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Marx and Heterogeneity: Thinking the Lumpenproletariat

Author(s): Peter Stallybrass


Source: Representations, No. 31, Special Issue: The Margins of Identity in Nineteenth-Century
England (Summer, 1990), pp. 69-95
Published by: University of California Press
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PETER

STALLYBRASS

Marx and Heterogeneity:


Thinking the Lumpenproletariat
froma particularcriticaland politicalconjuncture, the renewed attemptwithinMarxism to understand the heterogeneityof
political groups and processes. This has come both as a response withinthe
academy to the critiques of poststructuralismand, more importantly,as a
response by the Leftto rethinkthe "political"in relationto the emergence of the
"new social movements"-the civilrightsmovement,thewomen'smovement,and
the gay and lesbian movements.The verynotion of the "political,"at least in the
Britishcontextfromwhich I come, has assumed a much greaterimportancein
the years since the early 1970s, when ideological analysiswas dominant within
Marxism-an analysisthattended to viewpoliticswhichaddressed the State as at
worsta distractingfraud and as at best a necessarybut tiresomeformof reformism. AfterReagan and Thatcher (and now Bush), all thathas changed. In retrospect,I see the ideological analysesthatmanyof us were undertakingas too static:
while we analyzed what we took to be the frozenand rigidformsof the State,we
failed to see the waysin whichthe Rightwas itselffracturedand mobile,and in
the process of massiverearticulationand reformation.'
If ideological analysiswas powerfulas a critiqueof the naturalizingstrategies
of the Right,it failed to account for the processes by which the Rightwas redefiningthe "natural" and transformingpoliticaldiscourse. The political(even in
its narrowestsense) no longer seemed "superstructural,"
coming in thirdbehind
the ideological and the economic. Politicsappeared now both as the languages
and practicesthat defined the ideological and as the fieldwithinwhichthe economic was articulated-and it was the Right who were doing the definingand
BrumaireofLouis Bonaparte
articulating.It was in thiscontextthat TheEighteenth
became a centraltextwithinMarxisttheory,2
for in it Marx givesrenewed attention to the politicalas the fieldwithinwhichsocial groups are shaped.3
In his earlywritingMarx had brilliantly
argued thatthe distinctivefeatureof
the liberal bourgeois state was its extensionof the politicalfranchiseeven as it
radicallyreduced the domain thatwould count as political.In On theJewishQuestion(1843), he wrote that "the state abolishes, afterits fashion,the distinctions
established by birth,social rank,education,occupation,
when it decrees that birth,
social rank,education,occupationare non-political
distinctions;when itproclaims,
without regard to these distinctions,that every member of societyis an equal
THIS

ESSAY

REPRESENTATIONS

31

BEGINS

Summer

1990

THE REGENTS

OF THE UNIVERSITY

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OF CALIFORNIA

69

His point is, of course, that since the political


partner in popular sovereignty."4
has been emptied of itssocial content,popular sovereigntyis the sovereigntyover
and domination.
everythingexcept for the very bases of social differentiation
This is the sense in whichthe politicalis a fraud: under the guise of the common
interest,the state guarantees a political equality that leaves social inequality
untouched. Classes are formed in the sphere of productiverelationswhile the
the relationsof those classes.
politicalmerelyreflectsand mystifies
BrumaireMarx begins to thinkof bourgeois politicsin a
But in TheEighteenth
quite new way: not as the distortedmirrorof social relationsbut as at least one of
the fieldsin whichclasses are fashioned.Politicsis now seen less as a (superstructural) level than as a formativeprocess. Moreover,that formativeprocess can
fashionclasses out of radicallyheterogeneousgroups. The politicalfashioningof
Brumairethroughthe examinationof one parclass is analyzed in TheEighteenth
ticular"class": thelumpenproletariat.There is somethingverystrangeabout this.
of class: class as an unstableyoking
Marx is beginningto look at the contingencies
together,throughpoliticalrhetoric,of heterogeneousgroups; class as shaped and
transformedbystateprocesses. Yet he looks at thesecontingenciesunder a name
thatsuggestsless thevolatilityof class thanitsfixed,visibleessence.Lumpenmeans
"rags and tatters";lumpigmeans "shabby,paltry";and then thereare derivatives
like lumpen-gesindel,"rabble," and lumpen-wolle,"shabby." The name lumpenprole-

tariatthus suggestsless the politicalemergenceof a class thana sartorialcategory.


And, whatis more,the termhad been used byMarx and Engels earlierto suggest
in ThePeasantWarin Germany
(1850),
a class immune to historicaltransformation;
Engels had writtenthat"thelumpenproletariatis,generallyspeaking,a phenomenon thatoccurs in a more or less developed formin all the so farknownphases
as a racial
of society."5Marx and Engels, indeed, sometimesused lumpenproletariat
one
of
of
in
the
this
commonplaces bourgeois
theysimplyrepeated
category,and
social analysisin the nineteenthcentury:the depictionof the poor as a nomadic
tribe,innatelydepraved.
In the firstpart of this essay,I shall explore the ways in which nineteenthcentury commentators,novelists,and painters invented and portrayed these
"nomads" as a spectacle of heterogeneity.Yet throughthis spectacle of heterogeneitythey shaped their own specular, homogenizinggaze. I want to suggest
here a curious mirroringof thisnineteenth-century
spectacle in the spectacle of
heterogeneityas itemergesin certainformsof criticaltheoryin the late twentieth
century.There is, of course, a significantdifference:whereas in the nineteenth
withdisgust,in the late twencenturythe spectacle was viewed overwhelmingly
tiethcenturyit has become an object of fascination,even a utopian model of the
end of hegemony.But thisdifferenceof evaluationconceals an importantresemblance: the constructionof a privileged gaze that misrecognizes itself in its
absorptionwitha fieldof "anarchy"(MatthewArnold) or,in recentcriticaltheory,
of "freeplay."In the second partof theessay,I wantto show how Marx attempted
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to escape fromthe antinomiesthatbourgeois liberal theoryestablishedbetween


for instance)and heterogeneity
homogeneity(the fetishizationof "community,"
(specularized "difference").To the extentthathe did thinkthroughthose antinomies,we remain his predecessorsand Marx stilllies ahead of us.

I
In Les MiserablesVictor Hugo writes of "that indigent class which
begins with the petty bourgeois in embarrassed circumstancesand descends
throughlevelsof miserypast the loweststrataof societyuntilit reaches those two
creatureswithwhom all the thingsof materialcivilizationend, the sewersweeper
and the ragpicker."6But how is one to thinkof this"indigentclass,"thisclass of
Lumpen?Hugo's own problem in relation to that question is suggested by the
uncertaintyhe had in the namingof his own novel. In 1850 Hugo was calling his
book Les Miseres,and he seems to have thoughtof the word as suggestingpoverty
he had withthe concept
and misfortunerather than crime. Yet the difficulties
had already been a topic of debate in the LegislativeAssembly.On 9 July 1849,
Hugo had raised the possibilityin the assemblyof gettingrid of la misere.Gustave
de Beaumont had responded, "Certainlythereare 'miseres'thatcan be abolished.
That is recklesstalk.Disappointmentmakes for
But you cannot abolish 'la misere.'
revolution."Hugo replied:
"la misere"is not
"La misere"willvanishas leprosyhasvanished."La misre"is notsuffering;
"la misere" is a nameless thing [protests]
which I have tried to
povertyitself[murmurs];
describe.... Sufferingcannot disappear; "la misere"mustdisappear. There willalwaysbe
[Hear,hear!
some unfortunates,but it is possible thattheremay not alwaysbe "misgrables"
in theHouse].7
on theLeft.Ironicallaughterelsewhere

On the one hand, then,the Rightwithitsclaim thatthe poor are alwayswithus;


"not povon the other,the negationsand hesitationsof Hugo-"not suffering,"
erty,""a nameless thing."8
Again and again, in the writingsof the mid nineteenthcenturywe find a
curious oscillationbetween a fixationupon the spectacle of the city'spoor (the
scavenger,the ragpicker),as if theywere somehow given up to the unmediated
vision of the bourgeois spectator,and a sense of the unfixingof all categories
before a "nameless thing."In Un Hivera Paris,JulesJanindescribesthe flaneur's
voyeuristicwanderingsthroughthe mostdesolate partsof Paris: "In Paris there
ruins,courtyards
alleyways,labyrinths,
are places that he alone knows,frightful
route
our
man
chooses." But,
of
this
is
the
inhabited by all the thieves the city;
Janincontinues,the spectacle thatthe flaneurpursues undoes all language:
thisis the momentwhen the subterraneannationcomes forth.
Paris at nightis terrifying;
Shadows are everywhere;but littlebylittlethe shadowsdisperseunder the flickeringlamp
Marx and Heterogeneity

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71

of the ragpicker,who, basketon back, goes in search of his fortuneamong these frightful
rags thatno longer have a name in any language.9

For Janin, the ragpickersare the dirt that theytouch not just because of their
contaminationby the streets'grime but because theylive outside "meaningful"
categories: theythemselvesare seen as the rags that"have no name in any language." This very"unnameability"threatensto subvertthe process of social differentiation.For Marx, the distinctionsbetween classes are obscured by "this
scum, offal, refuse of all classes"; in the flickeringlights of the metropolis,
meaning seems to dissolve.
Yet in the mid nineteenthcentury,social heterogeneitywas the obsessivesite/
sight of the representable. The "unnameable thing,"the heterogeneitythat
defiedall boundaries,produced a veritablehysteriaof naming.The subordinated
are, indeed, always vulnerableto representation:the lower classes "may at most
timesbe representedalmostwithoutrestraint."'0Marx himselfwas undoubtedly
caught up in the hysteriaof naming,the oppressivepower to represent,even as
Bruhe sought to analyze it. One of the most famous passages of TheEighteenth
maireis his descriptionof the lumpenproletariatof Paris:
Alongside decayed rou6swithdubious means of subsistenceand of dubious origin,alongside ruined and adventurous offshootsof the bourgeoisie, were vagabonds, discharged
soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers,mountebanks, lazzaroni,
pickpockets,tricksters,gamblers, maquereaus,brothel keepers, porters, literati,organgrinders,ragpickers,knifegrinders,tinkers,beggars-in short,the whole indefinite,disintegratedmass, thrownhitherand thither,whichthe Frenchtermla boheme.(75)

