In Karl Marx’s 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Marx shows the power of the unorganized masses to be used as the legitimizing force that backed the rise to power of Louis Napoleon. Called the “Society of 10 December”, the members were the lowest scum of Paris, used by Napoleon III as rumble rousers to destabilize crisis of the National Assembly and Louis Napoleon and ensure the Emperor’s rise to power notwithstanding the opposition from the organized groups of workers. Called the lumpenproletariat in classical Marxist terminology, the unorganized masses are plastic forces that can be seemingly organized by reactionary groups for their own purposes, using the language of liberation as if the personage they are defending do identify with their own plight.
In to-day’s context, the lumpenproletariat is dismissed; theorists like David Harvey (who attempts to do Marxist theory without Leninist or Maoist theory) even proposed that this classical Marxist terminology of the lumpenproletariat should be redefined and integrated to a universal struggle of the community, extending the proletariat classes. Although I agree with Harvey in the universalization of struggle demanded by the dissolution of the power of Trade and Worker’s unions in the late 70s and 80s as well as the fragmentation of the radical left after the demise of the Soviet Union, the universal struggle of David Harvey has to be questioned on the grounds of its impossibility to envelop universality. What he does not recognize is the blank space opened by the universalization of struggle i.e. of people who are prepared to exempt themselves to the struggle and see themselves as outside of it. In this case, the power of the lumpenproletariat lies in the plasticity of its loyalties and its gullibility to be persuaded by easy solutions to social and political problems. The universality of the struggle from neoliberal capitalism is challenged by forces that seek to undermine or counter the struggle.
The incapability of Harvey’s thesis stands in clear light with the INC’s demonstrations of the 28 August. It does not demand the right of something nor the increase of wages ore the welfare of workers; but demands exemption and indifference from the state and its laws. Although the group cites the mediocrities of the present administration, nowhere does it advocate for the good of everybody but demands the right of the church administration to do what it pleases with its members outside the peering eyes of the state. It is obvious that the church administration of the INC does not want the heat of the DOJ nor any government apparatus whatsoever and be kept in its pristine secrecy of its bureaucracy.
The legacy of the enlightenment (separation of church and state) is questioned by presenting its counter-position, perverting the very principle itself. Thought the principle of the separation of church and state must be upheld and rightfully defended, it is not through the exception of the church from its culpability in legal matters. Indeed, it is right still to take the liberal position and defend the law from its detractors, clearing conscious that the INC knows the obscene underside of the law (in Zizekian parlance called the inherent transgression). What is interesting for theory is the capability of the lumpenproletariat (in this case the members of the INC who are not illiterate) to be organized and utilized for the intention of those who want them in the dark.