Marxist Leaders on the Lumpenproletariat

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.

Please follow and like us:
Tweet 20

0 thoughts on “Marxist Leaders on the Lumpenproletariat”

  1. Lindsay… research the 150+ privately owned central banks worldwide, one in each country to manipulate its economy and govt. This same wealth owns/controls stakes in the mainstream media and has for a long time. The top 57 countries have central banks that have their own corporation called the Bank of International Settlements, to help coordinate their efforts so they act as a single entity — world govt really.

    Nothing yet.

    What can you say about the National Front many of whose members
    went the way of the BNP? NF used to be kind of National Bolshie.
    My take is there’s little left of it, but since the BNP is now kind of pro-Israel,
    the remaining NF hardliners should be immune to that trend.

    Then there is the even more pro-Zionist English Defense League, associated by some with Breivick’s Norway atrocity.

    Reactions from each will be noteworthy.

    If only Enoch Powell had been listened to, no riots.

    All these reactions are noteworthy.

  3. Rioting hasn’t been thoroughly theorised yet. The SWP is organising an emergency conference to discuss the riots in the light of the work of Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Foucault and Derrida, with a discussion of the more contemporary ‘hauntology’, Alex Callinicos said ” we hope that over the next ten years or so we can ‘evolve a a position on this’ “”.

    Just my little joke, but don’t be surprised if it turns out not to be. There was a riot in my town centre last night ( London’s like lots of little towns stuck together) – Clapham Junction (which is in Battersea, not Clapham ), but I didn’t notice it, or find out about it till this afternoon. Right on, Kids! Fuck that nazi bastard above! The NF are just a bunch of wankers. Sure these rioters are just criminals – they don’t know shit cause they never had shit and they got shit to look forward to – but someone’s got to do it! If people aren’t prepared to fight, even kill and die, then the fascists will just walk all over us. The lefty tossers who are stepping forward to give us their highly paid interpretations in the Guardian – like Richard Seymour Lenin – aren’t going to fight for anything. Trouble is, of course, that with kids like these, is that if the bosses give them free crack cocaine for signing up to a fascist militia, most of them would be cool with that too. But, in the meanwhile, burn, baby BURN! But I just hope none of them come round to rob my flat while the cops are busy.

  4. Red Tory = Tory = Blue Labour. It’s a job application from the uncharismatic weirdo, Maurice Glasman (the only reason anyone knows his name). The job is fucking the proles on behalf of the rich. Same old… He thinks that the ‘post WWII settlement’ – the welfare state, the National Health Service, the program of council house building (what you call ‘projects’ I think) was a ‘wrong turning’ for Labour. Wrong turning if you’re a Tory cunt. Or a forelock-tapping working-class Tory cunt. Jobsworth.

    There’s a pretty good assessment of them from the WSWS here:

    I have some reservations about the second half of the WSWS take on this, same as you will, I expect – but maybe for different reasons. I’ll get onto that in a minute. This much is spot on:

    ” Glasman’s attack on the “state-driven, redistribution-driven, equality-driven Labour tradition that comes straight out of 1945”.

    The Labour government of that year created a bureaucratic statism, Glasman complains, and with it came a “loss of responsibility”.

    That Glasman should target the one period in history in which Labour was forced to make inroads against the major corporations and introduce welfare reforms—measures, moreover, that ensured it broad support in the working class for an extended period of time—is indicative of the class thrust of Blue Labour.

    His indictment of Labour’s “statism” has nothing to do with opposing its assault on democratic rights and championing of militarism and war, much less its support for class exploitation. He is decrying any the notion that the state should infringe upon the dominance of the capitalist market. The only role of government should be to smooth over, where possible, social antagonisms that arise, due to the excesses of this or that employer or group of workers. Glasman’s favoured model for achieving this goal is the German system of works councils, where employers and the trade unions collude in the suppression of industrial conflict.

    He has praised the “early Blair days” of New Labour, when “there was very strong language about family, there was a very strong commitment to what he [Blair] called Christian socialism, there was a very strong discourse on responsibility and the work ethic…”. ”

    Responsibilities for the proles, and rights for the rich. Same old….

  5. Thank you for this, comrade Lafayette. This reminds me of the DNC Democrats, who feel that the New Deal and Great Society are excess baggage that the Democratic Party needs to get rid of. And Obama is doing just that. This Blue Labor stuff is cancer.

