With the Lumpenproletariat, (German: “rabble proletariat”), according to Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto, he spoke about the lowest stratum of the industrial working class, including also such undesirables as tramps and criminals, but therefore should not be considered part of the people who would resist some drastic change in the way we live or the way the working class would be treated.
Though we must know that today, still many young workers just want to take it how they have to work, even when the conditions are bad. Often they do not see that they are used as modern slaves by those who govern the capital.
Lots of young workers today are not interested in politics and fall for the populist ‘charme’s of governments giving them bread and games. (One of the reasons why football matches are not cancelled, whilst all other activities fall under strict rules of lockdown.)
By charming the working class into giving them the games they want, the state has sufficient control over those who will not band together to resist their exploitation.
Today many are not disinclined to participate in revolutionary activities with their “rightful brethren,” the proletariat, but also tend to act as the “bribed tools of reactionary intrigue.”
The same as in Marx time because of its subordinate position in a capitalist society and the effects of periodic depressions on wages and employment, the proletariat as described by Marxists was usually living in poverty. But it was not therefore identified with the poor, for some members of the proletariat, the highly skilled or labour aristocracy, were recognised as not poor, and some members of the entrepreneurial class were not wealthy.
After the golden sixties of the previous century, many self-employed people and small business owners have become very impoverished in recent years, partly because of the huge taxes they have had to pay to the state. This squeezed-out group, which usually also has higher education, does not fall for the populist political parties that manage to cleverly mislead many of the lower class with all kinds of misinformation and false news.
Big shareholders and millionaires see themselves as overly powerful and hold the ordinary citizenry in their grip by serving them only the salt for the potatoes.
The government parties are cleverly capitalising on this and want nothing more than to appease the ‘big bosses’ and make them talk to their mouth, so that the regulations of the government regularly clash from all sides and are not implemented consistently. Governments and business leaders therefore make good use of the rules of divide and rule.
The class of industrial wage earners who, possessing neither capital nor production means, are convinced that they must earn their living by selling their labour. Many of them still do not see or understand that all those mighty bosses are nothing without them. When all workers would put down their working outfits and tools, nothing would be produced and the economy would fall silent.
When all wage-earners collectively would call a halt to rising prices and their exploitation, those at the top would speak differently.
The mass should also come to understand that they should not live to work because their only possession of significant material value would be their labour for or under someone else. They should come to see that united one could have a better control in an environment where everybody would be able to live properly and fine, not having the present stress of this capitalist world.
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By Rainer Shea
InThe Peasant War in Germany, Friedrich Engels wrote:
The lumpenproletariat, this scum of the decaying elements of all classes, which establishes headquarters in all the big cities, is the worst of all possible allies. It is an absolutely venal, an absolutely brazen crew. If the French workers, in the course of the Revolution, inscribed on the houses: Mort aux voleurs! (Death to the thieves!) and even shot down many, they did it, not out of enthusiasm for property, but because they rightly considered it necessary to hold that band at arm’s length. Every leader of the workers who utilises these gutter-proletarians as guards or supports, proves himself by this action alone a traitor to the movement.
What are revolutionaries in the imperial center during the 21st century to make of this statement? Despite the wildly controversial nature that this quote took on when I…
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