Perhaps the firstthingto note about thislistis thatitseems in manywaysto repeat


both the structureand the content of the descriptionsof the streetpeople of
Paris and London thatfillthe pages of novelists,journalists,
nineteenth-century
and social analysts.Like Marx, Henry Mayhew in his account of LondonLabour
and theLondonPoor(1861) endlesslyproliferatescategoriesto encompass the spectacle of the metropolis." And, as T.J. Clark notes, in Paris 'journalists vied for
the longest,most unlikely,mostindisputablelist."''2Such listswere characterized
by theirambivalentcelebrationof the exotic,theirstrikingjuxtapositionsof the
homely and the grotesque: portersand organ grinders;rag-and-bonemen and
acrobats; umbrella sellersand prostitutes;dog washers and charlatans;jugglers
and chimney-sweeps;flowergirlsand somnambulists.Like Marx, thejournalists
ransacked other languages and other culturesto constructa spectacle of multiplicity.And, like Marx, theywere tornbetweencontradictorywaysof seeing that
multiplicity:Was it an overflowingheterogeneityor a coagulatingmass? Was it a
dazzling displayof color or an unrelievedgreyness?Was ita carnivalof the living
or a charnel house of the dying?
In its splendor and its horror, however,the city was above all depictable.
Indeed, the more it was proclaimed to be unrepresentable,the more it was rep72

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raised the problem of


resented. Yet the nature of thisrepresentationinsistently
the spectator'sown positionin relationto it.Was he or she partof itor the neutral
observerof it? What was the "correct"perspectiveto adopt? As Marx raises that
Brumaire,so does WilliamWordsworth
problem of perspectivein TheEighteenth
in The Prelude. Like Marx's depiction of the lumpenproletariat,Wordsworth's
depictionof the fairstressesexhilaratingprofusion,but a profusionthatinduces
nausea in the writer.Everythingis "jumbled up," a carnivalof monsters,freaks,
3 So he implores the Muse to waft him on her wings
and "perverted things."'
"above the press and danger of the crowd." From this perspectiveof visionary
aloofness,he can attemptto framethe "anarchyand din" of the citydwellerswho
appear as "slaves . . . of low pursuits,"
Living amid the same perpetual flow
Of trivialobjects,meltedand reduced
bydifferences
To one identity,
That have no law,no meaning,and no end.
(7.700-704)

It is an extraordinarypassage, foregroundingthe problematicrelationbetween


the proliferatingcategoriesof the spectatorand thecollapse of all categories.The
the namingof endless particulars,is itself"meltedand
process of differentiation,
reduced" to the "one identity"of lawlessnessand meaninglessnesswithoutend.
Yet such a reduction secures the spectator'sidentityby positioninghim outside
and above the throng,at a safe distancefromthe "flow/Of trivialobjects."
The homogeneityof the bourgeois subject is here constitutedthrough the
spectacle of heterogeneity.Yet the relationof subject to spectacle remains problematic. To emphasize the subject's "integrity,"nineteenth-centurywriters
emphasized the socioeconomic fissuresof the city,the irreduciblegap of class.
And thatwas to acknowledgea social and politicalthreat,the possibilitythatwhat
were sometimescalled "thedangerous classes"mightabolish thedistancebetween
subject and spectacle through revolutionaryaction. An alternativestrategywas
for the bourgeois spectatorto rewritethat social distance in termsof the controlled theatricalperformanceof the privilegedsubject. In this scenario, social
was no more than the abilityof the bourgeois subject to assume
differentiation
an endless multiplicityof roles. Thus, JulesJaninwrotein L'Anemortetla femme
guillotinee(1829):
One day, I saw a man in rags, a terriblesight,coming into an inn in the rue Saint-Anne:
his beard was long, his hair disordered, his whole body filthy.A momentlater I saw him
come out again well dressed, his chest laden with the crosses of two orders, an august
figure,and he wentoffto dine witha judge. This sudden transformationfrightenedme,
and I thought,trembling,thatit was perhaps in thiswaythatthe two extremesmeet.'4

It is, of course, notthusthat"extremesmeet."But Janin'sencounteropens up the


possibilityof reducingthe social contradictionsthatseparate ragpickerfromarisMarx and Heterogeneity

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73

tocrat to the masquerades of the bourgeois subject. Whereas Wordsworth


attemptsto unifythe subject by opening up the social fissuresof the city,Janin
unifiesthe cityat the cost of splittingthe subject.
A more complex version of Janin'sstrategyis suggested in Balzac's "Facino
Cane" (1836). In the story,the narratordescribes how,when he was a student,
the one alleviationof his "monasticlife"arose fromhis "passion" for observing
the poor:
whichpenetratedto the soul
observation
I had alreadyacquireda powerof intuitive
ignoringthebody,or ratheritgraspedexternaldetailsso wellthatitimmediately
without
wentbeyondthem.... As I listenedto thesepeople,I was able to livetheirlives;I felt
shoeson myfeet.Theirwants,their
theirragson myback,and walkedwiththeirworn-out
needs,all passedintomysoul,or perhapsitwas mysoul thatpassedintotheirs.... To
ofmymoral
byan exaltation
discardmyownhabits,tobecomesomeoneotherthanmyself
and to playthisgameat will,suchwasmyamusement.... I had brokenup into
faculties,
masscalled"thepeople,"and had analyseditin sucha way
itselementstheheterogeneous
thatI couldappraisebothitsgood and itsbad qualities.I alreadyknewwhatuse couldbe
made of thisdistrict.'5

Here, the distance between spectatorand spectacle is constantlymoving. The


narratorwatchesthe poor fromthe perspectiveof an analyst:itis,he says,"a kind
of study."Yethis imaginarydonningof rags and worn-outshoes is an escape from
his "own habits"that unfixeshis identity,infectinghim with"an animal happiness" thatseems all too close to "madness."''6
In "Facino Cane," the narratormoves froma depiction of what he calls the
"setting"of the Parisian poor to a romanticnarrativewhich he uses that setting
to frame. In the carnival atmosphere of a working-classwedding, the narrator
meets an old, blind musicianwhose "abject condition"does not conceal a certain
7 This musicianrecountshis life: he was a Venetianaristocratuntila
"igreatness."'
series of misfortunesled to his incarcerationat Bicetre as a madman. The narratorhimselfclaims thatthereis no connectionbetweenthe settingand the tale.
of the other.Paris,"this
And yet,to the reader,each appears as a transformation
of
sufferingtown,"reappears in the lightof "one those strangetales"; grotesque
urban abjection is transmutedinto a storyof Venice, a citythat the narrator
paradoxicallyregistered
describesas being composed of "greatnessand nobility,"
in its"physicaland moral deterioration."18
For Balzac's narrator,as forJanin,the squalor of the cityis both the occasion
for the analysis of the "heterogeneous mass" and an incitementto theatrical
impersonation.And yetit is strikinghow frequentlythe theatricalizationof the
bourgeois subject is coextensivewiththe homogenizationof the city'spoor as a
distinctrace. It is as if the more the privilegedsubject can improvise,the more
absolutelyhe needs to fixthe city'sradical heterogeneitywithinracial categories.
This double movementis constitutiveof ArthurConan Doyle's story"The Man
withthe Twisted Lip" (1891).1' The storyrevolvesaround the mysteriousdisap74

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pearance of Mr. Neville St. Clair in the East End of London. His wifesees him,
agitatedand frantic,in the upstairswindowof an opium den, but when,escorted
by the police, she breaks into the room, all she findsare his clothes. She is told
thatthe man who lives in the room is a beggar,a "sinistercripple" named Hugh
Boone (235). As in Janin'sstory,here too Mr. Neville St. Clair,a wealthyman of
leisure, and the crippled beggar are one and the same person. This "refinedlooking" man, a "good husband" and "affectionatefather" (233), is also the
"extremelydirty"Boone, whose grimecannot conceal the "repulsiveugliness"of
his face (241). But ifpovertyis here reinscribedas the masquerade of the respectable citizen,the cityis at the same timedepicted as a scene of orientaldepravity.
The opium den, which houses "the dregs of the docks" (230), is run by a "lascar
scoundrel,"a man, says Holmes, "of the vilestantecedents"(235). If London is
itis also the space of a degradation imagined
the space of bourgeois theatricality,
as foreign-as the drug cultureof a lascar and his "sallowMalay attendant"(231).
And moving between the respectable domesticityof Dr. Watson and the fantasized corruptionof the orientis Holmes himself,consummateactor,drug taker,
and orientalist("He constructeda sortof Eastern divan, upon whichhe perched
himselfcross legged"; 240).
The conjunction of theatricalityand racial fear is displayed in a famous
paintingby one of the most distinguishedacademicians of the nineteenthcentury: William Mulready's Train Up a Child in theWayHe Should Go; and WhenHe Is

Old He WillNotDepartfromIt (painted 1841; repainted 1851 and 1853; fig. 1).20
On the left-handside of the canvas a young boy stands,his lefthand stretched
out with a coin in it. On the right-handside, three lascars are sittingon the
ground, the one in the foregroundbowed over,his head concealed in his lap, the
one behind himwithdowncasteyes,his hand touchinghis forehead.The furthest
lascar from the viewer,his head raised, is staringat the child, his right hand
extended into the middle of the painting(to receive the child's gift?in a gesture
of acknowledgment?as a threat?).The child standsbeside twowell-dressedwhite
women, one standingbehind him, the other crouchingbetween the lascars and
(admiringly?encouragingly?).The figures
him,both watchingtheboy attentively
are depicted in a romanticlandscape, treeson eitherside, an impressivecraglike
ruin,shadowed down the middle, in the background.
What is perhaps most strikingabout the receptionof thisworkis the way in
whichcriticsoscillatedbetweeninterpretingitas a heroicportrayalof the absorption of the poor into the theaterof bourgeois generosity,as an exotic depiction
of the Other,or as an alarmingjuxtapositionof blackand white,male and female,
lumpen and well-to-do.It is as if the criticsran throughthe possible strategies
throughwhichbourgeois spectatorscould depict,incorporate,or distancethemselves fromthe outcastsof the city.
Although this painting was titled Train Up a Child in the WayHe Should Go (a

quotation fromProverbs)when itwas exhibited,itwas variouslyknownas "IntegMarx and Heterogeneity

