Marc Eric Ely-Chaitlin

The Dynamics of Mob Rule




Marc Eric Ely-Chaitlin (1959-2001) was an activist for homeless people in Orange County (California). In this short essay, he poignantly portrays the propaganda machine coupled with the repression apparatus that are the two legs on which the state stands. The final exhortation, to dissociate one's self from mass institutions based on mob rule, captures the essence of this stimulating paper.



While the people argue over meaningless political issues, which revolve around artificially contrived institutional needs (which constitute an elaborate game), they fail to recognize the dynamics of political power in a mass society. The traditional form of government - the tribal nation - disappeared in the Middle Ages, and was replaced by an armed state; which, in turn, was supplanted by the "revolutionary-nation", or what is now called the nation-state.

The nation-state is a mass society. Individuals rise up to fulfill the different functions which perpetuate the mass state, but if any one of them opposes the masses, then the weight of that mass is used to crush the individual. The people are treated like a herd, like cattle. The politicians do not serve the people, instead they are the "peer managers", those people elected to control their own, a conventional tactic in most prisoner-of-war camps. That is why they are elected by secret ballot, because no one wants to be responsible for the things they do to maintain their control, which are both ruthless, and without regard to law.

In the mass society, the first stage of admission is the "public school", the first place all people are forced to go, "for their own good". Like dogs, the children are taught to obey unquestioningly; they are penalized, sometimes bodily, for asserting any kind of independence in thought or action; and they are conditioned to passively accept life, without any real ambitions. The will to live is deliberately stamped out of the individual, so as to empower the fiction that all good things come from the institution, the masses.

From there, the "leaders" emerge, the engineers, the doctors, lawyers, and teachers, who enter the "job market", and perpetuate the massification of society. The state-certified illiterates are drilled with the rules of the mass society. The myth of the Revolution, the "birth" of the revolutionary-nation, the pantheon of fictionalized "heroes", and the sense of being a part of a "Grand Tradition", eliminates the ability of the individual to make a rational decision, especially at the impressionable age of 9 or 10. To say the least, this form of child-torture is unprincipled; a form of child abuse unparalleled in time. Fear is employed liberally, and the "society of school" becomes the basis of thinking, as a model, for the rest of life. The way we relate to each other is learned in a pressure cooker, which should never have been implemented, because of the lobotomizing effect it has on the population.

But a lobotomized population is the only kind that would respond to the stimuli of the institutions of mass society. Fear is used to drive people away from each other, so that people will become reliant on commercial contacts, for which they need the lifeblood of the mass state, money. Money, on its own, is neither good nor bad, but as a fiat scrip of the mass state, it is a powerful tool. By forcing people to need money, they ultimately can grow to love it (in many instances more than other people). But an obsessed individual can be manipulated, whereas a healthy person is independent, whole.

Once the patterns of response are drummed into the heads of the children - who become the adults - the population is ready for the mass society. The mass media; the mass employer, the corporation; the mass soul-saver (for those moments when working 9 to 5 feels unsatisfying), the church; and the mass state, with its political games which sanctify the rule of the mob. Only a mob has the kind of intimidating power necessary to run a modern political state; the people are intentionally kept on the edge of their seats, so as to create a vast reserve of anger, ready to be directed at the drop of a hat, at a political opponent, or the ideas of the opposition.

The mass state was born in war. The principles of war became the basic operating premises of the government of the masses. The threat of an enemy has always catalyzed the people, to give them a sense of urgent danger, from which they would sacrifice all to be delivered.

Revolution demands war and violence, to finish things "quickly". Partisans become embittered, and radicals and extremists are recast as "conservatives". Those who support the Cause are advanced, as cannon fodder, and those who reject it are purged; uniformity is accelerated, under the yoke of a reign of terror. The people are allowed to live their own lives, but every day their customary rights are narrowed down, in the tradition of the mass state, for the good of the "fatherland". Every day, whole new professions become "uniformed", commissioned officers of the state.

The Revolution, like the Inquisition, has its accusers, who do nothing more than charge people with having committed crimes. The crimes are designed to satisfy the morals of those with power, who are usually charismatic rabble-rousers; opinionated tin-horns who say "yes" to anyone with enough money to buy an election.

The person charged by the accuser is bodily seized by a would-be bully, whose commission from the revolutionary-nation makes of him a "policeman" instead of a thug, and the "criminal" is held (usually involuntarily) until brought before a "judge". The judge is anyone who thinks he has a "right" to judge others, embodied in a lawyer with a gavel. Of course, all these people are you and me.

The mass society is a state of consciousness. If we believe in the institutions of the mass state, the mass media, the corporations, the politicians, the "republic", then we are willingly turning our back on the nation-as-family, the organic community of humanity, which is not a mob.

The only way to stop mob rule

is to disassociate one's self from mass institutions,

and to encourage others to do the same

The fact that elections confuse, anger, and irritate far more than they resolve, as they consume vast resources elevating mediocre men to offices which inherit the legacy of regicides, is indicative of a deep social division, a bleeding wound. While mobs rage, even if contained and directed by the armed forces, the government, the media, the churches, the destruction is evidence that this form of democracy is only equal in the way that it destroys everything, equally.


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