The New Deal and Capitalism


It appears that Finland was governed by what we in this country would call a strong New Deal coalition, made possible by the relative weakness in Finland of the kinds of reactionary cultural and economic forces that now dominate American public life, and even in the late 1930s were demonstrating their strength.  (The crusade against science in the United States has its roots in the reaction the New Deal that set in in 1938, was moderated by the exigencies of war, and burst forth in the late 1940s in what would in the fifties be called "McCarthyism.")

This historical trajectory--Enlightenment to New Deal--while institutionalized in Finland, was aborted in the United States--aborted and demonized.  Some ask naive questions such as 'what would Roosevelt do today?'  But the historical Being that is symbolized by FDR, that Being which was the culmination of an entire historico-developmental trajectory, is dead.  There is, in America, an ontological absence of monumental proportions.  Figure one cannot be altered.


In this paper I apply network theory* to the analysis of the genesis and structure of the Second New Deal state apparatus in the following ways.  First, I look at the input-output matrices of different sectors of accumulation, and show that the chief executive officers of leading corportions intersected with the polity in such a way that the "state" under FDR could be better characterized as a segmented state within which the Keynesian elite (rooted in mass consumption) finally achieved parity with the two older elite formations--commodities in international trade (cotton, tobacco, wheat, copper together with their financial, legal, and commercial service providers), and the securities bloc (rooted in infrastructure capital (iron, coal, railroads, telephones and the financial institutions connected with marketing and trading their securities, and the legal firms that serviced them).  Second, I examine the state apparatus itself and find that the administrative core of the Secnd New Deal was a well-defined personnel matrix comprised of a cadre of lawyers linked to Felix Franfurter (FF) and Louis D. Brandeis (LDB), and network of technocrats drawn from or closely associated with the Taylor Society (TS).  Within this analytical context I reconstruct the history of  LDB-FF x TS.  And third, by applying network theory to the Taylor Socety as inter-organizational matrix, I find that the strategic discourse as well as the internal structure and compostion of the Keynesian elite in the Second New Deal was determined by the circuit of realization of mass capitalism.


The New Deal coalition that lay the foundation for Finland's educational success not only existed in the United States as a significant force; in some ways it more clearly demonstrated the advanced capitalist nature of what is almost universally misconceived as some kind of coalition of middle class reformers, workers, and farmers that was anti-business (such is the fairy tale told by historians).  In fact, a close study of the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state shows that not only was the leading institutional formation of reform not anti-business (they represented important parts of modern capitalism); and not merely middle class reformers (they were part of the emergence of the higher-order functions of advanced capitalism that transcended the merely localized praxis of the firm); they were the vanguard of advanced capitalism.  (Morris L. Cooke refered to the Taylor Society as the spearpoint of modern business.)

What was demonized in later years as the welfare state was in fact the emergence of higher-order functions of capitalism itself.    Bear in mind that the advanced capitalism of the 21st century depends above all on human capital formation, precisely what the Finnish political economy is so good at.

The figure to the right--the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state--must be the point of departure for understanding the New Deal.  Notice that it is possible to group the administrative agencies of the New Deal state into five major groups: infrastructure, human capital, labor, planning, and credit.  Each group was staffed by a set of Taylor Society "technocrats" and a Frankfurter-linked lawyer.  (See The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices.)  This can be shortened to  KE = ∑ (LDB/FF × TS)i (i = 1 − 5)

The Taylor Society emerged in the course of the Eastern Rate Case (1910), and is the zone of systems synthesis of mass/advanced capitalism, the locus of the emergent functions of the 'welfare state.  The force-field of input output relations out of which the Keynesian elite emerged is suggested by the membership list (when interpreted in the context of the origins and history of the Taylor Society and its milieu). 

This is the Brandeisian wing of Progressivism: cosmopolitan, enlightened, and above all, committed to science.  Much attention has been paid to the middle class, professional character of this wing of progressivism (Otis Grahan Jr. Old Progressives and New Deal); almost none to the vast array of modern firms that constituted the business milieu of Progressivism.

Advanced capitalism can be viewed as a phase in the unfolding of complexity.  Its cosmopolitan, technocratic orientation lends itself easily to demonization from the right.  Ironically, a cult of the primitive values of a nostalgically remembered golden age of small business becomes in the public sphere true capitalism, while advanced capitalism's systems approach and its concern with human capital formation is demonized [see Zombie Economics].  Advanced capitalism is politically weak in the United States, undermined by an alliance of small business, evangelicals, provincial elites, and rentier industries (energy, insurance, securities bloc) and now a new and entirely predatory form of finance (vampire capitalism)--and it shows, especially in the area of the development of human capital.  Human capital development in the twenty first century means achieving formal-operational competence among an expanding proportion of the citizenry.  