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75

FIGURE

1. WilliamMulready,TrainUp a Childin theWayHe


ShouldGo; and WhenHe Is Old He WillNotDepart
x 301/2".
fromIt, 1841-53. Oil on panel, 251/4"
Photo: The Forbes Magazine Collection,New
York.

rity,""Vocation,"and "It Is More Blessed To Give." But Mulready himselfseems


to have usually referredto the paintingsimplyas "Lascars," as he noted in his
account book: "Baring Lascars 450 [pounds]" (1841); "Baring retouchingLascars
200 [pounds]" (1853).21 It was painted on commissionfor a member of Parliament,Thomas Baring, whose grandfatherhad been chairmanof the East India
Company. And it was probably through that company that lascars-a name
applied to Indian seamen and probablyerroneouslyderived byEuropeans from
the Urdu lashkar,meaning "army"or "camp"-became a relativelyfrequentsight
in London. For the Britishcrewsof theEast India Company'sshipswere depleted
in India due both to disease and to the violentengagementsof the companywith
the Indians whom itexploited.Consequently,"It was necessaryto recruit[Indian]
sailors for the voyage home."22Upon arrival in London, the lascars were discharged "and then left for several months without employment before
embarkingon a returnjourney."23Like the other poor of London, theywere the
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object of disgust,fascination,and pity.On the one hand, a religiouspamphlet of


1814 on "Lascars and Chinese" claimed:
wicked.They are a preyto each otherand to the
and abominably
They are practically
women.Theyhave
rapaciouspoor,as wellas themostabandonedof our fellowcountry
and no housethatwill
noneor scarcelyanywhowillassociatewiththembutprostitutes
oftheabandoned.24
receivethemexceptthepublichouseand theapartments
On the other hand, the Timesran two articleson the lascars in December 1841
thatdrew attentionto the lascars' "peculiar habitsand religiousprejudices,"and
while it stilldescribed themas being "in a mostoffensivestate"and a "nuisance,"
itwas concerned at the "strangeimpressiontheymustreceiveof thatpeople [the
English] who are said to have HUMAN ITAS bya moral power."25
In Mulready's painting, though, the East End docks are displaced by a
romanticrural settingwhichitselfallows fora juxtapositionof idealized English
femininitywith the ragged figuresof the Indian sailors that would have been
unimaginable or depictable only as a scene of horroron the streetsof London.
In manyways,indeed, the paintingacts as a tamingand domesticationof a political and social threat.There is, firstof all, the titleitself,whichasks us to read the
work as a religious and educational lesson on charity.And then there is the
grouping of the child and the twowomen which,as Marcia Pointonnotes,recalls
the Virgin,St. Anne, and the Christchild.26Moreover,even the looming quality
of the ruins is partiallysoftenedbythe domesticatingfigureof the dog standing
beside the child and by the avenue of trees receding to the leftof the canvas.
Mulready,itwould seem, "re-enactsthe mythof Britishimperialbeneficence,but
on English rural soil,"27absorbingpoliticalconflictinto a gestureof charitybyan
innocentwhitechild to helpless black men.
But such a reading of the paintingitselfseems to domesticatethe threatthat
criticsperceived in it. The criticof ArtUnion,forinstance,"marvelled"
thatthefairyoungmaidensdidnot"makeoff"as rapidlyas theirdelicatelimbscouldbear
who,thoughhe seemsa
theexampleof thelittleboyin theircompany,
them-following
fellows
dreadfromcontactwiththerascal-looking
stoutlad, shrinks
backwithinstinctive

who are asking charity.28

What the criticat least manages to grasp is the curious sexualizationof thiscolonial and class encounter. If the effacementthroughinfantilizationof the white
male partiallyeffacespoliticaldomination,it does so at the cost of generatinga
sexual threat. Conflictingpower systemsof gender, age, race, and class are
uneasilyplayed offagainsteach other.One of the titlesgiven to the painting,"It
Is More Blessed To Give," helps to make sense of the posture of what the Art
Union criticcalls the "stout lad" and of the fact that all the white figuresare
standing (the child withhis full body facingthe spectator),whereas the lascars
are seated or collapsed on the ground. But Mulready'sown repeated reference
to the paintingas "Lascars" draws attentionto a conflictingperspective:the very
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77

size of the lascars, above all the exorbitantcontrastbetween the furthestlascar's


large outstretchedhand and the diminutivehand of the child, and the striking
disparitybetween the nearestlascar's prominentlegs and feetand the small legs
and tinyfeet of the child. Moreover,it is the lascar's hand, in the center of the
painting,whichbreaks the starkdivisionof black fromwhite,male fromfemale,
and if it is reaching out to receive the child's gift,it is at the same time turned
palm up immediatelybeneath the breastof the woman on the right.
The painting,then,seems to solicitthe protectivegaze of a whitemale viewer,
protectiveof "his"race and "his"women.But italso insists(despiteitself,we might
say) upon the globaldimension of enforcedimpoverishmentand enforced colonization. It is difficultfor the viewerto finda naturalizingstrategyforthesebeggars, whose mysteriouspresence can be traced through the less mysterious
workingsof Britishimperialism.Paradoxically,ifthepovertyof whitesin London
could be, and was, essentialized as originatingfrom a sort of racial depravity,
before we can understandthe povertyof theselascarswe require an explanation
of theirverypresence-which must necessarilybe social if one is to make sense
of the racial differencethat the painting foregrounds.And even the pastoral
settingcan be seen as unsettling.If the paintingdisplaces urban misery,itcan do
so only by discovering that the rural idyll is equally the space of colonial
encounter. It is as if Mulready's version of the picturesque traces the invisible
workingsof an economy in which the prettiestof villagesand the most sublime
of landscapes are dependent upon acts of exploitationthousands of miles away.
Certainly,many criticswere disturbedeitherby the contentof the painting
or by theirinabilityto make sense of it. The ArtUnion,for instance,found the
painting "not easily intelligible,"and the LiteraryGazetteobserved, "We cannot
read the lesson; whetherto inculcatecharity,or what?The meaning escapes our
penetration."29And withouta "lesson" to secure the relationbetween black and
white,the colonizer and the colonized, the lascars, like the ruins behind them,
FredericStephens remarkedon "the terrorof
seemed to loom up threateningly.
their dusky faces" and claimed that "theirstrangeeyes, motions,attitudes,and
costumes are expressed so powerfullyas to account for the terrorof the child,
and almost make us share it."30And after Theophile Gautier had seen the
painting,he wrote,"Macbeth needed no less daring to approach the witchesat
theirhellishcookeryon Dunsinane Heath, and theywere certainlyno more horrifying.' Perhaps thiseffectof horrorwas partiallyproduced by the painting's
We can see nothingof the face of the lascar in the foretechnique of concealment.
even
lascar
whose hand reaches out is swathedin a browncloak
and
the
ground,
thatobscures the bottomhalfof his face,focusingattentionupon the intensebut
unreadable gaze of a single eye. And the dark ruin in the background, which
could easilybe mistakenfora cliff,is shadowed darklyto suggesthidden crevices.
This technique of concealmentmightbe said to be part of the way in which,
as theLiterary
Gazettecommented,"themeaningescapes our penetration."Yetthe
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hidden is stillan enticementto the viewer-less the vertiginouscollapse of categories than the stimulusto furtheranalysis,a provocationof the desire to know.
Insofar as the painting baffles,it simultaneouslyconstructs the viewer as
unmasker.In this,itrepeatsin a ruralsettingthedominanttropeof thebourgeois
spectator in the city.The horror of the dissolutionof categories generates the
desire to surveymore fully.In thissense, the appalled accountsof the stateof the
lumpenwere directlyconnected to the 1830 plans to construct"great thoroughfares" through "the ancient citadels of crime and vice" in London and later to
Haussmann's rebuildingof Paris. As Gareth StedmanJones puts it,"Theworking
becauseit was hiddenaway."32 It would be the work of the
class lacked'civilization'
bourgeoisie to insistupon the concealmentof the urban poor onlythe more fully
to expose them to view.And the notionof an unnameable horrorhidden in the
dark places of the cityadded forceto the desire to name, the desire to depict,to
find in the most hideous poverty-the picturesque. Hugo's "nameless thing"is
transformedinto the endlesslyreproduced spectacleof the grotesque,the exotic,
the low. But thisspectacleof heterogeneityestablishesthe homogenizinggaze of
the bourgeois spectator.

