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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...




5 comments:

shadowlands said...

"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."

I wonder what the term would be, in heaven? I can't imagine Christ Jesus referring to His own Creation in such a way or desiring others to do so. Maybe we should seek His heart, regarding those we are 'beginning to place into categories' or deem as politically moribund. I mean, as Catholics we would publically (and politically) defend their right to life in the womb, yet we can now lump 'them' together (literally) and insult them enmasse, with highfaluting terms, once grown?

Surely, these are some of the lost people Jesus came to seek and save, the 'missing people' as you also called the' and Jesus sees them (us? me?) as His sheep, who must be searched for?

Douay-Rheims Bible John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him.

If we claim to know Jesus and to be a part of Him, I assume we have a similar mission to the one the Father gave His Son.

How many Lumpenproletariat have I met and eaten with, this week? Did Jesus eat with Lumpenproletariatists?

PS. I Love that word, I'm gonna use it ALL day today, whenever possible....!

Supertradmum said...

shadowlands, you missed the entire point of the article. I was referring to the entire community when I said that people have moved away from an idea of community or citizenship or caring about groups. You may not be aware of the huge anarchists groups in Europe. I watched all the chaos in Rome last Fall from Malta and I can assure you this movement is dangerous. Of course, Christ came to all people, that it known to all of us involved in evangelization. But, the groupings I am referring to are completely anti-religious. Only the Holy Spirit can touch those people and open their hearts to truth. Most are very closed.

I think we can objectivity talk about the culture, realizing what Catholics have to do to reach the culture but also not being naive about those who really do not care.

shadowlands said...

Supertradmum Firstly, thank you for publishing my comment! I wasn't sure I fitted in with the comment criteria necessary, from your earlier post re comment protocol.

You run a very intellectual blog here. I'm a little in awe, when venturing to comment at all, to be frank!

Perhaps I did miss your post's personal point/agenda but maybe the Holy Spirit has a message to give through your words as well?

"Of course, Christ came to all people, that is known to all of us involved in evangelization. But, the groupings I am referring to are completely anti-religious. Only the Holy Spirit can touch those people and open their hearts to truth. Most are very closed"

It is to those people, (beloved of God) that my comment was aimed. Yes, those involved in evangelisation know Christ came to all but the people you speak of, the 'missing people' may not know because as you say, their hearts are possibly closed.

As you also say, only the power of the Holy Spirit can open them, coupled with their own will's surrender to His 'nudge' or moments of spiritual clarity.

My own continuing conversion relies on Christ's enduring call and seeking of me, through His Mercy and forgiveness.

I just wanted any soul reading your words, who might not be aware of God's love for them, to be made aware, as your post didn't seem to emphasise this, the Good News I mean, for any non-evangelised Lumpenproletariat passing by, guided here by God.

Have a good Saturday.

(shadowlands) Ros

Konstantin said...

Scrap my last comment. I don't think you can equate Lumpenproletariat or white trash to Anarchists, since Anarchists seem to have a disinterest for society for other reasons, obviously ideological ones, which is not the case for "Lumpenproletariat". In my opinion vast parts of post-Christian societies have subscribed to extreme materialism, while only a small minority fits the Marxist description of "Lumpenproletariat".

Indeed, all groups, Anarchists, Materialists and Lumpenproletariat are very closed to Evangelization since they do not follow a supernatural concept of life.

Supertradmum said...

Konstantin, yes, there are, sadly, "non-spiritual" people. I know many who really only are concerned with the material world. Either, as in academia, they are convinced atheists, or in business or other aspects of life, they are "practical atheists".