interests and shared objectives transcend their specific disagreements and differences.

But the most important question in this context is whether this dominant class in the economic sense also constitutes the ruling class in the political sense. Of course, no one can deny that this economically dominant class does wield substantial political power and influence. The question is a different one altogether, namely whether this dominant class also exercises a much greater degree of power and influence than any other class, whether it exercises a decisive degree of political power; whether its ownership and control of crucially important areas of economic life also ensures the control of political decision-making in the particular environment of advanced capitalism.

The first element of the state system is its government. Surprisingly, government and state should often appear synonymous. The assumption of governmental power is not equivalent to the acquisition of state power. When the Republicans or the Democrats win an election in the United States, they form a government which, in Weber’s words, can successfully plan the monopoly of the legitimate: use of physical force within U.S. territory.

A second element of the state system is the administrative one, which now extends far beyond the state’s traditional bureaucracy. It includes a wide variety of ministerial departments, public corporations, regulatory commissions, central banks, etc., which are concerned with the management of economic, social, cultural, and other activities.

Formally, bureaucracy is at the service of the political executive, its tool and instrument. Actually, it is a part of the political process. Karl Mannheim noted that all bureaucratic thought’s fundamental tendency is to turn all problems of politics into problems of administration. Administrators cannot divest themselves of their ideological convictions when they tender their advice to ministers or when they are in a position to take independent decisions. Professor Meynaud correctly points out that establishing an absolute separation between political and administrative sectors had never represented much more than a simple Juridical fiction of which the ideological consequences are not negligible.

These considerations apply to all other elements of the system. They equally apply to a third such element, namely, the armed forces, which may be added to the para-military, security, and police forces of the state. They together constitute that branch of the state system, which is concerned with the management of violence. In the United States, this coercive apparatus has developed into a vast, resourceful, and expanding establishment since the second world war. Its professional leaders, a new race of warlords,? are persons of high status and extra-ordinary influence, inside state system. In society, a similar increase had occurred in the forces of internal security. In no other capitalist state, except in Nazi Germany, police repression and militarization ever reached a grander scale than in the post-war United States.

The fourth element of the state system is the judiciary, which is also non-elective as the administrative and coercive apparatuses are. But unlike them, it is not the judges’ constitutional obligation to serve the government of the day. They are constitutionally independent of the political executive and protected from it by securing their tenure and other guarantees. They are also expected to defend citizens’ rights and freedom against any encroachment by the political executive. Even then, the judiciary is an integral part of the state system, which profoundly affects state power exercise.

Various units of sub-central or local government constitute the fifth element of the state system. For all the centralization of power, which is a major development in all capitalist countries, sub-central organs of government, notably in federal systems such as that of the United States, have continued as power-structures in their own right, and therefore able to affect very markedly the lives of the population they have governed.

Representative assemblies of developed capitalist counters constitute the sixth element of their state and, as an elective element, can -be viewed as the most democratic -segment. Their life revolves around the government. In the United States, they are formally independent institutions of political power. Their relationship with the executive is one of conflict and cooperation. Opposition parties cannot be wholly uncooperative. By taking part in the work of the legislature, they help the government’s business.

Government parties are seldom single-minded in their support of the political executive. Dissenters must be persuaded, cajoled, threatened, or bought off Both sides, thus, reflect this duality.

Ralph Miliband says:

“It is in the constitutionally-sanctioned performance of this cooperative and critical function that legislative assemblies have a share in the exercise of state power. That share is rather less extensive and exalted than is often claimed for these bodies.”

Through these six components of the state system, presidents, prime ministers and their ministerial colleagues, high civil servants, and other state bureaucrats, top military men, judges of superior courts, some eminent parliamentary leaders, political and administrative leaders of sub-central government exercise their political power. These are the people who together constitute the state elite. But the state System is only a part of the political system, which is broader and includes many institutions such as political parties and pressure groups. They influence the political process and vitally affect the functioning of the state system. It further includes such non-political institutions as giant corporations, churches, the mass media, etc. Obviously, the men who lead and govern them wield political power, but they should be distinguished from the state elite, which exercises state power as a distinct and separate entity.