II
In the coup of Louis Bonaparte, the "nameless thing" appeared to
move violentlyfromthe social marginsonto the centerof the politicalstage. The
Brumaireis the extent to which the
question that Marx poses in TheEighteenth
"nameless thing"to whichhe affixesthe name lumpenproletariat
mightboth transgress the aesthetico-politicalcategoriesof the bourgeoisie and, at the same time,
undo the imagined progressof historyand the historicaldialecticsthathe himself
had proposed as the privilegedmeans of understandinghistory.For in the overwhelmingvictoryof Louis Napoleon in the presidentialelection of December
1848 and in his subsequent coup of December 1851, the dialecticalantagonism
of the bourgeoisie and the proletariatseemed to have been bypassedbythe emergence of a statethatrepresentedno one but itselfand yetwas able to count upon
the support of an extraordinarilydiverse constituency.And such a support
seemed to violateone of the centraltenetsof Marx's earlywritings:thatthe state
representeda specificclass interest,even ifit could onlygovernwiththe support
of subordinateclasses withwhose conflictinginterestsit was forcedto negotiate.
It is worthemphasizing that,even in the early writings,Marx gives considerable flexibility
to the state: at timesit willbe dominated by a singleclass, while
at other times it can defend its interestsonly by leaning upon the support of
subalternclasses.33In TheEighteenth
Brumaire,Marx givesa deliberatelyschematic
account of the relationbetweenthe stateand conflictingclasses fromthe French
Revolution to Louis Bonaparte's coup d'etat. In the French Revolution,Marx
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79

argues, the succession of the Constitutionalistsby the Girondistsand of the


Girondistsby the Jacobins was one in which each of the parties relied "on the
more progressivepartyfor support." "As soon as [each party]has brought the
revolutionfarenough to be unable to followit further.. . itis thrustaside bythe
bolder ally"(42). The Revolutionof 1848 enactsa farcicalreversalof thisprocess.
Afterthe revolution,the petit-bourgeoisdemocraticpartydrops its proletarian
allies. The petite bourgeoisie are in turn cast offby the bourgeois republicans,
who in due course are cast offby the partyof Order (the bourgeois and aristocraticmonarchists),which,in itsturn,is booted out byLouis Bonaparte withthe
support of the army.But however complex the nature of class alliances, Marx
a specificsocial class. Thus the
tends to argue thatany particularpartyrepresents
democraticMontagnardsrepresentthe petitebourgeoisie; the Orleanistsrepresent "the aristocratsof financeand the big industrialists";the Legitimistsrepresent "the large landowners."But whom does Bonaparte represent?
To save the thesisthatthe statemustrepresenta particularclass or alliance of
classes, Marx notoriouslyargues that "state power is not suspended in midair.
Bonaparte representsa class, and the most numerous class of French societyat
[Parzellen]peasants"(123). But no sooner has Marx made
that,the small-holding
thisclaim than he is qualifyingit. Insofar as peasants endure specificeconomic
conditions,they are a class; but because they have no communal, national, or
politicalorganization"theydo not forma class"at all butare a simpleaggregation,
"much as potatoes in a sack forma sack of potatoes" (124). But Marx questions
when he maintainsthatthe Napoeven the role of thisclass-which-is-not-a-class
leonic idealizations of the peasantry are "only the hallucinationsof its death
struggle,... spiritstransformedinto ghosts"(130). Marx thus subvertshis own
declaration of the determiningrole of the peasantry.34It is scarcelysurprising
that, after the Paris Commune, Marx was to reject his earlier suggestion that
Brumaire
forin TheEighteenth
Bonaparte's state depended upon the peasantry,35
he had already characterizedBonaparte's regime as a "confused groping about
whichseeks now to win,now to humiliatefirstone class and then another" (132).
The problem of just whom Bonaparte represents initiatesa crisis in Marx's
theory.
Mehlman addresses thiscrisisin his shortbut brilliantbook,Revolution
Jeffrey
and Repetition,
arguing that "the piquancy of Bonapartism lies entirelyin the
emergence of a State which has been emptied of itsclass content."36This emergence thus marksa "scandal" withinMarxismbecause "itentailsa break withthe
notion of class representation."At the same time, the grotesque repetitionof
Napoleon I by Napoleon III is marked "bythe repetitiveinsistenceof a specific
structure":
charged
is exceededbya heterogeneous,
negatively
A specular-or reversible-relation
inrelationtoone ofthepoles
or displacement
is one ofdeviation
instancewhosesituation
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and proletariatis congealed to


of the initialopposition. The dialecticbetween bourgeoisie
the advantage of the sub-proletariat.37

In other words,the binarismof Marx's theoryof class struggleis interruptedby


a thirdterm,the lumpenproletariat,a termthatresiststhe totalizingand teleological pretensionsof the dialectic.
Much can be learned fromMehlman'sanalysis,but here I wantto note some
of itsproblematicfeatures.First,Mehlman can onlycomprehendMarx bysetting
up his own implicitbinarismbetween textualpractice (the domain of slippages
and social practice(the domain of binarismsand representaand the unheimlich)
tion) and displacing the latterby the former.Second, what disappears in this
binarismof the textualand the social is preciselythe disturbancecaused by the
Brumaire:namely,the disturbanceof the political,a
thirdterm in TheEighteenth
categorythat is surprisinglyabsent not only from Mehlman's analysisbut also
frommuch of Marx's work.38But the main point I want to develop here is that
the notion of "heterogeneity"that Mehlman sees as disruptingthe imagined
Brumaire
totalityof Marx's dialecticcan scarcelybe the "solution"to TheEighteenth
since "heterogeneity"is preciselythe problemthatthe book addresses.
Indeed, Marx interrogatesany simpleoppositionbetweenhomogeneityand
heterogeneity,openness and closure. Nor, as Marx suggests,does heterogeneity
necessarilydisrupt unity;on the contrary,it can ensure it. This is preciselythe
uncomfortablelesson of Louis Bonaparte, and if BonapartismunsettlesMarx's
concept of the dialectic,it should be equally unsettlingforany hastyattemptto
elide the presence of the heterogeneous with the collapse of representation.
Georges Bataille's extraordinaryessay on "The PsychologicalStructureof Fascism" develops both Mehlman's sense of the subversivepotentialof the heterogeneous and the potentialcomplicitybetweenthe heterogeneousand hegemony.
For Bataille, the "heterogeneous"includes everything"resultingfromunproductiveexpenditure,"everythingthat "homogeneous" societydefinesas "waste" or
thatit is "powerlessto assimilate."39
At the same time,"social heterogeneitydoes
not existin a formlessand disorientedstate"(140) but is itselfstructuredthrough
itsrelationto the dominanthomogeneous forces.
There is, Bataille argues, a ceaseless process of conflictand negotiation
between the homogeneous and the heterogeneous.The army,for instance,has
historicallyseized upon "formlessand impoverishedelements"and negated their
heterogeneity"witha kind of rage (a sadism) manifestin each command" (150).
Through uniforms,parades, "the geometricregularityof cadenced movements,"
"heterogeneityexplicitlyundergoes a thoroughalteration,completingthe realization of intense homogeneitywithouta decrease of the fundamentalheterogeneity"(151). It is thispersistenceof the heterogeneousthatallows forpolitical
rearticulationthrough,forexample, Bonapartismor Fascism("whichetymologicallysignifiesuniting,concentration";
149). Fascism,forBataille, thus depends as

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81

much upon the dissolutionof previoushomogeneitiesas upon a new concentration and homogenization.But equally any challenge to that new concentration
cannot come from heterogeneityin and of itself.The radical potential of the
[myitalics]for every
proletariatemerges fromits being "a pointofconcentration
( 157). The politdissociatedsocial elementthathas been banished to heterogeneity"
depends upon the interical, then,whetherit be fascist,liberal,or revolutionary,
play of the homogeneous and the heterogeneous. But fascistand liberal forms
depend upon the aestheticizationof the heterogeneous(in the demonized form
of the "chaos" of the streetsor in the valorized formof the militaryparade). But
forBataille, as forMarx, a radical politicsrequires"a profoundalteration"of the
nature of the heterogeneousin which"the lowerclasses mustpass froma passive
and diffusestateto a formof conscious activity"(157). And thatalterationnecesof heterogeneity.
sitatesbreakingwithaestheticizationand the spectacle
It was, though, this spectacle that Marx and Engels, in their verylabor to
constructa new categoryof the proletariat,reproduced in the formof a residue,
the lumpenproletariat,turningupon thiscategorymuchof the fearand loathing,
and the voyeuristicfascination,thatthe bourgeoisie had turned upon the previously less specificcategoryof the proletariat.In the lumpenproletariatthe spectacle of exoticheterogeneityreturnedwitha vengeance. Mehlman is surelyright
to note the "almost Rabelaisian verve" and "the proliferatingenergy"of Marx's
Brumaire.40
But whereas Mehlman
depiction of the lumpen in The Eighteenth
argues thatin Marx's lumpen we finda "heterogeneity"that,"in all itsunassimil(13) and thatdestroysa specular
abilityto everydialecticaltotalization,is affirmed"
economy,I would suggestthatit is preciselythiskindof imaginaryheterogeneity
that establishes specularity.Another way of puttingthis would be to say that
Mehlman impliesthatthe lumpen is the "hidden" truththatundoes the dialectic,
the dialectic.What is at
whereas I would see it as a tacticalmaneuver to establish
stake here is a conflictin our interpretationsof how the gaze is constituted.It is
as if Mehlman understood the mirrorphase as the momentin which the truly
"dispersed" body is stabilizedthroughan imaginaryunity,whereas Lacan argues
that unityand dispersal are mutuallyconstitutive.For Lacan, the fantasyof the
in the mirrorphase.4' Simiis formedretroactively
body-in-pieces(le corpsmorceMg)
in Marx's radicallynew constitution
larly,the lumpen is constructedretroactively
of the "proletariat."
And in thatretroactiveconstruction,even as the picturesqueseems about to
collapse into an indecipherable horror,the horrorof fragmentationis domesticated and made picturesque. For if one is struckby the "verve"and "energy"of
its unconMarx's descriptionof the lumpen, one is also struckby its literariness,
children'stales of banditti
scious swerveinto the exoticismof nineteenth-century
and gypsies(an exoticismthatpermeatesthepaintingsof Mulready,forinstance).
And even the horror is formulatedapotropaically: it belongs to another language, another country.It can be owned the more easily because it can be dis82

