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Camp Runamuck for "Elites"; July14 SanFran Area

by Peter Phillips Ph.D. Wednesday, Jun. 13, 2001 at 12:25 PM

July 14th 2001 is, ironically, also the first day of summer camp for the world's business and political aristocracy and their invited guests. Between 2,000 to 3,000 men will gather at Bohemian Grove, 70 miles north of San Francisco in California's Sonoma County-to sit around the campfire and chew the fat-off-the-record-with ex-presidents, corporate leaders and global financiers.

Camp Runamuck for elites.

San Francisco Bohemian Club: Power, Prestige and Globalism

By Peter Phillips

For much of the world, July 14th is celebrated as the end of a flagrantly

out of touch French monarchy; the date in 1789 when the people of Paris

rose up and marched on the Bastille, a state prison that symbolized the

absolutism and arbitrariness of the Ancient Regime.

July 14th 2001 is, ironically, also the first day of summer camp for the

world's business and political aristocracy and their invited guests.

Between 2,000 to 3,000 men will gather at Bohemian Grove, 70 miles north of

San Francisco in California's Sonoma County-to sit around the campfire and

chew the fat-off-the-record-with ex-presidents, corporate leaders and

global financiers.

One might imagine modern-day aristocrats like Henry Kissinger, George W.

Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld amid a circle of friends sipping cognac and

discussing how the "unqualified" masses cannot be trusted to carry out

policy, and how elites must set values that can be translated into

"standards of authority."

Private men's clubs, like the San Francisco Bohemian Club, have

historically represented institutionalized race, gender and class

inequality. English gentlemen's clubs emerged during Great Britain's empire

building period as an exclusive place free of troublesome women,

under-classes, and non-whites. Men's clubs were the place where English

elites could co-mingle in homogeneous harmony. Copied in the United States,

elite private men's clubs served the same self-celebration purposes as

their English counterparts. As metropolitan areas emerged, upper-crust

white males created new clubs throughout the Americas. These private men's

clubs continued the European traditions of elitism, race superiority and

gender exclusion.

The San Francisco Bohemian Club was formed in 1872 as a gathering place for

newspaper reporters and men of the arts and literature. By the 1880s local

businessmen joined the Club in large numbers, quickly making business

elites the dominant group. More than 2,500 men are members today. Most are

from California, while several hundred originate from some 35 states and a

dozen foreign countries. About one-fifth of the members are either

directors of one or more of the Fortune 1000 companies, corporate CEOs, top

governmental officials (current and former) and/or members of important

policy councils or major foundations. The remaining members are mostly

regional business/legal elites with a small mix of academics, military

officers, artists, or medical doctors.

With a historically all white membership, the Bohemian Club became

sensitive to civil rights issues in the 1960s and gradually admitted a few

men of color. Today they remain 99% white. The Club does continue to

maintain its exclusive gender practices. Other then allowing women to work

in food service, the shooting range and the parking lot at the Grove-which

was forced on them by the California Supreme Court-they have remained

defiantly a male-only organization. Class discrimination continues as well.

New Club applicants must be sponsored by two existing members before being

considered for admittance.

By the early 1880s, Bohemian Club members began conducting summer camping

trips to the Sonoma County redwoods. The summer encampments proved so

popular that the Club began purchasing land along the Russian River in

1899. By the 1960s the Bohemian Club owned 2,712 acres, including a

1,500-year-old grove of redwoods, adjacent to the small town of Monte Rio.

The Bohemian Grove summer encampments have become one of the most famous

private men's retreats in the world. Club members and several hundred

world-class guests gather annually in the last weeks of July to recreate

what has been called "the greatest men's party on earth." Spanning three

weekends, the outdoor event includes lectures, entertainment, rituals,

plays, theater, friendship re-affirmations, lots of hosted camp parties,

political discussions, sideline business meetings and huge amounts of food

and alcohol.

Bohemian Grove offers daily lectures known as "lakeside chats." The

Under-Secretary of the Navy may give an off-the-record speech on military

budget issues, or the President of Mexico may address global free trade.

Whatever the topic, those present emerge with a sense of insider awareness

of high-level policy issues and political situations which are often

yet-to-be, or perhaps never-to-be, publicly articulated.

One such chat in 1994, given by a University of California political

science professor, warned of the dangers of multi-culturalism,

Afro-centrism, and the loss of family boundaries. He declared that "elites

based on merit and skill are important to society. Any elite that fails to

define itself will fail to survive

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Paper Tiger Video on Bohemian Grove Available deedee Thursday, Jun. 14, 2001 at 2:33 AM

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