A controlled opposition is a protest movement that is actually being led by government agents. Nearly all governments in history have employed this technique to trick and subdue their adversaries. Notably Vladimir Lenin who said ''"The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves."
Count Mirabeau was part of the controlled opposition, because although everyone thought he was supporting the revolution, in reality he supported the monarchy and was a personal friend of the king. He was a government agent.
Opposition is resistance, an attempt to stop or prevent an action or operation. It’s whole point is to challenge control viewed as wrong or illegitimate or unwise.
Controlled opposition, therefore is a deliberate contradiction in terms, the purpose of which is that those who fear the threat of opposition can initiate or co-opt it and thus through control, provide an outlet for anger and frustration but limit that to a symbolic or emotional release, with no real opportunity to disrupt the operation of control. It is a kind of false flag mirage, giving the illusion of resistance without risking its having any serious effect.
Some concessions may even be made to give the semblance of authenticity and to form the claim that the opposition has gained its goals (or at least part of them) in order to numb the sharp outrage that motivates real opposition.
The control can be totally a fabrication of a pre-emptive opposition which will naturally fall short of its goal because its purpose is not to achieve a goal but to thwart one with false start.
Or the control can co-opt a grassroots opposition through infiltration or simply propaganda. It can take over a movement, as Hitler took over the German Workers movement and framed it to his own agenda, and even make some small gains and then claim success…with the ultimate purpose of diluting the opposition so that it has the appearance of resistance but lacks substance.
Or, in cruder terms, a movement of opposition can be bought; leaders can be seduced with rewards of power or money, recruits can be bought/brought in, and thus the moral urgency disrupted and diluted.
Controlled opposition is fake opposition; it is a deliberate oxymoron which is inherently self-defeating, tho a show of success may be presented to authenticate its power, then used as an excuse to claim that victory has been achieved…and everyone can, as Trump said after coming to power, when he told his base that because they were mean and vicious, he had won and now he no longer needed them and they could go home again. His fake battle against “the establishment” no longer needed them. The battle was over; they had won….go home. I dont need you anymore.
Trump ran on a kind of controlled opposition basis: he created a movement united in hatred of scapegoats (Muslims, Mexicans, the media) but presented as a battle to take down the powers that be, the swamp. The disaffected Trump supporters suddenly were part of a movement, in opposition to the establishment…and once he had gained power, he no longer needed his base…….he WAS the establishment, and the opposition he had presented as the reason to support him has been exposed as a bogus resistance to corruption, the globalists (Trump later said: “I am a globalist…”), the lying press (Hitler term he learned when he studied his collected speeches), the Deep State. Trump created this opposition as a mass movement to challenge the power structure, and when he came to power, he no longer needed it. His goal was not to oppose power but to seize it, and with this success, is supporters were fired.
What matter is not if these enemies truly exist but that they have a kind of fabricated reality as an artifact on which to focus hatred. What matters in the end, as Goebbels said, is not if the message is true but if it is PERSUASIVE.