That’s basically who I live with.
The question was brought up about whether the riots in the UK are the beginning of the revolution. Tottenham erupted in riots yesterday. Tottenham is a heavily Black and Caribbean part of London. The population is heavily Black or more properly, mulatto, as the Black population of the UK is heavily mulattized. I was surprised however to see many Whites on the street of the area. There were also some Hispanics.
The riots involved quite a bit of looting. A large department store was set on fire, and a number of police cars were set ablaze. Some policemen were injured. It all started when a mulatto man was stopped by police and reportedly opened fire on cops. The cop was only saved by a radio which deflected the bullet. Later it turned out that the bullet that almost killed the cop was actually fired by other police. The mulatto man was killed by return fire by police.
I read about the riots over at American Renaissance. The readers on this racist site pretty much said, “Niggers riot everywhere and at all times for any and no reason. Rioting: it’s what niggers do.” This is the “niggers gotta nig” argument. The fact that the Indians and Pakistanis are starting to join complicates that analysis some.
On Ian Welsh’s site, he sees a tie-in with the massive austerity cuts that the UK has engaged in lately. The cuts have completely wrecked the British economy, but the austerity stuff was all about class war anyway. The coalition UK government believes in something called “The Big Society.” The way I see it, it means big profits for corporations, and everyone else is on their own. Welsh sees these people as rioting due to the austerity cuts. I’m not sure if these rioter clowns are smart enough to figure that out.
One thing is for sure, if rulers continue with this rightwing neo-feudalist project, the people won’t just sit back and take it. There will be a lot of crime, much of it directed against the moneyed classes, and there will be riots. At some point, there may be armed opposition. You can only smash people down so much.
Look at Latin America: there is a ton of crime, much of it the poor stealing from those who have money, there is a lot of rioting and street demonstrations, often violent, and there are people with guns fighting the state. The rich think they can wage class war against us and we won’t wage class war right back. Class war is theft. You steal from the poor, and they will try to rip you off right back. That’s called “crime.” The class nature of it is so much more obvious in a place like Peru, Brazil or the Philippines, but it’s probably often a motivating factor in many places.
Some have also noted that the rioters used social networking sites and devices such as Blackberries to plan their riots.
Last I heard, last night, the riots were spreading to other parts of the city, and Indians and Pakistanis were joining in. At the same time, riots spread to Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol.
Peter Tobin, a friend, correctly points out that the rioters are lumpenproletariat, a problematic social class that can go right or left and was often viewed as having little revolutionary potential.
Mao on lumpenproletariat:
“One of China’s difficult problems is how to handle these people, brave fighters but apt to be destructive, they can become a revolutionary force if given proper guidance.” (Analysis of Classes in Chinese Society)
Lenin also dealt with the tendency of the lumpenproletariat to spontaneously take up undirected struggle against the status quo, and condemns communists who, pace Marx and Engels, declare:
“We are not anarchists, thieves and robbers, we are superior to all this.” (Guerilla Warfare)
He further attacks this approach, which sees lumpen ‘mob rule’, and is relevant to the present situation, as:
“anarchism, Blanquism, the old terrorism, the acts of individuals isolated from the masses, which demoralizes the workers, repel wide strata of the population, disorganize the movement, and injure the revolution.” (ibid)
and further states it is not their violent eruptions:
“…which disorganize the movement, but the weakness of a party which is incapable of taking such actions under its control.” (ibid – my emphasis)
Fanon and later, the Black Panthers developed this line of march, but we have to recognize that it differs from Marx and Engels’ view of this strata, who regarded their recruitment by reaction, specifically in 19th century France, as irredeemable proof of their counter-revolutionary character. Thus they were ‘social scum,’ a ‘passively rotting class thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society’, and differentiated them from the proletariat, advising that class to inscribe on its banners:
“Mort aux voleurs” (death to thieves).
(Vide; Class Struggles in France, 18th Brumaire and Prefatory Note to The Peasant War in Germany)
However, it has been pointed out that they never made a detailed Marxist analysis of this strata, and, in fact gave contradictory accounts of its social base, tending to judge it from an ethical position.