Lumpenproletariat

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.

Number of hate groups in America reaches new high


Chip Somodevilla/Getty

❝ The number of hate groups in the United States has surged to an all-time high, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), with numbers rising for the fourth year in a row.

The SPLC’s annual Year in Hate and Extremism report, released Wednesday, recorded 1,020 hate groups in the United States in 2018. That figure includes neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and anti-government extremists, and represents a rise of seven percent from 2017…

❝ “The midterms tended to validate hate groups’ fears for the future. Even more angering to hate groups were the dozens of women…elected to the new U.S. Congress, including two Muslims,” the report read. “For white supremacists, these newly elected officials symbolize the country’s changing demographics — the future that white supremacists loathe and fear.”

❝ The SPLC’s concerns are backed up by another report on far right violence released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in January. According to that report, almost every extremist-related murder committed in the United States in 2018 was carried out by an individual who was either directly linked or affiliated with the far right. In the lone exception, the perpetrator was affiliated with the far right before switching over to Islamic extremism just prior to carrying out a murder.

RTFA, folks. Life in these United States is rooted in the fear of death and terrorism committed by Americans who think they’re more American than anyone else. And they’ll kill to prove it.

In Trump’s Amerika, we need a calendar to track potential protest carnage

❝ People are freaking out about a potential clash between a ‘gang’ of ‘outsiders, misfits, and weirdos’ called the Juggalos and far-right Trump supporters…

Juggalos — fans of the Insane Clown Posse — and a far-right, pro-Trump coalition are both staging marches in Washington, DC on the same day.

And, with both groups promising enormous crowds, a clash between the two groups on September 16 seems likely…

❝ Organizers announced the pro-Trump “Mother of All Rallies” on Sunday, describing the event as the “Woodstock of American Rallies” to defend what organizers call traditional American values and culture. While the march is explicitly nonviolent and inclusive, organizers such as the Alt Knights have stated missions of street activism and “confrontation,” and were involved in organizing the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.

A “Woodstock” of super-patriots, the chickenshit flavor of bigots who crank out lies in the tradition of Establishment politicians, differ from Charloteesville Nazis and Klan members only in levels of hypocrisy. The intent, direction and funding for much of this crap is interchangeable with any other cell of Right Wing losers.

❝ Meanwhile, Juggalos are marching for a very different issue — to protest being classified as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” by the FBI.

While the Insane Clown Posse draws thousands of fans to festivals, many people are in the dark on what Juggalos actually are. According Juggalos, they’re one of the most misunderstood groups of people in the US…

Freaks in the Frank Zappa sense can be useful, even productive, against bigotry, conformity to reactionary culture, social and political backwardness in general. You can also end up with nothing but intellectual laziness, the Lumpen ethos that has characterized déclassé revolt probably since the first Children’s Crusade.

I haven’t confidence in either side of this confrontation having the political savvy, discipline or direction to produce anything other than confrontation theatre. On the 16th, I’m more likely to be watching Liverpool at West Brom on television than a DC clash between uptight, sterile, rightwing stiffs and a herd of pretend clowns convinced they’re relevant to civil liberties.

English riots blamed on feral underclass of hardcore offenders


Remembering three young men murdered by rioting thugs
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, has blamed the riots that swept across England last month on a “broken penal system” that has failed to rehabilitate a group of hardcore offenders he describes as the “criminal classes”…

Writing in the Guardian, Clarke dismisses criticism of the severity of sentences handed down to rioters and said judges had been “getting it about right”. However, he adds that punishment alone was “not enough”.

“It’s not yet been widely recognised, but the hardcore of the rioters were in fact known criminals. Close to three quarters of those aged 18 or over charged with riot offences already had a prior conviction. That is the legacy of a broken penal system – one whose record in preventing reoffending has been straightforwardly dreadful.”

He says: “In my view, the riots can be seen in part as an outburst of outrageous behaviour by the criminal classes – individuals and families familiar with the justice system, who haven’t been changed by their past punishments.”

Clarke uses his intervention to call for the coalition government to adopt a “renewed mission” in response to the riots that addressed an “appalling social deficit”.

His comments will reignite the debate on the causes of the disturbances, which the prime minister, David Cameron, has said “were not about poverty”…I agree.

“There is an urgent need for some rigorous social research which will look, without prejudice, at the causes and the consequences of the recent riots,” Professor Tim Newburn said. “Crucially, it is vital that we speak with those involved in the disturbances and those affected by them to try to understand any lessons for public policy…”

Clarke writes: “The general recipe for a productive member of society is no secret. It has not changed since I was inner-cities minister 25 years ago. It’s about having a job, a strong family, a decent education and beneath it all, an attitude that shares in the values of mainstream society. What is different now is that a growing minority of people in our nation lack all of those things and indeed, have substituted an inflated sense of expectations for a commitment to hard graft.”

Not especially different from what we witness, case by case, incident by separate incident on the nightly news here in New Mexico. The culture of repeat offenders let loose on society time after time – until that day when one or a few commit commit some crime horrific enough to get the attention of politicians and pundits.

When the furor dies down the courts/jails/police revert to being a revolving door.