In the case of the United States, it is necessary to analyze the state’s relationship to the economically dominant class. It may well be discovered that this relationship is very close indeed and that the holders of state power are, for many different reasons, the agents of private economic power, that those who wield that power are also, therefore, and without unduly stretching the meaning of words, an authentic ruling class.

From this point of view, the phrase ” good for General Motors is good for America is only defective. It tends to identify the interests of one particular enterprise with the national interest. But if General Motors is taken to stand for the world of capitalist enterprises as a whole, the slogan is one to which governments in capitalist countries do subscribe, often explicitly.

Like capitalist governments elsewhere, the American government does so because it accepts the view that the economic rationality of capitalism provides the best possible set of social arrangements for human welfare and progress. Representing the view of the state elite in America.

President Eisenhower said:

” I believe in our dynamic system of privately owned businesses and industries. They have proven that they can supply not only the mightiest sinews of war, but the highest standard of living in the world for the greatest number of people …. But it requires someone to take these things and to produce the extraordinary statistics that the United States with 7 per cent of the world’s population produces 50 percent of the world’s manufactured goods. If that someone is to be given a name I believe that his name is the American businessman.”

Bureaucratic, Military, and Judicial Elites:-

Top civil servants in the United States, specialists at upper levels of established career services, have almost unlimited reserves of the enormous power, consisting of sitting still in defense of the status quo. Bureaucracy works as the conscious ally of the business class in all capitalist countries with the United States in the lead, candidates to and members of the civil service are subjected to screening procedures to eliminate men and women suspected of any radical orientation. But the most important factor that reinforces the conservative outlook of higher civil servants that turns them into firm supporters of corporate capitalism interests is their closeness to their environment.

Furthermore, bureaucracy and large enterprises are now increasingly related in terms of interchanging personnel. This is particularly true of the new breed of technocrats who operate both national and superannuation institutions. The same is also true of independent regulatory agencies in the United States. They may be independent of the political executive, but ideologically and politically, they are integrated into the world of corporate capitalism; Labor, on the other hand, does not possess any links or advantages in the bureaucratic world. American civil servants are not neutral in class conflicts but, in fact, the allies of capital against labor.

Therefore, Miliband concludes that the state bureaucracy in all its parts is not an impersonal non-ideological, a-political element in society, above the conflicts in which classes, interests, and groups engage. Under its ideological dispositions, reinforced by its own interests, that bureaucracy, on the contrary, is a crucially important and committed element in the maintenance and defense of the structure of power and privilege inherent in advanced capitalism. The point applies at least as much to economic technocrats. In this light, contemporary capitalism has no more devoted and more useful servants than the men who help administer the state’s intervention in economic life.

Similarly, the notion that the military elites in America are ideologically neutral is manifestly false. As in civil servants, military conservatism is also specific in the sense that it is finally committed to protecting and maintaining capitalist values and purposes.

Professor Huntington says:

“Few developments more dramatically symbolized the new status of the military in the post-war decade than the close association which they developed with the business elite of American society …. Professional officers and business men revealed a new mutual respect. Retied generals and admirals -in unprecedented numbers went into the executive staffs of American corporations; new organizations arose bridging the gap between corporate management and military leadership. For the military officers, the business represented the epitome of the American way of life.”

F.J. Cook has given a well-documented analysis of this process in his book The Warfare State. C. Wright Mills has forcefully argued that in the United States, the steady militarization of life and the abnormal growth of the military domain has produced a situation in which the military must be regarded as a power group coequal with the corporate elite and the political directorate. The military elite is their trusted ally against striking workers, left-wing political activists, and other such disturbers of the Status quo.

Judicial elites are mainly drawn from the upper and middle layers of society. In the United States, they are men of a conservative disposition concerning all the major economic, political, and social arrangements of their society. By assuming the role of a third chamber, the Supreme Court has used its judicial discretion to determine social policies. However, one judge enunciated the view in 1824 that public policy is an unruly horse and dangerous to ride.