Thus the modern state of the twenty first century--committed to the broad development of human capital within a political framework misleadingly referred to as the welfare state--is virtually non-existent in the United States.

My work in decoding of the input-output flows that defined the KE was done within an economistic context, even if the KE was seen as an example of an emergent phenomenon.  What was missing was an undestanding of the psychological dynamic, the emotional forces, that I have only recently been able to conceptualize adequately.

The concept of Bildung, so central to early ninetenth century German philosophy, became critical to understanding both the Communist Party of the United States and the Brandeis wing of progressivism.  (See Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?)


The papers of Morris L. Cooke (FDR Library, Hyde Park), document an inner intellectual life of the New Deal administrative elite that was absolutely stunning.  One can also get a sense of the intellectual dynamism of this network by reading the issues of the Bulletin of the Taylor Society.  Loius D. Brandeis played a critical role in the formation of the Taylor Society in the course of the Eastern Rate Case (1910); his letters are available in Harold Urofsky, ed., Letters of Louis D. Brandeis (State University of New York Press).  Alon Gal, Brandeis of Boston (Harvard University Press, 1980), provides a detailed account of Brandeis' business milieu.  The business milieu of modern Progressivism, circa 1910, is also indicated by the members of the Chicago Shippers Association and by the set of New England witnesses who were interested parties in the Eastern Rate Case.  (Progressivism to New Deal: Charts).

The cognitive/psychological dimension of capital as such is not appreciated.  Capital is thought of in terms of property, individual greed, and profit.  I propose that capital also be thought of as an active force that is cognitive-organizational (and at varying levels of development), from the small shopkeeper to the major science-based multinational organization to the investment and regulatory activities of the state.  The key document wherein one can see emergent Keynesianism as cognitive/psychological revolution is

Evidence Taken by the Interstate Commerece Commission in the Matter of Proposed Advances in Freight Rates by Carriers, August to December 1910, Senate Doc. 725, 61 Cong., 3 Sess.

The institutional context out of which Keynesianism emerged (already well-developed by 1910!) was the input-output matrix of mass consumer capitalism.  (see Progressivism to New Deal: Charts and Progressivism to New Deal: Documents)

The calculating, planning, organizing mind, as individual and as aggregation of individuals, is at the core of capital as activity.  Conversely, the market wherein desire is stimulated and gratified and stimulated again is the antithesis of this inner, cognitive-organizational dynamic of capitalism.  This fundamental contradiction within capitalism has yet to be appreciated.  (Although its effects are now evident.  See Hall, et. al. above.)

from Shlomo Avineri, Hegel's Theory of the Modern State (Cambridge University Press, 1972)

. . . America has never been a state (in the Hegelian sense), only a 'civil society', where the common bond has always been viewed as a mere instrument for preserving individal life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. . . .   In the American social ethos, the 'tax payer' always comes before the 'citizen'.  n. 6, p. 135


Bildung and the Will To Power: the Inner Logic of the Enlightenment

from S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)  (For more selections from Smith click here.)

I tend to agree with Charles Taylor that there are resources for self-reflexive thought, action and attitudes in all societies, but that the making of the self into a noun has been a relatively recent historical development associated with the West.  Taylor sees the modern western self as defined, first, by powers of reason, which are in turn associated with ideals of autonomy and dignity; second, by self-exploration; and third, by personal commitment. [Taylor, Sources of the Self, 113, 211]  p. 7

This chapter goes on to examine that minority of workers who, having come into contact with western-influenced ideas of the self via the intelligentsia, strove to educate themselves and to acquire 'consciousness', a term that carries the idea of reworking oneself morally and intellectually in order to assert oneself against the world. p. 70

It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of Smith's work, which for readers of this site should be apparent upon reading the selections in the above link.  This may be the point at which I say stop.  Read these excerpts, then read the excerpts from Rumph, Dupre, and Alcorn in Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist? (this will only take a few minutes), and then continue.  Although Smith's book is catalogued under Communism -- China -- History, and Communism -- Russia -- History, by making Bildung the central theme of his work Smith goes far beyond what is generally thought of as history and politics.  The emergence of modern Progressivism, the Keynesian elite, and the United Auto Workers can and must be understood within the same conceptual framework that Smith applies to the Russian and Chinese revolutions. 

