The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it as “the lowest stratum of the proletariat. Used originally in Marxist theory to describe those members of the proletariat, especially criminals, vagrants, and the unemployed, who lacked awareness of their collective interest as an oppressed class.”In modern usage, it is commonly defined to include the chronically unemployed, the homeless, and career criminals…”
There’s much agreement – and disagreement – on appropriate use of a word coined, after all, in the 19th Century. History, from one nation to another, has already treated definition as variable, sometimes dated, even incomplete or inaccurate when addressing nations formerly under the colonial heel.
It’s just that this morning…on my first walk of the day…I could hear the voice in my head of an old acquaintance in Warsaw…his soft bark brief and to the point as ever. “Lumpen – they’re nothing but Lumpen.” Americans have drawn spoiled middle-class brats into the garbage truck parked next door to class conflict. They think it’s cool to be part of the lumpenproletariat, and leaders, of course.
There will be more detailed analysis of the events of January 6th in Washington, DC. But, still, déclassé and lumpen ain’t a bad start.