The New Lumpen by Joseph “Shine White” Stewart

Kill Yourself

In Marx’s time the proletariat, the modern class of wage slaves,was a new class being summoned into existence by the bourgeoisie, the rising class of capitalists, who were revolutionary in the context of the decaying era of feudalism that was being overthrown.Two great revolutions were changing the way goods were produced and how society was organized, the Agricultural Revolution and the industrial revolution.The old feudal mode of agriculture production was being replaced and masses of peasants were being displaced providing a surplus population that could be employed in manufacturing, shipping, the military, and colonization and colonial administration.

The industrial revolution was changing the way goods were made, ruining the artisans and small commodity producers and creating an industrial economy where raw materials from around the world were shipped to industrial centers where the army of proletarians transformed them into manufactured goods to shipped around the world as commodities.

The bourgeoisie rose from the middle class subordinated to a landed aristocracy to become the new ruling class of the industrial society.Society was being divided into two great classes,the bourgeoisie and proletarians-the wage slaves, whose only means of survival was to sell their labor power to the capitalist.

In the middle was a strata of petty bourgeoisie, merchants shopkeepers, professionals, artists, and managers able to survive by providing services useful to the bourgeoisie order and accommodating themselves to it.

In all of this upheaval another strata emerged Marx termed the lumpenproletariat (broken wage slaves) or those whose means of survival was to steal, pimp prostitute, con, murder, and prey upon the others in society. Of course there had been broken people and outlaws under feudalism and even earlier but these people formed bands or gangs in both urban and rural settings. The upheavals of wars, famines, and plagues drove masses of people to the lifestyle of a predatory nature taking as they could and scrambling for existence.
From footpads to highwaymen and every other form of criminal pursuit the Lumpen have been around throughout civilization and at times in great numbers.

What’s new is that in this time of declining capitalism ,when growing masses of people cannot be profitably exploited as workers and the ongoing Agricultural Revolution is displacing masses of peasants throughout the “Third world” the employed proletariat is shrinking while wages are declining and the urban scene is increasingly becoming a lumpen lifestyle.

Globalization of the economy and urban culture has produced a mass subculture based on gangsterism and hyper-consumerism. The lumpen are becoming conscious of themselves as a class (really a subclass of the proletariat) for the first time in history.

While the socialist reconstruction of society would enable everyone on the planet to be productively employed and enjoy a decent standard of living declining capitalist-imperislism offers only bare subsistence poverty to a growing majority, who have been crammed into the hoods and shantytowns around the world. For the growing masses the only alternative to this poverty and all that goes with it is proletarian socialist revolution.

People are identifying as both “gangster” and revolutionary and as Amilcar Cabral said “culture is simultaneously the fruit of a people’s history and a determinant of history”.The government’s strategy of criminalization and mass incarceration of the poor which has been in play since the Nixon administration has shaped a generation of youth their psychology and culture.Now you have artists such as Moneybagg Yo, Pooh Shiesty, Big Walkdog etc, (who I listen to myself). But there hasn’t been any artists more iconically than Tupac Shakur who was born into a family of Black panther and BLA militants and grew up watching them being sent to prison or chased into exile. Drawn into anti-social and criminal rebellion he was the first recording artist to top the billboard chart while in prison.

As we know Pac was tragically gunned downed in the streets of Las Vegas but during my youth he gave a voice to the torn up feelings of a generation trapped in poverty admist the affluence and decadence of the dying empire. Like comrade George Jackson and others who have been condemned to die because Amerika has no place for them only prison and the execution chamber. During my youth Tupac had become a martyr to the youth who lived and died every day on the streets whose only hope then and now is revolution.

No longer driven by gangsterism aware now that it is the revolution that will proletarianize this subclass and teach them revolutionary morality such as was exemplified in past prison strikes such as the one in September 2016 and the Nationwide prison strike in August 2018. Unlike the usual rebellions of the Lumpen the basis of these strikes was characterized not by acts of daring by individuals but by solid unity and collective determination.Instead of tearing the prisons up and carrying out acts of violence towards prison officials tens of thousands of prisoners Nationwide refused to work.

Unlike the lupmenproletariat of Marx’s time today lumpen are in position to play the vangaurd role relative to employed industrial proletariat who have been held in check by the trick of class collaboration and the reality of s globalized and shrinking labor market where unionization allowed the industrial workers to escape poverty in the past it has no leverage now-unless it aligns with the revolutionary struggle of the poor-confronted with what activist Michele Alexander coined “New Slavery”of the prison industrial complex. The front lines of the class struggle have shifted.

Huey P. Newton was a visionary in his conceptualization of “Revolutionary Intercommunalism”.It is in the oppressed communities -where the victims of the “New Slavery”are captured and placed on busses in chains-that the Revolutionary struggle must be centered.We must transform our hoods into base areas of cultural, social, and political revolution in the context of building a world wide United front against capitalist-imperialism.
It us with this context that we must transform these razor-plantations into schools of liberation and the street formations (gangs) such as the Bloods must be transformed into fighting units of proletarian socialist revolution. And overall the masses of urban poor marginalized workers, youth, women, and all the oppressed concentrated in our hoods must become a conscious force demanding social justice and an end to this evil capitalist imperialist system.

Once you determine that you’re on a dead end road,and the alternative path forward is illuminated, you switch direction. Leadership is a question of ideological and political line.The spontaneous ideology of the lumpen is not revolutionary, it is bourgeois, it reflects the ideas and values of the ruling class in society even as it rejects it’s conventions. These rappers the youth idolize live out a ghettoized imitation of the American dream with all the ice, expensive cars, drip, etc but it’s all a dead end.

Nobody can be free if their people aren’t free if the society they live in is unfree.The bourgeois are throwed and they are self destructive.They are destroying the planet and they are destroying the opportunity to advance human society to a rational and equitable system.They have to be stopped and their criminal rule ended. It will take the masses of oppressed of the whole world to do it but those within these razor-wire plantations have a singularly important role to play.

In the tradition of George Jackson and Nat Turner and the many others who would not submit to die a slave without risking it all to win their freedom, we must dare to struggle and dare to win!
On its own the lumpenproletariat cannot overthrow capitalist-imperialism but acting as a catalyst upon the masses of proletarians and the people generally it can be the spark that starts the fire, that reawakens the dragon.

Panther love

Joseph “Shine White” Stewart


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