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owned. Hence, thecuriouswayin whichMarx ransacksFrench,Latin,and Italian


to conjure up the nameless. They are roues,maquereaus(pimps),what"the French
termla boheme";theyare literati;theyare lazzaroni.
The terms themselvesare notoriouslyslippery: if la bohemewas originally
applied to gypsiesand, by extension,to vagabonds, it had by the time Marx was
writingacquired manyof itsromanticassociations.Similarlywithlazzaroni, which,
like lascar,moved between being a categoryof ethnic or racial horror and of
fascinationat the exotic. The OED defines the lazzaronias "the lowest class in
Naples, livingbyodd jobs or begging."In the seventeenthcentury,the lazzarihad
been defined as "the scum of the Neapolitan people," and in the late eighteenth
centurylazzaroniwas being used as a more extended term of social abuse. In
Charlotte Smith'sepistolarynovel Desmond(1792), Lionel Desmond describes a
reactionaryyoung aristocrat,"a miracleof elegance and erudition,"who refuses
to read a response to Burke because
itseemstomefromtheaccountotherpeoplehavegivenme,tobe veryseditious;I wonder
theydon'tpunishtheauthor,who,theysay,is quitea lowsortof fellow-Whatdoes he
and dangerousdoctrineto
wretched
meanbyhisRightsof Man,and hisequality?-What
disseminateamongtheLazzaroniof England,wheretheyare alwaysreadyenoughto
murmuragainsttheirbetters.42
The aristocratproceeds to advocate the silencingof such "demagogues" before
theyinfluence"the heads of lesgenssans culotes[sic]"in England as theyhave in
France. But if lazzaroni could describe potential revolutionaries,by the mid
nineteenthcenturyat least in England thetermwas associatedwithwhatwas least
threatening:the literaryrogue. In George Eliot'sAdamBede(1859), the "common
labourer" is contrastedwith"picturesquelazzaroni" and "romanticcriminals."43
Certainly,thereis littleof the picturesqueor romanticabout Engels'sdescripZeitungof the alliance betweenthe Bourbon monarchy
tionin theNeueRheinische
and the lazzaroniin Naples against the revolutionaries,and the subsequent murderous activitiesof the forcesof reaction.44Yet in the carnivalesqueproliferation
of names in TheEighteenth
Brumaire,the lazzaroniseem to reassumetheirromantic
aura. It is as ifthe bourgeois fantasyof a nameless otherthatmustbe obsessively
named, expelled from Marx's concept of the proletariat,findsa new home for
itselfin the concept of the lumpenproletariat.
On such a reading, Marx divides the bourgeois spectacle of the decaying
"proletariat"into two: the purifiedsubject of the workingclass, Marx's "proletariat,"and the lumpenproletariat,the "rottingmass" of paupers and criminals.
Certainly,such a crude division is not absent from Marx's work. Yet if such a
divisiondoes not constitutetwocomparable entities,neithercan the lumpenproletariat,despite itsname, be seen as a partof the proletariat(Marx and Engels go
to great pains to labor the point thatit is not).To begin with,Marx's categoryof
the proletariatemerges fromthe relationsof production:in thissense, even as a
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83

it is necessarilya relationalcategory.A class can onlybe definedby


class-for-itself
its relations to other classes: the proletariatand the bourgeoisie are mutually
constitutive.
Brumaire,to
But there is at least a tendencyin Marx, even in TheEighteenth
abstractthe lumpenproletariatfromanyspecifiablehistoricalrelationand to treat
them(as mostbourgeois commentatorsdid) as a distinctrace. There is something
of thisracial definitionin Marx's descriptionof the Mobile Guards in Paris after
the FebruaryRevolution.The guards, Marx claims,
whichin all big townsformsa mass
belongedforthemostpartto thelumpenproletariat,
groundforthievesand
a recruiting
proletariat,
fromtheindustrial
sharplydifferentiated
people withouta definitetrade,
criminalsof all kinds,livingon thecrumbsof society,
of the
accordingto thedegreeofcivilization
vagabonds,genssansfeuetsans aveu,varying
character.45
theirlazzaroni
nationto whichtheybelong,butneverrenouncing
It is true thatthe lumpen are said to vary"accordingto the degree of civilization
of the nation to whichtheybelong,"yettheirmain featuresare givens:theirpropensityto engage in crime, their shiftlessness,their "lazzaronicharacter."The
lumpen seem to emerge as the verynegationof historicity.
But the tendencyto remove the lumpen fromhistorywas reversedthrough
(proMarx's rewritingof the conceptof the"proletariat."Before Marx,proletarian
In
of
poverty.
spectacle
passive
of
the
letaire)was one of the central signifiers
(1755) as "mean;
in his Dictionary
England, Dr. Johnson had definedproletarian
wretched; vile; vulgar,"and the word seems to have had a similarmeaning in
France in the early nineteenthcentury,where it was used virtuallyinterchangede la popThus Honore Fregierwrotein Des classesdangereuses
ablywithnomade.46
ulationdans lesgrandesvilles,published in 1840:
justifiedin usingthistermin speakingof the
Whenthe proletarian-forwe are wholly
I repeat,aspiresto quaffthe cup of
ragpickerand the nomad-when the proletarian,
class. . . hisdegradationis thedeeper
pleasurereservedforthewealthyand well-to-do
forhis desire to rise above himself.47

The proletariat,in other words, was not the workingclass: it was the poor, the
ragpickers,the nomads. And even when,in 1838, A. G. de Cassagnac definedthe
proletariatas includingworkers,theywere onlyone of fourgroups,of whichthe
Throughout the nineteenth
other threewere beggars, thieves,and prostitutes.48
century,the Academy refused to recognize any other implicationforprole'taire
the proleof the Academiefrancaise,
than thatof poverty.In the 1835 Dictionnaire
tariatwas definedas "the sixthand lowestclass [in ancientRome] who,being very
poor and exemptfromtaxation,were onlyof use to theRepublic fortheoffspring
they produced. By extension in modern states,those withoutcapital or sufficiently lucrative occupation." By the end of the century,proletarianwas still
defined as a termfor"pauper."49
It was preciselysuch an elision of the differencebetween proletarian and
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The whole second


pauper thatMarx and Engels attackedin TheGermanIdeology.50
part of the book is takenup witha critiqueof TheEgo and His OwnbyMax Stirner
(the pseudonym of Kaspar Schmidt).5'Marx and Engels rejectStirner'sidentificationof the proletarianwiththe pauper who "lackssettlement"and has "nothing
to lose."52While Stirnerinterestingly
argued thatthe "proletariat"(meaning paupers and criminals)were supported by the respectableclasses so as to conform
and justifytheirown moral position,he also argued that"individualuniqueness"
was onlyto be foundamong thedispossessed.Marx and Engels,though,criticized
thisromanticizationof pauperism and the way in whichthe concept of the "proeven ifitwas a passivitythatthreatletarian"tended to be associatedwithpassivity,
ened to erupt in sporadic violence. In the writingsof Stirner,as paradoxicallyin
the writingsboth of reactionaryanalystsand of anarchistslike Mikhail Bakunin,
the proletariatwas imagined as a "passivelyrottingmass thrownoffbythe lowest
layersof old society."
That last sentence is a quotation fromthe Moore-Engels translationof The
but it is therea descriptionnot of the proletariatbut of the
Communist
Manifesto,
lumpenproletariat(translatedas "the 'dangerous class,' the social scum").53But
beforewe returnto thelumpenproletariat,I wantto emphasize theextraordinary
rhetorical(and political)labor throughwhich Marx and Engels transvaluedthe
Whereas theyfound it as the markof "a passivelyrottingmass,"
termproletarian.
they made it into the label of a collectiveagency. Moreover,theyinverted the
meaning of the term,so thatit meant not a parasiteupon the social body but the
body upon which the restof societywas a parasite. In his preface to the second
edition of TheEighteenth
Brumaire,Marx wrote: "People forgetSismondi'ssignificantsaying:The Roman proletariatlived at the expense of society,whilemodern
societylives at the expense of the proletariat"(9). Marx and Engels were not, of
course, workingin a vacuum, and afterthe revolutionof 1830 the definitionof
proletarian
as "wage worker"was probablyemergingin theworkers'clubs of Paris.
By the Second Empire, some workerswere firmlydefiningthemselvesas "proletarians"on the electoralrolls.54But Marx had a crucial impact upon the articulation of the concept withina politicalproject.
If Marx rewrotetheconceptof the"proletariat,"he also triedin TheEighteenth
Brumaireto rewritethe notion of the lumpen thathe himselfhad developed. In
the earlierwriting,Marx tended to splitthe bourgeois notionof the "proletariat"
(meaning passive sufferersor malingerers)into two: the activeagentsof struggle
(the proletariatproper) and the "rottingmass" in the "loweststrata"of society.
But even in some of his earliestuses of "lumpenproletariat"as a category,Marx
is referringnotjust to the "loweststrata"but, as he puts it in TheEighteenth
Brumaire,to "therefuseofall classes"(54). This has created a problemforeven so fine
an analystof the lumpenproletariatas Hal Draper. Aftera scrupulouslyexact
and often brilliantexaminationof the term,Draper concludes his essay with a
sectionon "the upper-classlumpenproletariat"in whichhe writesthatMarx and
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85

Engels sometimesused the termin what"seems to involvea metaphoricaland an


extended meaning. We are interestedin it because of the lightit throwson the
base meaning."55A strange slippage takes place in Draper's argument: lumpenproletariat
means the "base" class,and thatdefinitionis,in turn,thebase meaning.
Yet Draper himselfnotes the curious factthatEngels translateslumpenproletariat
not onlyas "the dangerous class"and "themob" but also as "the social scum,"and
he goes on to observe that the latterterm suggests "a process of separation."
"But," he concludes, "scum separates byfloatingupward,"whereas "these wasteproductsof societyfallto the bottom."56
"Scum separates by floatingupward": it is the perfectmetaphor for Marx's
own rhetoricaluse of "lumpenproletariat,"the scum thatis reborn "on theheights
ofbourgeois
society"
(51, original emphasis). Marx wrotethisin TheClass Struggles
in Francemore than a year before Louis Bonaparte's coup d'etat. And he was
writingnot of Bonaparte but of Louis Philippe and theJulyMonarchy.The passage is worthquoting in full:
Sincethefinancearistocracy
made thelaws,wasat thehead of theadministration
of the
state,had commandof all the organizedpublicauthorities,
dominatedpublicopinion
and throughthepress,thesameprostitution,
throughtheactualstateofaffairs
thesame
shamelesscheating,thesame maniato getrichwasrepeatedin everysphere,fromthe
Courtto theCafeBorgne[a lowdive],togetrichnotbyproduction,
butbypocketing
the
alreadyavailablewealthof others.Clashingeverymomentwiththebourgeoislawsthemselves,an unbridledassertionofunhealthy
and dissoluteappetitesmanifested
itself,
parat the top of bourgeoissociety-lustswhereinwealthderivedfromgambling
ticularly
wherepleasurebecomescrapuleux
naturally
seeksitssatisfaction,
[debauch],wheremoney,
The financearistocracy,
in itsmodeofacquisition
as wellas in
filthand bloodcommingle.
on theheights
its pleasures,is nothingbut the rebirth
ofthelumpenproletariat
ofbourgeois
society.57