    Blue Labor = Blairism = Third Way = DNC corporate Democrats.

    There truly is no one to vote for anymore, is there?

  6. But here, they go the same wrong way that all the ‘left ‘ do ( I’ll expand on that). I suspect this is what you like about Blue Labour:

    ” Where Blair went wrong for Glasman was his support for “globalisation”, which led to the “commodification of human beings”. Most importantly for the Blue Labour thesis, this enabled an “influx of immigrants”, creating resentment amongst the “white working class” that was compounded by the policies of “multiculturalism”. The end result was to undermine social cohesion.

    Blue Labour intends to remedy this, he states. “The blue refers to the centrality of family life, a recognition of the importance of faith, a real commitment to the work ethic, a very casual but nonetheless profound patriotism that people feel about England”.

    Blue Labour’s agenda has been summarised as “Flag, faith and family”. Glasman recently argued for “engagement” with the English Defence League and for the involvement of “people who support the EDL within our party”.

    Labour’s turn to policies associated with the ultra-right has nothing to do with “listening to the public”. It has long been in fruition.

    In 2004, for example, David Goodhart, editor of Prospect magazine, penned an article for the Guardian in which he queried whether an ethnically diverse society was compatible with the welfare state. “To put it bluntly, most of us prefer our own kind”, he wrote.

    The Economist commented at the time, “The interesting thing is that connections between immigration and social dislocation have been made, and not just by men in jackboots”.

    This was combined with a sustained campaign by Cruddas, Byrne and others to claim that the rise in the vote for the British National Party in certain areas was the result of the legitimate grievances of “white workers” angered by immigration.

    In 2007, Byrne, then Labour’s immigration minister, wrote a pamphlet, “Rethinking Immigration and integration,” arguing that immigration was harming Britain’s poor and unsettling the country.”

    I agree that , same as in the USA, immigration IS harming Britain’s poor and unsettling the poor, but THIS is a diversion from the real issue:

    ” In claiming that immigration was responsible for undermining “social cohesion”, the intention was to divert attention from the massive increase in social inequality as a result of Labour’s policies.”

    And it’s the same diversion offered by most of the rest of the so-called ‘left’, as well as the right, the bourgeois press, the NF, the BNP, the EDL: that the problem with immigration is about ‘social cohesion’ – it’s not; it’s about undermining organised labour, the only strength the working class has.

    It’s little wonder when so much of the left is so blatantly fraudulent (if not run by the secret state security services) that some turn to what’s called the far-right, where some plain facts can be spoken, but the far-right are no friends to the workers. If they’ve more to offer than scapegoating and bigotry, is it any better than the WSWS summary assessment of Blue Labour here:

    ” Blue Labour’s attack on “statism” serves to justify the policies of austerity, including the privatisation of what remains of the public sector. With its emphasis on friendly societies and “localism”, it is Labour’s equivalent of the Conservatives’ “Big Society” plans to dismantle health care, education and other essential social provisions.”

    Just like the Tea Party, the libertarians, and the rest of the elite-funded astroturf activists. That’s what Blue Labour is: Glasman’s application for funding.

    Well, you asked what I thought.


    I’ll review your info, LS, but I’m not buying it as of now. This is where I first heard of Blue Labour, and the twit, a globalizing egaliatarian modernist, sounds like the same phony liberals who hated Ross Perot protectionist populism with its rather mild appeals to White working class solidarity hereabout.

    hereabouts. And somewhere in the literature I even ran across an anti-Stalinist conservative who spoke favorably of Stalinist socialism as compared to Trotskyite, inreference that is, to certain aspects of Blue Labour.

  8. Look here. if multiculturalism has overwhelmed any possible feeling of natural national cross-ethnic socilaist unity, it’s time for localism to break it all down and start again from scratch. When applied to the United States, this dismantling would, I’m sure, appeal to the victims of American Empire–e.g. the Afghanis, the Iraqis, the Libyans, because one way or another, the “localizing” will not allow imperialism in the interim, will it?

  9. This Glasman fellow wanted to reach out the the Islamophobic EDL.
    What about the BNP? And what was his position on UK’s participation in the wars? If he supports UK’s Mideast policy, generally, and he stresses it to any degree, the bad outweighs the good in BL if he is a pivotal force in it.
    And also would show hypocrisy on the purported “anti-statist” thrust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)