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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Have we all become the Lumpenproletariat? The Politics of Identity

In a book written in 1845 entitled, The German Ideology, Marx and Engels used a term first used by Hegel to describe a sub-group of people in the culture, who have no interest in society or politics. This term is lumpenproletariat.

These people, described as rag-tags, a non-class of those who have no stake in a country's levels of material wealth. In a rude way, these were classed as of no interest to the communist agenda, as they would not care enough to change history or the class structure, as they were outside of it.

Hegel saw in The Philosophy of Right, that only those who owned property, had relationships in a society such as family and marriage, were involved in contracts whether political or economic and who has moral values would be interested in maintaining a society and establishing as well as continuing communities.

He was spot on. The lumpenproletariat would be those who did not own land, were even transients, and were considered, later by Trotsky, as useful in so far as they were disillusioned, depressed and ready for a revolt.

Marx did not think they would revolt, as it would not effect their sub-class. Marx knew that revolution was only possible for those who would actually engaged in political or revolutionary activities and those  who liked and followed a "politics of identity".

We have lost this politics of identity in the Catholic Church. Unless we rediscover how to think as a Catholic, one cannot identify politics with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Marx understood that the lumpenproletariat were not helpful to anyone. At one time, he grouped them with anarchists, who only want to destroy without an ideology of government.

One of the biggest losses for identity politics is the loss of a basis in natural law philosophy.

We no longer speak the same language as the post-post moderns, who do not believe in natural law.

The lumpenproletariat have in their definition, no relationships, no moral code, no church-going habits.

These would be the Fagans and Bill Sykes of the world. These could be called the "missing people".

I am beginning to see that many post-Christian peoples fall into this category. One of the marks of the lumpenproletariat would be no desire for anything but self. In the South, the term for lumpenproletariat would be white trash. In England, it would be yob or yobbo.

The point is that relativism and individualism create a large under-class of lumpenproletariats.

I think we are there at this stage in the Post-Christian, post-Western world.

I think that Marx is correct in putting the lumpenproletariats in the same category as anarchists.

My next post on this will include Gramsci's idea of the subalternity and hegemony, again.  To be continued...