The passage is a kind of doublingof thecarnivalesque.Under theJulyMonarchy,


the low has become high and, in the rhetoricof Marx, the high is brought low
again. But what is most strikingis that the concept of the lumpenproletariatis
itself carnivalized. "Filth and blood," the ascribed features of the slum, are
rewrittenas the characteristicsof the court and the financialaristocracy.(Here,
"blood" commingles notions of violence, murder,even perhaps sexual assault
with aristocraticbreeding; similarly,"filth"comminglesthe suggestion of aniin
malityand low dives withthe idea of "filthy
lucre.")The termlumpenproletariat,
otherwords,characterizesthe lies and cheatingbywhichthe financialaristocracy
lives,the moral pauperism of the rich.
Here, Marx reinfectsthe distinctionthatAdam Smithdrew in The Wealthof
Nations(1776-78) between productiveand unproductivelabor. What is striking
in Smithis not the distinctionitselfbut the way in whichit drasticallycuts across
social hierarchy.For Marx, thelumpen includestheinhabitantsof courtand caf6;

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forSmith,the unproductiveare not only"menial servants"but also "some of the


mostrespectableorders in society."Smithwrites:
and some
In thesameclassmustbe rankedsomebothofthegravestand mostimportant,
menof lettersof all
lawyers,
physicians,
churchmen,
professions:
of the mostfrivolous
etc.The labourof the
opera-dancers,
musicians,
opera-singers,
kinds;players,buffoons,
whichregulate
meanestofthesehasa certainvalue,regulatedbytheverysameprinciples
thatof everyothersortof labour;and thatof the noblestand mostuseful,produces
oflabour.Likethedeclamation
procurean equalquantity
nothingwhichcouldafterwards
of theactor,theharangueof theorator,or thetuneof themusician,theworkof all of
ofitsproduction.58
themperishesin theveryinstant
both definesthe fraudulentand unproductiveand
Here, as in Marx, theatricality
is the means for unmaskingthem. For if,in Smith'swork,the theaterprovides
Brumaire)a supposedly known standard of the gro(like farce in TheEighteenth
tesque against which,byantithesis,to measure the productive,it is the theatrical
minglingof high and low,the hodgepodge of Smith'sown recategorization,that
uncrowns"thesovereign,""withall theofficersofjusticeand war who serveunder
him,"levelingthemwiththe actorand the buffoon(295). Payingtaxes to support
monarchsand armies is, fromthe perspectiveof the accumulationof capital, no
differentfrommaintaining"a menial servant"or going to "a play or a puppetshow."59
This minglingof kings and clowns is reinscribedas one of the dominant
Brumaire.For thatbook is an analysisof the reemergence
tropesof TheEighteenth
of the bottomat the top of society.Under Louis Bonaparte, "the scum of bourgeois societyformsthe holyphalanxoforderand the hero Crapulinskiinstallshimselfin the Tuilleriesas the 'saviourofsociety"'(26). And ifin one guise Louis is the
rebirthof the imperial grandeur of his uncle, in another he is the "king of buffoons" (135), leading a grotesquecarnivalof the State:
thecampaignsofAlexanderin Asia,theNephewthetriumphal
The Uncleremembered
marchesof Bacchusin thesameland.Alexanderwasa demigodto be sure,butBacchus
wasa god. (78)
It was to thisgod that,on 10 October 1850, a sectionof thecavalrycried out "Vive
Napoleon! Viventles saucissons!"It was thisgod thatMarx satirizedas "an adventurerblown in fromabroad, raised on the shield bya drunkensoldiery,whichhe
has bought with liquor and sausages, and which he must continuallyply with
sausages anew" (123).
From this perspective,the hegemonyof Louis Bonaparte was a farce (from
or force-meat"as wellas "lowcomedy,"a word
the Frenchfarce,meaning"stuffing
combining the culinaryand the theatrical).And one strategyin The Eighteenth
Brumaireis to treatthe spectacleof politicsas a farceor "masquerade" that,ifit is
merelyexposed as such, will,like Prospero's masque, vanish "into air, into thin

Marxand Heterogeneity

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87

air." For Bonapartistpoliticsappear at firstlike a "baseless fabric,""suspended in


midair" (123). That last point is specificallydenied by Marx, and yet his denial
seems like a response to his own depictionof Louis Bonaparte not onlyas unrepresentativeof any specificclass but as the name fora crisisin representationitself.
inFrance,Marx had writtenthatBonaparte, althoughhe was
In TheClass Struggles
man in France,"had "acquired the mostmul"the most simple-minded[einfdltig]
significance.Justbecause he was nothing,he could signifyeverytiplex[vielfdltig]
everything.And iffromone perspectivethe
thing."60He wasnothing;he signified
nullityof Bonaparte suggested the imminentdissolutionof his hegemony,from
another perspectivethatnullityappeared as anothername forthe power of political articulation.From thislatterperspective,the politicalfarce of Bonapartism
was indeed like stuffing(farce)in that it ground up heterogeneous elements to
forma new substance,a substance to fillout (farcir)the emptyshell or sausage
skinof Louis Napoleon.
of
For Marx, in otherwords,as forBataille,heterogeneityis not the antithesis
politicalunificationbut the veryconditionof possibilityof thatunification.I suspect that that is the real scandal of the lumpenproletariatin Marxist theory:
namely,thatitfiguresthe politicalitself.(I mean bythata notionof politicswhich
of the social even if the relationsof social classes
is not alwaysalready a reflection
will necessarilyset limitsto the fieldof politicalaction.)6' For the lumpen seems
to figure less a class in any sense that one usually understands that term in
Marxismthan a group thatis amenable to politicalarticulation.And what group
is not? Hence, the dizzying varietyof social classes that, at one moment or
another,seem to collaborate in Bonapartismand to give allegiance to the "chief
of the lumpenproletariat."Even in his earlier writingson The Class Strugglesin
Francewhere, as in the passage I quoted previously,Marx seems to come closest
to understanding the lumpen in terms of race, such a definitionis partially
undone by the sense of the lumpen as definingthose who are mostopen to historicaltransformation.Writingof the lumpen who composed the Mobile Guard
in Paris, Marx wrote that theycould never renounce "theirlazzaronicharacter";
but, he continued,those same guards were "thoroughlymalleable, as capable of
the most heroic deeds and the most exalted sacrificesas of the basest banditry
and the foulestcorruption."62
But if the lumpenproletariatcan as easily be exalted as base, its identity
cannot be given in advance of the momentof politicalarticulation.Hence, the
curious ambivalencetowarditin Marxisttheory.Insofaras thelumpenproletariat
disarticulatedthe one-waydeterminationbetweensocial class and politicalaction,
it threatened to subvertMarxism as a science.Thus, we findEngels fulminating
(1870):
in the preface to the second editionof ThePeasantWarin Germany
thisscumofdepravedelementsfromall classes,withheadquarters
The lumpenproletariat,
venaland absoin thebigcities,is theworstof all possibleallies.This rabbleis absolutely
88

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lutely brazen....
Every leader of the workers who uses these scoundrels as guards or relies
on them for support proves himself by this action alone a traitor to the movement.63

It is as if Engels collapses the possibilityof politicalarticulationwiththe notion


thatany such articulationcan onlybe forthe worst.
Paradoxically,Engels's views on the lumpenproletariathave probably been
Marxismthan those of the Russian anarchist
less influentialin twentieth-century
Bakunin, who believed that the lumpen were the vanguard of revolutionary
action. Bakunin lost his early interestin the revolutionarypotentialof peasants
and workerswhen he came to believe that theywere irredeemablytaintedwith
"science,""theory,"and "dogma."64In theirplace he put the outlaw,the criminal,
Bakunin was to criticizehimselffor his literary
the bandit. Yet in his Confessions
romanticizationof the outcast,forhis "love of the fantastic,of extraordinaryand
unheard of adventures,of undertakingsrevealingunlimitedhorizons."65Engels
derided Bakunin as a lumpen-princewhose proper sphere was Naples, the home
of the lazzaroni:"The worstBakuninistsin the whole of Italy,"Engels wrote,"are
in Naples."66But a less romanticversionof the Bakuninistvisionwas developed
by FrantzFanon. In TheWretched
oftheEarth,Fanon wrotethatthe lumpenproletariatis "like a horde of rats: you may kickthem and throwstones at them,but
despite youreffortsthey'llgo on gnawingat therootsof thetree."The verynotion
of a rat is transvaluedhere because the tree thatwillbe destroyedis the gallows
tree of the colonizer.Fanon continues:
The lumpenproletariat,once it is constituted, brings all its forces to endanger the "security"
of the town, and is the sign of the irrevocable decay, the gangrene ever present at the heart
of colonial domination. So the pimps, the hooligans, the unemployed, and the petty criminals . . . throw themselves into the struggle like stout working men. These classless idlers
will by militant and decisive action discover the path that leads to nationhood....
The
prostitutes too, and the maids who are paid two pounds a month, all who turn in circles
between suicide and madness, will recover their balance, once more go forward, and
march proudly in the great procession of the awakened nation.67

In thispassage, Fanon's politicsseem surprisinglyclose to the politicsthat Marx


attributesto Louis Bonaparte: the heterogeneityof the lumpen is the verypreconditionforpoliticalarticulation.But forFanon, politicsis not the organization
of a passive heterogeneityfromabove. It is the self-organizationof the heterogeneous in the formationof a nationalismof the oppressed.
Yet Fanon, like Marx, is aware of the dangerous tendencyof even a radical
politicsto become specular. It is preciselybecause the politicalis so oftenarticulated in relationto a demonized Other thatitcan so easilybe formulatedaround
a nationalistideology. But nationalism,although crucial in the struggleagainst
colonial domination, does not in and of itselftouch the relationsof economic
exploitation between classes and between nations. Fanon's chapter on "Spontaneity,"in whichhe emphasizes the role of the lumpen, is followedbya chapter
Marxand Heterogeneity