Once upon a time the now nearly forgotten genetic ontology--bildung and the will to power--was center stage, and imagined itself to be the wave of the future.  It took many forms--in music (Mozart), literature (Goethe, Schiller), and philosophy (Hegel, Marx, Dewey), in educational theory (Dewey, Vygotsky) and in politics (Brandeis, Cooke, Ezekiel, Lunacharsky, Lenin).  In its most radical--and desperate--form, it was the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution.  In its more moderate--and confident--form, it was the Keynesians and the New Deal.  

Before objecting to this linkage, consider Michael Mann's comments at the right (︎➚).  The first point he makes is that modern nations are to be located on a "continuum of class relations."  That is, the concept of isomorphism applies.  The second point affirms the existence of  "a self-conscious, partly autonomous intelligentsia."  This is the social milieu of Bildung as a force to be reckoned with (see Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia.  More on Fitzpatrick later).  This applies as well to the cosmopolitan Progressives in the United States (see Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age, and The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939.)  For insight into the making of this partly autonomous intelligentsia, read  Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland.  This novel is a must read.


A partly autonomous intelligentsia? (Yvon Grenier, The Emergence of Insurgency in El Slavador: Ideology and Political Will.)  The use of the term ideology is a symptom of the hegemony of Cartesianism.  In fact, what Grenier is describing in his book is better conceptualized by Smith as bildung.)  I will go one step further: class is a secondary phenomenon, more analytical strategy (and Platonic metaphysics) than ontological presence.  What is ontologically prior to class are the five genetic ontologies that originate within the flux of primate evolution.  Attempts to see in fascism the machinations of even a fraction of capital have now been laid to rest by modern scholarship (Turner, Kershaw, McGreggor, Smith, Walser).  And attempts to see in the emergence of the UAW the manifestations of an ontologically prior class formation (the working class) also fail (William M. Reddy, Money and Liberty in Modern Europe: A Critique of Historical Understanding).  The very modality of thought through which the problem of class and agency is posed is intrinsically incapable of understanding becoming, emergence, praxis.  This is what emerges from the interviews of 64 UAW organizers I conducted in the mid-1970s in southeast Michigan (those I am actively working on are listed at the right).

The Interviews are a set of dialogic unfoldings that form a lens through which to examine the ontologies and events, the transformations and reactions, that are subsumed under the term unionization.  The factories, meeting halls, and neighborhoods of southeastern Michigan are laboratories in which to investigate the play of forces: first, the deep structures, the genetic ontologies (the principles of the production of practices) that dominate the manifold areas of human activity; and second, the irruption of forces of an entirely different kind, referred to variously as bildung and the will to power--aufheben, emergence, praxis, agency--these concepts are entangled in a common vitalist sensibility.  Hegel and Nietzsche (see Stephen Houlgate, Hegel, Nietzsche, and the criticism of metaphysics and Elliot L. Jurist, Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture, and Agency) are two sides of the same coin.  In this context the concept of the übermensch is widely applicable to the understanding of Bolshevism in Russia and the UAW in Michigan--and the Keynesian elite in the New Deal state.  Indeed, the more I read of Russian history* while simultaneously digitalizing and listening to my 1970s interviews, the more apparent it is to me that what is called bolshevism is a more generic phenomenon of modern (but not postmodern) times (Hobsbawm's short twentieth century, although I would define my epoch as 1890s to 1950s).  Hobsbawm's terminial date is the collapse of the Soviet Union; my terminal date is the defeat of bildung as historical praxis.  I know this is vague.  It clears up as you move along.

A close look at the battlefield between bildung and ressentiment, between progressivism and fascism, will help to clarify what I mean by bolshevism as a more generic phenomenon of modern times.  That battlefield was everywhere, but unless one looks closely at the specifics one misses everything.  Detroit's east side was one of those battlefields. The two quotes from Nietzsche (below) nicely characterize the praxis of the bildungsproletarians who created what came to be known as the United Auto Workers.  This praxiological vanguard of autoworkers (circa 1933-1944) was virtually identical to the praxiological vanguard of the Petrograd Bolsheviks (circa 1912-1918).  Praxis, not ideology, is what must be attended to.  The rhetorical trope ideology is nothing more than a symptom of cartesianism as a sclerosis of the mind.  A fundamentally identical praxis (on the level of genetic ontology) can manifest itself under different circumstances in different rhetorical and political expressions, and can engage its larger context of other actors and different circumstances in ways that produce dramatically different outcomes.  It is profoundly stupid to seen in the Stalinism of the 1930s the inevtiable outcome of something called leninism (which is mostly in the form of an epithet: I am still looking for a decent piece of social history (but Zelnick) that gives us a picture of the bolshevik circles that contained the likes of Kanatchikov (A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: the Autobiography of Sėmen Ivanovich Kanatchikov).  Read Rabinowitz's The Bolsheviks Come to Power and marvel at the complete absence of Lenin in the crucial weeks from the July revolt (which Lenin opposed) to the seizure of power in October.


