Andrew Marzoni

Added on by Andrew Marzoni.
When one reviews the history of the last ten years and takes into account the complete about-face of American public policy toward the Soviet Union in the matter of a year or two…I think it is a matter of small importance whether or not there is a ruling class which pulls the strings. Most responsible socialists would discard this notion for its vulgarity, its Stalinoid connotations, and its complete failure to fit more complete facts. But it is quite another thing to relinquish one’s view of America as a social organism with a capitalist economy whose problems are deep and probably insoluble, and whose response to any historical situation must be a function of its need to survive as that need is reflected, warped, aided and impeded by countless smaller social organisms, traditions, and finally individuals who cancel one another out or double their force (so far as actions are concerned) until the result of these numerous vectors represents a statement of where the power in America rests and where the necessity. That the ‘power’ in any important sense does not belong to nine-tenths of the ‘people’ but rather is embedded in such massive and complementary constellations as management and labor executives, the military and government hierarchy, the Church and mass-communication media, is more or less self-evident to radicals who would I believe agree that it is not the differences of interest in the groups I have named which are noteworthy (has there ever been a society including the Soviet Union in which there were not deep clashes of interest among the ruling elite?) but rather it is the objectives wanted in common by these powerful groups which can provide the best explanation of the virtually complete conformity in America during the Second World War and in the eight years which have followed. What characterizes all pre-socialist history and may (let us hope not) characterize a socialist history if there be one, is that the mass of men must satisfy the needs of the social organism in which they live far more than the social organism must satisfy them.
— Norman Mailer, “David Riesman Reconsidered” (1954).