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89

on "The Pitfallsof National Consciousness,"in which he casts a cold eye on one


possible aftermathof decolonizationwhen "the popular leader,"under the pressure of foreigncompanies and foreigncapital, takes on "the dual role of stabilizing the regime and of perpetuatingthe dominationof the bourgeoisie" (165).
The leader now preaches "a forwardmarch,heroic and unmitigated"(169) in an
attemptat ideological pacification,even as the police and armyare strengthened
in the name of "stabilization,"i.e., repression.We seem to have returnedto the
world of Louis Bonaparte who, under the watchwordof liberty,equality,and
pursued a policy of infantry,cavalry,and artilleryand the unconfraternity,
strainedeconomic hegemonyof the bourgeoisie.
Fanon, though,was surelyrightin his sense thatany analysisof the lumpen
should be organized less around the question of social representationthan
around that of political articulation.He thus challenges the view that became
dominant in Marxism after the rise of fascismwhich saw the heterogeneityor
"disintegrated"nature of the lumpen in termsof a necessarypredispositionto
ofMarxist
reactionaryreintegration.This latterviewis clearlystatedin A Dictionary
is glossed firstthrough TheEighteenth
Thought,where the term lumpenproletariat
Brumaireand thenthroughOtto Bauer's observationin 1936 that"thewhole lumpenproletariat"moved towardfascism.The entryconcludes:
is not so muchitsreferenceto any
of thetermlumpenproletariat
The mainsignificance
to
role,as drawingattention
clearlydefinedsocialgroupwhichhas a majorsocio-political
in a capitalist
society
ofcrisisand socialdistintegration
thefactthatin extremeconditions
largenumbersofpeoplemaybecomeseparatedfromtheirclassand cometoforma "free
toreactionary
ideologiesand movements.68
vulnerable
masswhichis particularly
floating"
What thisanalysisrightlyemphasizesis thesense of thelumpen more as a political
processthan as a specificsocial group. But Fanon is righttoo in suggestingthat
thatprocess is "vulnerableto reactionaryideologies and movements"only to the
extent that all politicsis so vulnerable. There is no given vector to politics,for
politicsis itselfthe conflictualfieldof disarticulationand rearticulation.
If heterogeneityis not in itselfthe problem, though,neitheris the "homogeneity"of the revolutionaryprocess. Thus, Fanon argues that "the primitive
Manicheism of the settler-Blacks and Whites,Arabs and Christians"(144) is a
principle that radicals must adopt and invertas a firstmeans to challenge the
hierarchicalbinariesof colonialism.(It is worthnotingthatJacques Derrida, who
has been assimilated in the United States as the apostle of heterogeneity,also
stressesthatinversionis an importanttool in the displacementof binaries.)69But,
as Fanon remarks,thatearly Manicheismbreaks down in the revolutionaryprocess. Some blacks benefitfromthe colonial situationand will not "give up their
interestsand privileges";some whitessupport the struggleagainst colonialism
(although Fanon warns that "emotional over-valuation"may lead to a mistaken
"absolute confidence in them"; 144-45). The complexityof the process of re90

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articulation requires the dismantling of "the barriers of blood and raceprejudice": "Consciousness slowlydawns upon truthsthat are only partial,limited,and unstable" (146).
It is those "truths"-partial, limited,unstable-that Marx explored in The
Brumaire.As JerroldSeigel writes:
Eighteenth
Bonaparte'scouphad causedtherepublicMarxhad describedas theopen and unveiled
formofbourgeoisruletodisappearfromview.Whatreplaceditwasa formofgovernment
and to representthewelfareof
thatclaimedto be independentof mereclassinterests,
societyas a whole.70
Bonapartism,in other words,opened up the domain of politicsand the stateas
somethingotherthanreflection-as, in fact,a play(an oftenviolentplay)between
heterogeneityand homogeneity.It is theproblemof thatplaywhichMarx figures
under the name of the lumpenproletariat.And if the relationbetweenthe political and the social and economic cannot be one of reflection,as in TheEighteenth
Brumaireitcannot,neitherdoes thedisplacementof social determinationbypolitSuch a notionof "free
ical articulationopen up the "free"playof heterogeneity.7'
play,"in its guise of liberal pluralism,reproduces the aestheticizationof the het(126).
erogeneous that, as Marx wrote,was the preconditionfor Imperialismus
Thus, Marx's concept of the lumpenproletariat,as of the work of politics,
requires an analysisof the complicitiesas well as the contradictionsbetween the
spectacleof heterogeneityand the formationof thebourgeoisstate.But TheEighteenth
Brumairealso suggeststhata radical politicscannot startfromthe imagined
fixitiesof a pre-Bonapartistsociety.For in France in 1851, as in the United States
and Britain today,the statewas the terrainin whichthe languages of class were
being shaped and transformed.

Notes
I would especiallylike to thankAndrew Parker forthe stimulusof his work and for
many conversationswithhim. David Kastan gave support,criticism,and references;
Alan Sinfield and Jacqueline Rose helped me to formulatemy thoughts; Michael
Holquist was an acute respondent;and colleagues at DartmouthCollege and the Universityof Pennsylvania(in particular,Houston Baker and GerryO'Sullivan) were generous with their suggestions. As ever, I am indebted to Allon White and to Ann
Rosalind Jones.
1. On the Britishsituation,see The Politicsof Thatcherism,
ed. Stuart Hall and Martin
Jacques (London, 1983); Beatrix Campbell, WiganPierRevisited:Poverty
and Politicsin
the80s (London, 1984); Eric Hobsbawm, Politicsfor a RationalLeft:PoliticalWriting,
1977-1988 (London, 1989).
2. See particularlythe following,to whichI am indebted: Hal Draper, "The Concept of
Marx and Heterogeneity

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91

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

9.
10.
11.

12.
13.

14.

92

the 'Lumpenproletariat' in Marx and Engels," Economies et societes6, no. 12 (1972):


2285-2312; Terry Eagleton, Criticismand Ideology:A StudyinMarxistAesthetics(London,
1976), 182-84; and Walter Benjamin; or, Towards a Revolutionary Criticism(London,
1981), 162-70; Stuart Hall et al., eds., Policing theCrisis: Mugging, theState,and Law and
Order (London, 1978), particularly 348-97; John Paul Riquelme, "The EighteenthBrumaire of Karl Marx as Symbolic Action," Historyand Theory 19, no. 1 (1980): 58-72;
Edward Said, "On Repetition," in The World,the Text,and theCritic(Cambridge, Mass.,
1983), 111-25; Dominick LaCapra, "Reading Marx: The Case of The EighteenthBrumaire," in RethinkingIntellectual History: Texts,Context,Language (Ithaca, N.Y., 1983);
Hayden White, "The Problem of Style in Realistic Representation: Marx and Flaubert," in The Concept of Style,ed. Berel Lang, rev. ed. (Ithaca, N.Y., 1987), 279-98;
Robert L. Bussard, "The 'Dangerous Class' of Marx and Engels: The Rise of the Idea
of the Lumpenproletariat,"Historyof European Ideas 8, no. 6 (1987): 675-92; Gayatri
Chakravorty Spivak, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" in Marxism and the Interpretationof
Culture, ed. Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (Urbana, Ill., 1988), 271-313;
Sandy Petrey, "The Reality of Representation: Between Marx and Balzac," Critical
Inquiry 14 (1988): 448-68. I am grateful to Sandy Petrey for sharing his ideas with me
and for his perceptive criticisms. My indebtedness to and disagreements with Jeffrey
Mehlman's Revolution and Repetitionare discussed below.
Karl Marx, The EighteenthBrumaire ofLouis Bonaparte, ed. C. P. Dutt (New York, 1975),
75. Subsequent references are given in the text.
Karl Marx: Early Writings,ed. Tom Bottomore (London, 1964), 10.
Frederick Engels, The Peasant War in Germany,in Karl Marx and Engels, CollectedWorks,
vol. 10 (New York, 1978), 408.
Victor Hugo, Les Miserables, trans. Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee (New York,
1987), 594-95.
Quoted in Louis Chevalier, Laboring Classes and Dangerous Classes in Paris During the
FirstHalf of theNineteenthCentury,trans. FrankJellinek (Princeton, N.J., 1973), 96-97.
I am indebted throughout to Chevalier's work, although I do not accept his biological
reading of the materials.
It is worth noting that the problem of defining "la misere" extended to English translations of Hugo's novel, which have simply reproduced his French title,Les Mistrables.
Perhaps the nearest to a translation of Hugo's title is Constance Farrington's translation of Frantz Fanon's Les Damne's de la terreas The Wretchedof the Earth (New York,
1968).
Jules Janin, Un Hiver a Paris (Paris, n.d.), 139 (my translation).
Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations(Berkeley, 1988), 9.
Henry Mayhew, London Labour and theLondon Poor, vol. 1 (London, 1861). For a fine
account of Mayhew's vision of "the excessively hardy bodies of the nomads" and "the
enfeebled bodies of productive workers," see Catherine Gallagher, "The Body Versus
the Social Body in the Works of Thomas Malthus and Henry Mayhew," Representations
14 (1986): 83-106.
T.J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in theArt of Manet and His Followers(New
York, 1985), 51.
William Wordsworth, The Prelude (1805), ed. Ernest de Selincourt (Oxford, 1959).
Allon White and I have given an account of the responses of eighteenth- and
nineteenth-century poets to the city in The Politics and Poetics of Transgression(Ithaca,
N.Y., 1986), 80-124.
Jules Janin, L'Ane mortet lafemmeguillotinee(Paris, 1973), 70 (my translation).

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15. Honore de Balzac, "Facino Cane," in SelectedShortStories,trans.SylviaRaphael (Harmondsworth,Eng., 1977), 235-36.


18. Ibid., 241
17. Ibid., 239.
16. Ibid., 235, 237.
Sherlock
19. ArthurConan Doyle, "The Man withtheTwistedLip," in ThePenguinComplete
Holmes(Harmondsworth,Eng., 1981), 229-44. Subsequent referencesare given in
the text.
20. WilliamMulready'sTrainUp a Childin theWayHe ShouldGo ... is owned bythe Forbes
Magazine, New York. I am gratefulto Marcia Pointon fordrawingthispictureto my
attention.

