A reflection on the problem of interclass and intra-lumpen proletarian conflict.
Many positive things have happened in the uprising. These include the mass participation of normies and civilians (non-revolutionaries) in protests and civil disobedience against the state, along with direct attacks on the state such as the destruction of enemy military bases (police precincts), star chambers (courts), and enemy military vehicles (police cars).
The outright assassinations of enemy troops (cops), mostly carried out by Leon Czolgosz-like lone wolves, has been unnecessary and mistaken, because we are not yet in a high-intensity civil war situation, only a low-grade uprising. The insurgents have no capacity for fighting much less winning an actual civil war at this point.
There have also been many other mistakes involving random violence against individuals, along with interracial, inter-tribal, and inter-sectarian violence. Inter-class violence has also been a problem. The direct expropriation of ruling class resources (“looting,” or what I prefer to call a grassroots economic stimulus plan organized from the bottom up and implemented through direct action) is legitimate. Places like Bank of America (neo-usurers), Wal-Mart and Target (neo-plantations), Amazon (neo-manors), McDonald’s, and Wendy (neo-sweatshops) are clearly part of the statist, capitalist, and imperialist enemy. One can argue against such actions on practical grounds (corporations write off losses as a business expense), propagandistic grounds (FOX News-like outlets use such actions in their anti-insurgent propaganda), or pro-labor grounds (employees lose their jobs if their employer is burned out). It could certainly be argued that worker occupation of such places would be a better approach. But clearly, attacks on the neo-manorial outposts of the neo-aristocracy are legitimate.
However, this does not mean that all interclass violence is legitimate. It would be a grave error, for example, to engage in arson in upper-class residential areas, or simply to attack people who seem like that might be part of the capitalist class on the street. This opens the door for a Jacobin/Stalinist/Maoist class genocide. Even more problematic is the interclass violence that has taken place between the lumpenproletariat and the conventional proletarian or petite bourgeoisie. These kinds of things have the same effect as the destruction of monuments, landmarks, temples, and artifacts, i.e. it provides propagandistic fuel that the ruling class enemy can use to its advantage.
The intra-class violence, or threats of such, within the lumpenproletariat is also a major problem. Primarily, this is the fault of the anarchists and other far-left sectors, but not for the reasons that Donald Trump would give. The anarchists, who should be the political leadership of the lumpenproletariat, have failed to build class unity among the lumpenproletariat. For example, anarchists have protested against ICE on anti-racist/pro-immigrant grounds, but have they exhibited similar zeal for defending gun nuts and militiamen against the BATF, drug users against the DEA, tax protestors against the IRS, sovereign citizens against the FBI, “white-collar criminals” against the DOJ, and, yes, urban street gangs, motorcycle gangs, Mafiosi (Bill Kuntsler was John Gotti’s attorney), cults (Charles Garry was the attorney for the Black Panthers AND the Peoples’ Temple), and (hold your nose) white nationalists and far-right extremists against the local municipal pigs, state pigs, and federal alphabet soup agency pigs? Have the anarchists adopted the mode of “defending the undefendable”? Nothing would undermine the ability of reactionary state forces to recruit the right-wing of the lumpenproletariat than efforts by anarchists and the general far-left to defend ALL (I repeat, ALL) enemies of the state as vigorously as they defend illegal migrants against ICE.
Of course, the difference is that illegal migrants are considered to be “progressive” (fueling cosmopolitanism or “diversity”) while these other sectors are considered to be “reactionary” (the modern equivalent of Marx’s “non-historical peoples”). This indicates that most “anarchists” or “far-leftists” are really just Blue Tribe fundamentalists first, with their anarcho-progressivism merely being an afterthought, and who are not yet ideologically and psychologically ready to launch a full-fledged war against the state even if they were militarily capable of doing so, which they clearly are not.
By Leticia Miranda
Salih Mothana came home so quietly after he surveyed the damage to his small grocery store in Chicago that his family had no idea their business had been destroyed. Looters had raided the family store after a night of peaceful protests against police brutality ended with pockets of destruction last weekend.
“I understand why it happened, and it’s OK,” Mothana, a Yemeni immigrant, said in Arabic as his daughter translated. “It’s not like I have to blame someone for this. I understand why this happened. If it sends out the message, it doesn’t matter to us.”
Mothana, who has run Express Food Market on the South Side of Chicago for over 20 years, is one of scores of small-business owners across the country who are now trying to pick up the pieces after social justice protests over the killing of George Floyd.