Milieu and Class in Genetic Ontologies

The question of the autonomy of praxis is critical.  Class analysis misses the entire process, the phenomenology and praxis, of bildung and the will to power, that one sees in the Flint sitdown strike, in the inner life, the agency, of the originariers in Michigan Steel Tube, Dodge Main, and elsewhere.  Functionally the concept of class does not differ from the concept of God's will as an explanatory factor.  Both God and class are imposed from the outside (of the phenomena in question).  Agency is thus derivative, not originary.  For what may appear to be a class analsysis but is not, see The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939.  (To speak of elites wielding power is not a class analysis.)  Reddy, looking for actors and agency, disolves class into milieus, but is simultaneously aware that this is unsatisfactory.  No matter how far down you drill, as long as you are beholden to the Platonic metaphysic (see Deleuze): you will never find the source of agency in the external circumstances of its action, only the setting.  (See Nietzsche, Marx, and Moretti to the right.)

This is what makes Michael Mann's reference to autonomy so interesting.  By autonomy he must certainly mean a force, a source of agency, that cannot be reducible to the unfolding of a logic of class, that cannot be derived from anything other than . . . itself!  Of course, as Marx said (1852), "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already."  But it is the Hegelian Marx who said this.

The word intelligentsia is in this context misleading, inasmuch as it refers to a social formation rather than to the inner logic--the genetic ontology--peculiar to it: Bildung and the Will to Power.  It is out of my own experience (from the 1950s and then from the 1970s to the year I retired) of two milieus that were intelligentsia-like in their praxis and habitus, but definitely non-bourgeois in class position, that forced me to aufheben the Platonic materialism and Cartesian individualism of my Marxist habutus.

But network and milieu, habitus and class, are useful concepts, as long as they are kept in their place.  Thus, I offer these two refinements, the better able to express the will to power through the negation of the Platonic germ lurking in any nominalization:

the plebeian upstarts among the various white collar strata of the twentieth century (see Splintered Classes: Politics and the Lower Middle Classes in Interwar Europe, esp. Jeffrey; and two chapters by Danniel T. Orlovsky); Quiz Show.  Plebian upstratts may also characterize the second wave of UAW leadership in Dodge Main that displaced the bildungsproletarians, the creators.  Trotsky used the term epigones to apply only to Stalin and his associates.  This term does not capture the scope and historical signnificance of Stalinism as social process, as developed by Sheila Fitzpatrick.

and the bildungsproletarians.  Note first that I am not referring to "classes"--neither petty-bourgeois nor proletarian.  Intentionality, praxis, habitus--not class (except in a merely descriptive sense).  Plebeian upstarts would be the modal descriptor of the Communists I knew in New York (I was the kid in the room/fly on the wall).  Bildungsproletarians would be the modal descriptor of the UAW organizers I interviewed in the mid-1970s in southeast Michigan (Detroit, Flint, Pontiac)--see The Interviews: N=64.

The purpose of this refinement is to escape the gravitational pull of the black hole of Platonism.  This is done by retaining the plural--the bildungsproletarians, not the bildungsproletariat.  The distinction Moretti makes between the Bildungsburgertum and the Besitzburgertum ︎➚ is fundamental if we are to understand these plebeian upstarts and bildungsproletarians.  In this regard what could be clearer than this exchange between me and Saul Wellman (a leading Michigan Communist)?


Historcal Trajectory of a Superorganism

Bildung and the will to power is the inner logic of the historical trajectory Enlightenment to New Deal: the Enlightenment not misconstrued (as it usually is) as ideology, but, more fundamentally, as an inflection point in cognitive development as cultural-historical process--as not simply the emergence of the scientific frame of mind, but more profoundly, as developmental leap. Thus, the enlightenment as developmental trajectory of a superorganism marked both by the emergence and continued development of science and formal operational competence (see PISA results): the habitus of progressivism; and by the hermeneutical complexity of the Geisteswissenschaften: the Second Enlightenment of Hegel,  Dewey, and Vygotsky:

Robert B. Brandom, Perspectives on Pragmatism: Classical, Recent, and Contemporary (Harvard, 2011), p. 36
But classical American pragmatism can also be seen differently, as a movement of world historical significance--as the announcement, commencement, and first formulation of the fighting faith of a second Enlightenment.