21.
22.
23.
25.
27.
30.
32.
33.

34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.

42.
43.
44.
45.
46.
47.

Quoted in KathrynMoore Heleniak, WilliamMulready(New Haven, 1980), 215.


Marcia Pointon,Mulready(London, 1986), 121.
24. Ibid.
Heleniak, Mulready,102.
26. Ibid., 126.
Pointon,Mulready,123, 125.
29. Quoted in ibid.,215.
28. Quoted in ibid., 102.
Heleniak, Mulready,100.
31. Quoted in ibid., 102.
Quoted in ibid., 215-16.
1832ClassHistory,
GarethStedmanJones,LanguagesofClass:StudiesinEnglishWorking
1982 (Cambridge, 1983), 184 (his emphasis).
On the relationbetween the State and the subalternclasses, see particularlyAntonio
trans.Louis Marks (New York, 1957),
Gramsci,TheModernPrinceand OtherWritings,
ed. David Forgacs and GeoffreyNowellfromCulturalWritings,
135-88; and Selections
Smith,trans.WilliamBoelhower (London, 1985), 164-286; Nicos Poulantzas,Political
Powerand SocialClasses,trans.TimothyO'Hagan (London, 1973), and State,Power,and
Socialism,trans.PatrickCamiller (London, 1978).
Brumaireis finelyanalyzed by Petrey,
The problem of the peasantryin TheEighteenth
"Realityof Representation,"458-62.
See JerroldSeigel, Marx'sFate: TheShapeofa Life(Princeton,N.J., 1978), 213.
MarxlHugolBalzac(Berkeley,1977), 15.
JeffreyMehlman,Revolutionand Repetition:
Ibid., 14.
For an analysisand critiqueof the role of politicswithinMarxismsee Ernesto Laclau,
(London, 1979); and Laclau and Chantal Mouffe,
Politicsand Ideologyin MarxistTheory
Politics(London, 1985).
Towardsa Radical Democratic
and SocialistStrategy:
Hegemony
Georges Bataille, "The PsychologicalStructureof Fascism,"in VisionsofExcess:Selected
1927-1939, ed. Allan Stoekl, trans. Stoekl, Carl Lovitt,and Donald Leslie
Writings,
(Minneapolis, 1985), 142. Subsequent referencesare givenin the text.
13.
Mehlman,Revolutionand Repetition,
See Jacques Lacan, "The Mirror Stage as Formativeof the Function of the I as
Revealed in PsychoanalyticExperience," in Ecrits,trans. Alan Sheridan (London,
1977), 1-7. See also Jean Laplanche and J.-B. Pontalis,"MirrorPhase (or Stage)," in
(New York, 1973), 250-52. My reading of Lacan is
The Language of Psycho-analysis
in theFieldofVision(London,
particularlyindebtedtoJacquelineRose. See her Sexuality
1986).
CharlotteSmith,Desmond,vol. 2 (London, 1792), 120-21.
George Eliot,AdamBede,vol. 1 (New York, 1970), 258.
FrederickEngels, "The Latest Heroic Deed of the House of Bourbon," in Marx and
7:142-43.
Works,
Engels, Collected
inFrance,1840 to1850, in Collected
Karl Marx and FrederickEngels, TheClassStruggles
Works,10:62.
This point is noted in Bussard, "'Dangerous Class,"' 678.
Quoted in Chevalier,LaboringClasses,364.

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93

48. See Draper, "Concept of 'Lumpenproletariat,"'2289.


49. Chevalier,LaboringClasses,363.
vol. 5 (New
50. Karl Marx and FrederickEngels, TheGermanIdeology,in CollectedWorks,
York, 1976), 202. For an importantanalysisof the relationbetween the concepts of
the "proletariat"and of the "workingclass" in Marx's work,see Etienne Balibar,"The
Notion of Class Politics in Marx," trans. Dominique Parent-Ruccioand Frank R.
Marxism1, no. 2 (1988): 18-51. Balibar notes that the word
Annunziato,Rethinking
"almostneverappearsin Capital(vol. 1)" (18), and he argues thatwhereas the
proletariat
"workingclass" is the dominant concept in Marx's economic and historicalanalyses,
refersto "the politicalsense of his analyses"(24) and connotes "the
the termproletariat
class"(20).
natureoftheworking
'transitional'
51. In The GermanIdeology,Marx and Engels attackStirnerfor havingdefined the "dangerous proletariat"as "rogues,prostitutes,thieves,robbersand murderers,gamblers,
propertylesspeople withno occupation and frivolousindividuals."Marx and Engels
are specificallyconcerned to distinguishbetweenthe proletariatand pauperism; CollectedWorks,5:202-3. On Max Stirner,see The Ego and His Own, trans. Steven T.
Byington,ed. JamesJ. Martin(New York, 1973). And foraccountsof his workand of
Marx's relationto it,see David McLellan, TheYoungHegeliansandKarlMarx(New York,
1969); C.J. Arthur'sintroductionto The GermanIdeology:Part One (London, 1970),
(London, 1980), 144ff.
23-33; and Paul Thomas, Karl Marxand theAnarchists
144.
52. See Thomas, Marxand theAnarchists,
trans.Samuel Moore and
Manifesto,
53. Karl Marx and FrederickEngels, TheCommunist
Engels (Harmondsworth,Eng., 1967), 92.
54. See Draper, "Concept of 'Lumpenproletariat,"'2286; and Chevalier,LaboringClasses,
363.
55. Draper, "Concept of 'Lumpenproletariat,"'2304.
56. Ibid., 2290, 2296.
10:50-5 1.
Works,
57. Marx and Engels, Collected
58. Adam Smith,TheWealthofNations(London, 1910), book 2, chap. 3, pp. 295-96. I am
indebted to Catherine Gallagher forthisreference.
59. Ibid., 295, 297.
10:81.
Works,
60. Marx and Engels, Collected
61. On the problems of reflectionand determinationin Marxisttheory,see Raymond
(Oxford, 1977), 75-100; and "Base and SuperstrucWilliams,Marxismand Literature
inMaterialism
and Culture(London, 1980),
turein MarxistCulturalTheory,"inProblems
31-49. The relationof the "social" and the "political"is at the centerof the argument
and StedmanJones,LanguagesofClass,on the
betweenLaclau and Mouffe,Hegemony,
fromClass:A New"True"
one hand, and, on the other,Ellen MeiksinsWood, TheRetreat
Socialism(London, 1986), 47-115. Wood argues thatin the work of Laclau, Mouffe,
and StedmanJones,"not onlyis thereno absolute determination,thereare no deter(85, her emphasis). While I have
minateconditions,
relations,
limits,
pressures"
possibilities,
some sympathywithher attentionto limitsand pressures,I would argue (withLaclau,
Mouffe,and Stedman Jones) that"interests"are not reflectionsof preexistentsocial
interests.For
positionsbut that on the contraryit is the work of politicsto constitute
more on this debate, see David Forgacs, "Dethroning the WorkingClass?" Marxism
Today,May 1985; Norman Geras, "Post-Marxism?"NewLeftReview 166 (1987): 79106; and Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe,"Post-MarxismWithout Apologies,"
NewLeftReview166 (1987): 79-106.
10:62.
Works,
62. Marx and Engels, Collected

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63. Ibid.,21:99.
64. On Mikhail Bakunin and the lumpenproletariat, see Bakunin on Anarchy:SelectedWorks,
ed. and trans. Sam Dolgoff (New York, 1972), 334.
65. The Confessionsof Michael Bakunin, trans. Robert C. Howes (Ithaca, N.Y., 1977), 92.
Quoted in Thomas, Marx and theAnarchists,161.
66. Quoted in Draper, "Concept of 'Lumpenproletariat,"' 2291.
67. Frantz Fanon, The Wretchedof theEarth, trans. Constance Farrington, preface by JeanPaul Sartre (New York, 1968), 130. The heterogeneity of the lumpen is matched by
the mobility of the guerilla tactics that the anticolonialist forces employ: "Each fighter
carries his warring country between his bare toes. The national army of liberation is
not an army which engages once and for all with the enemy.... The various groups
move about, changing their ground. The people of the north move toward the west;
the people of the plains go up into the mountains. There is absolutely no strategically
privileged position" (135). Subsequent references to Fanon are given in the text.
68. Tom Bottomore, ed., A Dictionaryof Marxist Thought (Cambridge, Mass., 1983), 29293.
69. Jacques Derrida, Positions,trans. Alan Bass (Chicago, 1981), 41-42. I am indebted to
Jonathan Dollimore for this reference.
70. Seigel, Marx's Fate, 201. Paul Thomas notes that, in The EighteenthBrumaire, "we find
that the degree of internal cohesion, the type and the extent of unity within a class. . .
is not at all a categorical postulate, but something that varies"; Marx and theAnarchists,
86.
71. As Marion Hobson notes,
A good many writings on Derrida . .. talk of the "free play of the signifier,"
or of sense. There is a lot wrong with this: first and foremost 'free play"
doesn't seem to occur in Derrida at all. No wonder. The phrase, which refers
to Kant's freies Spiel, the free play of the power of judgement, brings with it
notions of spontaneity which are inappropriate, to put it mildly. "Free" is in
fact an addition by the first translator of the paper read by Derrida in the
U.S. in 1966, "La structure, le signe et le jeu." "Jeu" tout court is not much
used after Grammatologyin 1967, though it appears in Eperons. Even ifjeu is
understood as "play" or "game" and not as "play" in a machine, that is the
necessary wobble in a tautly set-up structure, it seems wrong to privilege it
instead of relating it to, for instance, Eugen Fink (Le Jeu commesymboledu
monde) and the circle round Kantstudien.And it is because "free play" has been
privileged that there has been a neglect of some of the most importantpolitically important-elements of deconstruction: the concern with hierarchies of forces, with the changes that can be wrought in an intellectual setup by such practices as "reinscription." It is to render undifferentiated and
thus probably ineffective the unstabling effectof deconstruction.
See "History Traces," in Derek Attridge, Geoff Bennington, and Robert Young, eds.,

(Cambridge, 1987), 103-4.


Post-structuralism
and theQuestionofHistory

Marx and Heterogeneity

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