It is raining here in North Carolina, and I must wait until the sun comes out before recording my next lecture, so this may be a good time to talk a bit about the term "establishment," which has figured lately in some vigorous back and forth between Clinton and Sanders.
"Establishment," as it is currently used, derives from the practice of officially or governmentally assigning to one church a privileged position in a society. This is not to be confused with theocracy such as exists, in an odd form, in Iran today . Marx's father, for example, converted to Christianity even though he came from a long line or rabbis, in order to be able to practice his profession in Prussia, where it was the law that only Christians could argue before the Bench. The Anglican Church is the Established Church of England, in contrast to the Roman Catholic Church or any of the dissenting sects [Methodism, Presbyterianism, etc.] The privileged status of the Anglican Church is a matter of explicit law, not of custom or attitude or social standing. [There was always resistance to this practice of an established church, and then resistance to that resistance, giving rise to what was said, when I was a boy, to be the longest word in the English language: antidisestablishmentarianism.]
By a natural extension of usage, the term came to be used to describe or identify powerful, well-placed individuals who, as a group, exercised influence over law, politics, the economy, and the society vastly disproportionate to their numbers. This power and influence was to some extent, but only to some extent, a consequence of their wealth.
In a very large urban society like the United States, the people exercising this undue influence tend to be gathered in certain urban centers where one finds a confluence of wealth, political power, access to and control of mass media, and centers of decision-making of important organizations. There is a dramatic contrast between the effect that ordinary individuals exercise on the public life of the nation and the effect exercised by members of these interlocking circles of well-placed individuals. Even in organizations devoted to the interests and needs of ordinary men and women, those who lead the organizations have more immediate daily contact with other influential figures than they do with their own employees or clients. These influential individuals, taken all together, are The Establishment, even though there is no law assigning them primacy of place or privileged access to centers of power.
Senators and members of the House are part of The Establishment. Corporate executives are part of The Establishment. Prominent academics, such as Paul Krugman, are part of the Establishment. And so, quite often, are the leaders of national organizations that advocate for the needs and interests of ordinary people. So when Bernie Sanders described the leadership of Planned Parenthood as part of The Establishment, he was stating a simple fact, even though Planned Parenthood was under vicious attack by one of the two major political parties. Hillary Clinton's dramatic outrage at Sanders' characterization of the leadership of Planned Parenthood was either simple hypocrisy or an expression of a remarkable level of unselfawareness. [Note that the current President of Planned Parenthood, an organization to which I have donated a great deal of money, is Cecile Richards, the daughter of the former Governor of Texas.]
Bernie is what we on the extreme left used to call a class traitor. He is a member of The Establishment who has turned against it. Hillary Clinton is so thoroughly enmeshed in The Establishment that I doubt she is capable of realizing the fact. It is in that fact, and not the naive notion of a quid pro quo, that lies the real significance of her lucrative speechifying on Wall Street.