[Marxism] Planet of Slums

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at btinternet.com
Sat Mar 27 07:30:36 MST 2004

Waistline2 at aol.com wrote 26 March 2004 18:24
> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Planet of Slums
> In a message dated 3/26/2004 3:44:30 AM Central Standard Time,
> e.c.apling at btinternet.com writes:

> Secondly . . .the article by Michael D Yates. . . that
> "The world will not be changed permanently for the better unless
> the mass of  workers do the changing. Wage workers are necessary for
capitalism to
> reproduce itself, so it is clear that only labor can stop this
> reproduction and reorganize society mode of production and
distribution." -
> The article by Mike David in NLR raises the question for Melvin P's thesis
> as to whether this "class" in the planet slums is possibly the
> revolutionary  communist class, or whether it has more the characteristics
> described in the > Communist Manifesto as
> "The 'dangerous class' the social scum, that passively rotting mass
> thrown off by the lowest layers of old society, may, here and
> there, be swept  into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its
conditions of life,
> however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of
> reactionary intrigue."
> Reply
> The communist class is not part of the "bribed tool of reaction."
> This question of the lumpen proletariat or what is called the
> "underclass" in  the American Union, was resolved in the flesh as the
> between the old League of Revolution Black Workers and the Black Panther
> The idea that the world will not change unless the workers do it is
> meaningless chatter and runs against the materialist conception
> of history.
> The world changes first - in its inanimate objects (the material power of
> production or the productive forces) and then society is
> compelled to leap to a new political and property basis. In our case to
the abolition
> of  property.

I certainly agree with that.  Any change in the right-wing leadership of
trades unions and political organisations of the working class (e.g. the
Labour Party in Britain, you have no such "apprently" class orgnisation in
the USA) will come as a RESULT of changes in society which have AlREADY (for
MANY years !!!) made the attitude of their leadership irrelevant to the
needs of the class.

> The social revolution has its genesis in the means of production
> and a class of workers have always existed in different forms.
> Yates advocate syndicalism and a syndicalist deviation within Marxism.

I am not sure about that.  I certainly have always regarded work my trade
union and (in my wonger years) the local trades council (I was delegate for
many years) as an extreemly important part of communist political work and
would be far from regarding my attitude as syndicalist - just that trade
unions are BASIC working-class forms of organisation which have major effect
on mass acctions, beliefs and attitudes.

> Perhaps this question of the lumpen proletariat needs to be
> looked at anew.
> Comrades abstract Marx from his historical period - the transition from
> agriculture to industry, and then try and apply his observations
> to what is in  front of us.

Just the reason I brought this question up....

> Maybe later I will write exhaustively on the  question of the lumpen
> proletariat which is utterly different from the communist class,
> but penetrates the communist class.

I should be most interested in your views on this.  The term
"lumpenproletariat" IS one of those Marxist formulations that has always
bothered me.  I remember just after the war (WW2) invovement in squatters
campaigns (I had been fortunate enough to be allocated a council house) -
and quite a number of those involved in squatting, which was a basic working
class action on the housing question, were not part of the INDUSTRIAL
working class, but were self-employed, sometimes in rather "doubtful"
activities - akin to the later "hippies" or whatever.
> I swear to you Comrade Paddy, no one is going to debate this
> question in ten to twenty years.
> To overthrow a system of production the emergence of a new qualitative
> ingredient is necessary. The serf did not and could not overthrow
> feudalism and the workers as such cannot overthrow bourgeois property. The
> of these classes, by definition is to reform the system. Yes, we enter
> this struggle and win the vanguard to the cause of communism.

To quite an extent I tend to agree.  Undoubtedly basic working class
action - and purpose of their main organisations is based on struggle to
REFORM the system to the advantage of the PARTICULAR group (trade,
nationality or whatever) - but it has always been the Marxist thesis that it
is in such struggles that workers learn that reform is insufficient - and
that it would be the working class who would be the "gravediggers of

> What unravels a system of production is new productive forces and
> the classes it calls into existence out side the basic components of the
> existing system  in its production logic. Then a period of revolution

Historically this has certainly been the case.  The bourgeoisie were not
basic components of feudal society.

> This concept of the dialectic is the American Marxists > contribution to
> treasure house of Marxism. This contribution was paid for with blood.
> Pardon me my brother,
> It is time for the Marxists and communist workers in the imperial centers
> place themselves at the head of the world proletariat movement and engage
> bourgeoisie on the basis of the trajectory of the world communist  class
> the national forms in which out peoples think things out and feel the
impact of
> imperial exploitation and oppression of humanity.
> We are in uncharted territory and going to make monumental errors
> - mistakes.
> However we have sworn on the blood of our children to never surrender and
> withdraw from engaging the enemy - bourgeois property.
> It has taken us a hundred years to figure out our place in history in the
> concrete and to unravel the social process. We did not surrender  to
reaction but
> face continuous defeat, incarceration and assassination. Our bravest sons
> daughters have made the blood sacrifice.
> It is better - higher, to die on ones feet than live on ones knees,
> genuflecting to capital.
> A window has opened up that magnifies our blood sacrifice, and we  are
> through the window that is the communist class.
> Pardon, but we insists on going first and have dreamed for a  century of
> in the position to take the first bullet. I am told that you do not hear
> bullet that gets you and this is all the better.
> The lumpen proletariat is as Marx states and not the communist class.
> You should know that a generation of Marxist rewrote the national question
> America on the basis of the Irish - the original modern "niggas."
>  We shall die and live as one.
> Pardon my brother, but you are standing in the way of my bullet.

I trust not, Melvin.  !! ....

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