Selin Kesebir, "The superorganism account of human sociality: How and when human groups are like beehives," Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2012 Aug;16(3):233-61.

This praxis has several features besides the strictly cognitive-developmental, the most important of which is the self-awareness of one's own developmental potential, a potential that is at once cognitive and emotional, and which involves a reorientation of one's life force and of one's relationships, both to other people and to one's historical, political and cultural environment (A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: the Autobiography of Sėmen Ivanovich Kanatchikov; S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History). This habitus of Bildung is therefore a cultural-historical and a cognitive-developmental field that can be referred to as a superorganism.  This superorganism consists of the literary world that is the distinctive mark of the Enlightenment (which is to say modern European culture) and the enormous number of salons high and low (but mostly low: see Coleman Young, Hard Stuff, for reminiscences of a "communist" salon in Detroit in the 1930s) that were at the heart of the "left."  (See Ed Lock interview on Schiller Hall as a salon.) 

There is one book that stands out in its deep understanding of the psychological dynamics within these salons and their associated miliues: Alcorn, Narcissism and the Literary Libido.  Alcorn does for Bildung and the Will to power what Hall et. al. does for Nihilism.

This entire site can be thought of as a memorial to this rapidly disappearing genetic ontology: bildung and the will to power.  Today what there is of this genetic ontology is truncated, shorn of its philosophical-historical-political sweep, subservient to the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks.  What I mean by this every red diaper baby knows.  (What about Occupy Wall Street?  An ephemeral puff of psychic smoke, whose very concept and practice of "democracy"--everyone could say a little, and only a little--was one of the many dances of nihilism performed by our incredibly shrinking selves.)

There is good reason to adapt the concept of superorganism to the understanding of Bildung (and the Will to Power).  The very concept of cognitive niche (see Dupre) and zone of proximal development (Vygotsky), and anything that addresses the dialectical-developmental relationship of the organism with its cultural historical environment (Bronfenbrenner) are concrete specifications of a superorganism as praxiological zone.  But superorganisms have lifespans that are independent of the lifespans of its individual elements.  Thus, the relevant segments of The Interviews: N=64 taken separately are moments in the unfolding of this superorganism.  But taken together--and especially with the addition of more biographical sketches--they are windows into the inner life of the fourth genetic ontology.  It is also evident--much more openly and much better documented--in the inner life of the Keynesian Elite. (See The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State.)  Lahiri


The problematic of the Keynesian elite far exceeds the boundaries of an analysis that would confine itself to the personnel, firms, and policies usually associated with Progressive reform.  Ontological questions, hitherto unconceptualized, are critical.  The failure of the Keynesians to build a sufficiently powerful governing coalition* is a reflection of the resurgent power of ressentiment, on the one hand, and the inner weakness of the forces of Bildung, on the other.  There is no better place to observe this ontological dilemma of progressivism than in the early history of the UAW.  After the Flint sitdown strike the Ku Klux Klan took control of the Flint UAW local.  The organization at the Ford Dearborn facility was hindered not only by the fascist regime inside the plant, but also by its relative weakness (when compared with Chrysler).  It took the regional mobilization of the UAW flying squadrons to gain a contract four years after the sitdown strikes of 1936-7.  Only on Detroit's east side, with Dodge main as its politico-military flagship, did the UAW achieve an indigenous power.  Neverthless, even on the east side--e.g., Plymouth local 51--where the political ecology of the plant was similar to that of Flint, the union was weak.  In fact, where Communists played a leading role in the leadership of a local it was usually a reflection of weakness.  The Communists filled an ontological vacuum; without them, at that time, there would have been no union at all in certain settings beset by a predominance racism and anomie among the workforce.  An important exception to this statement proves the rule: communists were an indigenous force amongst the Scottish tool and die makers, who were among the most powerfully organized workers in the auto industry.  But in assembly plants populated mostly by southern whites, it was the workers themselves who were the problem.  (Wyndham Mortimer, Organize!)


