One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
treated as singular or plural (especially in Marxist terminology) the unorganized and unpolitical lower orders of society who are not interested in revolutionary advancement.
- ‘Remember, he's the voice of the lumpenproletariat, the great unwashed, the rough part of Los Angeles (assuming it has any smooth parts).’
- ‘The bloody woman can't tell the lumpenproletariat from the skilled working class.’
- ‘The lumpenproletariat has always existed and I suspect that it always will in one form or another.’
- ‘This is remarkable, since this was the time of the lumpenproletariat, that great urban mass of unskilled labourers who comprised about 40 per cent of the population of the new industrial cities.’
- ‘Since the end of the draft the US military has become a haven for confused and alienated individuals, many of whom were on the verge of being pushed into the lumpenproletariat.’
- ‘They will never even dare raise the question of thuggery with us, as we work with the lumpenproletariat closely; in fact they are somewhat concerned for their own well-being.’
- ‘The elite have the skills to make sure their problems are first on the consultant's list; the lumpenproletariat do not.’
- ‘For some workers and lumpenproletariat, it is a revolt against greedy capitalists.’
- ‘Observing this, of course, there are among Muslim youth a tiny minority who reject this absorption into the white lumpenproletariat and turn militant or fundamentalist.’
- ‘This wallows in the dirt, squalor, drunkenness and mechanical, dehumanised sexuality of those who live on the margins of society, where the artistic petty bourgeois merges with the lumpenproletariat.’
- ‘The multigeneration denizens of public housing can readily be compared to Karl Marx's lumpenproletariat.’
- ‘History was moving ‘in a certain way’ and the class struggle would continue in the Third World with the lumpenproletariat of the colonized peoples taking up arms against the colonists.’
- ‘His treatment of Marxism is disgraceful, exhibiting little understanding, and he makes the scurrilous charge that Marxists are hostile to indigenous peoples because they are the modern day lumpenproletariat.’
- ‘Trotsky writes that Nietzsche's philosophy has a particular appeal to what he describes as a parasitic proletariat, a social layer arising within capitalism which is more privileged than the mere lumpenproletariat.’
- ‘It's a better idea for the wealthy to provide a safety net for the lumpenproletariat than to be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.’
- ‘When the rural peasants began to form a sizable lumpenproletariat in the city they were sent back home - the slum clearances in Algiers 1984.’
1920s: from German (a term originally used by Karl Marx), from Lumpen ‘rag, rogue’ + proletariat.
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