But many judges of the Supreme Court have nevertheless been compelled to ride that horse for good or bad reasons. Judges have taken a rather poor view of radical dissent and even connived in the erosion of civil liberties in the conditions of a long-term Cold War. They have consistently displayed a bias in favor of privilege, property, and capital. The history of trade unionism in America is also a history of continuous struggle against the court’s attempts to curl the working-class’s rights.

Legitimization and Imperfect Competition:-

The claims of democratic diversity and free political competition, which are made on behalf of capitalist democracies like the United States, appear valid in communications the press, radio, television, education, etc. The value of this freedom and opportunity of expression cannot and should not be underestimated. Yet the notion of pluralist diversity and competitive equilibrium Milliband points out, is here as in every other field rather superficial and misleading for the agencies of communication and notably the mass media are, in reality, and the expression of dissident view notwithstanding, a crucial element in the legitimization of capitalist society. In the United States, freedom of expression mainly means the free expression of ideas, which assists the established system of power and privilege.

Even P.F.Lazarsfeld and R.K. Merton, two mainstream sociologists, have admitted this regarding the United States, Increasingly the chief power groups, among which organized business occupies the most spectacular place, have come to adopt techniques for manipulating the mass public through propaganda in place of more direct means of control Economic power seems to have reduced direct exploitation and turned to a subtler type of psychological exploitation, achieved largely by disseminating propaganda through the mass media of communication. These media have taken on to render the mass public’s conformation to the social and economic status quo.

The media’s ideological function is obscured in the United States by the absence of state dictation, the existence of debate and controversy, and the looseness of the conservative doctrine allowing variations within its framework. Yet the fact remains that the mass media in capitalist democracies are mainly intended to perform a highly functional and legitimizing role, both as the expression of a system of domination and a means of reinforcing it. The press radio and television may preserve a fair degree of impartiality between the Republican and Democratic parties, but this does not preclude adverse criticism of all views opposed to this bi-party consensus. Radical views are specially marked for hostile condemnation. Socialism for them has always been a devil incarnate. Similarly, the press and other media in the United States remain a deeply committed anti-trade union force. Since 1945 the U.S. media was virulently hostile towards international communism and national liberation struggles, and revolutionary movements.

Conservative, pro-capitalist attitudes of the mainstream media are derived from the ownership and control of the means of mental production. The mass media in the United States are overwhelmingly in the private domain, dominated by large-scale capitalist enterprises. The Hearst empire, for instance, includes twelve newspapers, fourteen magazines, three television stations, six radio stations, a news service, a photo service, a feature syndicate, and Avon paperbacks; and similarly in addition to magazines, Time, Inc., also owns radio and television stations, a book club, piper mills, timber Land, oil wells, and real estate.

The ideological dispositions of the owners of the capitalist mass media oscillate between soundly conservative to utterly reactionary. Newspaper proprietors closely control the editorial policies of their newspapers as well. James Wechsler, the New York Post editor, said, The American press is overwhelmingly owned and operated by Republicans who Ix the U.S. political debate rules. And I use the words fix advisedly. It is a press that is generally more conceded with tax privileges of any fut cat than with the care and feeding of an underdog. It is a press that is far more forthright and resolute in combating Communist tyranny in Hungary than waging the fight for freedom in the United States.

In capitalist democracies, certain political parties are generally chosen instruments of the business classes and the dominant classes. In most countries, one major party performs that role, though a second or third party may also enjoy similar patronage. Thus the Republican Party in the United States is pre-eminently the party of business and businessmen. Still, the Democratic Party, for that reason, is not denied necessary business support or corporate funding of its electoral compassion.

H.E. Alexander had made this point clear in his book, Financing the 1964 Election. As a pressure group vis a vis the state, the business enjoys a vast degree of superiority ideological, political, and cultural hegemony on society. This hegemony includes the influence on the Republican and Democratic party machines, the mass media, other political socialization agencies, and various organs of government.

