by Jillian Becker – 2 Aug 2019
Marx and Engels despised the Lumpenproletariat, “the social scum” they said it consisted of, “that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society”. It formed no part of the “revolutionary class” they wrote. That was the proletariat, the class of the workers. At best, they averred, the Lumpenproletariat “may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution”.
But the Left lost its faith in the proletariat after the Second World War. Communist theorists glumly concluded that the workers of the world were not, after all, going to unite, lose their chains and win the world, as Marx had encouraged them to do. In Europe – most particularly in Germany – they were doing far too well in the capitalist system to want to change it.
So the New Left was born. Not in the Communist Second World, the Soviet Union and its empire. But in the First World, the Free West. The newness of the New Left lay in its shift of expectation from the workers to the Lumpenproletariat. The social scum became the new “revolutionary class”, would take over the historic role, the sacred task, and enact the earthly apocalypse. After which human beings, their nature transformed and standardized, would live in blissful equality ever after, everywhere on earth.
Marx and Engels’s Lumpenproletariat consisted of “beggars, tricksters, entertainers, buskers, criminals and prostitutes”. With the change, tricksters, entertainers, and buskers have had their membership in the new revolutionary class quietly canceled. Vagabonds and criminals remain. And new members have been added: Frantz Fanon’s “wretched of the earth”, the denizens of the poor Third World; Herbert Marcuse’s “outcasts and outsiders, the exploited and persecuted of other races and colors, the unemployed and unemployable”. Blacks, who had not been classed by Marx as proletarian revolutionary material, are prime members. (Marx despised Blacks, though they were mostly workers; and he and Engels both opined that Slavs – a category that includes Russians, mark you, comrades! – should be annihilated. See for instance here and here.) All “persons of color” are included. Also the sexually abnormal. And women – all women, whether they like it or not. And, very recently, in dramatic opposition to original Marxism, people who are “unwilling to work”.
In Marxist terms, what the Democratic Party has become is a party of “scum”. What can be expected in the way of probity and competence from human scum? Not much. But it’s okay, the scum is not expected to rule. The rulers are still, and are expected to be White men.
And this new, vastly expanded revolutionary class is no longer to be thought of as a Lumpenproletariat, its members as human scum. By virtue of their “oppression” they are the chosen, the best. Their oppressors are the White race. White men. A category that includes the theorists of the New Left themselves, the very makers of the new social order.
So the White men still in leadership positions on the ever-more-communist Left in America are performing public rituals of self-abasement. (Entertainers of a sort – re-admitted to the chosen class?)
Of the leading choices of the Democratic Party to date for the 2020 presidential election one of them is a Marxist, a man of the Old Left, Bernie Sanders. Another, former Vice-President Joe Biden (who appears to be leading the race), is on tour with apologies for being a White man with a “White culture”.
What will he do about it?
Dominate from below?
[Editors note: Since this post was first published in April, the field has grown considerably more crowded on the Democrat front, there are now 24 Democrats in the race. There are only 2 republicans however, those being Donald Trump and Bill Weld (who appears to be a libertarian).]
Biden leads 2020 Democratic race, followed by Warren, Harris and Sanders: NBC/WSJ poll
From the New York Times:
Who's Running for President in 2020?
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