Radical media, politics and culture.

Josh On, "They Rule"

"They Rule" Josh On

"They Rule" aims to provide a glimpse of some of the relationships of the US ruling class. It takes as its focus the boards of some of the most powerful U.S. companies, which share many of the same directors. Some individuals sit on 5, 6 or 7 of the top 500 companies. It allows users to browse through these interlocking directories and run searches on the boards and companies. A user can save a map of connections complete with their annotations and email links to these maps to others. They Rule is a starting point for research about these powerful individuals and corporations.


Context A few companies control much of the economy and oligopolies exert control in nearly every sector of the economy. The people who head up these companies swap on and off the boards from one company to another, and in and out of government committees and positions. These people run the most powerful institutions on the planet, and we have almost no say in who they are. This is not a conspiracy. They are proud to rule. And yet these connections of power are not always visible to the public eye.

Karl Marx once called this ruling class a 'band of hostile brothers.' They stand against each other in the competitve struggle for the continued accumulation of their capital, but they stand together as a family supporting their interests in perpetuating the profit system as whole. Protecting this system can require the cover of a 'legitimate' force - and this is the role that is played by the state. An understanding of this system can not be gleaned from looking at the inter-personal relations of this class alone, but rather how they stand in relation to other classes in society. Hopefully They Rule will raise larger questions about the structure of our society and in whose benefit it is run.

I have written more about They Rule here.

Disclaimer They Rule is NOT a Live database of board members and companies. That information changes constantly. I hope to update the database annually, and try to ensure that the links are accurate at the time of launch. Please inform me if you find a connection that was never true. Otherwise, please just see They Rule as a launch pad for investigations and not the definitive representation of reality. I take no responsibility for the writing of others on this site, nevertheless, if something is really offensive, scandalously untrue, or might get me killed then I may delete it. Please inform me of anything that might meet these criteria.

Mailing List You can chat with others about the site on the they rule mailing list on yahoo groups, click here to go to the subscription page.

Credits This site was made by Josh On. Thanks to Amy Balkin of thisisthepublicdomain.org for her help. Thanks to Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers for their support. Thanks to the Mission branch for putting up with my complete spaciness as I was consumed in the production. Thanks to Media Temple for their great and generous hosting. And special thanks to Riksutstillinger/Detox, Norway, for supporting the new version encouraging me to get it done!