Never had a President speculated more stupidly on the stupidity of the masses." For Marx, the lumpenproletariat represented those who were "corrupt, reactionary and without a clear sense of class-consciousness."Alongside ruined roués with questionable means of support and of dubious origin, degenerate and adventurous scions of the bourgeoisie, there were vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged convicts, runaway galley slaves, swindlers, charlatans, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, procurers, brothel keepers, porters, literati, organ grinders, rag-pickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars; in short, the entirely undefined, disintegrating mass, thrown hither and yon, which the French call la bohème.
In Capital (1867), Marx focused on the oppressive legislation which turned soldiers and peasants "en masse into beggars, robbers, vagabonds, partly from inclination, in most cases from stress of circumstances." By this, he deviated from his focus on the vicious and degenerate behavior of the lumpenproletariat in his writings on France.
Coined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 1840s, they used it to refer to the "unthinking" lower strata of society exploited by reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces, particularly in the context of the revolutions of 1848.
They dismissed its revolutionary potential and contrasted it with the proletariat.
Instead, he described the lumpenproletariat as part of the what he called an "industrial reserve army", which capitalists used as times required.
Thus, "vagabonds, criminals, prostitutes" and other lumpenproletariat formed an element within the "surplus population" in a capitalist system.Indeed, because it acted only out of socially ignorant self-interest, the lumpenproletariat was easily bribed by reactionary forces and could be used to combat the true proletariat in its efforts to bring about the end of bourgeois society.Without a clear class-consciousness, the lumpenproletariat could not play a positive role in society.In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon Marx identified Napoleon III as the "Chief of the Lumpenproletariat," a claim he made repeatedly.He argued that he bought his supporters with "gifts and loans, these were the limits of the financial science of the lumpenproletariat, both the low and the exalted.August Bebel, pre-World War I leader of the SPD, linked anti-Semitic proletarians to the lumpenproletariat as the former failed to develop class consciousness, which led to a racial, and not social, explanation of economic inequality.In 1925 Nikolai Bukharin described the lumpenproletariat as being characterized by "shiftlessness, lack of discipline, hatred of the old, but impotence to construct anything new, an individualistic declassed 'personality' whose actions are based only on foolish caprices." In a 1932 article on "How Mussolini Triumphed" Leon Trotsky described the "declassed and demoralized" lumpenproletariat as "the countless human beings whom finance capital itself has brought to desperation and frenzy." He argued that capitalism used them through fascism.a declassed strata in an antagonistic society (including vagrants, beggars, and criminal elements) [which] has become particularly widespread under capitalism.The word is used in some languages as a pejorative.In English it may be used in an informal disapproving manner to "describe people who are not clever or well educated, and who are not interested in changing or improving their situation."essentially parasitical group was largely the remains of older, obsolete stages of social development, and that it could not normally play a progressive role in history.In The Class Struggles he describes the finance aristocracy of Louis Philippe I and his July Monarchy (1830–48) as lumpenproletarian: "In the way it acquires wealth and enjoys it the financial aristocracy is nothing but the lumpenproletariat reborn at the pinnacle of bourgeois society." He further suggests that the lumpenproletariat is a component of the proletariat, unlike his earlier works.He claimed that the gardes mobiles were set up "to set one segment of the proletariat against the other": They belonged for the most part to the lumpenproletariat, which forms a mass clearly distinguished from the industrial proletariat in all large cities, a recruiting ground for thieves and criminals of all kinds, living on the refuse of society, people without a fixed line of work.