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organized social groups in bourgeois states that strive to influence state organs, obtain their support, and promote the adoption of decisions that meet the interests and aims of the groups.
Pressure groups differ from political parties in their relatively narrow goal orientation and lack of a general political program. In the broad sense of the word, pressure groups may refer to political parties and also to elements of the state mechanism (for example, the army). The theory of pressure groups is widely used in political science in the USA and a number of other bourgeois states in describing the processes by which different state decisions are worked out. In bourgeois political literature, the term “pressure group” is used to refer to any public organization that is organized for the purpose of influencing the state apparatus by official and unofficial contacts with its representatives, by mass agitation, and by public demonstrations calculated to create a definite public opinion. The most influential pressure groups are the different organizations of big capital—chambers of commerce and industry, associations of large owners of real estate, and owners and managers of capitalist corporations. Bourgeois political scientists also consider the following as pressure groups: trade unions and other professional associations; organizations of women, youth, and racial and national minorities; religious societies; and various organized movements pursuing limited political, economic, cultural, and ethical aims.
In ranking capitalist pressure groups with worker organizations, in citing their formal equality of opportunity to defend their interests before the state, and in alluding to the balancing of interests of competing groups, bourgeois ideologists attempt to provide a theoretical basis for the concept of pluralist democracy—that is, the dispersal of power among different classes and strata of bourgeois society. In reality, the influence of capitalist pressure groups unconditionally dominates. They are an important channel connecting the state apparatus with the monopolies, and, with the bourgeois parties, they ensure the political supremacy of the financial-industrial elite.
G. V. BARABASHEV