America may be suitably described as a business civilization permeated by business culture and a business ethos. The business has set up and financed promotional groups to disseminate free enterprise propaganda in defense and calibration of the capitalist economic system. A concerted effort for ideological indoctrination has gone furthest in the United States. The attitudes, opinions, arguments, values, and slogans of the American business community are a familiar part of most Americans’ landscape.

In recent years, the business point of view has found abundant expression in every kind of medium placards in buses on the economics of the miracle of America; the newspaper and magazine advertisements on the perils of excessive taxation, speeches of business executives on the responsibilities and rights of management; editorials deploring the size of the national debt; textbooks sponsored by business associations, explaining the working of free enterprise economy; pamphlets exposing the dangers of unwise political intervention in business affairs; testimony by business spokespeople before Congressional committees on a host of specific issues of public policy.

Political competition between labor and Capital is imperfect and most unequal in the United States. One obvious reason for this is the absence of an authentic working-class party, which could have become a rival ideology and political vehicle. In these circumstances, as an American writer, Professor Heilbsoner points out, The striking characteristic of our contemporary ideological climate is that the dissident groups, labor, government, or academics all seek to accommodate their proposals for social change the limits of adaptability of the prevailing business order.

There is no attempt to press for goals that might exceed the powers of adjustment of that order. Indeed, all these groups recoil from such a test. Thus, it falls to a lot of the business ideology, as the only socioeconomic doctrine of consequence, to provide for non-business groups and, in particular, the sense of mission and destiny that is usually emanated for the intelligence community from rival ideologies.

The presidency of John F.Kennedy provides an illuminating example of the power wielded by big corporations on the American government. President Kennedy found himself. Engaged in a spectacular power struggle with the Business Advisory Council, an exclusive and self-perpetuating club of top corporate executives that had enjoyed a private and special relationship with the government since 1933 and which from Administration to Administration had the continuous privilege to participate in government decisions with no public record or review.

When the Commerce Secretary, Luther H. Hodges, wanted to-include a broad cross-section of American business-big, medium, and small-sized in the BAC, it severed. Its official connections and renamed itself the Business Council. In fact, Hodges had even thought of broadening the Council to include labor, agriculture, and education representatives.

The confrontation resulted in the draw of all reform plans. A rapprochement was made and small committees of the Business. The council was assigned to each of various government departments and agencies and to the White House itself. On the other hand, labor leaders complained about the Kennedy campaign against inflationary wage increases, part of Kennedy’s assurance to the bus is that he was playing no favorites. Still, the President wanted to restore a good working relationship with Business Council regardless of labor’s concerns.

In the light of the strategic position, which is a veto group on par with labor. For labor has nothing of the power of capital in the day-to-day decision-making of capitalist enterprise. A firm’s policies regarding production, export, investment, etc., are determined by the capitalist owner; in this sense, labor -lacks a firm basis of economic power and consequently has much less pressure potential via-a-vis the state. In the international sphere, there is no labor equivalent of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or the O. E. C. D. and the G-7 to ensure that governments do not take anti-labor measures to please the business elites.

While international solidarity of the working-class is a hallowed -rhetoric, the unity of world capitalism has become a concrete and permanent reality. The outstanding characteristic of trade union movements in the United States has been division, not unity.

Labor, as a pressure group, is extremely. Vulnerable t internal and external influences that erode its will and strength. American governments have generally felt it unnecessary to treat labor with that respect they have invariably accorded to capital.

The most important political fact about the United States as an advanced capitalist society is the continued existence of ever more concentrated economic power. The assumption that the United States has long achieved political equality, whatever may be the case regarding economic and social equality, constitutes one of the epoch’s great myths. Political equality, save in formal terms, is impossible in the conditions of advanced capitalism. Economies life cannot be separated from political life. Unequal economic power inherently produces political inequality, whatever the constitution may say.

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