The point of these comments [the UAW is discussed in other pages on this site.  See Bildung: Dodge Main and Vicinity, 1933 to 1944 (UAW locals 3, 410, 371, 490)] is to illustrate the profound ontological weakness of the Progressive coalition.  Every page on this site is about ontological questions.  Every page on this site is an exercise in transcendental empiricism; every page is therefore a case of immanence as methodology.  That is, as in this page, one starts from within the phenomenologial field of the problematic.  Thus, in relation to this page, to speak of big business vs. small; of modern vs. provincial, of center vs. periphery, is to begin with abstract categories unrelated to actual practices.

Thus the modern state of the twenty first century--committed to the broad development of human capital within a political framework misleadingly referred to as the welfare state--is virtually non-existent in the United States.  (In its place we have No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.)

Angus Burgan, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets since the Depression (Harvard, 2012)

Mark S. Mizruchi, The Fracturing of the American Corporate Elite (Harvard, 2013)

Gerald Berk, Alternative Tracks: The Constitution of Amierican Industrial Order, 1865-1917 (Johns Hopkins, 1994)

Postel, The Populist Vision

Atlantic Crossings (habitus of urban-cosmopolitan Progressivism)

Charles Perrow, Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate America (Princeton, 2002)

Johanna Bockman, Markets in the name of socialism : the left-wing origins of neoliberalism  (Stanford University Press, 2011)

Letters of Louis D. Brandeis, Vol. II.  Louis D. Brandeis to Marion LaFollette, July 29, 1911, pp. 467-472; LDB to Gifford Pinchot, July 29, 1911, pp. 473-474; LDB to Amos Richards Enos Pinchot, August 2, 1911, pp. 476-479

Minutes, Murray Body Committee Local 2 at Executive Board Meeting, April 26, 1939, Toledo Ohio.  Addes Collection, Box 14, Reuther Archives Detroit

Steve Fraser, Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (The Free Press, 1991)

Timothy Mitchell, "The Limits of the State: Beyond Statist Approaches and Their Critics," American Political Science Review  Vol. 85, No. 1, Mar., 1991


The graphics representing the two major sectors of the Taylor Society--mass distribution and mass housing--together with the graphics representing FDR 1936 campaign contributions, public support, and policy making; and Mordecai Ezekiel's 1938 List of Liberal Businessmen turn our attention to major sectors and firms of American capitalism that have been overlooked by most historians and political scientists.  What unites right and left is an agreement that capitalism  can be charcterized by statement that take the form of Us Steel and GE and such

the entire real estate, housing, home furnishing, plumbing, clothing

This must be supplemented with the Ezekiel Lists of Liberal Businessmen (RG 16).  The latter is the complement of the former: local real estate, wholesale and retail distributors.  The list is of great interest; it shows that the KE was attempting to expand its organizational matrix.  At that time no one could know what at that time only Nietzsche knew (and he was dead): that the forces of ressentiment would infect the entire world in the twentieth century, and that this alone guarnteed the defeat of the New Deal (Flint UAW as a case in point; 1938 electoral reaction


The New Deal coalition must be distinguished from the Keynesian Elite: the former was the usual heterogeneous amalgam of petty elites (urban and rural machines, local notables, "labor" machines based on skill and patriarchy, churches--Coleman Young's Baptist base) with an added force of "new" citizens strongly attracted to the rhetoric and practice of bildung usually referred to as, variously, Progressives and the Left: the milieu within which the Communist Party existed (see Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist).  In this context the use of the term front group is misleading.  Had the entire thrust of history--the relative balance of power between the four ontologies--been shifted in the direction of e.g. Finland's postwar development, we would have seen the growth of new institutional centers of progressive power and a decline in the relative weight of the CP in such an alternative history.  Indeed, this is the thrust of American Communism in Crisis, 1943-1957, by Joseph Starobin.  The "influentials"--union leaders who were technically non-Party but very much a part of the leadership milieu of the Party--resisted and defied the Party's shift from being a force within the Democratic Party to spearheading the Wallace third party movement. 

The Taylor Society--the heart and the brains of the Keynesian elite--intersected with the Left coalition.  One major player in the NGO-social worker milieu of the TS, Mary van Kleeck, was either an actual Party member or a non-member "influential."  But the Taylor Society was the strategic elite of advanced capitalism.  And, as Steve Fraser (Labor Will Rule) has shown, the TS was at the very center of the Second New Deal state.  Looked at in this way, the Communist Party could be seen as the left wing of advanced capitalism; and its subsequent demonization, which reached out to all that was modern in American society, was an indication that advanced capitalism was too weak to resist the massive assault from the forces of provincialism and ressentiment.