Base and Hoods
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Thu Apr 11 08:09:13 MDT 2002
Julian- your thesis sounds really interesting. I also beieve that there is a
fundamental sense in which all of the institutions at the head of our
society are capitalist ones, regardless of whther or not they serve an
immediately identifiable 'economic' function. Prisons, for example,
increasingly serve the need sof a certain prison-industiral complex;
increasingly privatised companies are maing money from, for example, clothes
manufacture. However, in no sense are prisons simply reducible to another
cog in the machine of commodity production. They serve a system which relies
on coercion and punitive discipline, primarily to deal with lower class
rabble, a product of capitalist production relations.
Which brings me on to Sherry and Stan's question. Hoods and gangs as the
'lumpenproletariat' are, of course, traditionally deprecated in Marxist
thinking as self-serving, rootless and ruthless individualists. In
anarchism, the reverse of this has often been the case (criminals portrayed
as folk-heroes, as rebels, and usurpers of law and order. there are obvious
dangers and strengths in both of these approaches. The Black Panther Party
are interesting and effective on the matter I think. One thing is for
certain, the lumpen proletariat in the West has been growing for some time,
and will continue to do so. It is necessary, I think, for any radical
movement to take them into account. In Belfast, where I live, this can be
seen by the constant rioting with the police that can be witnessed, most
recently with protestant hoods in North Belfast. Another interesting
phenomenon, is the replacement of various paramilitary slogans all round the
city, with Protestants and Catholics from all over writing 'UTH' or Up The
Hoods' on walls and buildings. There's progress for you!...
all the best,
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