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By Jason Michael
Capitalist society, from its earliest days to the present, has forged new and hitherto unknown categories of humanity. This is to say that whole classes of people are constituted in relation to capital; either they have a degree of power over it and they use it to exploit the labour of others to accumulate more, or they are dependent upon it and so subjugate themselves to their alienation and exploitation to keep skin and bone together. Broadly speaking, it produces four categories of humanity, each with its own relationship to capital; the upper class which survives on its inherited wealth and so will only ever – from time to time – invest wealth into the mechanisms of industry; the bourgeoisie or mercantile class which actively operates the wheels of commerce, finance, and industry; the industrial or labouring proletariat which’s life depends on the prostitution of its work; and the lumpenproletariat or underclass that has been completely discarded by capitalist society and so becomes the dangerous class.
Within this wholly artificial hierarchy wealth, and wealth alone, becomes the currency of power. It is not merely the case then that the structure produces both people with and without wealth, it manufactures the powerful and the powerless, and as it is power which enables the human person to become human in the fullest social, political, cultural, and economic sense it makes both humans and non-humans in relation to the rest of humanity. Put another way, capitalist society creates the modern superman and sub-human; the Übermensch and the Untermensch.
It is precisely this disparity in the share of wealth qua power that dictates the necessity that the powerless be understood and feared as dangerous by the powerful, and so power, in all its forms, must be employed by them to divide the strength of and subjugate the powerless. It is not good enough that the former should win. The logic of class struggle demands that the latter must lose (Gore Vidal). In order for the underclass to become fully human it must destroy its oppressor, and, cognisant of this existential threat, the powerful class must pursue relentlessly its programme of subjugation by all means possible. It follows by necessity then that all instruments of power conceived by the powerful to benefit the powerless must also be weapons of relentless class war.